How strong is stomach acid?

Stomach (or gastric) acid is a mixture of hydrochloric acid, potassium chloride and sodium chloride. An acid’s strength is measured on the pH scale. The range of acid strength goes from 0(strongest) to 6(weakest). Stomach acid measures between 1 and 3 on this scale, making it quite a strong acid.

Asian boy conduct an experiment microscope

The reason the acid doesn’t burn our insides is because the stomach produces mucus to line itself and protect it from the acid. We need acid in our stomachs as this starts the process of breaking our food down(digestion), so it can be absorbed by our bodies.

After the food leaves the stomach and enters the next part of your digestive system, the pancreas releases a bicarbonate which helps to neutralise, or weaken, the acid so it doesn’t damage your insides.

For further reading and facts on the stomach, click on this link.

For a video that explains the part of the stomach in the digestive system, please see below:

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What is coffee and where is it grown?

Coffee is a drink made from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant. The coffee plant originally grew in Africa, but is now grown around the world, usually in areas near the equator.

Girl in coffee plantations

Coffee is grown in over 70 countries around the world. The top three producing countries are Brazil, Vietnam and Colombia. Coffee is grown near the equator because it needs certain weather conditions to grow well(plenty of warmth and rain).

The seeds are roasted and then ground according to the type of coffee you are making. It is then mixed with hot water to brew, although you can also soak it in cold water to make a different tasting drink.

Coffee is not recommended for children as it contains caffeine. This is something that helps adults feel more awake when they drink it!

For further reading from the Eden Project, please click this link.

For a quick video run through of the process, please see below.

For those that prefer to learn by doing, please see link below to try growing your own coffee plant. (links to Amazon)

What is a diamond?

A diamond is a precious stone and is the hardest naturally occurring material known. It is made from carbon which can come in different forms depending on how its atoms are arranged. A diamond has a lattice structure in which the atoms are bonded together very strongly.

Family in shopping mall looking at jewelry department

Diamonds are formed deep underground in the earth’s mantle, around a 100 miles down. They are formed under high pressure and temperatures and can take 1 to 3 billion years to form. They are brought closer to the surface by deep volcanic eruptions and are then mined by people.

For further reading and some fun facts on diamonds please click this link.

For a video explanation, please see below.

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Why do bees make honey?

Bees make honey as a way of storing food for themselves. They need to do this for when their usual food sources are in short supply. Flowering plants are more abundant in spring and summer, so bees make honey during this time to see them through the winter, when there are much fewer flowers.

Grandpa beekeeper passes his experience little grandson.

Honey is an ideal way to store their food supply, as it doesn’t go bad. This is because it has a high sugar content, which also means it provides a lot of energy for the busy bees!

For further reading on bees, please click this link to the very informative buzzaboutbees.net

For a video explanation of why, as well as how, bees make honey, please see below.

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What is a hurricane?

A hurricane is a large storm characterised by very strong winds. If a tropical cyclone has winds over 74mph(119km/h) and it forms in the Atlantic Ocean, it is known as a hurricane. There are 5 categories of hurricane numbered 1 to 5. The most severe category 5 hurricanes can have winds up to 200mph(320km/h). The hurricane develops around an area of low pressure(the eye) and the winds rotate in an anti clockwise direction around this point. This is what they look like from space.

Extremely detailed and realistic high resolution 3D illustration of a Hurricane approaching Texas. Shot from Space. Elements of this image are furnished by Nasa.

A hurricane is specific to the area around the USA. A tropical storm formed in the Indian Ocean is called a cyclone, and one formed in the Western Pacific Ocean is called a typhoon.

For more in depth information on hurricanes, please see the following link:

An excellent page from Weather Wiz Kids

For a video on hurricanes, please see below.

If your children have shown an interest in the weather, please see the book below(links to Amazon).

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What do giraffes eat for breakfast?

Animals usually eat the same type of food all through the day. They don’t have different meals like we do.

IMG_0959In the case of giraffes, they usually eat twigs, leaves and fruit from trees which they can easily reach with their long necks.

For more information on giraffe feeding, click on this link.

If you would like to have breakfast with a giraffe, please see the below video of Giraffe Manor.

For a more general video on what giraffes eat, please see below.

For more reading on what animals eat, please see the below book(links to Amazon).

How do you make metal?

Metals are chemical elements which means they are part of the basic building blocks of our universe and cannot be broken down into anything simpler.

Industrial landscape with playing boy

Photo credit: Soloviova Liudmyla via Fotolia.com

When we talk about metals we usually mean things like iron, tin or lead. These are found in rocks which are called an ore.

To make the metal you have to break down the ore to separate the metal from the rock. There are a few ways to do this, you can use heat, electricity or other chemicals, depending on the type of ore.

stones with orange and yellow texture

Photo credit: xfotokex via Fotolia.com

Once the metal is separated it can be formed into moulds, sheets, wires etc.

For more information on metals from Science Kids.

For a video on the steel making process, please see below:

For those who like to learn through play(links to Amazon).