On one particular night in December, Orion and Capella were allowed to stay up late. This was because they were taking part in Snow Island’s first-ever lantern walk. Trailing behind their parents, they followed other hikers through the woods along the Star Trail. Soon, the group would arrive at the observatory where they would be able to admire the night sky and, if they were lucky, catch a glimpse of the northern lights.
Illuminated by the glow of their lanterns, the twins happily joined in as the crowd sang Christmas carols. The mood was merry, and it was a perfect night for a stroll.
Suddenly, someone cried out in pain.
“Mrs. Isla twisted her ankle,” a man called out.
Several people turned back to help the mayor, who’d been keeping stragglers company at the back of the group. Orion, Capella, and their parents quickly followed. While the mayor apologized profusely for having ruined the hike, the adults discussed what to do. Some thought that one person should wait with her until help arrived, while others offered to help her hobble the rest of the way to the observatory since it wasn’t far.
Just then, Orion had an idea: “Hey, why don’t we make her a stretcher?”
“Yes, we learned how to make one this summer at the Little Explorers’ Day Camp,” his sister added.
“It won’t be easy to do by lantern light, but I think we can make it work,” one woman responded cheerfully.
Excited to put their knowledge to the test — and to help Mayor Isla — the twins began explaining what to do. For many, the activity brought back memories of their own childhood out¬door survival lessons, and a sturdy stretcher was built in no time.
A few people carefully helped Mayor Isla onto the stretcher, and the stron¬gest members of the group carried her up to the observatory while others lit the way. Soon, they joined the rest of the crowd who’d gathered around the observatory and extinguished their lanterns.
Capella was disappointed not to see any northern lights, but then her brother pointed to the sky and cried out with excitement: “Look, you can see Orion from here!”
“You’re right,” she replied, gazing up at the constellation her twin was named after. “Help me find my star!”
“Your star?” asked the mayor, who’d been positioned on the ground nearby.
“Yes, Capella is the brightest star in the Auriga constellation,” the girl explained.
“Oh, I didn’t know that,” the mayor replied. “Your parents must really like stars if they named you after one.”
“It’s because they met here,” Orion said. “Dad took his class on a field trip to the observatory, and Mom was their guide.”
“How romantic,” Mayor Isla exclaimed, following the girl’s finger as she pointed up at the star that was her namesake.
After gazing at the stars and sipping hot chocolate, the hikers prepared to make their descent.
Suddenly, the sky lit up with flashes of fluorescent green. “Oohs!” and “Aahs!” resounded through the crowd as all stood mesmerized by the marvel.
There was little doubt that the first edition of the lantern walk had been a great success, especially for Capella and others who got their first look at the northern lights.
By Johannie Dufour and Sarah Beauregard
Translated by Katya Teague
Nature quiz: find the odd one out
If you love nature, this fun quiz is for you. Try to find the odd one out in each of the following questions.
1. Which of these trees isn’t an evergreen?
2. Which of these mammals isn’t a rodent?
3. Which of these waterways isn’t a river?
A. The English Channel
B. The Seine
C. The Nile
D. The Mississippi
4. Which of these mushrooms isn’t edible?
A. Destroying angel
5. Which of these constellations isn’t part of the zodiac?
6. Which of these mountain ranges isn’t in North America?
A. The Cascade Range
B. The Andes Mountains
C. The Appalachians
D. The Rockies
7. Which of these shrubs are thornless?
A. Sea buckthorn
1-C, 2-C, 3-A, 4-A, 5-B, 6-B, 7-C
Morse code basics
Before the telephone and satellite communication was invented, Morse code was used to transmit messages over long distances quickly. For example, ships often used Morse code to send distress signals. Additionally, in the past, if you wanted to tell your family when your train would arrive at the station, you could send them a letter in Morse code.
What’s Morse code?
Morse code was invented by Samuel Morse and is a means of communication that uses long and short signals to transmit messages. Morse code is often sent using sound or light signals. It can also be written. For example, short signals are represented as dots and long signals as dashes:
• A =
• E =
• R =
• T =
Therefore, to communicate the letter A in Morse code, you must transmit a short sound followed by a long sound. Each letter of the alphabet has its own code, so you can easily spell words and phrases using the right combination of signals.
It’s a bit complicated, isn’t it? Fortunately, today you can simply text, email, or phone your friends. However, the Morse code is still used in military emergencies.
Why does helium change the sound of your voice?
Have you ever inhaled helium from a balloon? If so, you may have noticed that your voice becomes higher than usual. This is a funny and intriguing side effect. Here’s why it happens.
Your vocal cords vibrate when you speak or sing, much like the strings on a guitar. How fast the air passes through your vocal cords determines the pitch of your voice. Slow-moving air makes low-pitched sounds, while fast-moving air makes high-pitched sounds.
Helium is lighter than air. Therefore, when you inhale helium, it travels much more quickly across your vocal cords than oxygen, making your voice sound higher than normal.
Though it’s fun to alter the pitch of your voice by inhaling helium, don’t overdo it. If you inhale too much, you could deprive your body of oxygen and faint. It’s perfectly safe to inhale small quantities of helium, but doing so repeatedly can have dangerous consequences.
10 tips for being a good friend
Cultivating long-lasting friendships takes time and commitment. Here are a few simple tips to help you make friends.
1. Pay attention and listen to them when they tell you something
2. Share with them
3. Keep their secrets
4. Periodically call, or video chat them
5. Never talk behind their back
6. Support and encourage them if they’re going through a tough time
7. Console them if they’re sad
8. Invite them to spend time with you
9. Celebrate important events with them like their birthday and holidays
10. Apologize if you hurt their feelings
One of the best gifts in life is friendship.
Association game: vegetables
Vegetables are excellent for your health and come in many colorful varieties and shapes. Try to match each clue to the correct vegetable.
1. This white vegetable is called Daikon
2. Bugs Bunny’s favorite food
3. A similar vegetable to collard greens
4. Another name for beans
5. There are summer and winter varieties of this vegetable
6. Rutabagas are from the same family as this vegetable
7. A crunchy green vegetable with lots of water
8. A dark green vegetable that looks like cauliflower
9. The leaves of this vegetable are used in salads
10. The most common varieties of this vegetable are English and Lebanese
11. Iceberg and Chinese are two varieties of this vegetable
12. A bulbous vegetable that’s said to repel vampires
13. A vegetable that’s often eaten with butter and salt
14. There are many ornamental varieties of this vegetable
15. The sweet version of a chili
1-N, 2-D, 3-B, 4-I, 5-H, 6-L, 7-E, 8-C, 9-O, 10-G, 11-F, 12-A, 13-K, 14-J, 15-M
4 animals that can regrow body parts
Many animals have extraordinary abilities. For example, certain species can change color or sleep with their eyes open. Here are four amazing creatures that can regrow their body parts.
1. Octopuses need eight limbs to move around and eat. Fortunately, they can regenerate lost tentacles in a matter of months.
2. Lizards can sever their own tails as a defense mechanism. A new tail will regrow within a few months.
3. Flatworms can tear themselves in half and regrow a completely new body, including a new head.
4. Spiders commonly lose legs when fighting off predators. The good news is that they can regrow their lost limbs within a few days.
In addition, male deer shed and regrow their antlers every year.
Did you know?
People can also regrow one specific part of their body. The liver, which filters blood, can partially regenerate itself.