Academic journal article Science and Children

This Month's Task: Pennies from Heaven

Academic journal article Science and Children

This Month's Task: Pennies from Heaven

Article excerpt

Hold a penny about six inches above your head and then drop it on your head (get a friend to do this if your coordination isn't great). Double that distance and drop the penny again. Triple the distance and drop it again. It's starting to hurt, isn't it? Now answer the following classic science question: If someone dropped a penny from the top of the Empire State Building and it hit an innocent pedestrian below, would that penny seriously hurt, or even kill, the pedestrian? In other words, should you always cover yourself with an umbrella when walking near a skyscraper? Find out next month--or go to the digital version of S&C to see the answer now.

Disappearing Halves

Last month, I had you try to read a phrase with the top half of the phrase covered and then with the bottom half of the phrase covered. No doubt you found it much easier to read the phrase with the bottom half covered. Here's why. From birth, humans recognize various objects around them by certain characteristics of the objects. Most faces have two eyes, a nose, a mouth, and ears, all in a predictable location. It takes a while for babies to figure out these regular patterns and make distinctions between, say, different faces. I have a goatee, and many times strange babies will light up upon seeing me. The mom usually explains that the dad has a similar beard, which means the baby has associated a beard with his or her dad but hasn't fully picked up on other subtleties in facial recognition. …

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