Week of February 11, 2001

Breaking Baseball's Color Barrier

February is African-American History Month, and www.4Kids.org honors Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to break baseball's color barrier. Learn all about Jackie's inspiring life at the AFRO-Americ@ Web site at www.afroam.org/history/Robinson/intro.html. You can read about Jackie's start in sports at UCLA where he excelled in football, track, baseball and basketball. There's also a section about his life in the Army. The site also introduces you to Branch Rickey and Sam Lacy, two men instrumental in choosing Jackie to break baseball's color line. You'll also find quiz questions throughout the site about Jackie's life. Enjoy this tribute to a great man. (This site is no longer available.)

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In what year did Jackie Robinson sign a minor league baseball contract with the Dodgers?



How many Earth years does it take Neptune to orbit the sun?



How many animal species become extinct every day in tropical rain forests?




The Solar System for Kids

Blast off to all parts of the solar system at Astro for Kids at www.astronomy.com/asy/default.aspx?c=ss&id=127. Each planet, the sun and Earth's moon are represented by cartoon characters. Click on each one to learn about your favorite planet. Did you know that the sun is middle-aged? Or that Pluto was discovered only in 1930? The site also explains what Roman gods and goddesses the planets are named after. Enjoy your romp through our solar system.

Save the Rain Forest

It's a big job to save the environment, and the Rainforest Action Network needs you. Head to www.ran.org and learn about the rain forest. The "Kids Action Team" section offers steps for kids to take to help protect the rain forests. There is also a facts sheet for students and a question-and-answer page. You can check out the rain forest people and animal sections, and view artwork by kids in the gallery. Help save this vital resource. (Disclaimer: This site now contains advertisements.)

How do you fight peer pressure to try drugs and alcohol?

Speak Out Here!

Dear Amy: What happens to astronauts' bodies when they go to outer space? -- Dennis, Oakland Park, Fla.

Dear Dennis: Scientists claim the lack of gravity in space causes body fluids to spread evenly through the body, making an astronaut's face and neck swell. It also leads to small amounts of muscle and bone loss. A Scientific American article at www.sciam.com/1998/0998issue/0998white.html says astronauts returning to Earth canąt stand for "10 minutes just after landing without feeling faint." These changes in an astronaut's body last for only a few days. (This site is no longer available.)

Dear Amy: How do UPC symbols work on store products? -- Theresa, Oxnard, Calif.

Dear Theresa: UPC, or Universal Product Code, symbols have two parts: a bar code and a human readable number. Most UPC codes have 12 numbers, but there are many variations. The first six numbers are the manufacturer's ID. The next five numbers are the product ID. And the last number is a check digit to make sure the product scans correctly. Learn more about this fascinating system at http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/high-tech-gadgets/upc.htm

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