Week of July 25, 2004

So you want to be a storm chaser? Then hold on tight and let KidStorm, at http://skydiary.com/kids, take you for the ride of your life. You’ll get an inside and outside look at what makes those terrible tornadoes and horrible hurricanes. Take shelter and learn a few lightning safety tips. Then scope out some amazing photos. In one picture, lighting crawls across the sky. Be sure to read about the basics of Storm Chasing, and learn the twisted myths and the reality of this risky job. For instance, cows usually don’t fly.

Nominate a cool Web site at http://www.4Kids.org/nominations/

Visit the Featured Web sites to find the answers.

What is a tornado that doesn’t touch the ground called?

dust devil


What common cloud forest plants are related to pineapples?

Spanish moss


What are two materials you need to make a jitterbug?
battery and paper clips
battery and glass jar
tape and water bottle lids



Poison Dart Frog Mystery

Take a first-class ticket to a Costa Rican cloud forest and solve the Mystery of the Poison Dart Frog at www.ncmoa.org/costarica. You’ll join Zoey and Zeke, a rambunctious brother and sister team, as they help their cousin Camilla put together a museum exhibit full of mysterious objects. Use your cell phone and research skills to make sure the evil Fausto doesn’t mess things up. Along the way, you will learn about Costa Rican money, art and geography. You’ll also meet a pig-nosed peccary, a cranky crocodile and, of course, a poison dart frog.

My Cockroach and Me

Robots come to life in the Low Life Labs at
www.robotsandus.org. The labs are divided into Moving, Sensing, Thinking and Being. In Moving, you can manipulate a robot’s movement with the Soda Constructor or observe robots as they work. Do you know your facial expressions? In the Sensing Lab, you’re challenged to identify faces that are angry, surprised or afraid. Mess with the mind of a Mobot as it uses quick thinking to react to light and obstacles. In the Being Lab, you’ll meet Kismet, a robot who’s always smiling and can interact and converse with humans.

What foods do you refuse to eat?

Speak Out Here!

Dear Amy: Where can I find a chat room that is safe for kids?
— Jaime, Turlock, Calif.

Dear Jaime: A cool place to get online and chat is KidsCom at www.kidscom.com/chat/kidschat/kidschat.html. The chat rooms are open during certain hours so that KidsCom staff members can monitor the chatting. The monitors make these chat rooms safer than some other sites because they make sure that people are following the rules. Nevertheless, be sure that you continue to practice safe chatting. The www.4Kids.org tips about online safety at www.4kids.org/safesurf are good to follow.

Dear Amy: What is a hotspot?
— Alex, Dallas

Dear Alex: A hotspot is a common name for places that have a wireless area network available to the public. People can access the network with laptops and other wireless tools. Accessing the network enables people to use the Web too. Many hotels, coffee shops, libraries and airports also have hotspots. If you come across other techie words that you don’t understand, try searching for a definition at www.webopedia.com. It is a great technology dictionary.

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