Why don’t you get upside-down in a mirror?

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Have you ever held up a shiny metal spoon in front of your face to see your reflection? And have you noticed that your reflection changes if you switch from looking at one side of the spoon to the other? Your face will be the right way up when you look at the back of the spoon but upside-down when you look at the bowl of the spoon.

The other morning, my elder daughter was studying her face in a spoon instead of using it to eat her breakfast. She noticed the change in her reflection when turning the spoon around and it got her thinking: Why am I upside-down on one side of the spoon? Why does a spoon work like a mirror? And why don’t I ever look upside-down in a mirror?

The answer to all these questions is physics, so let’s find out more…!

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Will we ever be able to time-travel?

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Time is something we all use throughout our lives, although many of us probably don’t think about how it work – we just get on with it!

Us humans divide time up into small chunks, like hours and minutes and seconds; or into bigger chunks, like days, weeks, months and years. And we measure time by looking at clocks or watches or calendars.

Animals and plants and other creatures also measure time but they don’t use clocks – they rely on the amount of light to tell if it’s day or night, and they sense more gradual changes in the seasons.

Time-travel, or the ability to move backwards or forwards through time, is an idea that pops up in stories and films. But could it actually happen?

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Where is the edge of the world?

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My 3-year-old has been wondering where the cliff is – the one at the edge of the world. And she wants to know, if someone fell off it would they go floating out into Space…?

She’s not the first person to ask this question. People throughout history have wondered where the edge of the world might be and what would happen if you went there. Lots of explorers and scientists set out to measure the size and shape of the Earth and watched the stars and the Moon, and here’s what they discovered about the planet we call home…

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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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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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Is Pluto a real planet?

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Pluto is a rocky, icy ball-shaped object far, far away in Space – sometimes as many as 4.7 billion miles from Earth! It’s smaller than Earth’s Moon and so far away that we didn’t know it was there until 1930.

When I was a little girl, people thought Pluto was a planet, like Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune – the other planets in our Solar System. But when scientists studied Pluto to learn more about it, they realised it isn’t quite like the other planets.

So let’s find out more about Pluto and whether it is a real planet or not…

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Why do birds look fat when it’s cold?

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It’s Winter time here in the UK and the temperature outside has been close to freezing for several days. We’ve had a flurry of snow, a little ice and plenty of frosty mornings. Sometimes, the water in the bird bath is frozen, so I melt it with warm water from the tap and leave out some bread and fruit for the birds to eat if they visit our garden.

My 7-year-old has noticed the birds plumping themselves up as they sit in the bushes and hop around the bird-table. “Why do they make themselves look fat?” she wondered. Let’s find out…!

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