Answer their questions this Christmas!

Why do carrots grow underground? Why aren’t rivers salty? Why do bouncy balls bounce? What’s the Moon for? Why don’t human eyes glow like cats’ eyes? Why does ice stick to your skin? Why do we shiver? How is fire made? Why do people have different accents?

If there’s a curious child in your family who never stops asking ‘why?’, Whizz Pop Bang could be just the answer you’re looking for! Give a gift subscription this Christmas and help your scientist-in-training to understand the world around them. Get a free Science Magazine worth £5.99 with every subscription!

Keep reading to find the answers to these questions written by Whizz Pop Bang’s expert team of scientists, and discover why endless questioning is a really important part of your child’s development (even when finding the answers can be challenging!)

Why do children ask so many questions?

Questioning trusted adults is a crucial way for children to understand, and form their own ideas, about the world around them. But it can be exhausting at times – Paul L. Harris, Professor of Education at Harvard, estimates that a child asks 40,000 questions between the ages of two and five.

Every issue of Whizz Pop Bang is packed with fascinating facts, simple scientific explanations, and experiments designed to demonstrate the answers to some of your child’s burning questions. Our team of expert scientists (including our all-knowing robot, Y) are on hand to answer our readers’ questions every issue, too – so if you can’t find the answer to your child’s latest conundrum here, why not email us at y@whizzpopbang.com and see if we can help?

Meanwhile, here are the scientific explanations of a few wonderful questions we’ve been asked recently…

Whizz Pop Bang’s resident robot, Y.

Why do carrots and other vegetables grow underground and not above ground?

We eat at least six different parts of plants. Sometimes we eat the leaves (e.g. lettuce and kale and cabbage). Sometimes we eat the stems (e.g. celery, asparagus, and rhubarb). We eat seeds, such as sunflower seeds and sweetcorn. We eat flowers (such as broccoli) and fruit. And we also eat roots and tubers. A carrot is the main root (or tap root) of a carrot plant. As well as soaking up water and minerals from the soil, it acts as an underground food store for the plant. That makes it a great food for us, too!

Why aren’t rivers salty, like the sea? 

Rain isn’t salty because when water evaporates, anything dissolved in it is left behind. Rivers are topped up by this rainwater, so they aren’t very salty either. But rivers do pick up some salt as they rush over rocks. Eventually, this salt ends up in the sea. Rivers around the world carry 3.6 billion tonnes of salt to the oceans every year! But the oceans don’t just get saltier and saltier, because about the same amount of salt sinks to the seabed each year, becoming part of new rocks.  

Why do bouncy balls bounce and don’t just stick on the ground like a rock?  

Unlike rocks, bouncy balls are made of elastic materials, such as rubber. Elastic materials are flexible – it’s easy to change their shape. But they return to their original shape after being squashed or stretched. When the ball hits the ground, it is squashed out of shape. Some of its movement energy is changed into elastic energy, stored very briefly inside the ball. Once the ball has come to a stop, this elastic energy is released as the ball returns to its original shape. The ball pushes against the ground and the ground pushes back, sending the ball back up into the air.  

Why do we need the moon?

About 4.5 billion years ago, a giant space rock the size of Mars crashed into Earth and knocked off a chunk of our planet. This chunk of rock became the Moon, and it still orbits Earth, roughly once every 27 days. The Moon is big enough and close enough that its gravity causes bulges in Earth’s water that sweep across the planet’s oceans and seas, causing the tides. Many living things have adapted to depend on the tides for shelter and food. Humans who live near coasts also depend on the tides for catching certain fish and sea creatures, and for sports like surfing. But if the Moon suddenly disappeared it wouldn’t just be coastal life that was disrupted. All life depends on the Moon, because it helps to keep Earth’s climate stable.  

Develop your child’s problem solving skills with the Whizz Pop Bang Science Riddle book!

Why don’t human eyes glow like cats’ eyes do in the dark?

Want to know why cats’ eyes glow? They shine in the dark because each eye has a thin layer of crystals at the back. This layer is called the tapetum lucidum. Its job is to bounce light back into the cat’s eye. This extra light helps cats to see better in the dark. Lots of other crepuscular and nocturnal animals have this light-reflecting layer too. Most animals that are awake in the daytime don’t, including humans. However, you’ll sometimes see human eyes glow red in a photograph, when the bright light of a camera flash bounces off the back of our eyes. 

Why do ice cubes stick to your fingers and ice lollies stick to your tongue?

Heat always moves from a warmer place to a colder place. When you lick a lolly, heat flows from your toasty tongue to the, erm, icy ice. If the lolly is very cold, the saliva coating your tongue drops below 0°C before your body can warm it back up. The saliva freezes and becomes part of the chunk of ice along with the lolly! The same can happen with wet fingers and a very cold ice cube. Never pull your skin away – use room temperature water to melt the ice and set yourself free! 

Why do your teeth chatter when you’re cold?

Want to know why do we shiver? Deep inside your brain, your hypothalamus (say hi-po-thal-a-mus) is busy monitoring your core body temperature. It’s your inbuilt thermostat! But instead of turning on the central heating when you drop below 37°C, the hypothalamus triggers reactions that help keep your organs warm while you find shelter! One of these is shivering. Muscles produce heat as they contract – think how warm you get when you exercise. Shivering is your body’s way of making your muscles contract and relax as you stand still. As your jaw muscles shiver, your lower jaw moves up and down quickly, bumping your teeth together. 

How does fire form?

Heat is one part of the ‘fire triangle’ – the three things needed for a fire to start. The other two are fuel (something to burn) and oxygen (from the air). The heat – from a burning match, lightning or even the Sun’s rays – starts a reaction between the fuel and the oxygen. This produces gases, including water vapour and carbon dioxide. It also releases energy as heat and light. This heat keeps the reaction going until the fuel or oxygen runs out, or the fire is cooled.  

Why do people have different accents?

People can speak the same language with very different accents. This is because we aren’t born speaking a particular language, but with a brain that is brilliant at absorbing and imitating any sounds it hears. This amazing ability to learn is why people tend to speak with the accent they heard most often when they were very young. By the time we are a year old, we are less able to hear different sounds and it becomes harder to pick up a new accent. The ability to imitate stays with us though, so accents can change as people move around, or even during a conversation. In fact, scientists have found that mimicking each other’s speech patterns can help two people to understand each other better, and make friends more quickly.  


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Watch our young reporter morph into a dinosaur!

Two of our young reporters, Ash and Owen, were recently invited to take a tour of ILM (Industrial Light & Magic) studios to see their awesome movie technology. Here’s their report of the day…

“We were so excited to be visiting ILM in London! This is the studio where they work on the visual effects behind some of the biggest films in the world, like Avatar and Star Wars. 

When we arrived, we were invited to have some drinks and nibbles in the green room, but we were too excited for that, so we were led straight through! First was a big room full of boxes and boxes of equipment and props, all labelled and catalogued so that they can easily be found and taken out on set. 

WPB reporters in front of LED screen
Here we all are standing in front of an ILM StageCraft LED screen

We then went past some dressing rooms where film stars get changed, and into the studio where the magic happens. The main studio was a large warehouse space with three massive LED screens and a vast padded floor. Behind us, a team of technicians were working away on a row of computers. 

The tech team working their magic

First, we learnt about ILM’s facial capture system, which is called Medusa. Medusa works by taking lots of photos of the actor. The actor sits in a chair that is surrounded by a bank of cameras. The actor has to make lots of different facial expressions and pull lots of silly faces! They have to say various sentences that have been designed to include all of the different sounds used in everyday speech, so that the computer can learn the shapes that their face makes when they are saying each sound. Using the Medusa software, a computer takes in all this information and creates a digital copy of their face which the tech crew can use to digitally create footage of the actor. This is useful for superimposing an actor’s face onto a stunt person’s body.

Next, I got to try on a motion capture (mocap) suit. These suits are made of grey fluffy fabric so that Velcro can stick onto them. After putting on the suit, I was then kitted out with lots of small reflective balls on Velcro pads. 

Owen in a mocap suit. ILM turned this toy sword into a light saber on the screen!

There are cameras all around the ceiling of the studio that emit infrared light and pick up the reflections of this light from the reflective balls on my suit. Computers can then track these balls to follow my every move.

Infrared Mocap cameras on the overhead rigging

With the suit on, the technicians were able to turn the screen image of me into lots of different characters. They made me into a robot with pistons for joints, a Stormtrooper, a velociraptor and a shiny humanoid, whose skin reflected whatever background they put me in.

The toy sword has become a light saber!
Owen became a Stormtrooper!

The suit was incredible, as the movements on the screen matched all the movements that I made in real time without any delay. My favourite was the velociraptor! 

The mocap suit translated Owen’s movements into those of a dinosaur!

Next, they showed us their virtual camera. This was an iPad with two Nintendo controllers attached on the sides. The iPad had been set up with a scene from Star Wars. The director could use the iPad as a virtual camera. When he walked around, it was as though he was holding a camera in the scene. With this contraption the directors can picture what different shots would look like inside a virtual world by seeing which shot looks good on the iPad.  

We got to take a look at a couple of virtual reality setups using VR headsets, which looked incredibly realistic. We were also shown how they could film a model of say an X-wing Starfighter and put it in front of a video of a fly-through. Viewing it through a camera lens made it look like the X-wing was really flying through the scene!

We learnt so much in this visit. It showed us just how incredible the world of computer generated imagery really is, and it was brilliant fun too! It was an experience of a lifetime – thanks so much ILM!”


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COMPETITION CLOSED – WIN a Mega Connetix Creative Pack

We’ve got THREE bumper sets to give away from Connetix worth £115 each!

We have an epic giveaway this December, this is not one you want to miss out on! We’ve partnered with Connetix and have three massive, 120 piece magnetic construction sets to give away.

The Connetix 120 Piece Pastel Creative Pack makes playtime engaging and educational, sparking boundless creativity and promoting educational, playful experiences for children of all ages. This amazing creative pack offers a spectrum of shapes in 8 delightful pastel colours, making it the perfect canvas for constructing impressive Connetix creations, from intricate designs to grand-scale masterpieces.

Whether children are absorbed in solitary play or engaging with friends and family, constructions toys like this one from Connetix spark STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and, Mathematics) learning while nurturing fine and gross motor skills. Kids can assemble towering castles, futuristic rockets, majestic towers, sturdy bridges, and much more.

The high-quality, open-ended pack seamlessly adapts to your child’s evolving interests and abilities, providing a platform for increasingly complex and imaginative play experience

For your chance to win, simply answer this question in the comments:

Which is the tallest building in the world?

a) The Shard
b) Eiffel tower
c) Burj Khalifa

This competition closes at midnight on Sunday 31st December 2023 and is open to UK residents only. Whizz Pop Bang competition terms and conditions are here.


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COMPETITION CLOSED – Win a set of Edible Science booklets for your class!

Hooray! It’s time to celebrate a remarkable milestone as Whizz Pop Bang reaches its 100th edition. We are thrilled to share this exciting moment with all our teacher enthusiasts and young learners. To mark this special occasion, we have an incredible treat in store for our dedicated readers – the chance to win a class set of Edible Science booklets! We are giving away 100 in total! These delightful booklets make perfect Christmas presents for your class, and we can’t wait to share them with you. Will you be one of our lucky winners?

To be in with a chance of winning, simply leave the number of pupils you have in your class in the comments.

This competition closes at midnight on 30th November 2023 and is open to UK residents only. For full terms and conditions visit whizzpopbang.com/terms-and-conditions


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Science class party

Unleash the Wonder: A Guide to Hosting an Unforgettable Primary Class
Science Party

Are you looking for something fun and educational to reward your class with? Maybe it’s got to the end of term and you want to do something a bit different for an afternoon. Our science class party pack is just what you are looking for. The good news is it’s inexpensive to resource and is guaranteed to excite your class.

What does the pack contain?

There are six experiments to do:

  • Chromatography decorations
  • Static Slime
  • Magic Icing
  • Bed of Pins
  • Incredible invisible ink
  • Fizz Pop Bang powder

Each experiment has its own set of instructions so you can be flexible about how you organise the afternoon. You could set up stations in the classroom for the children move around and follow the instructions to do each activity, or you could do them together step by step as a whole class. We have given you all the scientific explanations but kept them on a separate page so you can choose when to share them with your class.

If you want more party science experiments buy a copy of our 100th issue of Whizz Pop Bang

Whizz Pop Bang magazine and teaching resources are brilliant ways to enhance your school’s science teaching:

  • We provide downloadable science lesson plans, PowerPoint presentations, hands-on investigations and science reading comprehensions written by primary school teachers.
  • Whizz Pop Bang teaching resources link to the National Curriculum, ensuring correct coverage.
  • All of our resources are year group specific, ensuring progression between the years.
  • We make cross-curricular links to other subjects, such as English, Maths, History, Geography, Art, Design and Technology and PSHE.

Prices from as little as £205 per year for a copy of Whizz Pop Bang magazine through the post each month and whole-school access to our ever-growing library of downloadable teaching resources, with unlimited teacher logins.

We’ve also launched a new individual membership option so teachers and home educators can access all of our amazing downloadable resources for just £20 for the whole year


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COMPETITION CLOSED – WIN A Year’s Magazine Subscription and Epic Science Books

Woohoo! We are so proud to have reached our 100th edition of Whizz Pop Bang! To celebrate this milestone edition, we are giving away an entire year’s subscription to Whizz Pop Bang and some of our awesome science books. Will you be our lucky winner?

The winner of this epic bundle of science goodies will look forward to a brand new edition of Whizz Pop Bang rocketing through their letterbox every month plus a Whizz Pop Bang Science Puzzle Book and Scrap Book (with stickers!).

To be in for a chance of winning, simply answer this question in the comments:

What’s the closest planet to the Sun in our solar system?

A) Earth

B) Venus

C) Mercury

This competition closes at midnight on 30th November 2023 and is open to UK residents only. For full terms and conditions visit whizzpopbang.com/terms-and-conditions


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COMPETITION CLOSED – WIN a Build Your Own Pinball Machine Advent Calendar!

Are you ready for a fun-filled Christmas countdown with Build Your Own’s limited edition Pinball Machine Advent Calendar.

Hidden behind each door you’ll find a new step of kit instructions. Build step-by-step over 24 days in December; the pieces come together to create a fully functioning Pinball Machine the whole family can enjoy on Christmas Eve.

A planet-friendly take on the traditional arcade game, this super cool tabletop Pinball Machine will provide hours of entertainment over the holiday period. Play alone or challenge friends and family, who will win?

We’ve got THREE Pinball Machine Advent Calendars from Build Your Own to give away to lucky winners! Kids are in for a real treat with this limited-edition advent calendar. The festive countdown just got a whole lot more fun!

To be in with a chance of winning one of three Build Your Own Pinball Machine Advent Calendars, simply answer this question in the comments:

What is fired out of most laser tag guns:

A) X-rays
B) Infrared light
C) Lasers

Good luck!

This competition closes at midnight on Wednesday 15th November 2023 and is open to UK residents only. Whizz Pop Bang competition terms and conditions are here.


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Halloween science experiments!

Are you looking for some spooky science to do at home? If you want to know how to do some Halloween experiments and make DIY Halloween decorations, you’ve come to the right place.

Discover how to create edible fake blood, craft a spooky window scene, turn Halloween candy into dancing Franken-worms, mix up a batch of gooey oobleck slime and carve a puking pumpkin right here. PLUS find out which issues of Whizz Pop Bang contain Halloween activities!


Whizz Pop Bang is our award-winning science magazine that brings science to life for children aged six to twelve (and their parents too)!

Discover how easy it is to enjoy science at home with Whizz Pop Bang magazine. Spark your child’s imagination with lab-loads of hands-on experiments, the latest science news, tantalising puzzles and amazing facts.

Subscribe today to start your child’s adventures in discovery and to inspire the scientists of the future!


1. Edible fake blood

You will need:
• 4 dessert spoons of golden syrup
• 10-20 drops of red food colouring
• 1-2 drops of blue food colouring
• 1-2 pinches of cocoa powder
• Flour

What you do:
Mix the red food colouring into the syrup a drop at a time until it looks blood coloured. Adding a drop of blue food colour ing will make it even more realistic, but be careful you don’t make it purple! Mix in a pinch of cocoa powder. Add a little flour if it needs thickening, or a drop or two of water if it needs thinning out. Drip it around your mouth like a vampire and go and scare your friends!


Pick up some more speedy science with the bargain Bumper Book Bundle!

The Bumper Book Bundle contains three of our most popular books to keep budding young scientists laughing, learning and having fun!

This bundle contains:
⭐️ The Whizz Pop Bang Science Riddle Book – packed with 150+ rib-tickling teasers!
⭐️ The Whizz Pop Bang Snip-Out Science Book – containing 30 projects to cut fold and stick!
⭐️ The Whizz Pop Bang Science Puzzle Book – packed with 150+ brain-stretching puzzles!

All for just £19.99, including FREE p&p in the UK – that’s a saving of £6.98!


2. Spooky window scene

You will need:
A pencil
Black card or paper
Scissors
Translucent sweet wrappers or coloured tissue paper
Sticky tack
Battery operated tea lights

What you do:

  1. Draw your design on black card or paper.
  2. Cut it out.
  3. Add the windows and cut them out.
  4. Use see-through sweet wrappers or tissue paper as window panes.
  5. Add finishing touches (we cut out bats and ghosts!)
  6. Use sticky tack to stick to a window. Add battery operated lights to make your scene glow!


Fill half term with science with Boredom-Busting Science Bundle!

Stock up on boredom-busting science fun with this bundle of three activity-packed magazines, together with the awesome Whizz Pop Bang Science Puzzle Book.

The bundle contains:
⭐️ The awesome Whizz Pop Bang Science Puzzle Book, packed with over 150 brain-bending puzzles!
⭐️ Whizz Pop Bang magazine, Issue 10: Extreme Environments
⭐️ Whizz Pop Bang magazine, Issue 27: Spectacular Skeletons
⭐️ Whizz Pop Bang magazine, Issue 34: Shocking Science

All for just £19.99, including FREE p&p in the UK (saving you £6.97)!


3. Dancing Franken-worms

Turn the contents of those overflowing trick or treat buckets into a fun learning opportunity. Find out how to use bicarbonate of soda and vinegar to make gummy worms dance over at Playdoh to Plato’s blog!


4. Ooey gooey oobleck

Find out how to make the freaky non-Newtonian fluid, oobleck! It’s a great Halloween science activity (and it’s easy to clean up!)

You will need:
Mixing bowl
Spoon
Cornflour or custard powder
Water
Food colouring (optional)

What you do:
1. Place four heaped tablespoons of cornflour or custard powder into a bowl.
2. Add a splash of water and stir the mixture. Keep adding water a little at a time, until the mixture is about the same consistency as honey.
3. If you add too much water, add some more cornflour or custard powder.
4. Add a little food colouring if you like and mix it in.

Watch the video to find out more about the strange properties of this special substance.

Watch Whizz Pop Bang kid Poppy make some spooky oobleck!

5. Puking pumpkin experiment

You’ve carved a pumpkin – now use science to make it even more fun with this brilliant idea from Little Bins for Little Hands! Click here for step-by-step instructions


Looking for more spooky science? These issues of Whizz Pop Bang have some simple Halloween science ideas inside!

🎃 Craft a scary skull mask, experiment with brilliant bendy bones and build your own model skeleton in Whizz Pop Bang 27: Spectacular Skeletons
🎃 Make an upcycled bat garland in Whizz Pop Bang 63: Sweet Dreams
🎃 Snip and stick a spooky street scene and craft light up ghost decorations in Whizz Pop Bang 87: Starry Skies

Thanks to Henry, aged 7, for sending in pictures of his brilliant bats – find the instructions in issue 63: Sweet Dreams!

Looking for more home science fun? From science experiments, science activities, collectible science club badges to science colouring and more, you’ll find loads of brilliant ideas right here!



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