Author: Martha Beach

Ukulele. Image: Wemba.
Kids News

Introducing Ukes To Youths

The kids at one elementary school in eastern Toronto get to play ukuleles every week.

The ukulele lessons are thanks to Melanie Doane and James Hill, two musicians who helped launch the Ukulele in the Classroom program, an ongoing teacher-training program and ukulele teaching method.

A ukulele is a small string instrument that looks like a mini guitar.

It has a long neck and a hollow body, but instead of having six strings like a guitar, a ukulele only has four.

Making music with a uke is a good way for a big group of people to learn about and experience music.

“It’s a springboard into music,” says Doane.

A uke is small and affordable, so people of all ages can learn the basics of how to play, like plucking and strumming the strings.

From there, groups of ukulele players can learn how to play together to create harmony and layers.

After only a short time, even beginners can create melodies. “Because you can make music, it is so exciting,” says Doane.

The Vesta Asteroid… Er, Planet… Er, Object?
Science

The Vesta Asteroid… Er, Planet… Er, Object?

When you want to know more about something, you check it out, right? That’s exactly what scientists at NASA are doing.

They want to know more about an object in space they call Vesta. Is it an asteroid? A planet? What exactly is it?

Two months ago, they launched the Dawn spacecraft. Its job is to orbit and observe Vesta.

Vesta is officially listed by NASA as a “minor planet,” which means that it is an object orbiting around the sun.

But Vesta isn’t really a planet at all. It’s simply an object in space.

It has also been called an asteroid, a dwarf planet (a tiny planet), and a protoplanet, which is an object that started the same way as other planets, like Venus and Mercury, but never fully developed.

This couch was voted the ugliest couch in the world, 2010
Lighter

The Ugliest Couch In The World

The world’s ugliest couch is voted on each year by thousands of people across the world on a website called The Worldwide Ugly Couch Contest.

Each month, people send in photos of what they think is the ugliest couch they have ever seen. It could be plaid, stained, ripped, or simply an ugly colour. They might own it, it might belong to a friend, or they might have seen it in a movie or on television.

No matter what the couch looks like or where it’s from, if someone thinks it’s ugly they can send a picture of it to the Worldwide Ugly Couch Contest website.

From January to October, the best ugly couches are posted to the site, and anyone can vote on which they think is the ugliest. At the end of each month, the couch with the most votes is picked to represent that month in the Ugly Couch Contest. At the end of the year, an overall winner is selected.

Parkour: A Running, Jumping, Leaping, Vaulting Sport
Sports

Parkour: A Running, Jumping, Leaping, Vaulting Sport

At The Monkey Vault in Toronto, a 12-year-old girl leaps over a pile of foam blocks, runs up a ramp, slips horizontally through a set of bars, and lands safely on the floor.

It may sound smooth and easy, but she fell the last three times she tried, so doing it without a mishap is a good accomplishment. For the last three hours, she has been practicing the basics of a sport called parkour.

Parkour is a type of non-competitive sport that involves running, jumping, and balancing to complete obstacle courses that can be made of anything from pits, fences and bricks, to walls, ramps, and gates.

The basics of parkour, which she and seven other girls were practicing that morning, are simple. They walked forward and backward, trying not to bump into each other—and giggling when they did. They somersaulted over and over, eventually getting too dizzy to keep rolling, and then they practiced walking on all fours—on their hands and feet at the same time, like an orangutan.

Image: Cole Burston, The Globe and Mail
Kids Sports

The Shediac Capitals Play Hockey – And Read

The kids on the Shediac Capitals hockey team do all the usual stuff everyone else does: they gear up, put on skates and helmets, then they hit the ice.

During practices they do drills, learn new moves, shoot pucks, and field goals.

After practice, they go into the dressing room, unlace their skates and take off their gear, just like any other team.

But then the Shediac Capitals do something very different. They get out their books.

After every hockey practice, the grade-school aged kids who make up the Shediac Capitals in Moncton, NB have a reading circle.

Canada Rocks 4 Japan
Arts Politics

Canada Rocks 4 Japan

Since the earthquake in Japan last month, people around the world have wanted to help. Many people have helped by donating money, clothing, or food.

Artists in Canada and the United States have come up with ways to raise money for Japan. There have been many music concerts in both countries. Recently in Toronto there were three: Canada Rocks 4 Japan, Hope Blossoms Benefit Concert, and Eternal Sunrise Japan Benefit.

A “benefit concert” means that the musicians perform for free, and most of the money made from ticket sales goes to Japanese families affected by the earthquake.

Astonishing new photo of one of the world's last uncontacted tribes who are under increasing threat, according to tribal people's charity Survival International.
Environment Science

“Uncontacted” Tribes Found In Brazil

There are some people in Brazil who have never met a person from the “modern” world. They live in the rainforest. They don’t have houses or cars or computers. They are an “uncontacted tribe” of people.

The tribe’s people live in huts, hunt animals, and make their own tools. Photos show them with black and red dye on their bodies, holding long sticks.

Spiderman: The Musical (Crash! Ka-Boom!)
News

Spiderman: The Musical (Crash! Ka-Boom!)

There is a new musical playing in New York called Spider Man: Turn On the Dark, based on the popular comic book character Spiderman.

A musical is a type of play performed live onstage, but instead of telling the story by speaking, the actors sing. The music for Spiderman was written by Bono and The Edge from the band U2.

This musical hasn’t actually officially opened yet, but it has already received a lot of attention and not because it’s a really good musical. Spiderman has received so much attention because many actors have been hurt during the performances. There have been broken limbs, cracked bones and internal bleeding whenever an actor falls from the rafters.

Image: Natural Playgrounds
Health Kids Lighter

New Kinds Of Playgrounds In Toronto

Playgrounds in Toronto are changing. Old, boring playgrounds made of wood are on the way out and new, more creative playgrounds are taking their place.

To build a new playground, many safety rules have to be followed. Sometimes, these rules can make the equipment boring and too simple.

Most old playgrounds have a slide, monkey bars and a climber. They are good for exercising the body but they don’t challenge the brain, so kids get bored and stop using them. If kids stop using them, they stop exercising their bodies and then they aren’t as healthy.