How does my arm know how hard to throw the ball?

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Throwing and catching are skills that many of us learn when we are children. They are tricky skills to learn and getting them right takes lots of practise but once we’ve got the hang of them, we can use them for playing games and sports and for passing things to people who are not standing near to us.

My friend’s daughter wants to know what happens inside her body when she throws a ball. How does her body know what to do and how hard to throw the ball?

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Why can’t I stop sucking my thumb?

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Thumb-sucking is something my 8-year-old does. She has sucked her thumb (usually the one on her right hand) since she was a few weeks old. She says it helps her to get to sleep and she most often sucks her thumb when she is feeling tired.

Thumb-sucking has become a habit for my daughter, which means that it’s something she does regularly. But often, she doesn’t even notice she’s doing it! And the dentist has said she must try to stop sucking her thumb because otherwise she’ll get wonky teeth.

But breaking a habit is hard – especially when it’s something you’ve done nearly every day of your whole life!

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Why do dogs pant?

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The dog in this photo is Teddy. He lives with my parents. Teddy is a kind of dog called a Bichon Frise (pronounced: bee-shawn-free-say). He’s small with curly white fur and a loud bark!

Teddy likes to run around, chasing a ball or playing with his favourite toy. He also likes to chase away any birds that land in my parents’ garden. And when he’s finished chasing the birds, he sits down for a good pant.

Panting is a kind of quick breathing. But why does Teddy pant? What is panting for? Let’s find out…

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Who or what made the Earth?

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Earth, the planet we live on, is about 4.5 billion years old. At least, scientists think that’s how old it is because of some really, really ancient rocks in Australia that come from about that long ago.

Since there was no-one around 4.5 billion years ago, we don’t know for sure how the Earth and the other planets in our solar system were made. But scientists who study stars and planets millions of miles away in Space have been able to do experiments to learn about how other galaxies (enormous collections of stars and planets) are formed. And they think this must be how our planet was made, too.

So let’s find out more about how the Earth got started…!

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Why do we have hairy arms?

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Hair is a normal and natural part of the human body. Many people have hair on their heads and it could be yellow (blonde), red/orange, brown, black or grey/white in colour. And you may choose to wear your head hair long or short or style it in different ways.

But have you thought about the hair on other parts of your body? Like your eyebrows or nose hairs or toe hairs? My friend’s daughter has and she wants to know why do people have hairy arms and why are grown-ups hairier than children? So let’s find out…

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Is it black inside a black hole?

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Black holes are strange things in Space that scientists are still trying to understand. They were first thought of by Albert Einstein, a very famous scientist who did lots of thinking about maths and physics. Einstein’s ideas about how Space and time worked made him think that there might be ‘black holes’ in Space. But black holes weren’t actually discovered to be real until 55 years after Einstein first had the idea of them!

So what are they? Well, black holes are sort of made from old stars. So, we should start by thinking about what stars are made of, then figure out how they can turn into black holes. And then we can figure out why they are called black holes and whether they are actually black!

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