Label: Earth

March 30, 2012

We’re going to celebrate Earth Day for the entire month of April here on the Seymour Science blog. Our team will be writing lots of articles about our home planet - showing the beauty of nature, plants and animals, talking about how we can help our environment, and what kids can do to make a difference.

When you comment on our stories, we want you to share Your Earth Day Promises. What will you do, not just on Earth Day but every day, to help protect our environment? How have you changed your behavior because of what you have learned about taking care of our planet Earth? What beauty do you see around you that inspires you to love Earth?


Here is how you enter the EARTH DAY PROMISES CONTEST:

1.    Read Seymour Simon’s blog every day in the month of April. Click on the yellow "comments" button at the bottom of each story and tell us your Earth Day Promise, and why it was inspired by the story.

2.    You can write your Earth Day Promises on your own, or your class can write comments as a group. Class entries should tell one thing that the class is doing to honor our planet for Earth Day. (example: recycling all the paper used in class).

3.    Each time you write a comment, your name is entered into the drawing for a prize. You may comment and enter as many times as you wish between April 1 and April 22 (Earth Day).

4.    Or, you can enter by taking part in Seymour Simon’s EARTH DAY PHOTO CONTEST. Take a digital photo showing an Earth treasure around your school or home that makes you appreciate our planet. (examples: Clouds, trees, animals, etc.). Click on "Send us Photos/Video" (in the yellow bar at the top of every page) and follow the instructions to upload it to the website. We will publish your Earth Day photos and videos on Seymour’s blog, and each person who uploads a photo or video will be entered into the drawing to win an autographed book.

5.    VERY IMPORTANT!!: Each time your write a comment, you must tell us the following:

a.    Your name (first name and last initial only).

b.    An email address if you have one.

c.     The name of your teacher and the name of your school.

d.    What town and state you live in.

We will keep this information private (we will not publish it on the website), but if we do not know who you are, we will not be able to contact you if your name is chosen in the prize drawing! 



1. Everyone who writes a comment will be entered into a drawing to win a personally autographed copy of EARTH: OUR PLANET IN SPACE.




2.    Each person who uploads a photograph or video will be entered into a drawing to win a personally autographed copy of BUTTERFLIES.


3.    Every class that participates will be entered into a drawing to win a free, 45-minute Skype session with Seymour Simon.


4.    Everyone who participates and gives us an email address will receive a free, downloadable certificate, signed by Seymour Simon, which commemorates their participation in SEYMOUR SIMON’S YOUR EARTH DAY PROMISES event.


Seymour Simon’s YOUR EARTH DAY PROMISES CONTEST starts on Sunday, April 1, so come, read, write and tell us how you are going to make a difference for our planet Earth!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(61) Comments  •   Labels: Butterflies, Contests, Earth Day 2012, Earth   •  Permalink (link to this article)

February 29, 2012

Welcome to Writing Wednesday and Happy Leap Day! Every week there is a new opportunity to publish your own creative writing on the Seymour Science blog. This week, we are asking you to use your writing to help your friends understand Leap Year.

The Facts:

     A leap year is a year when an extra day is added at the end of the month of February. This happens approximately every four years.


     We have a leap year because a standard year is not actually exactly 365 days long - it’s 365.2422 days long. That is the number of days that it takes our planet Earth to make a full rotation around the sun. A long time ago - 46 B.C. exactly - the Roman emperor Julius Caesar realized that we had a problem. If we kept counting the year as only 365 days, that leftover .2422 days would start to add up. Gradually, over hundreds of years, our calendar would slip, until we’d be having a summery month like July happen in winter.

     So, Julius Ceasar brought in a group of scientists who figured out that if we added a day every four years, we would keep our seasons on track. This became known as the Julian calendar, which pretty much the whole world still uses today.

Your assignment: Write a paragraph explaining Leap Year to your fellow Earthlings!

How to make your writing powerful: Read and re-read the three paragraphs above. What are the most important details to include if you are explaining Leap Year to someone? Which words do you think are important to include?

When you are finished writing, click on the yellow "Comments" at the bottom of this post to enter your writing. Happy Leap Day!


Use your Extra Leap Day to learn about the Solar System with Seymour Science! 30% off planetary eBooks until March 2nd for all Earthlings! 



Posted by: Liz Nealon

(20) Comments  •   Labels: Writing Wednesday, Solar System, Earth   •  Permalink (link to this article)

July 14, 2011

I’m pleased to introduce a new Seymour Science blogger, Saira Jesani. Saira has a degree in Microbiology & Immunology from McGill University, worked as a science writer for Seed magazine, and helped to launch, which uses data and design to help make sense of scientific and economic issues. We’re very pleased to have her as a contributor to the Seymour Science blog!

— Seymour

Who knew you could find things on Earth - which you thought were lost forever - when you look from Outer Space?

That's exactly what happened when space archaeologists found some long lost pyramids in Egypt. They spotted 17 of the ancient memorials - built with a square base and four triangle-shaped sides - by studying satellite photos.

They even think some of those pyramids may be buried under the Nile River! Not sure the old Egyptian kings (commonly called pharaohs) would have been too happy about that!

The BBC television network has made a program called "Egypt's Lost Cities" about this discovery. The image above, from that program, is a computer generated picture (CGI) that they created to to bring the satellite images of the lost pyramids to life.

Want more fun facts on pyramids? Check out Seymour Simon's book: Pyramids and Mummies. Happy reading! 



Posted by: Liz Nealon

(4) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Earth, Space, Egypt, Pyramids, Archaeology   •  Permalink (link to this article)

June 7, 2011

Today’s Cool Photo of the Week is simply incredible. A volcano in Chile erupted this week for the first time in 50 years, and the friction caused between the rising cloud of dust and the air above the volcano created this astounding cloud-to-cloud lightning.

This is a massive eruption. Ash has been blown six miles into the sky, 3500 people have been evacuated, airports are closed, and cities in Chile and nearby Argentina are covered with so much ash that it looks as if there has been a snowstorm.

Officials say that they can’t even tell which one of four volcanoes in the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic chain has erupted, because of all the ash clouding the sky. Chile’s chain of about 2,000 volcanoes is the world’s second largest after Indonesia. Like Indonesia, Chile is situated on the "Ring of Fire" - the area in the Pacific Ocean that has the strongest geological activity on Earth, including many earthquakes and volcanoes. 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Volcanoes, Cool Photo, Earth   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 27, 2011

Part of celebrating the Earth this month is recognizing its awesome power. I have written many books about natural events like tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires, and many other natural occurrences that we humans classify as "disasters" for ourselves. 

A reader named Emily A. wrote last week to ask what the record is for the longest earthquake. I responded by asking her to do some research and tell us what she found out (once a teacher, always a teacher, I guess).

Emily came back with the correct answer.

Location:                    Sumatra
Date:                          December 26, 2004
Size:                          9.1-9.3
How long it lasted:      10 minutes

  This is the longest (and third strongest) earthquake that was ever recorded on a seismograph.

It was an undersea earthquake that is also known as the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. Like the one that happened recently in Japan, it set off a series of devastating tsunamis up to 100 feet (30 meters) high all along the coast of the Indian Ocean, killing more than 225,000 people in eleven countries. Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand were hardest hit. The Sumatra Earthquake happened along the Pacific "Ring of Fire," where 81% of the world’s earthquakes occur. This famous photograph is of the tsunami striking Ao Nang, Thailand.

It is difficult to measure exactly how long an earthquake lasts, because the tremors start gradually and when the big shaking stops, the actual tremor is still dying down. But, scientists think this lasted anywhere from 8½ to 10 minutes, which is very long. As a comparison, the big Northridge Earthquake that occurred in California in 1994 lasted just 15 seconds.

The Sumatra Earthquake was one of the deadliest natural disasters in history.
With a magnitude of between 9.1 and 9.3, it is the second largest earthquake ever recorded on a seismograph. 

Here is an interesting photograph, to show just how much the earth shifted during this massive quake. Some islands (like the one pictured here) grew as they were lifted above the water line, while others tipped over and partially submerged as they dropped back into the water. This island doubled in size during the quake. The land surrounding the green area was all underwater before the earthquake happened.

If you are interested in learning more about this record-breaking earthquake, Cal Tech has a website with more information, animations and graphics to explain what happened when this massive earthquake tore the earth apart across a fault break that was longer than the entire state of California.


Tsunami Photograph: David Rydevik

Island Photograph: Kerry Sieh, TO


What are you doing this Earth Month to contribute to the global effort to pledge a Billion Acts of Green? Click on "Comments," at the bottom of any Earth Day story, and tell me how you are making a difference. We will continue to accept your ideas through Thursday, April 28. Then, on Friday 4/29, we will publish all your comments in one big article, to honor each writer’s promise to protect our planet, and inspire other readers to do the same.


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(4) Comments  •   Labels: Earthquakes, Kids Write, Earth Day 2011, Earth   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 22, 2011



Last year was the 40th anniversary of the founding of Earth Day. Many special events happened on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and Seymour Simon was invited to speak to the crowd about what was then his new book, GLOBAL WARMING. The speech is a classic statement of his beliefs about teaching, and our roles, both collectively and individually, as shipmates on planet Earth. We are reprinting it here today as part of our Earth Day commemoration. If it moves you, please click the yellow "Share/Send page" button at the top of this page.

There is a Native American proverb that powers and informs the reasons and ideals of our approach to the problems of climate change and global warming. The proverb is one you may have seen before:


Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents;

it was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors;

we borrow it from our Children.


I was a teacher in the New York City School System for nearly 25 years. I’ve written over 250 books for children about animals and the wonders of Earth and Space. Each year, I speak to thousands and thousands of children in schools in all parts of the country, in the South to the North, from East to West. I tell them about butterflies and polar bears, I talk to them about lightning and tornadoes; I take them on a journey from Earth to the ends of the universe using the words and images in my books. I’ve written books about nearly every science and nature subject you can imagine.

The Earth is so big and the subject is so vast, that you might think that kids get overwhelmed. "What does all this mean to me?" you might think that they respond. Well, you might be surprised at what they really do say. Here’s what many of them ask me: "Where do I fit in? What’s my place in the universe? What is it all about? And what about me?"

That’s what inspired me to write my book GLOBAL WARMING. This is a book for kids and their families. It tells what’s happening in the world of climate change and it tells how those changes affect all of us. Then the book tells what kids and their families might do to make changes in their own and their family’s lives that affect everybody on Earth.

Knowledge empowers people with our most powerful tool: The ability to think and decide. There is no power for change greater than a child discovering what he or she cares about.

Seymour Simon

April 22, 2010 / Washington, DC 

What are you doing this Earth Month to contribute to the global effort to pledge a Billion Acts of Green? Click on "Comments," at the bottom of this story, and tell me what you are doing. We will continue to accept your ideas through Thursday, April 28. Then, on Friday 4/29, we will publish all your comments in one big article, to honor each writer’s promise to protect our planet, and inspire other readers to do the same.

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(13) Comments  •   Labels: Global Warming, Teachers and Librarians, Seymour Simon, Earth Day 2011, Earth   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 24, 2010

As we close out the week of celebrations around the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, we thought we’d share this quote from Albert Einstein.


"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us _universe_, a part limited in time and space.  He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

- Albert Einstein               

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Earth, Earth Day 2010   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 4, 2010

A teacher wrote to me this week asking a good question.

When some of my students were using your book entitled Oceans, we noticed that the NASA photo located on page 4 was published upside down.  It is a photo of the Earth from space and Antarctica is at the top of the page. Was this a mistake?

Simon,  Seymour. OCEANS. New York: Collins/Smithsonian, 1990, pg4.

There is no "top" of the Earth in space. There IS a north and south pole but it’s not that the north pole is on "top" and the south pole is on "bottom." In space, it all depends upon one’s orientation. The customary way that the maps are published is that North is at the top of the map and South is at the bottom. But that’s only a convention. If the Southern Hemisphere had been publishing Earth maps before the Europeans got around to doing the maps, the South Pole might very well have been on "top."

The map in my book is printed exactly the way it was released for publication by NASA. It is not an error.

Your students have very sharp eyes - good question! 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Earth, Earth Day 2010   •  Permalink (link to this article)

February 26, 2010

My new book, GLOBAL WARMING, is in the stores this week. Whenever I write about a new topic, I like to share project ideas and discussion starters that parents can use at home, or educators can use in the classroom.

Almost all scientists think that Earth’s climate is getting hotter. We call that Global Warming. Scientists agree that the burning of fossil fuels like oil and coal cause greenhouse gases to escape into the air and that these gases are causing most of the warming. We call that the greenhouse effect. Another cause of global warming is deforestation  (cutting down trees). Trees take in carbon dioxide, one of the greenhouse gases, from the air. The more deforestation, the greater the greenhouse effect, and the more global warming speeds up.

Here’s how you can demonstrate the greenhouse effect with children. Take two quart-sized plastic containers or glass jars. Put two cups of cold water in each jar and add two ice cubes to each container.  Put one of the containers inside a large plastic bag and seal the bag (the plastic bag acts like the atmosphere around Earth). Leave both jars in a sunny spot for one hour. Measure the temperature in each jar.

In sunshine, the air inside a greenhouse becomes warm because the greenhouse glass allows the sun’s light energy to get inside and then change to heat. The heat builds up in the greenhouse, in the same way that heat builds up inside Earth’s atmosphere. You just showed a small greenhouse effect. You can also see the greenhouse effect in an automobile parked in the sun. The sun’s light gets inside the car and the heat is trapped inside, like the plastic bag around the jar.

Most scientists say that the burning of fossil fuels is increasing the greenhouse effect and speeding up global warming. Since these fuels are burned for energy, and everyone uses energy, everyone can help stop global warming simply by using less energy. Think about the things you do each day that use energy. The lights in your house use electricity.  The TV and computer use electricity. The washing machine, dishwasher and dryer all use gas or electricity. Every time you ride in your car, it uses gasoline. We can’t stop doing all those things, but here are some things that we can do.

1. Wait until you have a lot of clothes or a lot of dishes before using the washing machine or dishwasher. Don’t use the washing machine for just a few pieces of clothing or a dishwasher for just a few dishes.

2. Turn off the lights when you leave a room and don’t leave the lights on all night long. Use energy efficient fluorescent bulbs instead of high-energy incandescent light bulbs.

3. Turn off appliances like the TV, computer and video games when you’re not using them.

4. In the summer, close the shades or blinds to prevent the sun from shining in. Dress lightly. Use a fan instead of an air conditioner. If you have to use an air conditioner set it for two or three degrees higher than usual.

5. In the winter, put on an extra sweater and dress warmly. Set the thermostat two or three degrees lower than usual.

6. Plant a tree. A single mature tree can absorb carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 lbs. every year and release enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support 2 human beings. If every family in the United States planted just one tree, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere would be reduced by one billion lbs annually. That’s almost 5% of the amount that human activity pumps into the atmosphere each year.

7. Bike or walk short distances instead of going for a ride in a car.

Whenever we talk with children about topics that can be disturbing, it’s important for them to feel that there are things that they can do to make the situation better. In the case of global warming, they really can!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

March 9, 2009


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: planets, Earth Science Books, Earth   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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