www.whyville.net Mar 13, 2004 Weekly Issue

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Hello! Beauty266 here to discuss a very scientific subject! Gas! No, not the type of gas that comes after a bowl of chili -- this gas is nitrogen. Do you even know what this amazing gas is? Well, it is a gas and it's just about everywhere... in the air, ground, plants, and animals!

"How does it get into plants and animals?" you ask. To explain, I'll tell you the Nitrogen Cycle.

1st: Nitrogen, as I said before, is in plants, air and just about everywhere! The plants that have the most nitrogen inside of them are legumes. Legumes are bean and pea plants.
2nd: So, say a cow ate a bean plant. Now the cow has nitrogen inside its body in the form of proteins.
3rd: When the cow dies or even -- well, you know, goes to the bathroom -- that nitrogen is put back into the earth.
4th: Then, a plant grows where the nitrogen settled. The plant will absorb that nitrogen.
5th: Then another cow eats the plant and the cycle repeats!

"Why do I even care about nitrogen or its cycle?" you inquire. You care because it helps you grow!

Why do you think peas and beans are good for you? It's because they have nitrogen, and that helps you grow!

It also matters if you are a farmer. Nitrogen is in the fertilizer that helps grow your crops! Did you know that Indians made one of the first fertilizers? They put fish in the ground where they planted their crops. It helped their crops grow because fish have nitrogen inside of them!

Now that you know why nitrogen is so important, I must tell you about fixing nitrogen. No, it's not broken! It just needs to be split up. Let me explain:

Bacteria break apart nitrogen molecules. Nitrogen cannot be used to help things grow unless it is "fixed" or broken apart in this way. One of the main things that fixes nitrogen is legumes.

Think of it this way: There are these twins, right? People want "nitrogen" twin #1 to go to a party, but it won't separate from "nitrogen" twin #2, so it can't go. So, one day, a "bacteria" person comes along and breaks them apart -- then both nitrogen twins can do separate things and help different people!

I hope this article has helped to explain this amazing gas and know what it does for you and everything around you!

Signing out to breathe some nitrogen, among other things,

My science teacher


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