Especially for StudentsNIE and You

NIE Answers...

After reading the story, "The Three Questions" by Jon Muth, students in Mrs. Pellicer´s 4th grade class at South Daytona Elementary asked some very intriguing questions. The NIE team supplied both the answers and the suggested sites to explore for more information.

Q: Can elephants swim?

Like all mammals, elephants are good swimmers. Unlike humans, however, they do not have to learn how to swim. When elephants swim they move all four legs and can go pretty fast! Swimming, for elephants, is made easier because of their size - it provides flotation. Most of the time, elephants swim with their faces above the water and their mouths below the surface, using their trunks as snorkels. (Alynia, NIE Webmaster)

Fun web sites about elephants:
· Meet Bubbles, the Elephant
· The Elephants of Africa
· The Elecam - from The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee
· Color your own African Elephant

Q: How far does the solar system go?

It goes on and on... Scientists today think that the solar system is actually moving. The moons go around their planets, and the planets orbit the sun, and all of them are moving through a bigger space! So, if you´re asking how far we WILL go, the answer is: We´ll know when we get there. However, if you really wanted to ask: "How large is the solar system" then we´ll tell you that Pluto, the furthest (known) planet in our solar system, is 5,913 million km from the sun. (Alynia, NIE Webmaster)

Here´s some more solar system facts:
· The Nine Planets: A Multimedia Tour of the Solar System
· NASA - JPL Solar System Simulator
· National Geographic Virtual Solar System
· BBC Science and Nature
· Build a Solar System

Q: Why did God create us?

Good question! It has been asked as long as mankind has existed. Each organized religion has its own answers and I encourage you to explore as many as you can. Try these sites: Religions of the World and Religion from the BBC World Service. You may also want to read about different religions in the Sunday Daytona Beach News-Journal. Don´t forget to ask this question of friends and family members. It might lead to a really good discussion. (Nancy, NIE Manager)

Q: Why don´t I have any brothers or sisters?

There are almost as many answers for this as there are families! Sometimes parents have medical reasons, sometimes personal ones, sometimes being an only child happens just by chance. It is human nature, though, to sometimes want what we do not have. That means that many children with straight hair wonder why theirs can´t be curly, while hordes of curly-haired kids are busy wishing their hair were straight. Shorter kids might wish to be tall-but I´ve talked to lots of tall kids who actually wish they were shorter. Although you might miss having a brother or a sister, you can content yourself with the fact that there are millions and millions of kids out there wishing they were an only child! The upshot is there´s an "up" side and a "down" side to just about everything-it´s just hard for us to see the point of view from the other side. (Kris, NIE Coordinator)

Q: Why is life so unfair?

Because this is how lessons are learned. (Alynia, NIE Webmaster)

Q: Why did you want to come here to read to us?

Because I love kids and reading and talking about books. (Nancy, NIE Manager)

Q: Why do my brothers always fight?

It may just a phase they are going through (sibling rivalry) or they are bored and looking for an easy way to entertain themselves. Too bad they don´t busy themselves inventing a game to play, or building a fort, or something. Then, instead of picking on each other´s weaknesses, they might discover some of their strengths and feel better about themselves-and each other.(Kris, NIE Coordinator)

Q: Where do you go when you are reading your books?

I have read boooks in some very stange places: on a train in Denali Park, on a beach in Hawaii, riding a horse ... When I was in fifth grade my favorite place to read was at the zoo in Pittsburgh. Each week I would pick a different animal and find a book to read about that animal and go and sit by it to read. My current favorite place is to go to the banks of Spruce Creek with my two shelties and a cup of iced tea. Unfortunately, I am sometimes interrupted my mosquitoes, manatees and mullets, but it is still fun! (Nancy, NIE Manager)

Q: Why are your lips purple?

If you´re referring to lipstick that people occasionally wear, this would be why. The lips have been artificially colored by a cosmetic. So what´s in a lipstick? Take a look! On the other hand, if you´re referring to the normal color of some people´s lips that actually look purplish, reddish, or pinkish, well, that´s because lips don´t have the protective layer found in other skin. They don´t have oil or sweat glands and their only source of moisture is the saliva from your mouth. Check out The Mystery of Faces for more face facts. (Alynia, NIE Webmaster)

Q: Why can´t people breathe in outer space?

Because there´s no air. Human´s need oxygen to breathe and there is no oxygen in space. Why? Because oxygen likes to hang around a planet´s (or a moon´s) atmosphere. The air we breathe is actually created from a series of chemicals that need a protected area to develop. The atmosphere around a planetary body provides that protected area! (Alynia, NIE Webmaster)

More fun info on the web:
· How long can a human survive in outer space?
· Space Wardrobe

Q: Why does my brother pick on me?

Ah, yes, the dreaded sibling rivalry. Believe it or not, it´s a normal part of growing up. Friendly rivalry teaches us about boundaries, the control of aggression, and compromise. There are limits, of course, and violence or bullying actions are not a part of the normal behavior. Definitely tell your folks about that sort of trouble - otherwise, try and work out your differences with your brother on your own. (Alynia, NIE Webmaster)

Here´s some more websites:
· Sibling Rivalry
· Handling Sibling Rivalry
· How to Stop Sibling Rivalry

Q: Why do your lips turn blue when you are cold?

When your lips turn blue, it means your body isn´t getting enough oxygen. When you are exposed to cold, your body re-directs the flow of blood from the skin to the vital organs in an attempt to conserve the warmth for the heart, brain and kidneys. So, the oxygen-poor blood near the skin looks inky blue. Hypothermia can occur when your body fails to maintain a normal body temperature. (Alynia, NIE Webmaster)