Amazing Kids! Magazine

Getting Lava

By Neha Shabeer, Age 9, MA


My name is Zara May Potts and I am 24-year-old scientist at the New York Science University. It is one of the best universities in the world. I live in Queens, NY. Well, I guess what you kids would call me is a “nerd”! My room has eight blackboards, two on each wall. I use these boards to write all my experiments. On my desk, I keep tons of paper, a metro card and a magnifying glass. On my walls, there are posters of Tom Cruise. I even have a Tom Cruise night light! You’ve probably figured out by now that I really love Tom Cruise. I also have a cool robot who serves me meals.  Now you know enough about me; let’s start the real story.
My goal is to get lava. Orange lava has special healing powers when it’s cooled. It stops bleeding and swelling because of the high iron content. Black lava, on the other hand, is very dangerous and can kill people! The only problem is, a contraption needs to be made to cool lava. That’s my goal, and I am very close to making that ground breaking contraption! I can’t wait to start my expedition to find orange lava.
My 10-year-old sister, Madison and I decided to discuss the trip.
“I should call Fiota and Colin (my helpers) so I can start preparing for my adventure,” I said.  “Could you take me, could you take me please?” Madison begged.
“Of course,” I said, to avoid a tantrum. Madison still jumped on me and squealed out of excitement. I somehow managed to slip away and hide under the bed. After Madison calmed down, I called Fiota and Colin.
Colin arrived at the house first because he lived just across the street. First, we talked about our plan.
“Colin, we are going to make a lava cooler out of heat resistant metal that has a heat capacity of 1450◦F,” I said,
Soon, Colin headed to the science store.  After he left, Fiota arrived.  I explained the plan to Fiota. Fiota’s face started turning red. I figured she was jealous. You need to hear this story to understand.
I used to be best friends with Fiota until middle school. We had a fight which tore us apart forever! We were fighting over a rare fossil which I had dug up in paleontology class. Fiota stole the fossil from me and gave it to Mrs. Sierra, our science teacher.  Our grades were so dependent on discovering a fossil; since it looked like I didn’t find the fossil, I had to retake the course. The only reason I let her be my helper is because she is a great scientist. I rely on Colin for help and advice and that makes her furious!
Colin, now back from the science store, brought the following items:

  • Four ropes, four hooks with locks
  • Four harnesses to climb the mountain
  • 10 inches of coiled heat resistant metal
  • Three pounds of crushed dry ice for covering the cooler
  • One-gallon capacity heat-resistant metal container

He also took two round circles of heat-resistant metal and a thermometer. The two round circles of metal were for the top and bottom of the cooler and the thermometer was for measuring the temperature of the lava. Next, we started making the cooler. To my amazement, things started coming together quickly.
“Fiota, could you put the coils in the container?”
“Sure,” mumbled Fiota.
She was still a bit jealous, so she did it in a weird way. Colin immediately fixed it. I next took one of the round circles of metal and stuck it on the bottom of the cooler with a super strong glue.
Fiota said, “You did it perfectly…” in an I-could-do-that-so-much-better tone.
While I was sticking the round circle of metal, Colin started attaching the hinges, but he wasn’t sure how to do it.
“How do I do this?” Colin blurted out without thinking.
“Look at the instructions on the back, you dummy.”  Fiota said sarcastically.
Colin went silently. We moved the cooler to my closet, so nobody would steal it.
The next morning we started packing our food and clothes for six months. We weren’t sure how long it was going to take to find the lava. My best guess was around three months, but we packed extra anyway. We packed foods like:

  • Smoked salted salmon
  • Smoked salted beef
  • Granola bars
  • Salted mixed vegetables
  • Bread
  • Maple syrup

We took paper plates, paper bowls, plastic cutlery, and napkins. We also took four tents, four pillows and four sleeping bags. To throw things away, we took 60 huge trash bags.
We started on a Monday and said our goodbyes and started driving to Mount Orange. At Mount Orange, there is a crack on the top of the mountain which leads to the orange lava. It took us two hours to reach the bottom of the mountain.
We unloaded our bags, and put on our backpacks and started hiking up the mountain. After a few minutes of rest, we started searching for the crack. Finally, after an hour, we found it.
I instructed Fiota and Colin to put their harnesses on. It was time for action! Then, we tied the ropes to the harness,  locked our hooks on the top of the mountain and put on our hiking gloves, so we wouldn’t get scratches. I went down first.
Once I got a firm grip, I called, “Colin, make Fiota come down.”
I was worried about the hardest part – getting Madison down because she was the youngest member of our team. First, Colin lowered her down carefully and asked, “Have you got a grip?”
Madison answered, “Yeah, but don’t let go of me.”
I said in a firm tone, “Colin will let go of you but Fiota will hold you.”
Fiota said in a surprised tone,“Hey, why me?”
I said dragging every word in the beginning and becoming fast at the end, “Well,…..see,” “I would’ve done it myself, but I can’t reach her.”
“O.K, fine” grumbled Fiota.
Finally, Colin and Madison made their way down.
We started doing our assigned jobs. I was looking for lava, Colin was searching for a place to rest, and Fiota was keeping an eye on Madison and our backpacks. After two hours, Colin found a place to stay. Fiota said, “I’m hungry” which I found  really surprising because we ate tons of food before we left. She was such a distraction and a poor sport. For dinner, we ate smoked salmon and salted mixed vegetables. Soon, we set up our tents and sleeping bags. It was time to rest!
While I was sleeping, Fiota was thinking…Fiota was certain that poisoning me was the only way to be the lead of the team. Fiota wanted to get all the credit for finding the lava. She was certain that she could sell lava and make a fortune out of it. Fiota woke up at 5:00 am, determined to poison my breakfast! She did not notice that Colin was awake as well! When he was about to get out of the tent, he saw Fiota setting up breakfast and he thought,“Oh, how thoughtful of Fiota!”  That thought only lasted until he saw her poisoning my maple syrup. Colin got up and ran to my tent when Fiota was not looking.  He shook me multiple times, until I woke up.
Colin quickly whispered to me, “I saw Fiota poison your maple syrup!”
I was in shock initially. I couldn’t believe she was planning to kill me. I knew Fiota was deceiving, but never thought of her as a murderer. I swore to myself not to pour the maple syrup on my toast. Soon everybody was awake and brushed their teeth and ate breakfast.  I had two pieces of toast (without maple syrup) and 1 granola bar.
After one hour, Fiota said, “I’m hungry.” I knew it was just a trick to make me eat poisoned food. I was smart enough not to touch the maple syrup anyway.
After hours of searching for lava I said, “I give up!”
Colin cheered me up by saying, “No matter what, you will always be a great scientist.”
Soon, I noticed that the metal scraps in my backpack were sticking to lagyroti rocks like magnets.  Orange lava is a liquid version of lagyroti rocks and is usually quite close to it.
In my calculations, orange lava is about 10 miles away from lagyroti rocks. Finally, we found the lava, everybody including Fiota screamed with joy! After we calmed ourselves down, I told Colin to get the lava cooler from his backpack. Colin also took his dry ice gloves to hold the cooler.  Since it was Fiota’s final chance to trick me, she said, “I am hungry”  again.
This time we had a plan. Colin and I were going to run away from Fiota while she was setting up the food. She started taking some food from the bag and next thing you know, we were running away to freedom.
After we ran a fair amount of distance, Colin went on his knees. After a few moments of silence, he asked “Will you marry me?”
I said, “Yes, but let’s first finish our discovery.”
Colin beamed with joy and said, “Whatever you want, my dear.” I felt a little embarrassed because Madison was there.
Soon we were on top of Mount Orange. It was great to see the sunshine again! We unhitched our harnesses and hiked down the mountain. As we reached the bottom, our car was waiting for us and we went home.
We all took a shower and had dinner which was baked potatoes and beans. We also got many hugs and kisses from our families and even played a family game.
Soon I told our friends and family the big news. I told them Colin and I are engaged. They were so happy for us. Everyone was crowding me with questions. It was so crazy!
The next day, Colin and I went to the NY Medical Lab.  We were talking to Dr. Pepper, the Director of the lab. He was very surprised at our discovery. He said, “I am very proud of your team and there is good news.  There is a $30,000 cash prize for the people who find orange lava and now it’s all yours!” I was so happy! We decided that we would each take 15,000 dollars. We got home and were surprised to see Colin and me on television. The news anchor said we will be receiving the Best Scientists Award on April 23rd 2011 at the International Science Center in Queens!  I was so excited.  Finally, Colin said, “Zara, you should write a story about our adventure.”
So, I did.  Where is that book, you might ask?  Well, you just finished reading it!