Author Ellen Jackson

Spring

SIGNS OF SPRING

Is it spring yet? Look around. You might see icicles melting, birds building nests, or pollen floating on the surface of a pond. Windy days are common in the spring, and puffy clouds race across the sky.

If you live in the city, take a walk around the block. Willows, birches, and other trees put forth new buds in the spring. Look for signs of new growth in bushes and other plants. Can you spot a butterfly or hear a chattering squirrel? Some birds shed their feathers in the spring. Can you find one of these feathers?

Read the following nonsense poem. Can you name all the things that are backwards in this poem?

BACKWARDS SPRING by Ellen Jackson

Spring has sprung; the grass is red.
At dawn the roosters go to bed.
Roses are green and broccoli is blue.
Cows say, "Oink!" and pigs say, "Moo!"
The lemons are sweet; the honey is sour.
Time to plant weeds and pull every flower.
Sad people laugh and glad ones frown.
The rain falls up and the smoke comes down.
The ice is hot and fire is cold.
Grandpas are young and babies are old.
This backwards spring is not much funĖ
'Cause winter is coming when itís done!

SPRING FACTS

In the US, tiny tree frogs called spring peepers begin to chirp.

Pollen from ragweed and timothy grass cause people to sneeze.

In the Midwest, spring is a time for tornadoes.

Black bears and other animals end their winter hibernation.

The Kentucky Derby is held on the first Saturday in May.

If you live in Europe or the US, you can see the bright star Regulus in the south at night.

In the US, monarch butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed plants.

Hummingbirds court in the spring. Males swoop and dive to impress the females.

To find out more spring facts, read: THE SPRING EQUINOX, or IT HAPPENS IN THE MONTH OF...MARCH, APRIL, or MAY

PLANTS NEED SUNLIGHT

Green plants make food from sunlight. Chlorophyll is the name of the chemical that gives green plants their color. Energy from sunlight is captured by the chlorophyll and helps the plant manufacture food. The following experiment will show you what happens to green plants if they are deprived of sunlight.

SCIENCE EXPERIMENT

Take a small plate and ask permission to place it on some green grass. Leave it in the same place for several days. Then remove the plate. Has the grass changed color? (It will gradually turn yellowish white.) When the grass is almost white, remove the plate. Check back every few days. Now what is happening to the grass?

PUSSY WILLOWS

In many places, pussy willows are one of the first signs of spring.

You will need:

Two sheets of construction paper
Four brown pipe cleaners
Gray paint
Thirty cotton swabs
Scissors
Glue
Crayons or magic markers

1. Draw the outline of a wide lipped vase on one of the pieces of construction paper. Draw flowers on the vase with the crayons or magic markers. Cut out the vase and paste it on the other piece of construction paper.

2. Glue segments of pipe cleaner onto the construction paper. These are the stems of the pussy willows poking out of the top of the vase.

3. Cut off the cotton swabs and dip them in gray paint. Glue them on each side of the pipe cleaners.

SPRING SMOOTHIE

6 strawberries, washed and hulled
1 medium banana
4 ice cubes
1 cup strawberry yogurt
1/​2 cup milk
1/​2 cup apple juice

Blend everything together in blender until smooth. Pour mixture into paper cups. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for five hours. Serve. Makes 12.