The Big Island
Have you heard of the big island? Most people would probably think of the island of Hawaii. Many scientists believe that the earth is made up of many huge islands, much bigger than Hawaii, floating in a sea of lava buried many miles below the land and the ocean floor.
Most of the land in these islands is buried underneath the ocean, but the part of land that is above the water looks a lot like a gigantic jigsaw puzzle. Scientists think at one time this “puzzle” was connected to form one enormous island. This big island is what was known as the ancient world, Pangaea. Over time, scientists say, the islands that once formed Pangaea turned and moved thousands of miles.
If you made a copy of a map of the world and cut out the continents, you could almost piece them together to form the original island. Or you can find a picture of the earth in a magazine and then cut it into puzzle pieces.
How long does it take you to put it back together again? How long does it take your friends to do that? Can you name all of the continents that the “big island” eventually turned into?
If you want to see what Pangaea looked like before it split apart, you can look it up in an encyclopedia or on the Internet by typing in the words “continental drift” or “Pangaea.”
Knowing that the world is ever-changing, you could also draw a picture of what you think the world will look like in a few years from now or far into the future. Do you think it will end up as one big island again?
Holding It Together
As the islands or plates of the earth grow and move, the land is forever being forced apart. You can try holding it together the next time you and a few of your friends are in the pool. All you need are enough rafts so each of you has one. The idea of the game is to bring all of your rafts together to form one big island.
Who am I?
Compared to other dinosaurs, I had a fairly large brain. I was a fast runner and I was a “true” mother to my babies when they hatched from their eggs (I took care of my babies). I was a smart hunter who liked to eat meat. Who am I?
Part of the group should hold the rafts together while each person, one by one, climbs up and kneels on the island. Eventually, you should all be up on your knees holding hands and should be able to keep your rafts in the same area. If you don't get them all together at once, you're sure to have a good time trying. If you're determined to win, you might ask an adult to help steady all of the rafts until all of you are kneeling together on your island.
A Whole Lot of Moving, Shaking, and Bubbling
At the time of the dinosaurs, Earth was a fairly violent place full of volcanoes, earthquakes, and changes.
The dinosaurs had to find their way around the erupting volcanoes, through the bodies of water, and past the cracking and rising land. They were constantly on the move to find food, water, and shelter. Many scientists wonder whether the dinosaurs were migrating as so many other animals do when the seasons change, or whether they just kept moving around to find new food.
When the earth starts to move, everything turns upside down. For fun, try this shake, which turns average ice cream into a sensation. With a parent's help, combine 2 cups of ice cream and ½ cup of milk in a blender. Put the lid on the container and then blend the ice cream and milk. When your shake is smooth, stir in a few crumbled cookies, chunks of a candy bar, some chocolate chips, or all three!
A Tasty Volcano
Although the earth still has places that bubble and crack, they are fewer and farther in-between. If you want to see how the earth may have looked a million years ago, you can make this Volcanic Earth Cake. Here's how:
Ask an adult to help you bake your cake. You will first need to grease a 9” × 13” cake pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, stir together 2 cups of flour, 3 tablespoons of cocoa, 4 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1½ cups of sugar.
Then add 5 tablespoons of softened butter, 1½ cups milk, and 2½ teaspoons of vanilla. Stir everything together.
Pour the batter into your greased cake pan.
Have the adult heat 2 cups of water in a pan on the stove. Add ½ cup of cocoa mixed with 2 cups of sugar to the water and stir until it is mixed well.
Pour this chocolaty liquid over the batter already in the pan and ask the adult to put it in the oven to bake for 40 minutes.
When the time is up, ask the adult to remove the cake from the oven. Then you'll need to wait a little longer to let it cool.
Here's a fizzy drink you can make that looks like a volcano that's erupting. Get a tall glass, and spoon in a couple of scoops of chocolate ice cream to make a mountain. Then scoop out a place in the top, for the hole in your volcano. To make your volcano erupt, pour in a little strawberry soda.
If you want to have red lava on your cake, you can top it with canned cherry or strawberry pie filling after it cools. When it's ready, call your friends over and dig in!