Stump Your Parents With These (Easy) Science Questions

By Meera Dolasia on January 21, 2012

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Though parents always appear to be on top of things and have an answer for every question you may have, turns out that this is often times a facade. A recent survey of 2,000 parents in Britain revealed that they often dread science related questions posed to them by their curious children only because, they have no clue what the answer is.

Here, is a list of the ones they dread the most . Quiz your parents and see it they can answer these obvious, yet to not so simple, questions.

Q. Why is the sky blue?

A. The blue color of the sky can be attributed to a phenomenon dubbed Rayleigh scattering. As you probably know white sunlight is made up of seven colors, all with their own frequencies, wavelengths and energies. While it moves in a straight line when going through space, it starts to split up as it hits 'bumps' in the atmosphere. The ones with the longest wavelengths and hence the lowest frequency and energy - the red, orange, yellow and green pass through unaffected. The blue however, has a shorter wavelength that gets absorbed by the gas molecules, which in turn scatters it in different directions - so that when you look up at the sky, it appears to be blue.

Q. Why is water wet?

According to experts, wetness is just a feeling - Something we use to describe a liquid that largely runs off our hands, but leaves some behind so we can experience the 'wetness'. This explains why not all liquids feel 'wet' - Liquids like mercury simply roll off the palm, while others like honey feel sticky.

Q. Why does the moon sometimes appear during the daytime?

A. The simple answer to that is because just like any other object it is being lit by the sun. As long as it is around 45 degrees or even 90 degrees off the sun, it will receive light and be visible. The only time it is not visible during its 28 day orbit around the earth, is when it is right between the earth and sun. That's because it's back, which is not lit by the sun, is facing us.

Q. How much does the earth weigh?

A. This is a little tricky to answer accurately since our planet cannot be picked up and placed on a scale. Therefore, the best scientists can do, is guesstimate the weight by estimating the weight of each of its parts - the crust, mantle and core. While the final number varies slightly, most agree that it is somewhere around 6 sextillion tons (600,000,000,000,000,000,000), or the weight of about 570,000,000,000,000 adult Indian elephants. What's more interesting is the fact that just like us humans, scientists believe that earth too gains weight every year - Increasing by almost 100,000 pounds thanks to the dust and meteoric material from the sky, salt from ocean spray and residue from burning fuel.

Q. How do airplanes stay in the air?

A. Airplanes need four forces to work together in order to stay in the sky - lift, weight, thrust and drag. Lift is created by the way the air moves around the plane and the shape of its wings. Weight is what pulls the airplane toward earth. Airplanes are designed in a way that their weight is spread evenly from front to back - This, keeps them balanced, so they fly parallel to the surface, not tipped over. Thrust, the force that allows the airplane to move, is provided by the airplane's engine. And finally, drag is what slows it down - similar to how you feel when walking against a strong wind. All forces (and a good pilot) have to be in sync for an airplane to take flight.

Q. Where do birds /honeybees go in winter?

While the bird part is fairly easy, since a lot of them stick together and migrate, the honeybee part is likely to stump your parents. Turns out that these busy insects stop being that active once the temperature drops below 50° F - Instead, they gather in the lower central area of the hive and form a ball or cluster around their queen. This helps keep both warm enough to survive the cold winter months.

Q. What makes a rainbow?

Rainbows are formed when the white light from the sun encounters suspended raindrops in the atmosphere. This causes the white light to bend or refract. However, since the seven colors that comprise it, have different wavelengths they split up and bend at different angles, creating the arc that we call a rainbow.

Q. Why are there 24 different times zones on earth?

Thanks to the Earth's rotation around it's own axis and around the sun, different parts of our planet are exposed to the sun at different times. If we only had one time zone, then 12 noon would be middle of the day in one country but the middle of the night in another. By having different time zones, we can ensure that the concept of 'day' and 'night' is similar in every country.

Did any of these questions stump your parents? Be sure to let us know by adding your comments below


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  • Savannah FlanaganSunday, January 29, 2012 at 11:41 am
    This stumped my Sixth Grade Science teacher. Hahaha it was so funny!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    • turtle loverSunday, January 29, 2012 at 8:09 am
      my brother didnt get stumped he answered all the questions perfectly hes a genius i think
      • ashvenySunday, January 29, 2012 at 6:19 am
        • nathaSunday, January 29, 2012 at 2:17 am
          I love this science news articles
          • born2game
            born2gameSaturday, January 28, 2012 at 5:59 pm
            parents went cookoo
            • Mrs. RadcliffeSaturday, January 28, 2012 at 5:07 pm
              Some of these questions are hard, though!
              • bananaSaturday, January 28, 2012 at 4:47 pm
                this really dd stump my parents
                • Spung.Bob.LoverSaturday, January 28, 2012 at 4:31 pm
                  they stumped my friend........ but not my parents! :)
                  • NauticaSaturday, January 28, 2012 at 4:01 pm
                    These questions were awesome! I loved them. Would you mind writing some more? Thank you! By the way everyone I asked got stumped.
                    • lalalaSaturday, January 28, 2012 at 10:15 am
                      My mom was really stumped.

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