20 Fascinating Facts About Sharks
Sharks are intelligent, fascinating creatures – and they’re also quite diverse. In fact, there over 400 species of sharks, ranging from tiny ones that can fit into a fishtank, to incredibly large sharks that survive on fish eggs. In honor of Shark Week, we’ve compiled some interesting facts about these fascinating creatures. Keep reading to learn more!
20 Fascinating Facts About Sharks
1. Not all sharks are dangerous! In fact, only 25 out of all 368 species of sharks are interested in humans.
2. You’re more likely to be hit by an asteroid than die from a shark attack.
3. Sharks do not have a single bone in their bodies! Their skeleton is made up of cartilage, which is the exact same thing your ears are made of.
4. Sharks predate the dinosaurs by 200 million years.
5. The extinct C. megalodon is thought to have been up to 67 feet long, making it the largest known species of shark.
6. Thanks to its streamlined shape and powerful tails, the great white shark can swim at speeds up to 30 miles (60km) per hour!
7. The exterior of shark teeth contains fluoride – kind of like built-in toothpaste!
8. The foot of a duck-billed dinosaur was found with a shark tooth inside it. That’s one brave shark!
9. Great white sharks off the coast of Seal Island, Africa are known to jump 10 feet to catch seals!
10. During the Middle Ages, fossilized Megalodon teeth were thought to be the petrified tongues of dragons!
11. You’re probably bigger than most sharks! 50% are less than 3 feet long, and 30% are between three to six feet long.
12. Great white sharks eat 11 tons of food each year. That’s a whopping 22,000 pounds of food!
13. Baby sharks are called “pups”.
14. Unlike many animals, shark pups leave their mother and swim off to fend for themselves almost immediately after birth.
15. Unlike most animals, both the shark’s top and and bottom jaw can move separately.
16. Surprisingly, sharks lose their teeth pretty easily. Thankfully, they can also regrow them! In fact, some sharks will have over 50,000 teeth during their lifetime.
17. While both the whale shark and the basking shark are the two largest sharks in the ocean, both feed off of plankton and fish eggs.
18. Studies have shown that sharks are quite smart. In fact, they’re capable of mapping trips spanning thousands of miles!
19. The spined pygmy shark is thought to be the smallest shark, typically measuring a mere 7 or 8 inches in length.
20. Sharks are important to the ocean’s ecosystem! Unfortunately, the shark population is rapidly diminishing due to a practice called “shark finning”. In fact, 74 species are currently listed as threatened, and 11 species are critically endangered.
Discover even more fun facts about sharks and learn what you can do to help save them by checking out these fun Shark Week activities on Wizard school!
Still need the wizard school app? Click here to get it for FREE on iTunes!
25 Fascinating Facts About Africa
From Angola to Zimbabwe, Africa is an incredibly diverse continent that is comprised of many different countries, cultures and landscapes. Interested in learning more about this beautiful continent? Check out these absolutely fascinating kid-friendly facts about Africa!
1. Africa is the world’s oldest populated area. Archaeologists have found evidence that the human species has lived on the content for roughly 7 million years!
2. The continent of Africa is comprised of 54 countries and one territory.
3. There are eight major geographical regions in Africa, each with its own unique landscape: the Sahara Desert, the savanna, the Sahel, the African Great Lakes, the Swahili Coast, South Africa and the rain forest.
4. The Sahara is the largest desert in the world. In fact, it’s bigger than the United States!
5. The African savanna is a tropical grassland that is quite large in size, covering roughly half of the continent. This area includes the Serengeti, which is famous for its wildlife.
6. The Sahel is a strip of dry land stretching across Northern Africa from the Atlantic Ocean to The Red Sea.
7. Lake Victoria – one of Africa’s Great Lakes – is 26,560 square miles in size, making it the second largest fresh water lake in the world.
8. The Swahili Coast is an 1,800-mile stretch of Kenyan and Tanzanian coastline. Since the 2nd century A.D., it has been the site of cultural and commercial exchanges between East Africa and the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.
9. Although South Africa takes up only 1% of Earth’s land surface, it is home to 6% of the world’s mammals and reptiles.
10. While Africa’s rainforests are home to half of the continent’s animal species, they’ve come under serious threat. Unfortunately, roughly 90% of West Africa’s rainforests have already been wiped out.
11. Africa is home to the largest-remaining populations of lions, elephants, rhinoceros, cheetahs, hyenas and leopards.
12. The Nile River is the longest river in the world, spanning a whopping 4,135 miles (6,650 kilometers).
13. Lagos, Nigeria is the largest city on the African continent with over 13 million residents. That’s over 1.5x larger than the population of New York City!
14. Before it was colonized, Africa was made up of around 10,000 different states and groups. Each had their own distinct languages and customs!
15. Egypt receives only around one inch of rain every year. Thankfully, heavy rain in Ethiopia causes the Nile River to flood every summer, bringing much needed water to Egypt’s plants and crops.
16. There are an estimated 1,500 – 2,000 languages spoken on the continent of Africa! More than 500 languages are spoken in Nigeria alone, and the country of South Africa has 11 official languages.
17. Despite being the second-largest continent in the world, Africa has the shortest coastline! This is due to the many bays that extend out of the coastline.
18. While Europe and Africa may seem far apart, they’re actually separated by less than 9 miles of water at the Strait of Gibraltar, which separates Spain from Morocco.
19. University of Timbuktu (located in the Republic of Mali) is one of the oldest universities in the world. By the 12th century, the school was attracting thousands of students from all over the continent.
20. Ethiopia is the only African country with its own alphabet, called Ge’ez. It has been in use since the 5th century, making it one of the world’s oldest alphabets still in use.
21. While Egypt is known for its pyramids, Sudan actually has more. To date, more than 200 pyramids have been discovered in Sudan!
22. French is the fastest growing language in Africa. In fact, the continent is home to 50% of the world’s French-speaking population!
23. Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is the highest mountain in Africa, rising 19,341 feet above sea level. That’s roughly 3.6 miles high!
24. There’s a small country called Lesotho located within South Africa’s borders! It is home to just over 2 million people.
25. The baobab tree is common in many parts of Africa. Known as “the tree of life”, some baobabs are estimated to be over 1,000 years old. One boabab in South Africa has grown so large, it has a circumference of 155 feet!
Ready to discover even more fun facts about Africa? Check out these fun Africa Week activities on Wizard school!
Still need the wizard school app? Click here to get it for FREE on iTunes!
Featured Image: Flickr – David Schenfeld
25 Crazy Animal Facts For Kids (Plus GIFs!)
Are you passionate about animals? Get ready to roar with excitement – it’s Animal Kingdom Week Wizard School (formerly WonderBox). We’ll be learning more about all different types of animals this week. We’d be lion if we said we weren’t excited!
Here are 25 crazy animal facts to get you started:
1. Pandas eat roughly 28 pounds of bamboo each day. In fact, they spend around 12 hours of their day eating!
2. Sloths spend up to 20 hours each day sleeping!
3. Bald eagles aren’t actually bald! The word comes from the old English word “balde”, meaning white.
4. When they lay out in the sun, hippos secrete a red, oily substance that acts as both a skin moisturizer and sunblock.
5. Cheetahs can run at speeds up to 70 mph, making them the fastest mammals on land.
6. Cats are able to jump up to 5x their own height.
7. The average orca whale eats about 500 pounds of food every day. They can swallow an entire sea lion whole, without chewing!
8. The Arabian camel stores up to 80 lbs of fat in its hump. This helps them survive on long journeys through the desert, as the fat can be broken down into water and energy.
9. A group of flamingos is called a “flamboyance.” They are certainly flamboyant!
10. The regal horned lizard defends itself by squirting blood out of its eyes. It can hit predators up to three feet away!
11. Meerkats live in underground tunnels in groups of anywhere from 20 – 50 family members.
12. Baby kangaroos are called “joeys” and are roughly the size of a grape at birth!
13. Male penguins will stand without eating for up to two months in the cold while the female searches for food.
14. Dog’s nose prints are as unique as a human fingerprint.
15. Thanks to its long, powerful legs, the ostrich can cover between 10 to 16 feet in a single stride!
16. A falling cat uses her tail to right herself mid-air, allowing her to land purrrfectly on her feet.
17. Emotionally, elephants are very much like humans! They form bonds, show compassion by caring for wounded animals, they hold grudges and are even able to recognize long-lost friends.
18. Koalas “bears” are actually marsupials. In fact, they are more closely related to kangaroos than bears!
19. Aardvarks love to eat ants and termites. They can dig up to two feet in 15 seconds to access these tasty treats!
20. The average giraffe consumes up to 100 pounds of leaves and twigs every single day.
21. A grizzly bear’s claws are roughly the size of human fingers. All the better to wave with!
22. A zebra’s stripes are as unique as human fingerprints. Every zebra is unique!
23. The bald eagle’s sight is so good, it can spot prey up to 1.5 miles away!
24. A cat’s sense of smell is 14x more powerful than a human’s. Phew!
25. The blue whale is thought to be the largest animal to have ever lived, growing as much as 100 ft long. Its tongue alone can weigh as much as an adult elephant!
Ready to learn more fun facts about about wild animals? Check out these activities under the “Animals” category on the WonderBox app:
- Talking Koala
- Animal Babies
- Make a Giraffe Talk
- Build a Reptile
- Create a Lion
…along with many more fun animal-themed lessons and challenges!
To access the “Animals” category:
Open the Wizard School app > Click on the “Challenges” tab > Swipe right to the “Animals” tab
Still need the Wizard School app? Click here to get it for free on iTunes!
20 Fun Facts About Dogs (GIFs)
Happy National Puppy Day! In honor of this grrrreat holiday, check out these fun facts about dogs. Share your favorite fact with a friend!
1. If your dog is wet, it’s not sweat! All of a dog’s sweat glands are located between the pads of their paws.
2. Dogs get jealous, too! Research has shown that dogs become agitated when their owner shows affection for another animal — even stuffed animals!
3. Scientists estimate that a dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 – 100,000 times stronger than ours. Woof!
4. Feeling stressed out? Spend some time with your dog! Researchers say that petting a fluffy friend can lower your blood pressure and helps release hormones that fight stress.
5. Strange, but true: scientists have found that dogs try to poop in alignment with the Earth’s magnetic field.
6. According to the AKC, the Labrador Retriever has been the #1 most popular dog in America for 25 years straight.
7. The U.S. has the highest dog population in the world, with 75.8 million canine residents. That’s roughly one dog for every 4.2 residents!
8. The world’s smartest dogs is thought to be the border collie. One thing’s for certain – they’re great at herding sheep!
9. In their first few weeks of life, puppies spend roughly 90% of the day sleeping. Zzzzz…
10. There are all types of service dogs! Some are trained to detect changes in the human body, like those that can alert a diabetic to changes in their blood sugar level.
11. Dogs are born deaf, but once they’re fully grown, they can hear much better than we can. They can even pick up sounds at 4x higher frequency than humans.
12. Dogs have 18 muscles in their ears, allowing them to tilt, raise and rotate in all directions.
13. The oldest living dog on record was a Australian Cattle Dog named Bluey, who lived to be a whopping 29 1/2 years old. In case you’re wondering, that’s 206 “dog years”.
14. When dogs pant, they’re not out of breath — they’re trying to cool themselves off!
15. When a dog kicks after going to the bathroom, they’re using the scent glands on their paws to mark their territory.
16. Evidence shows that canines began living alongside humans almost 12,000 years ago. Researchers believe they were self-domesticated wolves that were attracted to the first sites of permanent human habitation.
17. The first living being in space was a stray dog from Russia named Laika, who went into orbit in 1957.
18. The smallest living dog is a Chihuahua named Milly, who is a mere 3.8 in (9.65 cm) tall.
19. Dog’s nose prints are as unique as a human fingerprint.
20. Every dog on earth is thought to have descended the Tomarctus — a creature that roamed the earth over 15 million years ago.
Ready to learn more fun facts about about dogs? Check out “Make a Dog Talk” in the Featured tab under “Challenges” on the WonderBox app to learn more about our canine friends. Then, using WonderBox’s design tools, share what you’ve learned by creating your very own talking dog video!
Still need the WonderBox app? Click here to get it for free on iTunes!
20 Fun And Fascinating Educational GIFs For Kids
Who says GIFs can’t be educational? We’ve compiled 20 fun and fascinating educational GIFs, all of which are appropriate for kids. Get ready to learn something new!
1. The effect snake venom has on blood
This clip from The Nature of Science shows how venom from the brown snake causes human blood to clot until it becomes a jelly-like consistency.
2. White blood cells in action
An amazing look at white blood cells attacking a parasite.
3. How a lock works
4. The effect freezing temperatures has on boiling water
This amazing clip shows how boiling hot water can turn into “snow” when thrown into the air on a sub-zero day. Click here to learn more about the science behind this phenomenon. Note: Don’t try this at home!
5. Where Americans immigrated from
This fascinating animated map shows the top country of birth among U.S. immigrants for every state over the last 166 years.
6. The effect freezing temperatures have on the human body
This clip from BBC utilizes a thermal camera to show the effect freezing conditions has on your body. The man in the image is holding a snowball in his hand, and the green spots all over his skin are actually cold spots where snowflakes have landed on his body.
7. The evolution of the alphabet
This fascinating graphic shows how the alphabet has evolved since Phoenician times.
8. How dogs drink water
This amazing slow-motion clip shows how dogs cup their tongues to draw water into their mouths.
9. How cats drink water
Cats also use their tongues to cup water and draw it into their mouths. In addition, the microscopic ridges on their tongue also help grab water.
10. The evolution of the United States
This neat visual shows a brief overview of the history of the United States.
11. How cats land on their feet
This slow-motion clip from Smarter Everyday shows how cats use their tail to right themselves when falling, allowing them to flip mid-air and land on their feet.
12. Why your nose runs when it’s cold
Have you ever wondered why your nose tends to run when it’s cold outside? This image explains why!
13. What happens when a mosquito bites you
This is what’s happening under your skin when a mosquito bites you and drinks your blood. Eeek!
14. What happens when your eye moves
This slow motion clip shows what really happens when your eye moves!
15. The actual distance between the Earth and Moon
A more accurate depiction of how far the Moon is from the Earth.
16. How a hamster stores food
This cool x-ray video shows how hamsters are able to store so much food in their mouths.
17. How babies grow
This neat graphic shows how babies develop from fertilization to birth.
18. What happens when you swallow
This cool x-ray shows what happens when you swallow liquid.
19. How braces work
This time-lapse shows how braces work to shift teeth over time.
20. Red blood cells moving through the body
Have you ever wondered how fast your blood moves through your body? This clip depicts a red blood cell moving through the human body in real time!
Looking for fun, educational videos for kids? There are thousands of educational videos and lessons on the free WonderBox app! All of the videos and lessons on WonderBox have been personally selected and screened by our team of K-8 teachers. Click here to download the free app!
Teachers: Interested in using WonderBox in your classroom?
Click here to request free access to the private beta version of WonderBox EDU.
10 Fun Facts About Snow
Have you ever looked closely at a snowflake stuck to a window and wondered how they get such a beautiful, interesting shape? Check out these 10 fun facts about snow!
1. Snowflakes are ice crystals
Snowflakes are ice crystals that fall to the earth after they have been supercooled in the atmosphere.
2. They’re not white
Snowflakes may look white, but they’re actually clear! Snow looks white because of the way the light reflects off of the ice crystals.
3. Several things impact a snowflake’s shape
A snowflake’s shape is affected by a variety of factors including air currents, humidity and temperature.
4. Regardless of size or shape, they all have two things in common
Almost all snowflakes have six sides and are symmetrical.
5. Snowflakes can actually be pretty big
Although most snowflakes are quite small, some snowflakes can actually be the size of a baseball!
6. …Really, REALLY big!
In 1887, a 15″ snowflake was observed in Fort Keogh, Montana. If the report is indeed true, it would be the world’s largest snowflake!
7. Snowflakes come in many shapes
While it’s thought (but not scientifically proven) that no two snowflakes are alike, all snowflakes fall in one of 39 different shapes! See them all here.
8. Snowmen can be pretty huge!
The world’s largest snowman was 122 ft. tall – and was actually a snow woman!
9. Snowflakes are made of many ice crystals
Each snowflake is made of as many as 200 ice crystals fused together.
10. Snowstorms can be pretty extreme
In March 2015, Capracotta, Italy received 8.4 feet of snow in an 18 hour period. That’s a lot of snow!
Learn more about snow by visiting the “Snowflake Maker” tab on the WonderBox app. After you’re done, use our built-in design tools to design your very own snowflake!
Need the WonderBox app? Download it for free on iTunes!
15 Fun Facts About Cats (GIFs)
Happy National Cat Day, Wizards! In honor of this meowwwvalous holiday, check out these fun facts about cats. Be sure to share your favorite fact with a friend!
1. A falling cat has the ability to flip herself mid-air so that she lands purrrfectly on her feet.
2. Cats typically have twelve whiskers on each side of their face.
3. Cats aren’t able to taste sweet things. They’re really missing out!
4. Most cats don’t have eyelashes.
5. Cats have powerful night vision, allowing them to see at light levels that are six times lower than what humans need to see.
6. Cats sleep 12 – 16 hours each day. Sleepyheads!
7. Cats spend between 30% – 50% of their waking hours cleaning themselves.
8. Does your cat like to rub up against your legs? That’s her way of marking her territory!
9. “Bezoar” is the scientific term for a cat’s hairball.
10. Felines are able to jump up to 5x their own height.
11. Calico cats are almost always female.
12. A cat’s sense of smell is 14x more powerful than a human’s.
13. Napoleon, Julius Caesar, and Charles XI weren’t afraid of much, but they were afraid of cats!
14. Each cat’s nose pad is unique – kind of like a human’s fingerprints!
15. Sorry, Fido – you’re outnumbered! There are an estimated 88 million cats in the United States vs. 74 million dogs.
Ready to learn more fun facts about about cats? Check out “Make a Cat Talk” in the Featured tab under “Challenges” on the WonderBox app to learn more about our feline friends.
Then, using WonderBox’s design tools, share what you’ve learned by creating your very own talking cat like the one below!
Need the WonderBox app? Download it for free on iTunes right meow!
Fun Facts About Planet Earth
The Earth is unlike any planet ever discovered. Home to millions of species (including us!), the Earth remains a complex and fragile planet, unique in almost every way. Here are a few fun facts about planet Earth:
✧ The Earth is moving around the Sun at a velocity of 67,062 mph!
✧ The Sun’s gravity keeps the Earth from floating off into space.
✧ Glaciers occupy 10% of the world’s surface. This is roughly the size as South America!
✧ The Moon may look close, but it’s actually 238,855 miles away from planet Earth.
✧ 70% of our planet is covered in water. However, only 3% is fresh – the remaining 97% is salt water.
How old is the Earth? What does it look like at night from space? How big is Earth in comparison to other planets? Visit “Make Earth Talk” in the Featured tab under “Challenges” on the WonderBox app to learn more fun facts about planet Earth!
Fun Facts About Reptiles For Kids
Snakes, lizards and turtles, oh my! Reptiles have roamed the earth for 320 million years, and were the very first species with backbones to live on land. There are over 6,500 species of reptiles, and they can be found on every single continent on earth except Antarctica, where it’s too cold for them to survive.
Many reptiles live long lives. Alligators, for example, have been known to live up to 100 years in captivity. However, when it comes to life span, the tortoise takes the (birthday) cake with many living to be well over 100 years old. In fact, an Aldabra tortoise named Adwaita recently lived until the ripe old age of 255!
Ready to learn more fun facts about about snakes, turtles, alligators, lizards and other reptiles? Check out “Build a Reptile” in the Featured tab under “Challenges” on the WonderBox app to learn more about these scaly, slithery superstars.
Then, using WonderBox’s design tools, create your very own reptile like the ones below and share it with a friend!
Need the WonderBox app? Download it for free on iTunes!