Tuesday, 31 January, 2023

A green glowing comet headed for Australia; the Russian Olympic debate; throwing food for Lunar New Year; and a feathered fossil find. 



NASA’s video on the Green Comet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uW79guA-1Q

Bird body, T-Rex head: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/bird-trex-reveal-dinosaurs-fossil-paleontology 

Yee Sang video (includes list of ingredients): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2qEWCL9Gs8 

Ideas for Backwards Day: https://www.leapfrog.com/en-us/learning-path/articles/celebrate-backwards-day



The meaning of each Yee Sang ingredient: https://www.tatlerasia.com/dining/food/yee-sang-101-why-we-toss-what-does-it-symbolise

Lunar New Year for kids https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mm9LJC_5g2o 

TedEd video on the Chinese Zodiac: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=may2s9j4RLk 

Why birds are dinosaurs: https://www.birdlife.org/news/2021/12/21/its-official-birds-are-literally-dinosaurs-heres-how-we-know/

Why are birds the only surviving dinosaurs? Animation from the UK Natural History Museum



Search For The Ultimate $5 Lunchbox  

Write to us at [email protected] and let us know what three things you’d put in your ultimate lunch box … we’ll read out the best ones on the podcast. #sponsored






Have your parents been nagging you to get to bed early this week? Well, make sure they listen to the podcast today, because you should totally be allowed to stay up late tomorrow night.

That’s because Comet C/2022 E3(ZTF)—a mouthful better known as ‘The Green Comet’—will be passing close to Earth this week. Its last fly-by was 50,000 years ago… Neanderthals might have been watching!

A comet is a cosmic snowball of ice, gas and dust…and the size of a small town. The Green Comet was discovered early last year, and it’s had a fuzzy, green tail ever since its perihelion—a fancy word for when it gets closest to the sun. As the icy exterior melts, it causes glowing green gases to fly into space. Cool.

Lucky for us, just when the Green Comet reaches its perigee (another fancy word, meaning when it is closest to earth), it will be over Australia!

The best way to see it will be on Wednesday and Thursday, with binoculars or a telescope. It’s possible that, if the skies are clear, you might be able to spot the glowing green comet with your naked eye… but why take the chance? 50,000 years is a long time to wait for its next visit.


Classroom Companion Clarion: 

Aha, and there we have it, the Classroom Companion Clarion, reminding educators everywhere that each day, the Squiz Kids team of teachers prepares FREE, differentiated, curriculum-aligned resources connected to our podcasts. Today, kids are going to be identifying the main idea and supporting details… as well as imagining those Neanderthals watching the Green Comet. Sign up for free membership on our website, or at the link in your episode notes. 



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops, and today we’ve landed in Ukraine, where, unfortunately, the new year has not brought an end to the war with Russia. Yesterday, Ukraine’s president Vlodomyr Zelenksy released a video saying that Russian athletes should be banned from the 2024 Summer Olympics. A few days ago, the International Olympic Committee had said that it would let Russians compete as “neutral” athletes, meaning they could take part, but not wear a Russian uniform, nor march under the Russian flag, nor have the Russian national anthem play if they won a medal… similar to how the Australian Open handled Russian tennis players. The Olympic committee believes that no athlete should be stopped from competing, just because of their passport. 

But President Zelensky said that there is no such thing as neutrality – which means not taking a side – in war. Ukrainian athletes, he said, are fighting and dying. He thinks – and the British government, among others, agrees – that allowing Russia to compete would send a message to the world that war is acceptable. It’s a tricky one—what do you think?  




I’m betting that some of you just looked at each other as if to say “What?? We haven’t heard “Food, Glorious Food” on Squiz Kids before!” You are absolutely right … we’re actually introducing FOUR new segments to the podcast, so keep your ears peeled for more in the coming days. Now, onto one of my favourite topics… FOOD. 

Millions of people all around the world are celebrating Lunar New Year at the moment. I’ll put some “Deep Dive” links in your episode notes to learn more, but today I want to talk about the Lunar New Year tradition of throwing food. Specifically, a dish called Yee Sang. 

Yee Sang is a colourful salad that is served mostly in Malaysia and Singapore during Lunar New Year. It’s presented on a big round plate in the centre of your table, and the toppings and dressing are poured over the veggies and fish while you offer each other good wishes for the New Year. Then, everyone stands up, gets their chopsticks, and starts tossing the ingredients high in the air! Each part of the salad is connected to different kinds of good things—health, wealth, happiness—and supposedly, the higher you chuck those foods, the more luck you’ll have in the coming year.

We had a big group of 12 people tossing Yee Sang last night, and I have to tell you, it was DELICIOUS – even if we did get the table very, very messy. And yes, of course, I’ve put a recipe in your episode notes. Good luck convincing your parents to make it… and happy year of the rabbit. 




Can you imagine a bird that’s about the size of a chicken, but with the head of a Tyrannosaurus Rex? A feathered dinosaur fossil found recently in China looks just like that—and it’s helping scientists understand how the birds we see in our skies today evolved.

Hands up if you already knew that birds are descended from dinosaurs? Our feathered friends are the sole survivors of a group of dinosaurs called theropods, which includes everyone’s favourite, T-rex. Theropods are bipedal —“bi” means two and “ped” means foot, so we’re talking dinosaurs that walked on two feet. Scientists are trying to figure out exactly HOW those theropods evolved to be the birds we know today, and the new fossil, with its bird body and T-Rex head, is helping to fill in some of the gaps on the bird family tree. I’ve put a link in your episode notes to more information. 




This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening …

  1. What is C/2022 E3(ZTF) better known as? 
  2. Theropods are “bipedal”—what does that mean?
  3. Which holiday is celebrated by tossing Yee Sang in the air?  




It’s January 31… which is, believe it or not, backwards day. It’s a silly day where you are encouraged to wear your clothes backwards… eat breakfast for dinner… maybe even write backwards, like Leonardo da Vinci. Check your episode notes for more ideas. 

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today … Alessia from Dianella and Finn from Petersham. 

And because we’ve been off on school hols for all of January – and we don’t want any January babies missing out on their shout out – we’re going to be doing belated birthday shout-outs for the rest of this week … here goes … 

Belated birthday wishes go to… Kai from Freshwater Creek, Chloe and Nandini from Forest Lake, Sally from Vermont South, Catherine from Surrey Hills, Chloe from Everton Hills, Larissa from Sydney, Jamid, Noah and Xander from Ashmont, Tommy from Winston Hills, Mira from Belmont, Ling from Melbourne, Conner from Braeview, Loralai from Bowral, Hannah from Singapore and Tyler listening over in Taipei. 

And finally, a special shoutout from me to Remy in Perth, who I understand LOVES our kids versus adults quizzes that come out each Saturday – I hope you’re listening carefully this week Remy, because Saturday’s quiz will be all about this week’s news! 



The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. The Green Comet
  2. Two feet
  3. Lunar New Year