Monday, November 21, 2011

Confused mosquitoes, revealing bandages, and scuba spiders.

It's Nonfiction Monday!Today I am posting about three magazine articles that were published in November.
In the November/December issue of YES MAG: The Science Magazine for Adventurous Minds (for ages 9-14) Dr. A. Ray tells us that he contracted malaria from mosquito bites and that when he became a scientist he decided to bite … or, fight back.(Check this video with Dr. Ray) He found a solution in natural scents that send these deadly creatures off track. Mosquitoes find their victims by following a scent track of carbon dioxide left when breathing out. Dr. Ray found out that two airborne chemicals released by ripening fruit, wine, and beer interfere with the CO2 tracking sensor, and mosquitoes cannot find their victims. The experiments are very intriguing and may spark ideas for science fair projects. Dr. Ray’s studies are very important because mosquitoes transmit several serious and deadly diseases, such as malaria, yellow fever, West Nile virus, and more. Hopefully a new line of effective and less expensive natural repellents will be available soon.
The November/December issue of KNOW: The Science Magazine for Curious Kids (for ages 5-9) has the two other articles. “Color-changing bandages” is the result of the scientific mind of Dr. Louise van der Werff, a good example of a women in science, solving a problem we all face: how to care for a wound. Combining chemistry and engineering, she invented fibers that change color with temperature, and weaved them into bandages. As wounds heal problems may arise. This is important for all types of wounds, but especially for those that take a long time to heal. If the wound gets infected, its temperature will increase. If it does not get enough blood, it won’t heal well either and the wound’s temperature will decrease. Dr. Louise’s bandages can give an early warning about these problems. Check out what inspired this young woman to pursue this project. I hope we can find these color-changing bandages available in the near future.
And finally, the scuba spider (on page 3 of KNOW). In European rivers lives "Argyroneta aquatica," a small spider that spends most of its life underwater. To me, it is always fascinating how nature finds a way to survive. Argyroneta builds a breathing chamber underwater weaving its silvery net around air bubbles.
Physics of gases in water come handy as air in water diffuses into the bubble replacing the air the spider consumes. Argyroneta can spend a whole day inside the underwater chambers. Even more, Argyroneta eats, molts, and lays eggs in her diving bell. And when her babies emerge, they apply S.T.E.M. right away too! How did scientists discover how the underwater chamber works? Check it out!
I am delighted my articles have contributed to these great science magazines for kids. YES and KNOW provide an upbeat and fun way to enjoy science. And I love the color photos, cartoons, funny captions, hands-on activities and book reviews by kids. I have been contributing to YES since 1999 and fewer years to KNOW (released several years after YES). And YES has been awarded the title of “Periodical of the Year” by the Association of Educational Publishers!

Check other Nonfiction Monday blogs in Books Together And if you have a minute, visit my website


  1. Congratulations on the articles. They look very interesting, and your suggestion for a science fair project is a good one.

    Thank you for sharing these.

  2. At writing!. With all the new emphasis on nonfiction in the Common Core standards, I am going to have to subscribe to these. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Hello, Tara. The magazines are having a sale on subscription now, as well as in some of their science books for kids. First time in 15 years!

  4. Have The World In Your Lunchbox as well as several Capstone titles over at
    Thanks for hosting!