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Category: Articles Written for Kids

How We Talk Like Animals

How We Talk Like Annimals

You wave at your buddies, signaling them to come close. You’re walking home from school, smell fried chicken and pick up speed. Your friend doesn’t see you across the park, so you whistle. You know that a girl or boy that you really like will be at the school dance so you make sure that you are wearing your good jeans.

Those are all examples of how you talk like animals talk.

We humans have developed ways of communication that go beyond how animals talk. We can exchange ideas about dreams and the future and technology. Animal communication tends to be geared to survival; that is, escaping predators, signaling the readiness to mate or about finding food.

We are animals and although we have evolved to create this marvelous thing called “language,” we still have the instinct to respond to “non-verbal signals.”

Consider crabs. They are known to wave their claws to signal to a potential mate. This is similar to you outstretching your arm and waving at friends.

Smells are very strong with animals, directing them to good eating, just like you with fried food. The scent animals use most commonly are created by pheromones, a hormone some animals secrete. These pheromones alert others about a perfect mate or of an approaching predator. Your male dog uses pheromones when he raises his leg to mark his territory.

Bird songs are whistles that speak a thousand words. They can be used to call their babies, alert others to danger and to scold an intruder. But humans also use whistles.

Primitive peoples are known to use whistling before using words. New Zealand aboriginals use whistled tones to talk to the dead. You use whistling to call your friends over.

Dancing is another method that animals use to communicate. Bees dance to signal not only the presence of food, but how good it is. That is called the Waggle Dance. Other animals dance as a method of communication—like humans. Think about that at your next school dance.

Elephants tell other elephants that they want to play by winding their trunks around each other. Gorillas communicate anger by sticking out their tongues.

Peacocks use their spectacular plumage the same way that girls, boys, men and women do: to show that they are attractive and worthy of attention.

From the beginning of life on earth, animals evolved and survived and went on to raise generations of little animals—and that includes us. We are long removed and advanced from animals in many ways. In other ways, we are bees dancing about food.

Remember that the next time you make a face at a friend who is about to say something silly.

You wave at your buddies, signaling them to come close. You’re walking home from school, smell fried chicken and pick up speed. Your friend doesn’t see you across the park, so you whistle. You know that a girl or boy that you really like will be at the school dance so you make sure that you are wearing your good jeans.

Those are all examples of how you talk like animals talk.

We humans have developed ways of communication that go beyond how animals talk. We can exchange ideas about dreams and the future and technology. Animal communication tends to be geared to survival; that is, escaping predators, signaling the readiness to mate or about finding food.

We are animals and although we have evolved to create this marvelous thing called “language,” we still have the instinct to respond to “non-verbal signals.”

Consider crabs. They are known to wave their claws to signal to a potential mate. This is similar to you outstretching your arm and waving at friends.

Smells are very strong with animals, directing them to good eating, just like you with fried food. The scent animals use most commonly are created by pheromones, a hormone some animals secrete. These pheromones alert others about a perfect mate or of an approaching predator. Your male dog uses pheromones when he raises his leg to mark his territory.

Bird songs are whistles that speak a thousand words. They can be used to call their babies, alert others to danger and to scold an intruder. But humans also use whistles.

Primitive peoples are known to use whistling before using words. New Zealand aboriginals use whistled tones to talk to the dead. You use whistling to call your friends over.

Dancing is another method that animals use to communicate. Bees dance to signal not only the presence of food, but how good it is. That is called the Waggle Dance. Other animals dance as a method of communication—like humans. Think about that at your next school dance.

Elephants tell other elephants that they want to play by winding their trunks around each other. Gorillas communicate anger by sticking out their tongues.

Peacocks use their spectacular plumage the same way that girls, boys, men and women do: to show that they are attractive and worthy of attention.

From the beginning of life on earth, animals evolved and survived and went on to raise generations of little animals—and that includes us. We are long removed and advanced from animals in many ways. In other ways, we are bees dancing about food.

Remember that the next time you make a face at a friend who is about to say something silly.

When You Grow Up…

Kids of the Future

… what will the world be like? Scientists and thinkers have puzzled over that question. Hundreds of years ago, writers imagined a future where people lived easy lives, doing what they wanted to, buying what they wanted without money.

Before you were born, scientists predicted that the earth would soon be covered in ice. Others predicted that the ice will all melt.

Those predictions did not come to pass. The truth is that the future is a mystery. And here’s the exciting part: You will live there one day!

When you are a grown-up, what will life be like? No one can be sure, but many very smart people have some interesting ideas.

3D PRINTED FOOD

Feel like a pizza? Print one! Yes, in the future, when you need to feed your kids, you might cook up a pizza on a 3D printer. NASA is currently experimenting with 3D food printers to use in space.

Here on earth, 3D printers are already being used, but they are very expensive and don’t prepare a lot of different foods. By the time you are a grown-up, 3D food printers will be as common as microwave ovens. And you’ll be able to add extra cheese.

YOUR HOME WILL BE YOUR DOCTOR

Paying for health care is expensive. When you grow up, you will pay taxes to pay for that care. To help keep costs low, your home will be filled with tools that keep an eye of your health. Your toothbrush will test your saliva. Your toilet will test your, ahem, deposits.

Of course, your watch will also tell you how your heart is doing. All of this testing will help find health problems before they become too serious. They will tell you when you need to see a human doctor and when you just need to take a breath and relax.

WHEN YOU DO NEED A DOCTOR

In the future, you might get treated by tiny robots of a robot suit.

Nanotechnology is, simply put, using very tiny particles to do a job. For example, some sunscreens use nanoparticles to protect your skin. In the future, doctors will be able to use these wee little particles to make machines that treat disease or fix wounds. Other types of treatment are big.

Right now, doctors are creating mechanical suits that can act like legs or arms. People who have spine injuries will be able to move the suit just by thinking. Soldiers injured in war or kids damaged in accidents will finally be able to stand, walk or even play soccer.

HEADING TO THE FARM—IN AN ELEVATOR

As an adult, you might decide to be a farmer. You don’t go to the field in a truck—you take an elevator. That’s because farms are being created in high-rise buildings.

Some crops are grown on the side of the building. This is called “vertical farming” and people are doing it now. From vegetables to meat, almost any food can be grown inside these buildings.

If you want to be a farmer, you better get used to heights.

THE HARDEST PART OF THE FUTURE?

Being Human.

Technology is great. Everyone has a phone that connects them to friends and facts and fun games. All that technology is causing problems. Kids and adults alike find it hard to visit face-to-face.

People who get along using text messages can feel awkward when they try to meet in person. In the “old days,” men and women fell in love by meeting and getting to know one another.

Now, adults go through lists of information to learn about a person they like. Also, too much technology can make thinking harder. In the future, you could find life a struggle when technology breaks down. You could feel anxious without a phone in your hand.

The best way to make sure that you enter the future strong, smart and able to enjoy the world is to live in reality. Exercise, visit people, get your parents to show you how to do things rather than look it up on your computer. When the future arrives, you’ll be ready to make it whatever you want it to be.

… what will the world be like? Scientists and thinkers have puzzled over that question. Hundreds of years ago, writers imagined a future where people lived easy lives, doing what they wanted to, buying what they wanted without money.

Before you were born, scientists predicted that the earth would soon be covered in ice. Others predicted that the ice will all melt.

Those predictions did not come to pass. The truth is that the future is a mystery. And here’s the exciting part: You will live there one day!

When you are a grown-up, what will life be like? No one can be sure, but many very smart people have some interesting ideas.

3D PRINTED FOOD

Feel like a pizza? Print one! Yes, in the future, when you need to feed your kids, you might cook up a pizza on a 3D printer. NASA is currently experimenting with 3D food printers to use in space.

Here on earth, 3D printers are already being used, but they are very expensive and don’t prepare a lot of different foods. By the time you are a grown-up, 3D food printers will be as common as microwave ovens. And you’ll be able to add extra cheese.

YOUR HOME WILL BE YOUR DOCTOR

Paying for health care is expensive. When you grow up, you will pay taxes to pay for that care. To help keep costs low, your home will be filled with tools that keep an eye of your health. Your toothbrush will test your saliva. Your toilet will test your, ahem, deposits.

Of course, your watch will also tell you how your heart is doing. All of this testing will help find health problems before they become too serious. They will tell you when you need to see a human doctor and when you just need to take a breath and relax.

WHEN YOU DO NEED A DOCTOR

In the future, you might get treated by tiny robots of a robot suit.

Nanotechnology is, simply put, using very tiny particles to do a job. For example, some sunscreens use nanoparticles to protect your skin. In the future, doctors will be able to use these wee little particles to make machines that treat disease or fix wounds. Other types of treatment are big.

Right now, doctors are creating mechanical suits that can act like legs or arms. People who have spine injuries will be able to move the suit just by thinking. Soldiers injured in war or kids damaged in accidents will finally be able to stand, walk or even play soccer.

HEADING TO THE FARM—IN AN ELEVATOR

As an adult, you might decide to be a farmer. You don’t go to the field in a truck—you take an elevator. That’s because farms are being created in high-rise buildings.

Some crops are grown on the side of the building. This is called “vertical farming” and people are doing it now. From vegetables to meat, almost any food can be grown inside these buildings.

If you want to be a farmer, you better get used to heights.

THE HARDEST PART OF THE FUTURE?

Being Human.

Technology is great. Everyone has a phone that connects them to friends and facts and fun games. All that technology is causing problems. Kids and adults alike find it hard to visit face-to-face.

People who get along using text messages can feel awkward when they try to meet in person. In the “old days,” men and women fell in love by meeting and getting to know one another.

Now, adults go through lists of information to learn about a person they like. Also, too much technology can make thinking harder. In the future, you could find life a struggle when technology breaks down. You could feel anxious without a phone in your hand.

The best way to make sure that you enter the future strong, smart and able to enjoy the world is to live in reality. Exercise, visit people, get your parents to show you how to do things rather than look it up on your computer. When the future arrives, you’ll be ready to make it whatever you want it to be.

What Did You See? Really…

Imagine you are in the back seat, playing with your phone as your dad drives you to soccer practice. You pass Liam, a kid from school. His arms are waving and his face is red as he yells at a small boy you don’t know. And your dad has driven past the scene, his attention on the road.

You shake your head, then go online and post: “What’s up with Liam? Just saw him screaming at some little kid. He’s such a loser.” “We’re here,” your dad says. “Give me your phone.”

You do and head to the locker room.

After practice, as you’re changing, you tell your teammates about Liam. “You should have seen him. And the kid was half his size.” One of the kids you tell whips out his phone and posts: “Liam. Always thought you were a jerk. Now I know.”

Only when you’re buckled in the back seat does your dad hand you your phone. Turning it on, you see that lots of your friends have commented on how much of a jerk Liam is. You feel a burst of pride. After all, you were the one who told the world about Liam’s horrible behavior.

You start responding as your dad detours to the school to get your big sister from her basketball practice.

When your sister gets in the car, she’s excited. “Did you hear about the Jameson boy? He took off from his mom and was over by the freeway throwing rocks at cars.”

Your dad shoots her a strange look. “How do you know this?”

“Well, Liam was riding by on his bike and the kid threw a rock at him. So he pulled into the ditch and told him to stop. He tried to get the kid’s home number and the boy wouldn’t tell him. Our coach had to stop drills when Liam called her to get the Mom’s number.”

You feel the slow burn of embarrassment start creeping up your neck.

“Mrs. Jameson was frantic,” your sister continues. “She’d even called the police because she couldn’t find him. The cops showed up anyway because they’d had reports about a kid throwing rocks at cars—sirens and everything. It was a wild scene.”

“Wow. Scary. A little boy that close to the freeway. And throwing rocks, no less. Good thing Liam has a head on his shoulders. That Jameson boy could have hurt someone or got hurt himself.”

And there you are, looking at all the mean postings about Liam.

You take a breath and write your next post: “Hey, everybody. Turns out that the real jerk around here is me. I’ve just learned the hard way not to make fast judgments about people. Things aren’t always what they seem to be.”

Imagine you are in the back seat, playing with your phone as your dad drives you to soccer practice. You pass Liam, a kid from school. His arms are waving and his face is red as he yells at a small boy you don’t know. And your dad has driven past the scene, his attention on the road.

You shake your head, then go online and post: “What’s up with Liam? Just saw him screaming at some little kid. He’s such a loser.” “We’re here,” your dad says. “Give me your phone.”

You do and head to the locker room.

After practice, as you’re changing, you tell your teammates about Liam. “You should have seen him. And the kid was half his size.” One of the kids you tell whips out his phone and posts: “Liam. Always thought you were a jerk. Now I know.”

Only when you’re buckled in the back seat does your dad hand you your phone. Turning it on, you see that lots of your friends have commented on how much of a jerk Liam is. You feel a burst of pride. After all, you were the one who told the world about Liam’s horrible behavior.

You start responding as your dad detours to the school to get your big sister from her basketball practice.

When your sister gets in the car, she’s excited. “Did you hear about the Jameson boy? He took off from his mom and was over by the freeway throwing rocks at cars.”

Your dad shoots her a strange look. “How do you know this?”

“Well, Liam was riding by on his bike and the kid threw a rock at him. So he pulled into the ditch and told him to stop. He tried to get the kid’s home number and the boy wouldn’t tell him. Our coach had to stop drills when Liam called her to get the Mom’s number.”

You feel the slow burn of embarrassment start creeping up your neck.

“Mrs. Jameson was frantic,” your sister continues. “She’d even called the police because she couldn’t find him. The cops showed up anyway because they’d had reports about a kid throwing rocks at cars—sirens and everything. It was a wild scene.”

“Wow. Scary. A little boy that close to the freeway. And throwing rocks, no less. Good thing Liam has a head on his shoulders. That Jameson boy could have hurt someone or got hurt himself.”

And there you are, looking at all the mean postings about Liam.

You take a breath and write your next post: “Hey, everybody. Turns out that the real jerk around here is me. I’ve just learned the hard way not to make fast judgments about people. Things aren’t always what they seem to be.”

Facebook Privacy Settings: Like Signs on Your Door!

New technology is incredibly exciting and fun. It’s amazing when you think that what you type on your computer in your room can be seen all around the world by anybody with a computer.
But should it be seen by anyone with a computer?

Should the kid who’s been insulting you at the park know that you go there every Saturday morning to play basketball?

Should the girl who calls you ugly get to see the new dress you bought?

Probably not.

That’s why in this exciting time in human history, you need to think about your life as a valuable gift. You should think about that before every story you post.

One easy way to make sure your life is shared only with those who like or love you is to use your social media privacy settings.

Like most people, you probably have a Facebook page. You probably know how to post, edit posts, change your profile picture and message friends.

But do you know how to block strangers from looking you up on Facebook? If someone has started insulting you online, do you know how to block that person from posting on your page?

You can even block that person from sending you a private message or looking up your email address.

Another smart setting to protect yourself from dangers online is to only accept friend requests from friends of friends. This helps limit who sees your profile.

Of course, there is a problem with this. You should talk with your friends about their settings. Better still, sit down with your friends (in real time, in real life) and play with the security settings. Show each other how the settings work and which ones you need to use.

When all of you keep control over who can see what you post online, all of you are safer.

All major social media sites have safety and privacy settings. One fast way to learn about them is to Google the social platform’s name and “how to set privacy.”

Remember, talk to your friends and family about their settings. When everyone you share with has the same secure settings, all of you is safer.

For decades, kids have stuck signs on their doors that read: “Keep Out” and “Please Knock” and “Trespassers will be yelled at.” Think about your social media settings as signs on your online door. Don’t let just anyone walk in.

New technology is incredibly exciting and fun. It’s amazing when you think that what you type on your computer in your room can be seen all around the world by anybody with a computer.
But should it be seen by anyone with a computer?

Should the kid who’s been insulting you at the park know that you go there every Saturday morning to play basketball?

Should the girl who calls you ugly get to see the new dress you bought?

Probably not.

That’s why in this exciting time in human history, you need to think about your life as a valuable gift. You should think about that before every story you post.

One easy way to make sure your life is shared only with those who like or love you is to use your social media privacy settings.

Like most people, you probably have a Facebook page. You probably know how to post, edit posts, change your profile picture and message friends.

But do you know how to block strangers from looking you up on Facebook? If someone has started insulting you online, do you know how to block that person from posting on your page?

You can even block that person from sending you a private message or looking up your email address.

Another smart setting to protect yourself from dangers online is to only accept friend requests from friends of friends. This helps limit who sees your profile.

Of course, there is a problem with this. You should talk with your friends about their settings. Better still, sit down with your friends (in real time, in real life) and play with the security settings. Show each other how the settings work and which ones you need to use.

When all of you keep control over who can see what you post online, all of you are safer.

All major social media sites have safety and privacy settings. One fast way to learn about them is to Google the social platform’s name and “how to set privacy.”

Remember, talk to your friends and family about their settings. When everyone you share with has the same secure settings, all of you is safer.

For decades, kids have stuck signs on their doors that read: “Keep Out” and “Please Knock” and “Trespassers will be yelled at.” Think about your social media settings as signs on your online door. Don’t let just anyone walk in.