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100

A 1943 copper penny could be worth as much as 50 thousand dollars. In 1943, most pennies were made out of steel since copper was needed for World War II, so the 1943 copper penny is very rare. Another rarity is the 1955 double die penny. These pennies were mistakenly double stamped, so they have overlapping dates and letters. If it doesn't show signs of wear and is still shiny, it can easily be sold for $25,000 at an auction. Now that’s a pretty penny!

Rare pennies are worth a lot of money.

100

The brain is the most complicated system in the human body. The brain is separated into two hemispheres or halves. From front to back, the brain is further divided into three parts: the forebrain, the midbrain, and the hindbrain. The forebrain is where most reasoning, thinking, and emotional activity occur. It is also where most memories are stored. The midbrain controls reflexes and processes sensory information (sight, touch, taste, etc.) The hindbrain processes basic survival functions, like breathing and maintaining a heartbeat. The brain is truly the most amazing system in the human body.

The brain is an amazing system in the human body.

100

Wolverines are medium sized mammals. They weigh no more than 50 pounds. Yet they have earned their reputation for ferociousness by killing prey many times their size. But why do they get in so many fights? The reason why wolverines have so many conflicts with other animals (including wolves, cougars, and even bears) is probably because of the wolverine's preferred hunting style. Rather than chasing down or tricking its prey like most hunters, the wolverine prefers to take its meals directly from other hunters. So while a polar bear or a lone wolf might be enjoying a hard earned carcass, a hungry wolverine may try to take his lunch. As you might imagine, this style of hunting get the wolverine in plenty of fights.

All about the wolverine and its ability to hunt

100

If cotton candy had a list of ingredients on the side of the bag, it would be a very short list. Sugar and food coloring would be the only two things on it. So, how does sugar become the fluffy treat that we know as cotton candy? The process starts with a small amount of colored sugar spinning in the head of the machine. The sugar is heated until it melts. Then it is squeezed out through tiny holes in the spinning head. The melted sugar becomes solid and is caught in a larger bowl that surrounds the spinning head. The product builds up in the bowl. The person running the machine should twirl a stick to gather the sugared strands. You may not have a cotton candy machine lying around your house, but you probably have all the ingredients to make it!

Making cotton candy is quite easy, and it does not require many ingredients.
200

Being a clown isn't all fun and games. Rodeo clowns expose themselves to great danger every time they perform. When cowboys dismount or bulls buck them off, rodeo clowns jump in front of the bulls and motion wildly to get their attention. In this way rodeo clowns provide an alternate target, and in doing so protect the rider. Of course, this is a very dangerous thing to do. So you see, sometimes clowning around can be serious business.

Being a rodeo clown can actually be very dangerous.
200

It is estimated that over twenty million pounds of candy corn are sold in the US each year. Brach’s, the top manufacturer, sells enough candy corn to circle the earth 4.25 times if each piece were laid end to end. That’s a lot of candy corn, but that’s nothing compared to the production of Tootsie Rolls. Over 64 million Tootsie Rolls are produced every day! But even Tootsie Rolls have got nothing on the candy industry’s staple product: chocolate. Confectioners manufacture over twenty billion pounds of chocolate in the United States each year. Now that’s a mouthful!

The candies that are the most popular in the US are candy corn, Tootsie Rolls, and chocolate.

200

Before you put on that skeleton costume and travel door-to-door begging for candy, take a minute to reflect on this tradition. Halloween is believed to have come from an ancient Celtic festival dating back to 2,000 years ago. November 1st was the Celtic New Year and marked the end of summer. The Celts celebrated the evening before by wearing costumes made of animal skins and dancing around bon fires. Over the next 2000 years, this primitive celebration grew to be the candy-fueled costume ball that we know today.

The tradition of Halloween came from a Celtic festival long ago.

200

Tim and his family went fishing today. They stopped on the way to the lake and bought all of their favorite snacks. When they got to the lake, they ate and then started fishing. Tim caught four fish, and his brother caught three. They laughed and gave each other a high-five every time they caught a fish. The whole family had a great time. Maybe they would go fishing again soon.

Tim's family had a great time going fishing.

300

Sir Isaac Newton was in his garden one day in 1665 when he noticed an apple fall from a tree. Newton wondered to himself, "Why should the apple always fall to the ground? Why doesn't it go sideways or upwards but directly toward the Earth's center?" After much thought, Newton concluded that objects are pulled to the Earth through a force that he called "gravity," which means "heaviness in Latin." In 1687, Newton wrote a book about the science behind gravity.

Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity.
300

Lucy would never get her room clean. It looked like a tornado had hit it. She couldn’t believe how much damage her friends had done. They pulled everything out and didn’t put anything back. Glue was spilled all over her rug, and fingernail polish was spilled on her new bedspread. They had even wiped their chocolate covered fingers on her curtains. Wow! What a mess.

Lucy's friends made a huge mess.

300

Some people think that some holidays celebrating love are nothing but clever ploys by marketers to sell candy, flowers, and stuffed animals. Who cares? In America, we celebrate two love themed holidays: Valentine's Day and Sweetest Day. Valentine's Day is celebrated in the winter, while Sweetest Day is celebrated in the fall. Valentine's Day is focused on bringing lovers together. Sweetest Day is purported to be for all the friends, relatives, and associates whose kindness we've enjoyed. Both occasions are great times to celebrate what's most important: the people we love.

There are two holidays where we can celebrate the people we love: Valentine's Day and Sweetest Day.

400

Screech! When a driver pushes on the brake pedal, it starts a process that causes the vehicle to stop in motion. We literally trust our brakes with our lives every time we get into a vehicle or cross at a busy intersection. How does this life-critical process work? It begins when the pedal is pushed. At this moment brake fluid is released into the braking mechanisms. As the fluid collects, this creates a leverage, which causes a friction to be applied. This friction will create a force that will cause the wheels to stop and allow you to reach your destination safely.

There are many steps to the process of a vehicle braking and stopping.

400

Although many people think a koala is a bear, it is not. The koala is a type of mammal called a marsupial. A kangaroo is also a marsupial. These mammals carry their babies in a pouch. The kangaroo’s pouch is on her stomach, but the koala’s pouch is on her back. Both feed their babies milk and keep them secure in their pouch until they are strong enough to survive on their own.

The koala and the kangaroo are both marsupials, but they have some differences.

400

Fellow Members of the Springfield Robotics Club: we have a problem. It has come to my attention that the workshop has been left an absolute mess on at least two separate occasions. Remember, that this is a shared space, so we must clean up behind ourselves after every meeting. It is in the spirit of keeping our club meeting space that we establish this rule: when you take a tool off the rack, put it back. If everyone puts their tools back immediately after using them, there will be minimal mess to clean up, and we won't get kicked out of the spot. So, if you like having a meeting place, and being part of our club, put your tools back.

Please remember to clean up at the Robotics Club when you are done!

400

Yellowstone National Park is mainly located in Wyoming, although three percent is located in the state of Montana. The Continental Divide of North America runs diagonally through the southwestern part of the park. The park sits on the Yellowstone Plateau, which is an average elevation of 8,000 feet above sea level. This plateau is bounded on nearly all sides by mountain ranges. There are 290 waterfalls that are at least fifteen feet in the park, the highest being the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River, which falls 308 feet.

The location and features of Yellowstone National Park

400

For most of human history, people thought that the Earth was the center of the Universe. But Nicolaus Copernicus changed this when he theorized that sun was the center of the universe. Interestingly, Copernicus had most of this figured out some time around 1514. His work was not described in written text until 1532. Yet, publication of this text was not completed until 1543 as he lay dying. Some scholars believe that Copernicus delayed publishing this work because it went against the Catholic Church's view that the Earth was at the center of the Universe.

Copernicus discovered that the sun was the center of the universe.

500

Automation is the use of machines to reduce the need for human labor. In other words automation is when jobs done by people become jobs done by robots. Automation can be a good thing. Clothing, cars, and other manufactured products are available at good prices and in large supply because of automation. But automation can also be a bad thing. Because of automation there are over 700,000 robots in America that do jobs once performed by humans. The way of automation may not be best for humanity, but it is the course we are taking.

We are headed toward using automation, even though it takes away many jobs that were previously done by humans.

500

There are many types of deadly venom in the animal kingdom, but perhaps no stranger carrier than the platypus. The platypus is one of few venomous mammals. Male platypus carry a venom mixture in their ankles. This venom incapacitates victims with excruciating pain. Stranger still, the platypus is the only mammal that uses electroreception. That means that the platypus uses its bill to sense the electricity produced by the muscular movements of its prey. Electroreception is a sixth sense, different from seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, or feeling. Perhaps most odd, the platypus is the only mammal that lays eggs rather than giving birth to live young. What an odd creature indeed.

The platypus is an odd creature.

500

My grandma may not look very strong, but with the help of hydraulic power, she can stop a car with her foot. How does hydraulic power work? First, fluid is rapidly released into a chamber through a valve. As the fluid collects, the valve is slammed shut. This causes a pressure spike, but since the chamber is sealed, the pressure has nowhere to go. The hydraulic mechanism channels the pressure and provides great power. And that's how, with the help of hydraulics, my grandma can stop a speeding car with one foot.

How hydraulic power works

500

What do you get when you cross a robot and an astronaut? A Robonaut! Robonauts are robot helpers designed to work side-by-side with astronauts. Work on the first Robonaut began in 1997, and by 2002 Robonaut B was revealed to the public. Robonaut B featured interchangeable lower bodies, like four-wheel mode or hydraulic legs. Yet scientists and engineers continued to improve Robonaut. In February of 2010, Robonaut 2 was released to the public. Robonaut 2 moved four times faster than the first Robonaut. An advanced version of Robonaut 2 was finally tested in outer space in 2011. Robonaut 2 functioned exactly as designed.

A Robonaut was invented, which combined a robot and an astronaut, and the invention is improving over time.

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