Monthly Archives: July, 2012

What is mustard made from?

The mustard you put on a hot dog is made from the seeds of the mustard plant. Mustard plants have bright yellow flowers and slender pods containing hard, round seeds.  The large, green leaves are rather jagged in shape. Perhaps your mother may use a powder made from mustard seeds in salad dressing in preparing …

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Why do we call 12 inches a foot?

The foot as a unit of measurement gets its name because it may first based on the length of the human foot. Long ago, people didn’t  have rulers to measure with.  Instead, they used such handy “rulers” as the human foot or hand (an inch was the breadth of the thumb). The ancient Romans divided …

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What Is a snapping turtle?

The common snapping turtle of North America is a large bad tempered turtle having a powerful jaws which snap with great forces.  This tells us how the snapping turtle gets its name. Snapping turtles live in muddy streams and swampy ponds.  A full-grown “snapper” may weigh 30 pounds and have a shell a foot long. It may …

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How did the Canary Islands get their name?

The word canary comes from the Latin word “canis,” meaning “dog.”  Early explorers named the island for the many wild dogs they found there. The Canary Island is a group of rugged, mountainous islands that lie in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa. You might think that the islands got their name because …

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Where did chess originate?

Chess is an old “war” game.  It was first played in Asia. Chess is a game of skill played by two persons using a chess board marked with squares, like a checkerboard, and pieces called “chessmen.” It is thought that the game was played in India more than a thousand years ago, and that it …

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What makes hail?

Hailstones are chunks of ice that form when layers of ice and snow freeze around frozen raindrops in a thunderstorm. During a summer thunderstorm you may hear chunks of ice, called hail, hit your windows. Hailstones begin as raindrops in a thundercloud.  As the raindrops fall through the cloud, they are tossed about by strong …

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