Newspaper Sections

Special Series


About SSFP

Simpson Street Free Press

Joe McCarthy and the Red Scare: A First-amendment Case Study from History

by Sandy Flores-Ruiz, age 17

A recent column in The Capital Times reported that according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, only about 22% of American students are proficient in civics. One good way for students in our state to study civics is through an infamous episode from the 1950s when a journalist stood up to a powerful U.S. Senator from Wisconsin.

Joseph McCarthy, Edward R. Murrow, and the Red Scare is a first-amendment case study from history. All Wisconsin students should learn the lessons behind this case.

Joe McCarthy was one of the most controversial politicians in American history. He served as a Wisconsin Senator from when he was first elected in 1947, until his death in 1957. He is known for declaring that communist spies and sympathizers had penetrated the U.S. federal government. During the early 1950s, few people dared to speak out against McCarthy as his accusations and tactics were so intimidating. For those who did criticize McCarthy, the consequences were often dire. He would dramatically denounce them and accuse the person of being a communist, often without proof. Jobs were lost and reputations were ruined. [Read More]

New Research Leads to More Fentanyl Testing

by Camila Cruz, age 16

Fentanyl is the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 44. However, due to outdated drug testing standards in emergency rooms, fentanyl overdoses are often missed or mistreated.

A nationwide study done by Epic and the University of Maryland-College Park shows that only about five out of 100 emergency departments do a screening test for synthetic drugs like fentanyl.

Just two milligrams of fentanyl, or the equivalent of about 10-15 grains of salt, is enough to be fatal. [Read More]

Rare Black Bears from Mexico Move into South Texas

by, Aria McClinton age, 13

Scientists have found that East Mexican black bears are moving from Mexico to southern Texas. Although these creatures are at risk of extinction, there is hope because their numbers are increasing, leading to bears spreading into Texas.

The numbers of bears moving to southern Texas are unknown, but they are often found in forests around Texas and moving along the Rio Grande in Mexico. Black bears in Texas are on the endangered species list; in Mexico, they are listed as ‘in danger of extinction’. Fortunately, Mexican black bears can adapt to live in many different environments like forests or mountains. [Read More]

Can Ultrasound Waves Remove Microplastics from Water?

by Ayelen Flores Ruiz, age 13

Pollution has become a big problem in today’s economy. Microplastics are a type of pollution that is really small and barely visible yet they are found in our bodies, causing a lot of damage. Microplastics can contain toxic chemicals, viruses, and bacteria.

These plastic bits are an issue for humans and wildlife. These plastics are incredibly hard to see, even smaller than a sesame seed, and no more than five millimeters wide. The bits can be found in water, air, and foods leading to their accumulation in human bodies as resources are utilized. The materials within these bits can contain toxic chemicals. Additionally, both bacteria and viruses can attach themselves to the microplastic. Wildlife can also ingest plastic bits through drinking water from rivers or the ocean. [Read More]

Concerns Rise as K-12 Test Scores Hit Record Lows

by Jules Da Costa, age 15

K-12 scores fell lower than ever in 2022 according to studies from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

The decline in test scores had many causes, but one of the main ones was parental ignorance. Many parents didn’t know how far their child had fallen behind and therefore couldn’t do anything to help. Parents also blamed schools for not informing them of their child’s shortcomings or learning gaps. Studies also found that students who spent more time learning online fell behind further.

COVID-19 left millions of students working and learning from home. When the schools switched to online learning, students who had access to quieter spaces, tutors, and computers were far more likely to excel. Meanwhile, students who lacked resources fell further behind. For these reasons, between 2019 and 2021 math scores dropped by the largest percentages in NAEP’s history. [Read More]

The Asiatic Lion Is One of Earth’s Rarest Big Cat Species

by Mahalia Pearson, age 13

When people envision lions, they typically think they are from Africa, but lions can be found in different geographical areas around the world such as India, one example being the Asiatic lion. The Asiatic lion is one of the rarest types of cat species. Not only is it called an Asiatic lion, but it is also referred to as the Persian lion.

The coat of this carnivore consists of many colors such as black, dark brown, sandy, and gray. The Asiatic lion is smaller than the well-known African lion and has a short, sparse, and dark mane that makes its ears more visible compared to the African lion. Another distinction is that the Asiatic lion has a longitudinal fold of skin that goes along its belly.

The Asiatic lion lived in habitats ranging from Turkey and across Asia to Eastern India. Unfortunately, this creature has been hunted down to the point of near extinction. Currently, these lions are prone to diseases, disaster, and potential poaching. They also have to deal with the consequences of a growing population of humans and cattle. With larger human populations that demand more land for agriculture and settlement, the habitats of these lions are slowly disappearing. [Read More]

Volcanic Eruptions Cause Birth of a New Island in the Pacific Ocean

by Kaleab Afeworki, age 11

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano had one of the most powerful underwater explosions and still holds unbreakable records. This volcano has erupted several times in the last decade and scientists continue to study its activity.

It erupted in 2014 near the South Pacific Island Kingdom of Tonga. The cause of the eruption was due to a submarine volcano, an underwater vent where magma erupts and explodes. It left vast amounts of ash, rock, and mist in the air, settling into a tiny island with a 400-foot summit.

The volcano remained active until its recent eruption in 2022, which produced a tsunami so great that it touched the coasts of Japan and South America. This eruption was so intense that it injected water vapor that managed to touch space – a feat that has never been observed with any other volcanoes on Earth. Additionally, the event created the greatest concentration of lightning and energy strong enough to damage undersea fiber optic communication cables. [Read More]

Revolutionizing Space Communication Through Lasers

by Allison Torres, age 15

Lasers represent the future of communication. Currently, the International Space Station relies on 5G and broadband internet for its Earth communication. However, this mode of communication involves a delay of approximately 2.5 seconds for information transmission.

Unlike radio waves, lasers constitute invisible light with greater robustness. Their wavelengths are also 10,000 times shorter than those of radio waves. Consequently, lasers require a mere 0.0003 megabits per second to traverse from one point to another. Introducing lasers into the orbit within our solar system stands to significantly enhance the speed of data transmission via satellites. [Read More]

The Greenland Shark's 400-Year Lifespan and Mysterious Existence

by Bruno Torres, age 7

Did you know that Greenland sharks can live for 400 years? That is more than the longest-living land animals. Along with their long lifespan, they are also known to be the biggest fish in the Arctic Ocean. The Greenland shark can live 7,200 feet underwater, where the temperature is between 28 to 44 degrees Fahrenheit.

Greenland sharks are tough to spot, but when they are seen, it is usually at the water's surface. This is because the shark spends most of its time in colder waters. These sharks are dark gray, brown, or black with long cylinder-shaped bodies and rounded snouts. They can grow to 23 feet long and weigh 1.5 tons. [Read More]

Astronomers Discover Two Orbiting Black Holes in Cosmic Light Show

by Allison Torres, age 14

Scientists have made a remarkable discovery - a previously hidden black hole has emerged from obscurity. This colossal black hole is accompanied by a smaller partner that had remained undetected until now. Astronomers have recently confirmed the emission of light from this smaller black hole. When these two black holes orbit each other, they generate bursts of light, known as a blazar, which emits intense radiation into space, specifically in the OJ287 region. [Read More]

Arizona’s Beautiful and Mysterious Apache Trail

by Mahalia Pearson, age 12

The Apache Trail was completed through the Superstition Mountains in 1911, but construction began in 1904. These two landmarks are located in Arizona. The roughly 40-mile trail was used for stagecoaches by the Mexican, Spanish, and American settlers. The settlers learned the trail from the Native Americans who resided in the area. The trail was named after the Apache Native Americans and other Native American tribes.

The Apache Trail, also known as Route 88, is hard to drive on due to the poor conditions of the road. While driving on the road, people experience deserts, sharp turns, and steep hills. Visitors should be cautious of possible landslides or cliffs that may make it easy for one to fall off. [Read More]

How the Green Bay Packers Became a Community-Owned NFL Legacy

by Kaleab Afeworki, age 11

You may have heard of the Green Bay Packers, but did you know that this successful NFL team once faced bankruptcy? It's true!

Back in the early days, Green Bay, the smallest city in Wisconsin to join the NFL, had a relatively small fan base and limited financial resources. This situation left the Packers in precarious financial shape during the 1920s. In 1935, they hit a critical point, ultimately going bankrupt. To navigate this financial crisis, they established a new company known as Green Bay Packers Inc. and raised $15,000 by selling stock shares of the team to the public. [Read More]

Rare Spoonbill Sighting in Green Bay Astonishes Birding Community

by Mariama Bah, age 16

A mysterious bird, described as a pink football on short stilts, was recently spotted alive in Green Bay for the first time. Its unexpected appearance generated excitement within the Wisconsin birding community, marking the return of a bird that had long been absent from the region.

One fateful morning, Logan Lasee, a Bay Area Bird Club member, was monitoring endangered piping plovers in the Cat Island restoration area when he noticed something pink that immediately caught his attention. [Read More]

World War Two Battalion Awarded Congressional Gold Medal

by Mahalia Pearson, age 12

During World War II, the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion employed people of African-American, Caribbean, and Mexican descent. The women who worked in the Postal Directory Department were grouped in the Women Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) and later were called the Women Army Corps (WAC) on July 1, 1943.

Unfortunately, in 1945, multiple warehouses in England had a large backlog of mail from soldiers that had not been distributed. Before it could be sent out, the mail would take six months to process first, and there were seven million soldiers and government workers waiting for their correspondence. This issue left soldiers upset since they were not receiving their mail. The 855 Black women from the WAC were granted the opportunity to go overseas, due to the support and pressure from different African American organizations. When arrived in Europe they started sending out mail. They worked seven days a week, circling through three eight-hour shifts per day. These women delivered more than 17 million letters in the last several months of the war. [Read More]

Research Team Breaks Data Transmission Record Using New Laser Technology

by Daniel Li, age 15

A team of Danish researchers and physicists recently discovered a way to transfer almost 1.84 petabits of data per second - which is equivalent to nearly 122 Netflix movies playing simultaneously - using only one small chip. In recent years, achieving this would have required more power and more chips, even though the previous record for the highest data transmission rate using one chip was only set in 2020.

The team used a relatively discovery as the basis for their development. In 2005, the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to a team of researchers who discovered a way to convert laser light into a special type of rainbow, called an optical frequency comb. To accomplish this, a laser is shined through a special chamber, which produces a rainbow with all of its colors spread out evenly. However, this process involved massive machines, larger than a standard refrigerator. Two years later, another team built on this discovery, and was able to achieve a similar effect, but with much smaller chips, dubbed “microcombs.” [Read More]

Lake Chad: A Vital Ecosystem and Historic Hub of Civilization

by Dayanis Torres-Cruz, age 13

Lake Chad is made up of 17,000 square kilometers of fresh water located at the midpoint of dunes that stretch across Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon. Lake Chad has a rich history, but scientists say that the lake's water level changes based on rain and dry seasons, and its habitat surroundings are changing.

The ecosystem in Lake Chad has a variety of open waters, some permanent and others temporary. These bodies of water contain helpful nutrients that sustain the biodiversity in the lake. Many animals, such as hippopotamuses, Nile crocodiles, tortoises, sea turtles, otters, a few native birds, migratory birds, and about 120 types of fish all call Lake Chad home. [Read More]

The Most Important and Most Common form of Writing: Expository Writing

by Yoanna Hoskins, age 17

Students are typically instructed to submit papers using one of the four major writing styles: expository, narrative, persuasive, or descriptive. Expository writing is one of the more commonly known forms of writing.

Expository writing focuses on explaining or exposing a topic; in other words, it is a piece of writing that is instructive. The goal of expository writing is to expound on an idea concisely and bias-free. This style is used throughout the world in a myriad of ways. It can be found in textbooks, directions, articles like this one, and other platforms of writing seen daily. When writing an expository piece, the author or publisher is not to state their own opinions on the topic. The piece should be neutral and inform a reader without attempting to persuade. [Read More]

Learn How to Help Wisconsin Pollinator Populations for a Blooming Ecosystem

by Camila Cruz, age 15

Many people undervalue our pollinators, but about 87% of flowering plants worldwide depend on them. Going into summer, it’s a good time to think about how to support them, from letting lawns grow to avoiding pesticides.

Pollinators are creatures that go from plant to plant to consume nectar and pollen. In doing this, they spread the pollen, helping plants reproduce. Pollen is necessary to fertilize plants. Some of the most popular pollinators in North America are hummingbirds, moths, flower flies, beetles, bees, butterflies, and, in the southwestern parts of the U.S. and Mexico, nectar-feeding bats. [Read More]

Follow a Simpson Street Road Trip to Wisconsin’s Driftless Area

by Samuel Garduño and Camila Cruz

A large group of student reporters from Simpson Street recently took a summer road trip to Wisconsin’s famous Driftless Area. This is an area of western Wisconsin that was never flattened or even touched by the glaciers. The region is hilly with lots of cold-water streams and beautiful scenery. For us, it was a one-day adventure meant to enhance our understanding of topics we already cover, such as pollinator species and birds of Wisconsin.

We started from our newsroom at South Towne Mall in Madison. In our caravan there were 12 students and four editors. [Read More]

The Sad Story of Japanese-American Internment During World War II

by Kelly Vazquez, age 18

Anti-Asian sentiments have been around for some time now, but with COVID-19, Asian hate has risen all across the globe. However, this is not the first time Asian groups have faced discrimination. A prime example is the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attacks in 1941, when the Japanese military attacked the US Naval base by surprise, killing 2,403 service members, seriously injuring 1,178 others, and destroying about 170 planes and multiple ships.

The response from President Franklin Roosevelt was Executive Order 9066, which established Japanese internment camps from 1942 to 1954 during World War II. This policy —now known as one of the worst American civil rights violations — stripped the civil rights of people of Japanese descent, including U.S. citizens, and forced them into isolated camps. [Read More]

Mysterious Ring Discovered in the Outer Solar System

by Jonah Smith, age 14

Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus, and Saturn all have one major thing in common: they all have rings. Some might not be as visible as Saturn’s rings, but they do exist. Even things like dwarf planets and asteroids have rings. These rings all are specifically distanced from the parent body. Quaoar, however, has rings that fall outside this domain. This makes Quaoar’s rings seemingly impossible.

Quaoar is a dwarf planet. Dwarf planets are planet-like bodies that do not fit all of the requirements to be deemed a planet. Quaoar itself is an icy body smaller than Pluto inside the Kuiper Belt at our solar system's edge. Due to it being so far away, it makes it difficult to research. [Read More]

Invasive Carp Enter Wisconsin River

by Sofia Zapata, age 13

An invasive carp species that originates from Europe and Asia has been affecting many rivers in the United States, including our own Wisconsin River. If scientists don't resolve this issue or find ways to control the populations, this could be very dangerous for the existing 98 different species that reside in the Wisconsin River.

For over 100 years, the Asian carp has invaded the United States. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says that the carp are traveling from Asia to the Mississippi River and followed by the Wisconsin River. This carp can be very dangerous for our rivers because they are really aggressive hunters, which initiates competition for other species. [Read More]

Bursting into Bloom: The Life Cycle of Flowers

by Abigail Gezae, age 11

There are many steps for a flower to blossom. A key factor to making plants grow is the resource of light. This is what makes flowers bloom and causes leaves on a tree to change.

Regardless of the type of plant, light and water are essential components for a plant to survive. In fact, some plants have adapted to be able to rotate or turn themselves to face the sun. If a plant is in the shade it will most likely die because there is no sun. [Read More]

The Last Voyage of the SS Phoenix

by Kelly Vazquez, age 17

On November 11th, 1847, the steamboat S.S. Phoenix, was sailing across Lake Michigan. It carried an estimated 293 passengers, many of whom were emigrants from the Netherlands. However, many of these passengers would never go on to see their destination.

Around 4:00 am on November 21st, smoke began to escape the ship's engine room as the boilers overheated and set overhead wooden beams on fire. When the crewmen discovered the fire, the Phoenix was within seven miles of the town of Sheboygan. [Read More]

Why do Covid-19 Patients Lose Their Sense of Smell?

by Camila Cruz, age 15

The loss of smell is one of the most common symptoms of COVID-19.

How the virus affects each person’s body determines how long their sense of smell is lost. In many cases, patients continue with their loss of smell even after the virus has left their body. Many patients have reported still experiencing their loss of smell, in some cases up to 16 months after they’ve recovered from COVID-19. [Read More]

Moths Are the Pollinators of the Night

by Melanie Bautista, age16

An accidental discovery by researchers at the University of Denmark found that moths pollinate a third of red clover flowers.

The head of the project, Jamie Alison researches insects that pollinate plants. Alison and his team of researchers were trying to study more about bees and how the red clover got pollinated. Instead, they found that moths play a huge part in the pollination process.

The research group set up 15 time-lapse cameras in the Swiss Alps, where red clovers are found. This made it easier for researchers to keep track of pollinators' visits. From June to August 2021 the cameras captured 36 red clover flowers. Nine of the cameras took images in the afternoon and again at night. The other six 6 cameras snapped photos every 5 minutes. [Read More]

New Test Results Show Significant Declines in Math and Reading

by Devika Pal, age 17

Virtual learning has led to some of the lowest math and reading scores among elementary and middle school students in more than 30 years, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Education. The study showed online learning exacerbated pre-pandemic difficulties for students who were already struggling. Learning losses also disproportionately affected lower-income and minority students.

Educators say this is especially alarming because reading and math are the foundation for all other subjects and predictors of high school success. After 30 years of increasing scores, they plunged. [Read More]

Growing Population of Invasive Moth Species in Wisconsin

by Desteny Alvarez, age 18

Recently, we have seen a rise in the number of spongy moths in Wisconsin. These moths cause skin rashes and are a danger to our environment.

According to Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), around 202,000 spongy moths, formerly known as gypsy moths, were trapped in the summer as part of a federal program. The average number in Wisconsin was 20.1 moths per trap. It was 9.3 moths in 2021. This increase was expected in Wisconsin’s central-eastern areas, smaller than expected in the southwest, as expected in west-central areas in the state, and even higher in northwest areas.

Spongy moths are an invasive species. Their caterpillars devourer leaves of trees and shrubs. If eaten by a large group of caterpillars, many trees lose their leaves and die. Caterpillar hairs also cause skin rashes or other reactions in some people. An aerial spray, used by DATCP, helps stop the moths. [Read More]

Monarch Butterflies Are Now on the Red List of Threatened Species

by Hanna Eyobed, age 17

Karen Oberhauser, one of the world’s top experts on monarch butterflies, has always pushed for greater awareness of the risks they face. That’s why she thinks it could be a good thing that monarchs were declared endangered in July. “Certainly it’s negative that monarchs have reached this point where they need to be listed. But it’s positive that they have this recognition and that, hopefully, this will bring more people on board to do what we can to preserve monarchs.” [Read More]

Movie Review: The Right to Read

by Kadjata Bah, age 18

A new documentary film called The Right to Read adds to growing national debates about literacy and the science of reading. This timely and compelling film is streaming for free until March 9, 2023.

Directed by Jenny Mackenzie and produced by LeVar Burton, the film follows a long-time activist, a teacher, and two families as they navigate the future of education.

Kareem Weaver is an Oakland-based activist with the NAACP. He is an experienced educator, and his mission is to create a world where 95% of children can read. Working with Sabrina Causey, a rookie first grade teacher in Oakland, the two make a case for a new curriculum for their students based in the science of reading. [Read More]

The World’s Population is Now 8 billion

by Jonah Smith, age 13

If you looked up on Google how many people were on Earth, the answer would be 7.8 billion people. But according to a recent United Nations report, in late 2022 our population finally hit 8 billion. The population is still rising, but the rate of growth has slowed. The rate the U.N. based their last predictions on was the rate of growth from 2017. At that time, the U.N. predicted that the world’s population could reach 11.2 billion people by the year 2100. With this new data, the population is now expected to peak during the 2080s at 10.4 billion people. Once it peaks, the numbers will plateau until 2100.

This new information also highlights the challenges linked with population growth, said Maria-Francesca Spatolisano of the U.N. during a news conference on July 11th, 2022. These challenges include meeting people's social and economic needs (food, water, shelter, etc.), as well as how people use Earth’s resources and alter the environment. [Read More]

Rosa Parks, Civil Rights Icon

by Sol-Saray, age 11

Many people may have heard of the brave woman who stood up for herself and refused to give up her seat to a white man. That woman was known as Rosa Parks.

Rosa Louise McCauley was born in Tuskegee, Alabama on February 4, 1913. She was daughter of James McCauley, who worked as a carpenter, and Leona McCauley, who worked as a teacher. Rosa's grandparents were enslaved. Rosa grew up in times where racism and segregation was very harsh; due to Jim Crow laws in the South, Black Americans had to sit separately on the bus from white Americans. [Read More]

The Closest Black Hole to Earth is just 1,500 light-years Away

by Emily Rodriguez Lima, age 13

There are plenty of black holes in outer space. Astronomers have found what they believe is currently the closest black hole to Earth.

Gaia BH1 is about 1,560 light-years from Earth and has a mass 10 times bigger than that of the sun. It is the first black hole discovered to be close to Earth, the second closest is around twice the distance at 3,200 light-years away. [Read More]

Learn About the Vampire Squid

by Abigail Gezae, age 10

Vampire squids don’t actually share many resemblances to Dracula, and they aren’t after your blood. Instead, they are creatures that live deep in the ocean, around 2,000 to 3,000 ft.

Since the vampire squids live so deep in the water, scientists have to use drones to study them. They have very large eyes which are located on the side of their head, and are usually red or blue, depending on the light they reflect. Although they have the characteristics of other squids, they have 8 legs like an octopus and other cephalopods. One notable difference: vampire squids can not change color or use ink to protect themselves, which means they have to use different methods to stay safe. [Read More]

Local Observatory Renamed For STEM Pioneer Jocelyn Bell Burnell

by Mariah Justice, age 17

“Astronomy compels the soul to look upward, and leads us from this world to another,” said Greek philosopher Plato. With the renaming event on September 7 for the Bell Burnell Observatory— previously the Oscar Mayer Observatory—Madison has a new facility for cultivating the exploration of astronomy. The history of the Bell Burnell Observatory dates back to 1880, when the director of the Washburn Observatory, located on University of Wisconsin-Madison's (UW) campus, felt there was too much student traffic for the University to only have one observatory. This notion spurred him to personally fund the construction of the student observatory, which was then called the Student Observatory. [Read More]

Key Wisconsin Pollinator Species Lands on Federal Endangered List

by Eleanor Pleasnik, age 13

The humble bumble bee may be small in size but its influence on our environment is huge. But one bee in particular, the rusty patched bumble bee, is now on the federal Endangered Species list. This bee is native to Wisconsin and other areas of the upper Midwest. Over the past two decades, populations of rusty-patched bees have decreased by 90%. Very few of them are found roaming in backyards these days. [Read More]

Student Proficiency in Math and Reading Falls below 40% in Wisconsin

by Sydney Steidl, age 16

During the 2020-21 school year, less than a third of Wisconsin youth were rated as proficient in both math and language arts on the Forward Exam. This is the first time since the exam was implemented seven years ago that student proficiency levels have fallen below 40 percent. Some academic decline can be attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic. Adapting to remote learning proved difficult for many students. But these adjustments tended to have a greater impact on lower-income students. [Read More]

Journalists Criticize Madison School District Handling of Open Records

by Yoanna Hoskins, age 17

The second largest school district in Wisconsin, Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), which houses 52 schools and over 27,000 students, has been a hot topic of discussion in recent months. And not for good reasons. In recent news reports, many members of the Madison community have come forward with stories about how MMSD hasn’t properly responded to open records requests. Specifically, journalists and community members who have submitted open records requests have yet to receive access to those public documents. [Read More]

Wisconsin Begins PFAS Testing this Fall

by Sandy Flores Ruíz, age 16

Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS, are a family of synthetic chemicals. They are used in everyday household products, carpets, nonstick cookware, plastic packaging, and firefighting foam. The PFAS family of approximately 5,000 chemicals are known as “forever chemicals” because they last for a long periods of time in the environment and the human body. Research suggests that these chemicals can cause various types of cancers, damage reproductive and immune systems, and alter thyroid hormones. [Read More]

¿Qué causa la industria del reciclaje fallida de Estados Unidos?

por Yoanna Hoskins, 17 años de edad

La pandemia causó muchos cambios en la sociedad, pero también resaltó cuestiones que antes habían pasado desapercibidas. El engaño de la industria del reciclaje de plásticos es solo un ejemplo. En particular, Covid-19 demostró cuán sensible es la industria del reciclaje de plásticos a las variaciones en los precios del petróleo. [Read More]

Wisconsin's Dairy History from Wheat Fields to Cheese

by Allison Wallace, age 11

When people think about Wisconsin, most individuals probably think about the dairy industry, however, that was not always the case. [Read More]

Exploring New Zealand's Southern Alps and Glaciers

by Edwin Torres, age 12

The Southern Alps is a mountain range located on the South Island of New Zealand. The western area of this island is known for its famous glaciers. The highest point is on Mount Cook, which reaches altitudes of about 12,349 feet. It is only 20 miles from the summit westward across the coastal strip to the Pacific Ocean. Toward the east side of where the glacier is located, the land descends about 80 miles across the Canterbury Plains. The winds that blow from the Tasman Sea are loaded with moisture, and when the damp air rises against the mountains, it drops big snowballs. The three most known glaciers are the Fox, Frans Josef, and Tasman. However, they are facing threats of melting due to climate change. [Read More]

The Fox River Cleanup, A Battle Against Decades of Pollution

by Sofia Zapata, age 14

The Fox River flows across central and east-central Wisconsin to Green Bay and was contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals during the mid-20th century It took almost 17 years to clean the entire river. [Read More]

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe Flies Toward the Sun

by Daniel Li, age 16

NASA's Parker Solar Probe has achieved a remarkable feat by getting close enough to the Sun to study the intricate details of solar wind. This has revealed information that was previously hidden as the solar wind left the Sun's corona in a uniform stream of charged particles. [Read More]

Rosetta Nubin Was the Guitar-Playing “Godmother” of Rock and Roll

by Riya Adhikari, age 12

Rosetta Nubin was an incredible singer who mixed her church roots with the blues. Despite being dubbed "The Godmother of Rock and Roll," her achievements and diverse musical abilities remain relatively unknown. [Read More]

The Legacy of Madison's 'I Have a Dream' Scholarship Ball

by Camila Cruz, age 16

Last year was the first time I attended the Martin Luther King “I Have a Dream” Ball. Now, almost one year later, it’s the most important date on my calendar. Here’s why. [Read More]

The Unique Pine Marten Calls Wisconsin Home

by Kimberly Rodriguez, age 11

The Pine Marten can be found in multiple places including Wisconsin. They are creatures with beautiful fur and are talented climbers and fishers. [Read More]

Exploring Aztec Family Life

by Marco Gonzalez, age 9

In Mesoamerica, Aztec culture had many interesting practices and beliefs. Their family life was especially important, even though some of its characteristics might seem strange today. [Read More]

Mysterious Golden Orb Found on Alaska Seafloor

by Dayanara Flores Gonzalez, age 16

A mysterious golden orb was recently discovered on the Alaska seafloor. Marine scientists have no idea what this orb might be, but scientists believe it might be an egg casing of a creature nobody has seen before. [Read More]

Thorny Devils, Masters of Camouflage

by Ian Kosharek, age 11

Thorny devils are spiny, fierce-looking creatures native to the Australian desert, particularly favoring dry and hot climates in coastal areas of Australia. These creatures weigh up to three ounces and are approximately two centimeters in size, roughly the size of a hand. When they hatch, both male and female thorny devils are similar, but after a year, females become visibly longer, sometimes reaching twice the size of the largest males. Their lifespan ranges from 10 to 20 years. [Read More]

Battles and Behaviors of Prehistoric Beasts

by Iliyan Hoskins, age 10

Dinosaurs in prehistoric times had unique methods to catch their prey and protect themselves from predators. Fossil evidence has unveiled fascinating glimpses of battles among different dinosaur species, shedding light on their behaviors. [Read More]

Monona Mural Is Beloved Local Example of Public Art

by Ayelen Flores Ruiz, age 13

Wisconsin boasts a plethora of stunning and remarkable murals throughout the state, each distinguished by the unique messages they convey. One compelling illustration is Monona's "Water, Land, and Sky" mural. Positioned conveniently on West Broadway, opposite South Towne Mall, this mural is accessible to the public at all times, allowing visitors to capture photographs with it. Crafted in the summer of 2017, it is the result of a collaboration between the city of Monona and Dane Arts Mural Art. [Read More]

Enormous Dinosaur Footprints Discovered in Texas Riverbed

by Dakota Wilson, age 12

In Texas, recent droughts have exposed dinosaur footprints, each measuring several human hand lengths. These prints were uncovered in the Paluxy River, located within Dinosaur Valley State Park. [Read More]

Exploring the 1868 Brisbane House in Arena, Wisconsin

by Ayelen Flores Ruiz, age 13

The historic Brisbane House in Arena, Wisconsin, is renowned for its builder's past. William Henry Brisbane, known as an "abolitionist," faced significant scrutiny when he embraced this cause and subsequently relocated from his Southern home state. [Read More]

The History and Evolution of Majorette Dancing

by Atisse Robbins, age 12

Majorettes encompass more than just dancing; they hold a significant cultural role, particularly in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), as a tribute to Black culture. [Read More]

Nature's Lumberjacks: How Beavers Shape Ecosystems

by Dayanis Cruz, age 13

Beavers are one of the greatest engineers in the world. They make improvements to their habitat by creating waterways, dams, and lodges. They can cause conflict with farmers by eating their crops, or by building a lodge near a pond or a river. [Read More]

Johnny Davis: A Rising Star's Journey from La Crosse to the NBA

by Jules Da Costa, age 15

Wisconsin basketball standout, Johnny Davis, recently finished his rookie season and it has been a rollercoaster. [Read More]

The Dead Sea: How Salt Brought Wealth and Healing to Humans Ancient and Modern

by Kevin Chen, age 15

Though the Dead Sea sounds like a scary place, the same reasons this body of water can not support plant or animal life made it a valuable resource in the ancient world. Back in the Roman era (476 C.E.), salt was considered highly valuable, so much so that Roman soldiers would be paid in salt, instead of money. The Latin word “salary” came from the word “salt”. [Read More]

Mediterranean Volcanoes Have Long Inspired Awe and Terror

by Emily Rodriguez, age 14

In the Mediterranean Sea, there are many destructive volcanoes. Two of the most well-known are Mt. Vesuvius and Mt. Etna. [Read More]

The African Kingdom of Kush Lasted Almost 2,000 Years

by Anissa Attidekou, age 13

In Africa's vast and storied history, the Kingdom of Kush is a shining example of the continent’s rich and diverse civilizations. The kingdom was established in what is present-day Sudan. Kush thrived from 800 BCE to 300 AD for over a thousand years. The kingdom of Kush rose to become a formidable power in Northeast Africa, leaving an indelible mark on the region’s history. [Read More]

The Short-eared Owl Is a Year-long Resident of Wisconsin

by Edwin Torres, age 12

The Short-Eared Owl is an owl species that is native to Wisconsin, Canada, and other northern parts of the U.S. Fortunately for those looking to spot them, the Short-eared Owl lives all year round in those areas. This owl can travel really long distances. People have reported sightings that are hundreds of miles away from land. [Read More]

The Stellar Powerhouse Illuminating the Solar System

by Daileni Cruz, age 10

The Sun was born nearly five billion years ago and still has quite a long time to live. The diameter of the sun is about 864,950 miles making the sun 109 times bigger than Earth. It also is 333,000 times heavier than our planet. [Read More]

Earth’s Smallest Fox Species Lives Deep in the Sahara Desert

by Dilma Attidekou, age 8

The fennec fox is an efficient animal that survives in the depths of the Sahara Desert. Although small, this creature can eat a lot and is known as the smallest canid species. [Read More]

Rare Black Leopard Discovered in East Africa

by Allison Torres, age 14

Leopards are one of the most fascinating big cats from Africa. They are one of the strongest climbers and can kill prey even larger than themselves. It is very rare to see black leopards in desert areas of Africa. Scientists say only about 11% of leopards around the world are black. All leopards have spots, no matter what color they are. But, that is what makes black leopards special: their spots are hard to see. [Read More]

Endangered Bird Species Makes a Comeback in Wisconsin

by Sofia Zapata, age 13

The Kirtland’s Warbler was one of the first birds that were on the endangered species list, created in 1973. This type of bird is a gray and yellow songbird, they are a beautiful and unique species. [Read More]

Learn More About the Majestic Bald Eagle

by Soren Dahl, age 11

Bald eagles have many amazing majestic features that we can learn about.

The bald eagles wingspan is 5.5 to 8 feet long. To put that in perspective, an average human male is 5.9 feet tall. The eagle’s talons are two inches long. They use these monster talons to catch fish and other prey. [Read More]

Quetzalcoatlus: Flying Giants

by Aloniab Gezae, age 8

The Quetzalcoatlus is the biggest flying creature of the late cretaceous period. It is not a dinosaur, it is actually a pterosaur, which was a group of flying reptiles. Its wings were 40 feet wide. [Read More]

Quanah Parker Became a Famous Comanche Leader

by Sandy Flores-Ruiz, age 16

The last surviving chief of the Quahada Comanche Indian tribe was Quanah Parker. He was born in 1845 in Elk Creek, near Wichita Mountain, in what is today known as Oklahoma City. He is known for his resistance against white settlement and for his leadership in helping his community adapt to life on the reservation. [Read More]

Learn More About Okapis

by Aarosh Subedi, age 10

Okapis are mammals that originate and live in the Ituri Rainforest of the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Scientists say this animal looks like a cross between a deer and a zebra. However, its nickname is the “forest giraffe" and it is a relative of the giraffe. The Latin name of an okapi is Okapia Johnstoni. [Read More]

Lumpectomy Advances Breast Cancer Treatment

by Dulce Maria Vazquez, age 14

A new study has found that many women with breast cancer can get rid of the tumors without having their breasts removed. This can be achieved through a lumpectomy, the surgical removal of multiple cancer lumps. This surgery usually lasts about 40 minutes with patients claiming that it is not a painful operation, Patients who dealt with many tumors have been studied using sensitive imaging techniques. [Read More]

Scientists Say Invasive Species of Crayfish Might Leave Wisconsin on its Own

by Lah’Nylah Bivens, age 15

The rusty crayfish appeared in Wisconsin 50 years ago. Since this crayfish is not native to Wisconsin it is considered an invasive species. The rusty crayfish pushed native crayfish out of their dens and ate the native aquatic plants, causing harm to the lakes. This harmed the local spawning grounds, leaving fish unprotected. Rusty crayfish may have found their way to Wisconsin by traveling in buckets to be used as bait. These crayfish are native to Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and the streams of the Ohio River Basin states. They also can be found in New Mexico, Northeastern states, areas in Ontario, Canada, and states surrounding Wisconsin. [Read More]

Book Review: The Distance Between Us

by Camila Cruz, age 15

“The Distance Between Us” by Reyna Grande is an autobiography. The book was first published in 2012. The story begins in Mexico with Reyna, her two siblings – Carlos and Mago – and her mother. Early on we find out that Reyna's father has crossed the border from Mexico to the United States, also referred to as “El Otro Lado.'' He left when Reyna was very young and a picture of him was all Reyna had to remember him. [Read More]

Fun Facts About the Black-Handed Spider Monkey

by Joseph Zheng age 8

Spider monkeys are well known for their name. Although their name may sound like they are spiders, they are actually mammals. Black-handed spider monkeys live in Mexico and South America and can weigh up to 17 pounds. They climb and use their long prehensile tails to move or hang onto other branches. [Read More]

State DNR to Help Dispose of Firefighting PFAS Foam

by Makya Rodriguez, age 18

Wisconsin is trying to eliminate foams containing PFAS used by firefighters, a move that would benefit the environment by removing hazardous chemicals. PFAS, also known as poly-fluoroalkyl substances, are man-made chemicals. They are used on clothing, carpets, non-stick pans, cookware, and in firefighting foam. It’s a “forever chemical.”It’s family contains 5,000 compounds which are known to last forever in the environment and human bodies. [Read More]

Black Mamba: Deadly, but Shy

by Kaleab Afeworki, age 15

The black mamba is the biggest and some say the scariest snake in Africa. A lot of people are fearful of this snake because of its speed and strong venomous bite. [Read More]

Ezekiel Gillespie Helped Secure Voting Rights in Wisconsin

by Melanie Bautista, age 16

Ezekiel Gillespie was a civil rights activist that was known for his accomplishments and his big impact in the African American community in Wisconsin. Gillespie was born into slavery in 1818 in the state of Tennessee. After he bought his freedom for $800, he moved around the country, eventually moving to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1854. There, he focused on challenges faced by the African American community. [Read More]

Ghost Towns and Glaciers: The Legend of Kennicot

by Anissa Attidekou, age 13

Despite the fact that ghost stories can be scary, they are always interesting. The tale of this ghostly Alaskan glacier might give you a chill, but it will also get you hooked with its unique story. [Read More]

Nature’s “Vacuum Cleaner:” The Matamata

by Aarosh Subedi, age 10

The matamata lives in South America and is part of the turtle family. The matamata lives in the northern part of South America, in Brazil, Venezuela, but can sometimes be found in northern Bolivia, Ecuador, eastern Peru, Colombia, the Guianas, and Trinidad. They are about 18 inches in length and weigh around five to six pounds. Other than eating fish, they eat small birds and small mammals. This particular species lives up to 30 years. [Read More]

Meta faces $24 Million Fine for Campaign Finance Violations

by Sandy Flores Ruiz, age 16

A Washington State judge has levied fines against Facebook's parent company in a campaign finance lawsuit brought by the state. Judge Douglas North of King County's Superior Court fined Meta, one of the richest companies in the world, nearly $25 million for repeatedly and willfully breaking the campaign fund disclosure law. [Read More]

Drought Causes Saltwater to Invade the Mississippi River

by Dulce Vazquez, age 14

The Mississippi River water level is reaching historical lows. A part of the Mississippi River measured in New Orleans is just three feet above sea level, which is very unusual and damaging to the boats that rely on the river and causes wildlife to act in different ways. [Read More]

Leopards Are Large and Powerful "Supercats"

by Ian Kosharek , age 10

Leopards are a type of cat that live mainly in Africa, but they can also be found in China, Malaysia, and even Korea. There are more leopards in the wild than any other wild cat—that is why they are called supercats! [Read More]

First Plant Successfully Sprouts in Lunar Soil

by Daniel Li, age 15

The first seeds to ever sprout in lunar soil poked their heads above moon dirt at the University of Florida in May. Decades of research and experimentation led to this breakthrough which marks the first time terrestrial plants have grown in extra-terrestial soil. It also offers hope that astronauts will one day be able to grow food on the moon. [Read More]

The Ancient Library of Pergamum

by Hiba Al-Quraishi, age 14

The ancient library of Pergamum, located in what is now Turkey, was built in the third century B.C. by members of the Attalid dynasty. The library, constructed by a small kingdom that lasted only 150 years, is now one of the most famous libraries in antiquity. [Read More]

The Boaz Mastodon: Wisconsin’s Famous Fossil

by Anissa Attidekou, age 12

The Boaz mastodon is the fossil of a mastodon discovered near Boaz, Wisconsin in 1897. A mastodon is an elephant but harrier. A spear made of stone found near the Boaz mastodon shows that humans once hunted mastodons. This species lived in North America, Asia, and Africa, during the Ice Age. During the last Ice Age, many giants like the mastodon and mammoth roamed Wisconsin. This particular fossil of a giant mastodon is on display at the University of Wisconsin Geology Museum in Madison. [Read More]

Nigerian Music Makes its Way to American Mainstream

by Aissata Bah, age 12

A new musical genre, Afrobeat, is reaching the music charts. Making its way from Lagos, Nigeria, it continues growing off its successes. [Read More]

Germany's Fairytale Castle Come to Life

by Dayanara Flores Gonzalez, age 14

Neuschwanstein is a castle that is located in Germany, which took 17 years to construct. It took 15 men to carve the king's bed and it took them 4 ½ years to finish. Neuschwanstein was a fairytale brought to life. [Read More]

Webb Space Telescope Sends New Images to Planet Earth

by Ashley Mercado, age 13

NASA has finally revealed the first set of beautiful images taken from a new space telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope. The first picture from the Space Telescope was a plethora of distant galaxies that go deeper than scientists have ever seen. NASA says the new Webb Telescope will eventually replace the Hubble Telescope. Some of Webb’s images show areas of the universe Hubble has already studied, and some show areas Hubble could not reach. [Read More]

Watch Out for Poison Hemlock in Wisconsin

by Anissa Attidekou, age 12

There are a wide variety of poisonous plants that are toxic to humans and animals. Some can lead to extreme pain and others can even be deadly. One of these deadly plants is named the poison hemlock. [Read More]

The Great Lakes of Africa: Lakes Victoria and Tanganyika

by Sofia Zapata, age 13

There are many lakes in the world, but do people know the important things about some of the African continental lakes? Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika are lakes located in Africa and they are two of the largest and deepest in the world. [Read More]

World’s Smallest Sea Turtles Found Alive in Gulf of Mexico

by Jason Medina Ruiz, age 11

The world's smallest sea turtle, known as Kemp's ridley, lives in the Gulf of Mexico. In the past 75 years, the population has diminished to the point that they are now the most endangered sea turtle in the world. Recently, the sea turtle population has increased off the coast of Louisiana. [Read More]