Module E – Weeks 1 to 17

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Lesson 1 – Beatrix Potter

The Tale Of Mrs. Tay True-Mouse

NEW WORDS: Beatrix, Muffet’s, attempting, ballistic, biz, bristles, burnoose, cellars, coattails, controlling, cupfuls, direful, disarrangement, dishcloth, disorderliness, disposition, domicil, dusting, fiz, freak, gravelly, hedgerow, hither, honeydew, hospitality, imbroglio, immaculate, incontestably, interloper, invitation, irascible, jostled, kindliness, larder, littlest, lounger, melon, miz, moody, muddied, multitude, niz, overtired, quirky, retrieved, roughly, scented, shipshape, siz, smirched, sodden, soils, spic, squalid, storeroom, sullied, suppertime, swerved, tiddly, trespassers, tubby, twiddled, washroom, whacking, widdly, wiping, wiz, wizz, woodmouse, yon, ziz

It was once upon a time. There was a woodmouse. She was named Mrs. Tay True-Mouse. She lived in a bank that was under a hedgerow. It was such a quirky domicil! There were yards of gravelly tunnels underneath. They led to storerooms and nut and seed cellars. They swerved hither and yon all through the roots of the bushes and trees.

There was a kitchen, a den, a pantry, and a washroom. Also, there was her bedroom. In there, she slept in a small box bed!

Tay was a “neat freak!” She was always sweeping things up. She was always dusting things off.

Sometimes, a bug would lose its way in the tunnels. “Scat! Scat! Wee, dirty feet!” said Tay. You’d find her whacking her dust pan on the floor. That would scare it out!

One day, a small old woman ran up and down. She had on a burnoose. And she had red spots on her. It was a ladybug! Tay yelled at her. “Your house is on fire! Fly home to your children! Save them!” Well, there was no house on fire! That was from a well-known poem!


One day, a tubby spider came in. It had been out in the rain. It wanted to get dry. Tay yelled at him! “I beg your pardon! Is this not Miss Muffet’s? Get out, you bold bad interloper! And don’t leave cobwebs here. My house is immaculate. It’s spic and span! I could eat off the floor!” She jostled the spider roughly. Out the door he went. He went down the hedge. There, he hung from a long bit of string.

Tay True-Mouse went into the tunnels. There was a far-off storeroom. That’s where she was headed. There were special things to eat there. So, she sniffed as she walked. What did she smell? And what was on the floor?!

“The air is scented. It smells of honey! Is it a rose smell? There are some of them blooming in the hedge. But wait! There are, incontestably, foot-prints here. These are marks of small, smirched feet!”

Then she turned and saw a bee. It was Miss Bum-Bum-Bee! She buzzed, “Ziz, biz, fizz!” Tay was about to go ballistic. She gave Bum-Bum an irascible look. And she wished she had her broom! But she bit her tongue. She was controlling her temper. She was attempting to be nice.


She greeted the bee. “Good day, Miss Bum-Bum. I do need to buy some bees-wax. But why are you down here? You always come to my door. You knock, and you say, ‘Ziz, biz, fiz‘.” Tay was kind of cross with her.

Miss Bum-Bum had a squeaky voice. “Mizniz, wiz.” She, too, seemed to have a moody disposition. Then she walked down the tunnel. She went into one of the storerooms. Tay used to keep acorns in that one. But she had used them all at Christmas. That room should be empty!

Well, this was not the case! Not at all! The room was full of moss. And it was in quite a state of disarrangement. She went to pull out the moss. Then, three or four bees buzzed at her. It was like they might start an imbroglio!!

Tay screamed at them. “I am not a hotel! These bees should not be here. This is MY place! I don’t want them here. They are trespassers. I must kick them out. I must think of who can help me.”

The bees kept up the noise! “Buzz, buzz, buzz!”

Miss Bum-Bum had a thought. “Biz, ziz, siz.”


Tay said back, “No, I don’t think so. I don’t want Mr. Jacks to help. That’s because he doesn’t wipe his feet. He always soils my floor.”

(Mrs. Tay True-Mouse really IS quite a neat freak, isn’t she?!)

Tay made her mind up to check on the bees later. She’d do it after suppertime. She got back to the parlor. There, she heard someone cough in a deep voice. Well, uh-oh! There sat Mr. Jacks!

He sat on a small rocking chair. He twiddled his thumbs, and he smiled. His feet were raised up on a chair. He lived in a drain that was below the hedge. It was in a quite squalid, sodden ditch.

“How do you do, Mr. Jacks? Dear me! You are quite wet!”

“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, Mrs. Tay True-Mouse! I’ll sit a while. Then I’ll dry off,” said Mr. Jacks.

He sat and smiled. The water dripped off his coattails. Tay went ’round with a mop. What a clean freak! That was her way!

He sat quite a while. Tay had been brought up to learn the art of hospitality. So, she had to ask if he would like some food.


First, she offered him cherry-stones. “Thank you! Thank you, Mrs. True-Mouse! I have no teeth, no teeth, no teeth!” said Mr. Jacks. He opened his mouth most wide. He had told the truth. He really did not have a tooth in his head!

Then she offered him thistle-down seed. He said, “Tiddlywiddly, widdly, poof, puff, poof, puff.” He then blew the thistle-down all over the room. It must have made his nose itch.

“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, Mrs. True-Mouse! Now what I really, REALLY should like would be a little dish of honey!”

“I’m afraid I have not got any!” said Tay.

“Tiddly, widdly, widdly, Mrs. True-Mouse!” said the smiling Mr. Jacks. “I can SMELL it. That is why I came to call.” Mr. Jacks rose slowly from the table. He began to look into the cupboards.

Tay followed him with a dishcloth. She kept wiping his large wet foot-marks off of the floor.

Mr. Jacks saw that there was no honey in the cupboards. Then, he then walked down the passage.

“Indeed, you will stick fast, Mr. Jacks!” said Tay.


“Tiddly, widdly, widdly, Mrs. True-Mouse!” First, he squeezed into the pantry. He said, “Tiddly, widdly, widdly. No honey, no honey, Mrs. True-Mouse?”

There were three creepy-crawly folks hiding in the plate rack! Two of them got away. But the littlest one he caught. Then he squeezed into the larder. He saw Miss Butterfly tasting the sugar. But she flew away out of the window.

“Tiddly, widdly, widdly,” Mrs. True-Mouse. “You seem to have a multitude of visitors!”

“And without any invitation!” said Tay. They went along the sandy passage.

“Tiddly, widdly.”

“Buzz! Wizz! Wizz!”

He met Miss Bum-Bum ’round a corner. He snapped her up. Then he put her down again and said, “I do not like bumble bees. They are all over bristles.” He wiped his mouth with his coat sleeve.

Miss Bum-Bum shrieked at him. “Get out, you muddied old toad!”

“I shall go to another room!” said Tay. She shut herself up in the nut cellar. At the same time, Mr. Jacks pulled out the bees-nest. They stung him. But he did not seem to mind.


In a while, Tay came out. There was no one there. They had gone away, but the disorderliness was just direful. “Never did I see such a sullied place! Smears of honey, moss, thistle-down, and marks of big and small dirty feet. And all over my nice clean house!”

She picked up the moss and the bees-wax that was still there. Then she went out and retrieved some twigs. They would partly close up the front door. “I’ll make it too small for Mr. Jacks!”

She went to the storeroom and fetched soft soap, a cloth, and a new scrubbing brush. But she had overtired herself. First, she fell asleep in her lounger. Then she went to bed. “Will it ever be clean here?” said poor Tay.

The next morning, she got up at the crack of dawn. She started to “spring-clean!” She cleaned for two weeks! She swept, she scrubbed, she dusted, and then, she rubbed the furniture with bees-wax. Finally, she polished her small tin spoons.

Now it was all neat and clean. She said, “Finally! My house is now shipshape!” She even gave a party to five other small mice. But Mr. Jacks was not to be at the party! Oh, he tried! He smelt the party. He came up the bank, but he could not squeeze in at the door!

They did show him one act of kindliness, though. They gave him acorn cupfuls of honeydew melon through the window. He was happy with that. He sat outside in the sun, and he said, “Tiddly, widdly, widdly! Thank you! To your good health, Mrs. True-Mouse!”

Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view. This lesson is a “READ-ALOUD” Core Knowledge (R) passage that has been rewritten to be at a lower-grade independent reading level complexity than the original, largely by shortening and simplifying sentence structures while maintaining the richness of the text content.)   

Lesson 2 – Pushes And Pulls

NEW WORDS: Ferris, Isaac, Kamal, Kamal’s, Maddy, Massie, NASA, Newton, Shepard, amble, antipodal, astronaut’s, astronauts, backhoes, carousel, centrifuge, centrifuges, contestant, distraction, elementary, excogitates, exert, explicates, handily, hypotheses, influencing, investigations, laboratories, languishing, lawnmowers, magnetic, magnets, mainly, metallic, microphone, microphones, motionless, multifold, object’s, participates, pinwheel, plenteously, propels, puck, racquet, rakes, rooftop, saw’s, scientist’s, scooter, scooters, seesaws, sketching, snowplow, solves, spigot, steely, strengths, surges, sways, toy’s, unexpectedly, unicycle, victor

Chapter One: A Scooter Race
It’s field day at Samuel Massie Elementary School, so everyone participates in games outside. Kamal is a contestant in a scooter race. The first one to cross the finish line wins. Kamal is ahead in the race, and he’ll soon roll across the finish line. He places both feet on his scooter, but something happens unexpectedly! Maddy surges past Kamal in the final few seconds, and she ends up becoming the victor in the race!

Field day at school has many races and games. They all have something that moves. Scooters are fun because they move. A ball moves when a girl kicks it. Entertaining things on a playground move, like swings and seesaws. Fun things at home can move, too, like wagons and bicycles. How many fun moving things can you think of?


Chapter Two: How Do Things Move?
Carnival rides are a fun distraction because they move! What are some ways that carnival rides move? A Ferris wheel moves around and around, a carousel horse moves up and down, and a swinging ride sways back and forth.

How do some other things move? This unicycle can move, as the girl makes it amble forward and backward, and these swings can move, as the boys make them glide back and forth. When people design and build things that move, they have to figure out how to get them to move and stop.

You know that some things move, but they can be motionless, too. Sometimes they’re still, and they stay still until something is influencing them to move. What makes a lawnmower move? Lawnmowers move because a person propels them. When things start to move, they’re pushed or pulled. Here, the grandparents exert a gentle force on the child on the swing, and the swing moves away from them. The dog pulls the sled, and it moves toward the dog.


Objects can push or pull each other. A bowling ball pushes the pins, and they fall over. The pins can push other pins, too; then the other pins tumble over. Why do some pins stay still, while some of the pins are still standing?

Water can push things from one place to another. Waves push shells onto a beach, and water pushes these ducks downstream in a race.

Of course, you’re plenteously aware that you can’t see air, but air can push things, too. Air pushes the flag; air pushes dust around these pyramids. Air pushes tree leaves during a storm; air pushes a pinwheel.

Something invisible is pulling on everything around you, and it is even pulling on you right now. That pull is called “gravity.” Gravity pulls everything down, so, when something falls to the ground, it is being pulled by gravity.

The girl pushed the ball with her foot, and then her kick pushed the ball up. How will gravity pull on the ball now? Gravity pulls the ball right back down. A motor pushes this swinging boat ride up, and then gravity pulls it back down toward the ground.


Chapter Three: Pushes and Pulls Are All Around You
Pushes and pulls happen all around you each day, and you can see plenty of pushes and pulls right at home. You pull open the refrigerator doors to look for a snack, then you push the door to close it. You can push or pull a handle to turn a water spigot on and off.

You can see pushes and pulls in everyday life. At a grocery store, a shopper pulls fruit from a shelf; another shopper pushes a cart. A baker pulls racks of bread; a deli worker pushes and pulls a blade to cut meat.

Think about pushes and pulls on a playground. To climb up the ladder, you use pushes and pulls, where you push with your legs, while you pull up with your arms. You don’t push to go down the slide, because gravity pulls you down a slide.

Here are more pushes and pulls you might see every day. Pushes and pulls can make things move. When a person zips your jacket, do they use a push or a pull? The ball flies into the air, so, who used a push to move the ball?

How Can You Describe Pushes and Pulls?
Pushes and pulls can be different strengths, and they can also go in different directions. So, you can describe pushes and pulls. It takes a strong pull for this tractor to start to move a load of lumber.


Weak or Strong. Some pushes and pulls are soft and languishing, while some pushes and pulls are hard and steely. A weak push will move this softball only a little. A soft hit is a weak push. A strong push will make the same ball go far. A hard swing is a strong push.

Pushes and pulls change the speed of things that are moving. Riders get into the water on tubes, and the water pushes them to begin slowly moving. A hard push makes a hockey puck move very fast. What happens to the puck when the boy pushes softly?

Up and Down, Side to Side. Pushes and pulls move things in different directions. The spinning toy rolls down the string. When it gets to the bottom, the string pulls on the toy. The pull changes a toy’s direction and the toy goes back up. A push moves the saw blade forward. Then a pull changes the saw’s direction to backward. The ball is rolling toward the girls. Which one will push the ball with her stick? What will happen to the direction the ball is moving?


Starts, Stops, and Turns.
Look around the room that you’re in. Many objects are still. They are not moving, so we say that they are “at rest.” An object that’s not moving stays at rest until it’s pushed or pulled. Some of these objects are moving, and some are at rest. What will cause the objects at rest to move? Moving objects can bump into each other, too. At first the bat is at rest. Then the boy pushes the bat. What will happen when the bat bumps into the ball? These balls are at rest, so they’re not moving. A player pushes the white ball with the stick. The white ball was at rest, but now it’s moving. The white ball bumps into the colored balls. Now the balls move. The balls push on each other.

Sometimes when objects bump into each other, they stop each other. One of these cars bumped into the other one. They once were moving, but now they’re both at rest. Football players push on each other. They slow each other down. Both were moving forward. Now neither one is moving forward.

Pushes and pulls can change the direction of something that’s moving. Look at the tennis ball. Which way is it going? Which way do you think it will go after the racquet pushes it?

You know that pushes and pulls can be strong or weak. Weak and strong pushes and pulls change an object’s motion in different ways. A strong push causes a big change to the motion of this ball. A gentle push causes a smaller change to the motion of the same kind of ball.


Chapter Four: How Can Pushes and Pulls Solve Problems?
Pushes and pulls can solve problems. What are some ways pushes and pulls help you at home? You push and pull a door to open and close it. The problem is how to get outside. You solve the problem by using a pull. The door opens; thus, a problem is solved! Here’s another problem. It’s dark, so how can you turn on a light to see? You can pull a cord to turn on a light, so the problem is solved!

It’s time for bed, and the problem is getting up into the bunk bed. You climb a ladder to get to the top bunk. A problem is solved! Is climbing mainly pushing, pulling, or both? How do you gather leaves? You pull them with a rake. People use pushes and pulls to solve problems. People build things like doors and rakes so that they can use pushes and pulls.

These inventions work using pushes and pulls, too. What problems do they help solve? Does a snowplow push snow or pull it? Painters use ropes to pull buckets of paint up to a rooftop. Can you think of an invention that could help to solve that problem more handily? Backhoes pull large amounts of dirt.

When people build things to solve problems, they go through steps. They have new ideas, and you’ll find them often sketching out their plans. Here’s a drawing of a plan that solves a problem. What is the problem? Does this plan solve the problem using pushes or pulls?


Chapter Five: Invisible Pushes and Pulls
Pushes and pulls happen when objects touch. Some pushes and pulls can also happen between objects that are not touching. These pushes and pulls are invisible! You’ve already learned about one invisible pull, which is gravity. This skier is up in the air now, and gravity will pull her down. Let’s hope that she lands safely!

Magnets produce invisible pushes and pulls, too. Magnets can pull on some kinds of metal. This magnet can pull large pieces of metal up from a pile. That is a strong pull! Magnets can pull on each other, and magnets can push on each other. Magnets have two ends. One end is the north pole, while the antipodal end is the south pole. Both poles can pull some metal objects. A north pole of one magnet pulls the south pole of another magnet. Different poles pull on each other. A north pole of one magnet pushes on the north pole of another magnet. Two same poles push on each other. Two north poles push each other. Two south poles push each other. A north pole and a south pole pull each other. A south pole and a north pole pull each other.

Magnets can help solve problems. You might want to stick a drawing to your refrigerator. That is a problem! Use magnets to hold the picture against the refrigerator. The problem is solved! Microphones have magnets inside of them. A magnet causes pushes and pulls to make the microphone work. Magnets are pushing and pulling tools we can use to help solve problems. Magnets help hold the train engine to the train car. Can you see the two magnets? A magnetic rack can store tools. The metallic strip is a magnet, and it pulls on the metal parts of the tools.


Chapter Six: Science in Action: Studying Pushes and Pulls
Kamal pushes his scooter faster and faster toward school. He is excited about science today. His class is going to have a video call with a scientist from the NASA space program. The scientist’s name is Dr. Shepard, and she studies pushes and pulls. Pushes and pulls are types of “forces.” They affect people and objects in space! Dr. Shepard explicates to the class that she excogitates forces like the pull of gravity.

Gravity is a force that pulls objects toward the center of Earth. When astronauts are on Earth, gravity pulls them down, just like it does to all of us. When they’re in space, they feel as if there’s no force pulling them down at all. Changes of pushes and pulls on our bodies affect us in multifold ways. Dr. Shepard does investigations to find out how.

Investigations are experiments that scientists conduct to test their hypotheses. Scientists also do investigations to answer questions that they have. Dr. Shepard can’t go to space to find out about the effects of pushes and pulls on astronauts. Instead, she comes up with ways to test her ideas here on Earth. She works in laboratories, places where scientists use tools and equipment to test ideas.


In a big lab, Dr. Shepard shows Kamal’s class a machine called a “centrifuge.” An astronaut sits inside one end of the centrifuge. Then the machine spins around and around. The spinning causes the astronaut to feel as if strong pulls are acting on him. Dr. Shepard uses centrifuges to investigate how a strong pull can affect an astronaut’s body during a rocket launch. Her research helps other scientists that launch astronauts into space.

To become a scientist herself, Dr. Shepard had to learn about pushes and pulls and gravity. Scientists always base their work on the discoveries of other scientists before them. Many scientists before Dr. Shepard have studied what happens when objects fall to the ground. They have observed how objects move when they are pushed and pulled. Dr. Shepard tells Kamal’s class that her work depends on discoveries made by a scientist named Sir Isaac Newton.

Sir Isaac Newton was an English scientist who lived over 400 years ago. He was the first scientist to explain gravity the way that scientists today understand it to work. Newton wrote descriptions about how pushes and pulls make things move. His descriptions are called “the laws of motion.” The first law of motion says that things that are sitting still will remain still until something pushes or pulls on them. Things that are moving keep moving the same way until a push or pull changes their motion.





An “auk” is a black-and-white diving bird, residing in northern seas and having webbed feet and small wings.


I love singing “Auld Lang Syne” late on New Year’s Eve.


My dad has been in auto sales for about ten years now.


Watch how that painter will daub his canvas with oil paint.


A faun is a half-human and half-goat mythological creature appearing in Greek and Roman mythology.


I can’t believe that she wore that tacky gaud to the silent auction.


That trucking company will haul our freight for a reasonable price.


The President said, “I laud Congress for its bipartisan efforts in voting for this bill.”


I watched a lion maul a zebra on a YouTube today.


Paul McCartney has been a famous musician for more than five decades!


My friend Saul got two dollars from the tooth fairy last night.


The spy thriller that we watched was taut and unpredictable from the opening shot to the grand finale.


I hope that the neighbor’s cat doesn’t waul all night like it did last night.


Make sure that all of you turn on your audio for this Zoom call.


Our finance chief told us that there would be a tax audit of our company next month.


An auger is a boring tool consisting of a bit rotated by a transverse handle.


For aught we know, there may be trillions of star systems, each containing its own solar system.


I need to caulk some cracks in the bathroom tile.


It’s a noble cause to support voting rights for all citizens.


It’s certainly not MY fault that you forgot to do your homework!


Tropical forests are some of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth, with all kinds of flora and fauna to study.


I can’t believe that she always wears such gaudy jewelry.


His appearance was frighteningly gaunt after he’d battled a stubborn illness that had curbed his hunger.


After putting a bandage on that wound, I’m going to further wrap it with gauze.


Ebenezer Scrooge was told that three ghosts would haunt him before Christmas morning.


We spent a long weekend on a little jaunt in Vermont to enjoy the autumn leaf colors.


My grandparents enjoyed a 1970s TV comedy called “Maude,” starring Bea Arthur.


Paula Abdul was was one of the original judges on the television series American Idol from 2002 to 2009.


Pause the video right there, and see if you can identify who that person is.


I’m going to make spaghetti sauce from scratch for tonight’s pasta dinner.


The new YMCA that’s being built near us is going to have a sauna in it.


The first thing that I need to do, according to the recipe, is to saute the shallots.


I am NOT going to let that bully taunt me into starting a fight that I don’t have a chance of winning.


Hagrid took Harry Potter to the vault at Gringotts Bank where his inheritance was stored.


We left out a plate of cookies for Santa Claus, and some carrots for his reindeer.


The jury found the defendant guilty of fraud.


I’m jealous of her beautiful auburn hair.


My birthday is August 6.


Our interview will be with the author of biographies of both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.


Our son appears to be on the mild end of the autism spectrum.


Autumn is my favorite season because of the cool temperatures and the pretty colors.


The local caucus is meeting next week to elect convention delegates.


The outfielder ran fast and caught the fly ball.


What’s causal when ice cream sales spike on July 4; is it the fact that it’s generally a hot day, or that it’s a holiday?


I’m tired of that annoying drip at the kitchen faucet.


I made a faulty assumption about my opponent’s chess skills, and she walloped me in our match.


The rocket launch has been delayed until they can figure out how to fix a gas leak.


I love the time of year when the mountain laurel blooms.


Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter Sunday in the Christian religion.


All was not for naught when she lost her bid to the Senate, because she gained positive visibility such that the new President made her Secretary of Education.


I think I’m suffering from nausea because I had shellfish for dinner, and I might be allergic to it.


Look at the paunch on that guy; for his health, he’d best get on an exercise regimen quickly.


Over the weekend, Dad read me the story of “The Prince and the Pauper,” written by Mark Twain.


No one will believe me, but I swear that I just saw a flying saucer hovering over the neighborhood!


I was taught at an early age to show respect and politeness to my elders.


A “tautog” is a black food and game fish that inhabits the waters along the North Atlantic coast of the U.S.


I have an issue with this proposed clause in the contract, and I hope that we can reword it this way.


Be careful, because if you try to flaunt these military regulations you will be kicked out of the Army with a dishonorable discharge.


With a psychologist, I am working out a childhood trauma that I had experienced.


The Van Gogh painting that’s up for auction will likely fetch over ten million dollars by the final bidder.


You are barely audible on the Zoom call; can you please check your microphone?


My attorney told me to shut up, because if I had kept talking, I would only augment my problems.


The nun in our story enjoyed the austere quality of life in the convent.


The autopsy made it clear that the victim had died because he had been poisoned.


Those baubles that she’s wearing look flashy, but they’re just cheap costume jewels.


His caustic humor didn’t earn him much applause from the audience.


Son, that caution sign tells you that the floor could be wet — and that you might slip on it.


That haughty sales clerk was so rude that I stomped out of the store without buying anything.


That old abandoned Victorian house up on that hill has GOT to be haunted!


It took me three hours to get all of our laundry done today.






Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view.) 
Stories Of Ancient Rome

Lesson 3 – Part One

NEW WORDS: BC, BCE, Balkans, Etruscans, Rachel, Readmuch, Teachwell, Tiber, civilizations, exception, reminded, timetable

Chapter One: Rome, Then and Now
“This is Rome,” said Mrs. Teachwell, pointing to a black dot on the classroom map. “But this is Rome, too,” she added, as she traced a circle that was so large it seemed to touch all four sides of the map.

The students looked confused. “How can it be both?” Charlie Chatter shouted out.

“I’ll explain,” Mrs. Teachwell said, “but please raise your hand if you would like to speak.”

Charlie Chatter nodded. It was not the first time he had heard this. In fact, Mrs. Teachwell had asked him to raise his hand many times, but it was hard for Charlie. His mouth seemed to be faster than his hand.

“Rome started out as a little town along the Tiber River,” Mrs. Teachwell explained.

“Like Egypt on the Nile?” Charlie asked.


“Yes,” said Mrs. Teachwell, “but let’s see that hand!” The students giggled. “As Charlie has just reminded us,” Mrs. Teachwell said, “many civilizations spring up along the banks of a river. Rome was no exception. It sprang up here, on the banks of the Tiber River, among seven hills. At first, Rome was just a few houses on a hill. Then, it grew and grew and grew. After a while, people started building houses on other hills nearby. Then, the little towns on the hills grew together to make a big city. In fact, to this day, Rome is known as the ‘City of Seven Hills’.”

“Then, the Romans fought wars with their neighbors. The Romans won most of these wars. They defeated the Etruscans, who lived north of them. They conquered the Greeks, who had settled to the south, as well. It wasn’t long before they controlled most of this piece of land that we call Italy.” Mrs. Teachwell traced the outline of Italy with her finger.

“Check it out!” Charlie Chatter shouted. “Italy looks like a boot!”

“Yes,” said Mrs. Teachwell. “Italy does look like a boot, but please, Charlie, raise your hand! This is your last warning. Now, does anyone know what this body of water that the boot of Italy sticks out into is called?”


Rachel Readmuch, who always had her nose in a book, raised her hand. Mrs. Teachwell called on her.

“It’s called the Mediterranean,” said Rachel.

“That’s right!” said Mrs. Teachwell. “This is the Mediterranean Sea. Rome grew so much that, at its peak, the Romans controlled all the land around the Mediterranean Sea. They took over most of Spain and France. They took over this area that we call the Balkans. They took over Greece and much of Turkey. They took over the Middle East, Egypt, and the coast of North Africa.”

Tim Timetable, who loved to learn about when things happened, put up his hand. “When was all this happening?”


“Rome started growing about two-thousand five-hundred years ago,” Mrs. Teachwell explained. “It started growing about five- hundred years before the birth of Jesus, in the years we call BC or BCE. It was still growing when Jesus was born. In fact, Jesus was born here, in a part of the Middle East that was controlled by the Romans.”

Tim Timetable made a note of the date.

Mrs. Teachwell went on: “We will be studying Rome for three weeks or so. Each day, we will have a report on a topic connected to ancient Rome. I’ll give the first few reports. Then, each of you can do some research and give the next few. How does that sound?”

The kids cheered. They were eager to learn more about Rome. Rachel Readmuch already knew quite a lot. Tim Timetable had lots of questions about what happened when. As for Charlie Chatter, he was looking forward to the day when he would get to give his report. Then, he would get to talk without having to raise his hand first!

Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view.) 
Stories Of Ancient Rome

Lesson 4 – Part Two

NEW WORDS: Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Athena, Bacchus, Cupid’s, Cupids, Delphi, Diana, Dionysius, Eros, Hera, Hermes, Juno, Juno’s, Jupiter’s, Latium, Minerva, Minerva’s, Neptune, Neptune’s, Olympus, Poseidon, Psyche’s, Remus, Rhea, Romulus, Romulus’s, Silvia, Valentine’s, Venus, Vulcan, Zeus, angered, bidding, dolphins, fountains, husband’s, immortals, kidnap, legendary, messenger, messengers, metals, myth, myths, presto, priestess, pronged, pups, remembering, satyrs, sculptor, taunt, tenderly, trembled, trident, volcanoes

Chapter Two: The Legend of Romulus and Remus
We learned last time that Rome started as a small town and grew to become a big city. Then, it grew some more until it became a great empire. That’s what historians tell us. The Romans themselves have a story that they like to tell about how their city got started. They say that Rome was founded by twins who had been saved by a wolf.

The twins were named Romulus and Remus. They were the children of a woman named Rhea Silvia and the god Mars. Their mother loved them, but her brother, the king of Latium, did not. He saw the boys as a threat. He thought they might grow up and take his crown from him. The king told one of his servants to find the twins and drown them in the Tiber River.

The servant found the twins, but he could not bring himself to drown them. Instead, he put the boys in a basket. Then, he set the basket in the river. The basket floated downstream. It drifted and drifted until, at last, it washed up on the banks of the river.


A she-wolf found the twins. She saw that they were hungry. She took them to her cave. There she gave them the same milk she fed to her wolf pups. Later, the twins were adopted by a shepherd. The shepherd raised them well. They grew up to be smart and strong.

When they were 18, Romulus and Remus decided to create a city of their own. They wanted to build a city on the banks of the Tiber, somewhere among the seven hills, not far from where they had washed ashore as babies. Soon, however, the brothers began to fight.

“Let’s build our city here!” said Romulus, pointing to a hill.

“No!” said Remus. “This hill over here is a much better spot.”


So, each brother started building his own city on a different hill. Each knew that it would be important to have a strong wall to protect the city that he was building. After a few days, Remus decided to visit Romulus to see how his city was coming along. It takes a long time to build a city, so Remus did not expect Romulus’s city to be finished. He decided, however, to taunt his brother and made fun of his unfinished wall. “You call that a wall?” he said. “That wall would not keep anyone out!” Then, to make his point, he stepped over the wall.

That made Romulus angry. He and Remus started to fight. No longer remembering that they were fighting one another, Romulus and Remus battled with all their might. Suddenly, Remus collapsed, fell to the ground, and died. When Romulus saw what he had done, he began to cry. He had not wished to kill his brother. He dug a grave for Remus. Romulus went on building his city. He named it Rome after himself. The rest, as they say, is history. Rome grew and grew. It became a great city, the center of a mighty empire.

The government of Rome made coins. The coins showed two young boys reaching up to touch a she-wolf. The people of Rome handed these coins back and forth. They used them to buy food and drinks. They used them to pay bills and buy clothing. And all of them knew who the two boys on the coin were: they were Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome.


Chapter Three: The Roman Gods, Part One
Let’s learn about the gods and goddesses of Rome. The ancient Romans did not believe in one God who ruled the entire world. They believed in many gods. In many ways, the Roman gods acted like human beings. They ate and drank. They played tricks on each other. They fell in love and got into fights.

But there was one main way in which the gods were not like human beings: the gods were immortal. Human beings might live for many years. Some might even live to be one hundred. Eventually, though, they would die. The gods, on the other hand, lived forever. They did not — and could not — die.

The Romans’ ideas about their gods were similar to the ancient Greeks. In fact, they worshipped many of the same gods as the Greeks, but they called those gods by different names. The chart shows the Roman names for some Greek gods you may already know.


Greek / Roman names:

Zeus / Jupiter.

Ares / Mars.

Hera / Juno.

Hermes / Mercury.

Poseidon / Neptune.

Dionysius / Bacchus.

Aphrodite / Venus.

Athena/ Minerva.

Eros / Cupid.

Apollo / Apollo.


The top god, sometimes called the father of the immortals, was a strong, bearded figure. The Greeks called him Zeus. The Romans called him Jupiter. Jupiter was a mighty god. He carried a thunderbolt that he could throw at anyone who angered him. If Jupiter threw his thunderbolt at you, that was the end of you. Jupiter lived on Mount Olympus with the other gods. Juno was Jupiter’s wife. She was the goddess of marriage and the protector of wives. The Roman gods were all related. They were like a big family. Jupiter’s brother Neptune was the god of the seas and oceans.

There are many statues of Neptune. In most of them, he is holding a special, three-pronged spear called a trident. Neptune’s trident had magical powers. The god could use it to stir up storms and waves. He could also wave it over the stormy seas and make the rough seas smooth. Roman sailors prayed to Neptune. “Great Neptune!” they prayed. “Send us good weather and smooth sailing!”


Mars was the god of war. Soldiers would pray to him before a big battle. The Romans fought a lot of wars, so they spent a lot of time praying to Mars.

Mercury was one of Jupiter and Juno’s sons. He was the messenger of the gods. He was as fast as a flash. In paintings, he is often shown with wings on his hat and his shoes, to show how fast he was.

Venus was the goddess of love. She was very beautiful. If Venus wanted someone to fall in love, she could send her son Cupid on a mission. Cupid would shoot the person with one of his magic arrows. The person would then fall in love with the first person he or she saw. Cupid is still with us today. You will see little Cupids all over the place on Valentine’s Day, when we celebrate love.

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Neptune are the names of planets in our solar system. These planets are named after the Roman gods. For example, the planet Mars is named after Mars, the Roman god of war.


Chapter Four: The Roman Gods, Part Two
Good morning, class! Last time we learned about some of the Roman gods and goddesses. Today, I’d like to tell you about a few more gods and goddesses. Vulcan was the blacksmith of the gods. He melted iron and other metals. Then, he shaped the metal to make a sword, a helmet, or a shield. Vulcan was the god of fire and volcanoes.

Apollo was the god of the sun. He was also the god of music and poetry. Apollo is another god who was worshipped by both the Greeks and the Romans. He had a famous shrine at Delphi, in Greece. When the Greeks and Romans wanted advice, they would send messengers to Delphi. The priestess of Apollo would give them an answer. It was almost never a clear answer, though. Often, it was more like a riddle that they had to figure out on their own.


Minerva was the goddess of wisdom. She was also the goddess of crafts and weaving. According to legend, Minerva was not born in the usual way. One day, Jupiter complained of a headache. Then — presto! — Minerva sprang, fully grown, from his head. Minerva’s special animal was the owl. Sometimes she was painted with an owl perched on her shoulder.

Diana was the goddess of the moon. She was also the goddess of the hunt. In statues, she is often shown as a young girl, with a bow and arrow. Sometimes, the sculptor will also show one of her dogs or a deer.

Bacchus was the Roman god of grapes and wine. He was followed by women and satyrs, who were half man and half goat. A famous story tells how pirates tried to kidnap Bacchus. That was a big mistake. The god transformed himself into a lion. He turned the boat into a lush garden. As for the pirates, he changed them into dolphins and sent them splashing away in the ocean.


Chapter Five: Cupid and Psyche, Part One
The Romans, like the Greeks, had many myths that they liked to tell. Some of these were stories about the gods. Some were stories about heroes. Some were love stories. The myth I am going to share with you is a love story.

Once there was a king who had three daughters. All three were lovely, but the youngest, whose name was Psyche, was so beautiful that words could not describe her. She was so beautiful that people began to say she was more beautiful than the goddess Venus.

Venus heard about Psyche. She was mad with jealousy. Was she, a goddess, to be forgotten on account of some young, pretty girl? She swore that this would never happen!

Venus, the goddess of love, was jealous when she heard others talking of the beautiful, young Psyche. Venus went to her son, Cupid. “My son,” she said, “punish that girl! Shoot her with one of your arrows. Make her fall in love with the ugliest man on Earth.”

Cupid set off to do his mother’s bidding. He took his bow and arrow and flew down to Earth. He took aim at Psyche. At the last minute, though, his finger slipped. Instead of shooting Psyche, he pricked himself. So, Cupid fell in love with Psyche.


Cupid came up with a plan that would let him visit Psyche in secret. He sent a message to Psyche’s family. It said that the gods had chosen a husband for Psyche. Psyche was ordered to climb to the top of a mountain, where she would meet her husband. She was also told that her husband was not a man, but a terrible monster.

Psyche was brave. She began to climb the mountain. Halfway up, she felt a warm wind surround her. Suddenly, she found herself in a magnificent palace, with fountains and gardens all around.

At first, Psyche was alone. When night fell, she lay down on a bed. During the night, Cupid visited her. He told her he was the husband the gods had chosen for her. Cupid stayed all night. He treated Psyche tenderly, but he left before the sun rose.

Night after night, Cupid came to visit Psyche. He came only at night, and he always left before the sun rose. Psyche knew him only in the darkness, but she accepted him as her husband.

One night, Psyche asked her husband why he came only at night, when she could not see him.


“Why do you wish to see me?” Cupid replied. “What does it matter what I look like? I love you. I treat you well. All I ask is that you love me.”

Psyche understood her husband’s words. Still, she was curious. Who was her husband? What did he look like? Why did he hide? Was he really a terrible monster? She felt that she had to find out.

One night, Psyche waited until her husband fell asleep. Then she got up and lit a lamp. She carried the lamp to the bed and lifted it up. What she saw was no monster, but the lovely face of Cupid himself. Her hand trembled with delight and a drop of hot oil fell from the lamp. The oil landed on Cupid’s shoulder and awoke him.

Cupid looked up at Psyche with sad eyes. “I asked only for your trust,” he said, “but this act of yours shows that you do not trust me. When trust is gone, love must depart.” Then, Cupid flew away. The palace vanished into thin air and Psyche was left alone.





AU & AUGH … continued:

I wanted to gag at the maudlin plot of that sappy romance novel.


Santa knows whether you’ve been naughty or nice.


That poor impoverished country has a paucity of resources with which to compete in the global order.


I can’t get to sleep because of the raucous party that they’re having next door.


The comedienne’s humor was pretty raunchy, but it was admittedly funny.


Our snooty boss will saunter into the meeting momentarily, likely with his nose in the air.


I can’t decide whether I want bacon or sausage with my scrambled eggs.


When we got to Paris for the first time, we found that the city’s vaunted beauties were very accurately described in tour guides!


This special mission for the Navy Seals will be fraught with danger, and everyone will need to be at the top of their game.


The candidate is a staunch traditional Republican who believes in the rule of law, fiscal responsibility, effective education, etc.


The defendant was acquitted on his “assault and battery” charge, as the jury determined that what he did was purely in self-defense.


I know that you’ll do a great job on this project, because your track record is one of very high quality.


Our team had to default the third game of the season, because a bunch of the players had become sick with food poisoning.


Sports practice in environments of heat and humidity like we’re having today will exhaust anyone!


The CEO said, “I want to applaud the product management team’s efforts in getting this new model car to market ahead of schedule.”


We must have adequate checks and balances in place to make it impossible for some dishonest employee to defraud the company of funds.


Linda had the audacity to claim that the work presented here was from her efforts, when it was clearly Bethany who did all the work.


The Congresswoman did pretty well with her speech, especially since most of the audience was from the opposing political party.


I did well with my first attempt, because the movie director is calling me back for a second audition!


Caesar Augustus was the first Roman “Emperor,” and he is known for being the founder of the Roman “Principate,” which is the first phase of the Roman Empire.


The research is being done under the auspices of the federal government.


If one is autistic, it usually manifests itself in early childhood.


The autocrat went one step too far in suppressing the news, and there were massive protests among the population.


My daughter thinks that she wants to go to med school.


The rabbit stood up on its haunches and started to sniff the air.


Macaulay Culkin became famous for his role as the clever child in the movie “Home Alone.”


The crowd erupted with applause as the diva completed her encore aria.


The boxer taunted his opponent by yelling, “I’m gonna slaughter you in tomorrow’s match!”


When you rent the car, make sure that it’s got automatic transmission, because I don’t know how to drive a stick-shift.


The plague of locusts went marauding across the land, destroying all of the crops.


My brother dreams of being the first astronaut to set foot on Mars.


Our school has set up a cool book fair in the auditorium.


The U.S. automobile industry is faced with challenges to find ways to reduce carbon emissions.

AU rolls to the “ER” sound:

The new CEO has quite an aura of confidence about her.


My daughter has some aural challenges, and we are taking her to an ear expert to see if we can zero in on the root cause.


I love the classical music of Gabriel Faure, especially his “Pavane in F-Sharp Minor.”


Aunt Laura is on a gluten-free diet, so take that into account when you come up with the menus for her visit with us.


Uncle Maury is using a cane until he’s completely recovered from his hip surgery.


My astrological sign is Taurus the bull.


I love Maurice Sendak’s story “Where the Wild Things Are.”


A centaur is a mythical beast having a horse’s body with a man’s head and torso in place of the head and neck of the horse.


Mrs. Muldaur, our librarian, helps us find good books that we’re really excited about reading.


Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor and a Stoic philosopher, the last of the Roman rulers known as the “Five Good Emperors.”


Amanda Gorman was the poet laureate who was chosen to read at the 2020 presidential inauguration.


Alpha Centauri is a triple star system that is the closest set of stars to our solar system.


I always thought that Barney the dinosaur was a bit on the goofy side!


Grab the thesaurus, and let’s find a good synonym for the word “stench.”


I’m going to dress up as a tyrannosaurus rex for Halloween.


Aw (also “aww“), did the poor little baby hurt himself?


I remember watching the TV in total awe as Neil Armstrong took his first step on the moon.


I will use an awl to poke the belt holes in this strip of leather.


I heard the “caw” of a very chatty crow.


Whoa, was that noise you cracking your jaw?


Vigilantes are people who try to take the law into their own hands, which makes them very dangerous.


The maw of the great white shark opened wide, and then the beast chomped off the end of the tiny fishing boat.


The cat’s sharp claws extended from its paw, a threat that certainly kept me at bay!


The thought of eating a raw egg makes me want to gag.


I saw your editorial in the paper yesterday, and I think that it was very hard-hitting!


The strong gale winds caused the ship to yaw off course towards the north.


The day care worker said, “I surely hope that the babies don’t bawl so much tomorrow!”


We’ll take the fishing boat out on the lake just before dawn.


I know that that 7′ 2″ tall man is amazing to look at, but it is not polite to gawk (also “gawp“) at him.


I just saw a hawk dive down and grab what looked like a chipmunk.


I wish that we could find a way to get our lawn to look as verdant as our next door neighbor’s.


Maybe we can find you a good-value guitar at a reputable pawn shop.


A “yawl” is a ship’s small boat, rowed by a crew of four or six.


Our cat took a huge yawn, and I’d never realized how sharp her teeth were!


My sister let out a loud yawp when a bee stung her.


That guy is so ambitious that he will try to claw his way to the top at any cost.


Let’s draw up a contract and get this deal signed as quickly as possible.







Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading

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Lesson 5 – Part Three

NEW WORDS: Caesar, Cannae, Carthage, Carthaginians, Cicero, Damocles, Gallic, Gaul, Hannibal, Hannibal’s, Julius, Proserpina, Punic, Scipio, Senate, Senators, Syracuse, Tarquin, Trasimene, Trebbia, Veni, Vici, Vidi, Zama, advisor, ambitious, ambrosia, avalanches, barbarians, confronted, conquering, consul, consuls, curiosity, delivered, democracy, downfall, envied, filling, generals, happiest, lentils, marches, modeled, obeyed, pages, pater, patrician, patricians, plebeians, poets, poorer, ransom, ransomed, realm, replaces, republic, revolt, rockslides, senseless, strand, suffered, tyrant, underworld

Chapter Six: Cupid and Psyche, Part Two
When Cupid left Psyche, Psyche was very sad. She tried to find Cupid. She wandered night and day. But she could not find her lost love. At last, Psyche went to the temple of Venus. She begged the goddess to help her find Cupid.

Venus was not eager to help. She was still jealous of Psyche and her beauty. She gave Psyche a task, confident that the girl could never complete it. She led Psyche to a huge pile of grain. In the pile were wheat, millet, barley, and lentils, all mixed up. “Sort the grains into stacks by morning,” Venus ordered. Then, with a laugh, she disappeared.

Psyche saw that there were millions of seeds. She knew there was no way that she could finish the task. She sat down and began to cry. Then, something wonderful happened. Through her tears, Psyche noticed a seed moving, then another, and then many more. An army of ants had come to aid her. Each ant was carrying a seed. Together, they sorted seeds into separate piles.

In the morning, Venus was surprised to find the work done. “Your next task will not be so easy!” she said. “Take this box to the underworld and ask the queen of that realm, Proserpina, to send me a little of her beauty.”


Psyche’s heart sank. No human had ever visited the underworld and returned to tell the tale. Just then, a voice spoke to her. “Take a coin for the boatman,” the voice said. “If you pay him, he will carry you across the river to the underworld. Take a cake, as well. If you give the cake to the three-headed dog who guards the underworld, he will let you pass. Above all, once Proserpina has placed beauty in the box, do not open it!”

Psyche obeyed the mysterious voice. She traveled safely to the underworld, and Proserpina gave her the box of beauty for Venus. Psyche could not help wondering what was inside the box. She lifted the lid and peeked inside. A deep sleep came over her. She fell senseless to the ground.

Luckily, Cupid was watching. Although he was disappointed in Psyche, he was still very much in love with her. When he saw her lying on the ground, he took pity on her. He lifted the sleeping spell and Psyche awoke.


“See what curiosity gets you?” Cupid said. He smiled at Psyche. Psyche smiled back. Psyche delivered the box to Venus. Cupid went to Jupiter and begged to marry Psyche with Jupiter’s blessing. Jupiter agreed. He allowed Psyche to drink ambrosia, the drink of the gods. Psyche became immortal. So, Cupid and Psyche were married and lived happily ever after.


Chapter Seven: The Sword of Damocles
Have you ever wished that you were a king? Does that seem like the best job a person could have? Well, before you decide for sure, listen to this legend that was made famous by the Roman writer Cicero more than two thousand years ago.

Damocles was a friend of Dionysius, the king of Syracuse, a city in southern Italy. Damocles envied his friend. He believed that the king had a very good life. He had all the riches and power he could want. What could be better?

“You think I’m lucky?” Dionysius said to him one day. “If you think so, let’s trade places. You sit here, on the throne. Try it for just one day. Then, tell me if you still think I’m lucky.” Damocles accepted his friend’s invitation. He was eager to live the life of a king.

When the day came, Damocles ordered servants to bring him fine robes. He had them set out a great banquet of food. He ordered expensive wine and fine music. He sat back, sure that he was the happiest man in the world.


Then, he looked up. He caught his breath in fear. Above his head was a sword. It was dangling from the ceiling, held by a single strand of horse’s hair. Damocles could not speak. He could not eat. He could not enjoy the music. He could not even move.

“What is the matter, my friend?” asked Dionysius.

“How can I conduct my life with that sword hanging above me?” Damocles asked.

“How indeed?” answered Dionysius. “Now you know how it feels to be king. That sword hangs over my head every minute of every day. There is always the chance the thread will break. An advisor may turn on me. An enemy spy may attack me. I might make an unwise decision that brings about my downfall. You see, my friend, with power comes danger.”


Chapter Eight: The Roman Republic
For many years, Rome was governed by kings. Some of these kings were good men who ruled well. Some were bad men who treated the Romans poorly. One of the kings was so bad that, because of his example, the Romans became convinced that they should get rid of kings altogether. His name was Tarquin. The Romans called him Tarquin the Proud. Tarquin was a tyrant. He was a cruel ruler who treated the people badly. In the end, the people got so mad at Tarquin that they joined together and drove him out.

Once King Tarquin had been driven out, the Romans set up a different sort of government. They set up a republic — a kind of government with no kings.

How is a monarchy different from a republic? What Are the Differences? Who rules? Monarchy: The king rules. Republic: Elected officials rule. How long is the rule? Monarchy: The king usually rules until he dies. Republic: Officials serve for a set length of time. Who replaces the ruler? Monarchy: A king is usually succeeded by his oldest son. Republic: A new official is elected to replace the previous official.


One of the most important parts of the Roman republic was the Senate. The Senate was a group of older men who met to make decisions and pass laws. Many of the Senators were from old, wealthy families. Almost all of them had fought in the army and had earned the trust of their fellow Romans.

Each year, the people would elect two men to serve as consuls. To be chosen as a consul was a great honor. It was the most powerful position in the Roman republic.

Rome was a republic, but it was not a democracy. Some people played a role in the government, but many more played no role at all. In the early years of the Roman republic, one group held most of the power. These were the patricians. The word patrician comes from the Latin word “pater,” or father.

The patricians thought of themselves as the fathers of the people. They felt that it was their job to take care of the people in the same way that parents take care of their children. The patricians were from wealthy, old families. All of the men in the Senate were patricians. In the early days of the republic, the men selected to be consuls were also patricians.


The rest of the people — the ones who were not patricians — were called plebeians. The plebeians were the poorer people. In the early years of the republic, they had very little power.

The Roman republic lasted for more than five hundred years. Many Romans loved the republic. They thought it was the best kind of government a country could have. They were, however, not the only ones who thought so.

The Founding Fathers of the United States also believed that a republic was the best kind of government. When the colonies declared their independence from Great Britain in 1776, they broke away from a king (King George III) and set up a republic. They created a Senate that was modeled on the Roman Senate. They created a president who was a lot like the Roman consuls. They even built government buildings that looked like ancient Roman buildings. So, you can see that Roman ideas about government have had a big influence all around the world.


Chapter Nine: Hannibal Crosses the Alps
The Romans faced many enemies, but the strongest and most determined enemy who they ever faced was an African general named Hannibal. Hannibal came from Carthage, a city on the coast of Africa. Carthage was home to many merchants and traders. Carthage also had an army and a navy. The Carthaginians took over much of North Africa and Spain. They even took over islands off the coast of Italy.

The Romans saw Carthage as a rival. They fought three wars against Carthage. These wars are known as the Punic Wars and are thought to have been fought during the years 264–146 BC.

Hannibal’s father fought against Rome in the First Punic War, 264–241 BC. He made his son swear he would carry on the fight against Rome. Hannibal swore he would and kept his promise. It was Hannibal who led the fight against Rome in the Second Punic War, 218–201 BC. Hannibal gathered an army in Spain. He had tens of thousands of foot soldiers. He had thousands more who fought on horseback.


Best of all, he had his special forces: a squad of elephants. Hannibal had learned that few men are brave enough to stand and fight when they see a thundering herd of elephants coming their way.

Hannibal wanted to attack Rome. However, to invade Italy, he would have to march his army over a range of mountains called the Alps. The Alps were tall. The peaks were covered with snow and ice. There were no big roads that led across. There were only a few slippery paths.

Most men would not have tried to cross the mountains, but Hannibal was not like most men. He marched his army over the mountains. His men suffered terribly. Some died from rockslides or avalanches. Others froze to death. Many of the elephants did not make it across. In the end, though, Hannibal got his army across the mountains and into Italy.

In Italy, Hannibal went on the attack. He beat the Romans at Trebbia in 218 BC. Then, he wiped out an entire Roman army at the Battle of Trasimene in 217 BC. The Romans lost 15,000 men. The Battle of Cannae was even worse. The Romans lost at least 50,000 men, including 80 of their 300 Senators.


People thought that this might be the beginning of the end for Rome. They did not see how the Romans could go on. But the Romans did go on. They raised another army and sent it out to stop Hannibal. This time, the Romans avoided big battles. Instead, they fought a lot of little battles. They attacked Hannibal’s army here and there. They blocked his troops and slowed down his marches. They also launched a counter-attack. A Roman general named Scipio took Roman troops to Africa. The leaders of Carthage wrote to Hannibal. They told him to come home and protect Carthage.

Hannibal did as he was told. He left Italy and returned to Carthage. At the Battle of Zama, he confronted Scipio. This time, the Romans were victorious. Hannibal won most of the battles in the Second Punic War, but he lost the war.

After the Battle of Zama in 202 BC, Carthage was never quite the same. They fought another war against Rome — the Third Punic War in the years 149-146 BC — but it was clear that Carthage was sinking, and Rome was on the rise.


Chapter Ten: Julius Caesar, Great Fighter, Great Writer
After the Punic Wars, generals started to play a big part in Roman history. Roman generals went all around the Mediterranean, fighting battles and conquering new lands. Some of these generals became heroes. Some of them got to be so famous and so popular that they threatened to take over the republic. That’s what happened with Julius Caesar.

Julius Caesar came from an old Roman family. He was proud and ambitious, with a high opinion of himself. When he was a young man, Caesar was captured by pirates. The pirates told him that they would kill him unless he could pay a ransom of twenty talents. Caesar laughed at them. He told them that they clearly didn’t know what sort of man they had captured. He was Julius Caesar. He was not a man to be ransomed for just twenty talents! Caesar told the pirates that he would not allow himself to be ransomed for less than fifty talents!

Caesar told his friends to raise the money. He stayed with the pirates, writing poems. He read some of his poems to the pirates. They shrugged. They didn’t care much for poetry. They were pirates, not poets. They just wanted to collect the ransom money.


Caesar got angry at the pirates. He scolded them for not liking his poems. He told them they had no taste. He told them that they were barbarians. He told them that someday he would come back and punish them for their bad taste. The pirates thought Caesar was joking. Maybe they thought he was crazy. At any rate, as soon as they got the ransom money, they quickly forgot about him.

But Caesar did not forget about them. He went back to Rome, got some ships, and hired some good fighters. Then, he tracked down the pirates and killed them. Caesar quickly established himself as a man who knew what to do with his sword and also with his pen.

Once, he was sent to Asia. The people there were in revolt. Caesar led a Roman army there and put down the revolt. Then, he got out his pen to write his report. The normal thing would have been to write a long report, filling several pages, but that was not Caesar’s style.

This is the report that Caesar sent back to Rome: Veni, Vidi, Vici. That’s the whole report. Those three words — written in Latin, the language of ancient Rome —mean, “I came, I saw, I conquered.” What else was there to say? Mission accomplished!


Caesar led an army into the land the Romans called Gaul. Today, we call it France. Gaul was not part of the Roman civilization when Caesar marched in, but it was when he marched out a few years later. Caesar conquered it. Then, he wrote a book about how he did it. The first sentence in his book is famous. It is written in Latin. In English, the words mean, “The whole of Gaul is divided into three parts.” If you ever study Latin, you may have a chance to read Caesar’s book on the Gallic Wars. It’s so clear and so well-written that teachers all around the world still use it to teach Latin to students.

Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view.) 
Stories Of Ancient Rome

Lesson 6 – Part Four

NEW WORDS: Androcles, Augustus, Brutus, Cleopatra, Maximus, Pantheon, Pompey, Rubicon, ahhhhhhh, aqueducts, blistering, chanting, colosseum, conspirators, crouches, crusts, dictator, dictators, emperor, entertainment, faltered, gladiator, gladiators, invader, jailer, jailers, lifting, limps, ooooowww, owowowowow, purred, purrrrr, purrs, reformed, rrrrr, rrrrrr, rrrrrrroarrrr, shrank, stabbed, stadium, tending, theaters, troubles, upsetting, whimpering

Chapter Eleven: Julius Caesar Crossing the Rubicon
After he conquered Gaul, Caesar started marching back to Rome. By this time, the Roman Senators were very nervous about Caesar. They thought that he might march into Rome and take it over. The Senators sent Caesar a message. They told him to stop and to send his soldiers home. They ordered him not to cross the Rubicon River. If he did, they said he would not be treated as a hero. Instead, he would be treated as a traitor and an invader.

In the year 49 BC, Caesar crossed the Rubicon. He is said to have remarked in Latin, “The die is cast.” That was his way of saying that he knew he was taking a big risk. Crossing the Rubicon meant that there was no turning back.

Caesar’s actions led to a civil war — a war in which Romans fought against Romans. Caesar was the leader on one side. Pompey, another famous Roman general, was the leader on the other side. Caesar defeated Pompey and chased him to Egypt, where Pompey was killed. When Caesar got to Egypt, he found another country tangled up in a civil war. The princess Cleopatra was trying to take power from her brother.


Caesar sided with Cleopatra. He helped her become Queen of Egypt. Caesar had big plans. He didn’t think Rome was run the way it should be. He wanted to change a lot of things. He had the Senate pass new laws. He replaced the old calendar with the one that we still use today. (Did you know that the month of July is named for Julius Caesar?)

Caesar wanted to do more, but he felt that he needed more power. He got himself appointed dictator. At first, he was appointed dictator for only one year. That was not so unusual. The Romans had chosen dictators in the past. A dictator could be put in power during times of trouble. But the dictator was only supposed to rule for a little while, until the troubles passed. That was not what Caesar had in mind.

He had himself appointed dictator for ten years. That upset a lot of people. How do you think those people felt a little later, when Caesar had himself appointed dictator for life? That was really too much for some people. For hundreds of years, Rome had been a republic. Now, Caesar was setting himself up as a dictator. Perhaps, he even wanted to be a king. That was even more upsetting. The Romans had driven out the kings hundreds of years earlier.


A group of Romans agreed that Caesar was a threat to the republic. They stabbed him to death in the Senate. Some of the men who stabbed Julius Caesar were men he considered friends. One of them, Brutus, was a man Caesar had treated almost like a son. How could these men kill Caesar? Brutus explained that it was not that he loved Caesar less, but that he loved Rome — and the Roman republic — more. Brutus and the other conspirators killed Caesar to save Rome. At least, that was the plan.


Chapter Twelve: After Caesar, Augustus and the Roman Empire
The men who killed Julius Caesar were trying to save the republic. They did not succeed. After Caesar was killed, another civil war broke out. The man who came out on top at the end of the war was a man known as Augustus Caesar, or just Augustus.

Augustus was an adopted son of Caesar, and he agreed with Caesar that Rome needed to change. But he was smart. He knew that the Romans cared about their history. They would not be happy if he came to power and changed everything all at once. What he did instead was very clever. He made himself emperor, and he made it clear that he intended to serve until he died. That meant that Rome was no longer a republic. But Augustus did not sweep away all of the old traditions. He let the Romans keep the Senate and consuls. Still, everybody knew that it was Augustus who was really in charge.

Augustus brought peace to a country that had been fighting civil wars for many years. He reformed the government and conquered new lands. He set up monuments. He built magnificent new buildings, including temples, theaters, and bath houses. He also repaired old buildings and decorated them with fancy stone, like marble. He once boasted that he “found Rome brick and left it marble.”


One of the most famous buildings built during the reign of Augustus is the Pantheon. The Pantheon was built as a temple to all of the Roman gods. (“Pan” means “all” and “theo” means “gods.”) The Pantheon is a beautiful building with a domed roof. While the original building was destroyed in a fire, the Pantheon still standing today was built to replace it. Thousands of tourists visit it every day.

The Pantheon is only one of many examples of great Roman architecture. Another one is the Colosseum. The Colosseum, built not long after the reign of Augustus, is a huge, oval stadium. The Romans went to the Colosseum to see people and animals fight. The Colosseum would hold fifty thousand people. Today the Colosseum is in ruins, but some of it is left to give us a good idea of what it would have looked like.

The Romans also enjoyed watching chariot races. These were held in an even larger stadium, called the Circus Maximus. For the Romans, a chariot race or a fight was good entertainment, the way a football game or a movie is for us today.

The Romans also built roads and aqueducts. The roads brought people from all around the Empire. The aqueducts were used to bring water from the country into the city. Some of the aqueducts are also very beautiful.


Chapter Thirteen: Androcles and the Lion
The ancient Romans liked to watch gladiator fights. They liked to watch a gladiator fight against other gladiators or against wild animals. As mentioned in the previous chapter, the Romans even built the Colosseum for these fights. The Colosseum was so big that it could hold fifty thousand people! This is a gladiator story, and it ends in the Colosseum. You may be surprised by the ending!

Once there was a Roman slave named Androcles. Androcles escaped from his master and ran away. One night he hid in a cave. He crept into the cool darkness, lay down, and fell asleep. In the middle of the night, Androcles was awakened by a loud roaring noise. He got up and squinted in the darkness. What he saw scared him half to death. It was a lion returning to his den! Androcles shrank back, fearful for his life. Then, he saw that the lion was suffering. It was roaring in pain. The great beast limped into the cave and flopped down. It lifted its right front paw and licked it.

Androcles took a step toward the lion. The big cat spotted him, but he did not seem angry. Instead, he gave Androcles a sad look, as if asking for help. Androcles crouched next to the lion. He looked and saw a thorn stuck in the lion’s paw. He put out his hand. The lion did not try to bite him. He touched the lion on the paw. The lion sat still. Then, very gently, Androcles took hold of the thorn and pulled it out.


The lion looked Androcles in the eye and purred. That was the beginning of a warm friendship between Androcles and the lion. They lived together in the cave. They slept side by side, keeping each other warm.

Then, one day Roman soldiers discovered Androcles. The law of Rome said that runaway slaves must be punished. So, Androcles was captured and taken to the city of Rome. For ten days, Androcles sat alone in a jail cell. The jailers fed him nothing but water and crusts of stale bread. Then, one of them told him that he was to meet his death in the Colosseum. Androcles knew what that meant. Runaway slaves were often forced to fight in the Colosseum. Androcles knew that he would be forced to fight against gladiators, or perhaps against vicious, hungry wild animals.

Androcles was led out of his cell. As he walked into the Colosseum, he knew that he would soon die. Androcles was brave. He stepped into the arena and prepared himself for the fight, and for death. The crowd cheered as Androcles stepped into the arena. They cheered even more loudly when a lion appeared on the other side of the arena.


Then, something strange took place. This was not just any lion. It was the lion that Androcles had befriended. The lion recognized his friend. Instead of attacking, the beast ran up to Androcles and began licking his face. Androcles stroked the lion and rubbed his belly. The crowd was amazed. They had never seen anything like this. They cheered loudly.

“Free the slave!” one of the men in the crowd shouted.

“Free the lion!” another shouted.

Soon, the whole crowd was yelling and shouting. The emperor was the one who made the decision. He held out his hand, with his thumb to the side. Then, he tilted it so that his thumb pointed up. Thumbs up! That was the sign! It meant that Androcles and the lion had pleased the emperor. They would be saved! So Androcles and the lion were set free. They lived a long life, and their friendship never faltered.


Chapter Fourteen: Androcles and the Lion, Reader’s Theater
Cast: Narrator 1, Narrator 2, Androcles, Lion, Crowd, Man (in the Crowd), Woman (in the Crowd), Emperor.
Scene One: In a cave in the forest
Narrator 1: Thousands of years ago, there was a slave named Androcles, who lived in ancient Rome. Every day, Androcles was sent by his master out to the fields with the other slaves. There they spent the entire day in the blistering hot sun, tending the master’s crops. Only when dusk fell, at the very end of the day, did they return to the slave quarters where they lived. Each night, after a meal of stale bread and water, they fell exhausted to the hard floor and went to sleep.


Narrator 2: One day when it was time to return from the fields, Androcles did not follow the other slaves. As the others went back to their quarters, Androcles hid at the edge of the field. When it was dark, he ran as fast as he could, far into the forest. When he could run no more, he happened upon a small cave. He crept inside into the cool darkness and fell asleep.

Lion (roaring several times, but then whimpering in pain): Rrrrrrroarrrr…… Rrrrrrroarrrr….. Rrrrrrroarrrr …owowowowow….

Androcles (voice shaking): Who’s there? Where are you?

Lion (roars two more times in pain): Help me! Help me. Here!

Androcles (voice still shaking): Whoa! How can I help you?

Lion (limps towards Androcles and lifts his front paw): Just help me. My paw, my paw. Please help me.


Androcles (crouches carefully next to the lion, lifting its paw): Well, let me take a look. Aha! I see what the problem is. There is a very large thorn stuck in your paw. Hold very still and I will pull it out. (Androcles gently pulls the thorn out of the lion’s paw.)

Lion: Ooooowwwahhhhhhh. That’s much better. Thank you. (Lion rubs up against Androcles and purrs.)

Narrator 1: That was the beginning of a warm friendship between Androcles and the lion. They lived together in the cave. They slept side by side, keeping each other warm.

Narrator 2: Then one day, a group of Roman soldiers on patrol stumbled upon the cave where they discovered Androcles. Roman law said that runaway slaves must be punished. So, the soldiers dragged Androcles out of the cave and back to the city of Rome.

Narrator 1: Androcles was taken to jail. He was left alone in a cell for ten days with little to eat or drink. On the tenth day, the jailer came to tell him that he would be taken to the Colosseum that afternoon. Androcles knew that this could mean only one thing. He would be forced to fight to the death against gladiators or vicious, wild animals.


Scene 2: The Colosseum
(The emperor and crowd stand in a circle as if seated at the Colosseum. Androcles enters the center of the circle from one side.)

Crowd (chanting Androcles’ name as he enters the circle): Androcles! Androcles! Androcles!

Lion (shakes mane and roars loudly as he enters the circle from the other side): Rrrrrrroarrrr…… Rrrrrrroarrrr….. Rrrrrrroarrrr.

Crowd (turns and looks at the lion and cheers loudly).

Emperor: Let the games begin!

(Androcles and the lion approach each other with heads down, ready to fight. Then, both look up and stare into each other’s eyes.)

Lion (purrs loudly and rubs up against Androcles’ leg): Purrrrrrrrrrr….rrrrr.


Androcles (bends forward to hug the lion): My friend, my friend—it’s you!

Crowd (cheers loudly).

Man in the crowd: Free Androcles! Free Androcles!

Woman in the crowd: Free the lion! Free the lion!

Crowd (all chanting): Free Androcles! Free the lion! Free Androcles! Free the lion!

Emperor (waves both arms to quiet the crowd; holds out his right hand with his thumb to the side and then tilts his thumb up).

Crowd (all chanting): They’re saved! They’re both saved! Hooray!

Narrator 1: So Androcles and the lion were both set free. They lived a long life and their friendship never faltered.

Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view.)
Stories Of Ancient Rome

Lesson 7 – Part Five

NEW WORDS: Alexander, Astur, Byzantium, Carthaginian, Constantine, Constantine’s, Dionysius’s, Etruscan, Etruscan’s, Hagia, Hamilton, Horatius, Jerusalem, Justinian, Justinian’s, Macaulay’s, Palestine, Pilate, Pompeii, Pontius, Roman’s, Sextus, Sophia, Tarquin’s, Tuscans, accepting, approve, aqueduct, armor, attracted, avalanche, barbarian, chuckle, cometh, comitium, committed, confront, conquest, conspirator, courtyards, creating, crouch, custom, dangle, dandled, divine, emperors, empress, era, erupt, erupted, eruption, expanded, halting, hew, historian, illegal, issued, leaping, loosely, measurement, miracles, mosaic, mosaics, nurses, passages, pillar, pillars, plebeian, plume, preaching, privilege, protective, pumice, quoted, recognition, recognizable, reform, renamed, resulting, riot, satyr, scholars, selects, sentenced, showered, signaled, soaring, squat, stemming, strait, supporting, supports, surrendered, taunts, territories, thunderbolts, totter, volcanic, voting

Chapter Fifteen: The Rise of Christianity
During the reign of Emperor Augustus, something important happened. But at the time, almost nobody noticed. Long ago, a man named Jesus of Nazareth was born. Jesus was a Jewish man who later became an important teacher. He walked among crowds of people teaching. People said that he worked miracles. They said that he changed water into wine and walked on the water. They said that he cured the sick, and even brought dead people back to life.

Jesus attracted followers. But he also attracted the attention of the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. Pilate had heard that Jesus called himself “the king of the Jews.” He did not like the sound of that. The Jews of Palestine were subjects of the Roman Emperor. There was no room for a “king” and a governor in Rome.

Pilate had Jesus arrested. He put Jesus on trial and sentenced him to death. Even though Jesus died, a group of his followers believed that Jesus was a divine being, the son of God. They believed that he had been sent to Earth by God. They believed that after his death, he was taken up to heaven by God.


The followers of Jesus were called Christians. They believed that Jesus was sent by God to save people. They began sharing the story of Jesus with anyone who would listen. Lots of people thought that they were crazy. But some people listened. The Christian religion began to grow.

One man did more than anyone else to spread the Christian religion. His name was Paul, and he was a Roman citizen. He traveled all around, spreading the religion of Jesus. Eventually, Paul was put to death, like Jesus, but not before he had set up Christian churches all around the Roman Empire.

At first, the Roman emperors paid no attention to this new religion. Later, they started to pay attention, but only because they did not approve of the Christians. Remember: the Romans worshipped many gods. Everyone in the Roman Empire was expected to worship gods like Jupiter, Juno, and Mars. The Romans believed that these gods protected the state. They believed that people should honor them.


That was a problem for the Christians. They believed that there was only one God. They believed it was wrong to worship the Roman gods. So, for many years, the Roman emperors treated Christians as enemies of Rome. They did what they could to get rid of the Christians. They threw some of them in jail. They had others put to death. But the Christians did not give up their faith. They kept on believing, and they kept on preaching.

The man who ended the long war between Rome and Christianity was the Emperor Constantine. He became Emperor about three hundred years after the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. By that time, there were a lot of Christians. In fact, Constantine’s own mother became a Christian. Constantine became a Christian, as well.

When Constantine became a Christian, everything changed. For hundreds of years, the Roman emperors had punished the Christians. Now with Constantine, Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire.


Chapter Sixteen: The Second Rome: From Constantine to Justinian
Constantine was the first Roman Emperor to support Christianity. He issued an order that made it illegal to put Christians to death, or even to throw them in jail. Constantine built churches all over the empire. He built one in Bethlehem, where Jesus was born. He built another in Jerusalem, where Jesus died. He built churches in Rome, and in the ancient city of Byzantium, in present-day Turkey. Byzantium was Constantine’s favorite city. He adopted it and renamed it Constantinople. His goal was to turn the city into a “new Rome,” a sort of Rome away from Rome.

Constantine did not want Constantinople to replace Rome. He hoped that Constantinople would take its place beside Rome and that the two cities would survive, side by side, for many years. He wanted Rome and Constantinople to be like two mighty pillars supporting the Roman Empire. But, in the end, one of those pillars collapsed.

One of the emperors who came after Constantine decided that his job was just too big. He felt that the Roman Empire was too large to be ruled by any one man. So, he split the empire into two parts. He declared that the western half of the Empire would be ruled by one emperor, based in Rome; the eastern half would be ruled by a second emperor, based in Constantinople.


Not long after the empire was divided, invaders from the North began attacking the Western Empire. Things got worse and worse. The invaders even attacked Rome itself. Finally, the western part of the Roman Empire collapsed. The Eastern Empire, based in Constantinople, had better luck. It lived on, and for a while, even got stronger.

Most historians agree that the Eastern Empire was at its best during the reign of Justinian. Justinian came into power in the year AD 527. That is, he became emperor 527 years after the birth of Jesus and about two hundred years after Constantine had decided to support Christianity. Like Constantine before him, Justinian was a Christian. He spent lots of money building churches. In Constantinople, he built the church of Hagia Sophia, with its magnificent, soaring dome.

Justinian also completed an important book project. He had scholars gather up all of the laws that had been passed in the Roman Empire over the years. What the scholars found was a big mess. There were so many laws, nobody could possibly keep track of them all. There were old laws that no longer made sense. There were even laws that seemed to be the opposite of one another. One law might say “it is illegal to do X.” Then another law might say “it’s perfectly fine to do X.” Justinian had his scholars gather up all the laws, sort them out, and organize them. When they were done, they published the laws. The new, organized laws filled several books. The new organized laws were known as Justinian’s Code.


Chapter Seventeen: Pompeii
August 24th, in the year AD 79, began like any other day. The people of Pompeii woke up and went to work. Pompeii was a busy market town. The market was soon filled with people buying and selling things. In the distance, the people of Pompeii could see the top of Mount Vesuvius. Everyone knew the mountain. It looked down on Pompeii every day. The mountain was like an old friend. But this friend had a terrible secret. The people of Pompeii did not know that Mount Vesuvius was actually a volcano. It was full of melted rock and hot gas. Inside Mount Vesuvius, the pressure had been building up for hundreds and hundreds of years.

Around midday, the ground began to tremble and shake. Then, there was a tremendous cracking noise. Boom! Flames and smoke burst from the top of Mount Vesuvius. The people looked up and saw a great plume of black smoke rising into the sky. Then, things began to fall from the sky. Flakes of ash and bits of rock called pumice showered down. The people of Pompeii put pillows over their heads to keep the little rocks from hurting them. Many tried to run away.


Ash and pumice fell for a while. Then, a great cloud of hot rock mixed with hot gas spilled out of the mountain and came sizzling down the mountainside. The rocks and gas that came down the mountain were heated to 400 degrees, traveling at 60 miles an hour. The people of Pompeii could not outrun it. It swept over them and wiped out the city. The volcano erupted for 19 hours. The city of Pompeii was buried. The buildings were covered with ash. In some places, the ash was more than 80 inches deep!

The city of Pompeii disappeared, and most people forgot that it had ever existed. For more than 1,500 years, it lay beneath the ash. Then, some men set out to dig a well. As they dug down, they hit a stone wall. They had discovered the lost city of Pompeii. Today, much of Pompeii has been excavated, or dug up. You can go to Pompeii and see a Roman town preserved exactly as it looked the day it was destroyed in AD 79.

You can walk down an old stone street and imagine what it looked like 2,000 years ago. You can peek into houses and courtyards. You can even see some of the paintings and mosaics that the people of Pompeii had on their walls. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius was a disaster for the people who lived in Pompeii. But it was a marvelous thing for historians who study the past. By visiting Pompeii and studying the city, historians have learned a great deal about life in ancient Rome.


Chapter Eighteen: How Horatius Held the Bridge
In the early days of the Roman Republic, Rome was in danger. The kings had been driven out, but they wanted to force their way back in. King Tarquin’s son, Sextus, went into an area north of Rome. He helped an Etruscan king raise a huge army. Then, the two of them set off to attack Rome. They led the army all the way to the Tiber River right outside of Rome.

The men of Rome had a meeting. They decided that there was only one way to save the city: tear down the bridge over the Tiber River. If the Etruscan army crossed the bridge, Rome would be lost. But if the Romans could tear the bridge down, the Etruscans would not be able to cross the river and enter the city.

The consul spoke to the people. “Which of you,” he asked, “will stand forth against the Etruscans while we tear down the bridge?”


A man named Horatius stepped forward. “To every man upon this Earth,” Horatius said, Death cometh soon or late. And how can man die better Than facing fearful odds, For the ashes of his fathers, And the temples of his gods, And for the tender mother Who dandled him to rest, And for the wife who nurses His baby at her breast. Hew down the bridge, Sir Consul, With all the speed ye may; I, with two more to help me, Will hold the foe in play. In yon strait path a thousand May well be stopped by three. Now who will stand on either hand, And keep the bridge with me?

Two more men came forward to join Horatius. While the other Romans began tearing down the bridge, these three men went forth to face the Etruscan army. The Etruscans laughed when they saw the three Romans blocking the way. They thought that they would defeat them easily. They sent three of their best warriors into battle. The Romans tossed one of the Etruscans off of the bridge and killed the other two.

The Etruscans sent three more men into battle. Again, the Romans defeated them. Finally, the Tuscans sent their bravest fighter into battle. His name was Astur. He swung his sword and wounded Horatius in the thigh. Horatius fell back on one knee, but only for a moment. Then, he charged forward. He pounced on Astur like a wild cat and drove his sword right through the Etruscan’s helmet. Astur fell to the ground with a crash, like a tree struck by one of Jupiter’s thunderbolts!


Just then, the bridge began to totter. The two Romans helping Horatius ran back across it. Horatius tried to cross, but the bridge fell before he could get across. He was left alone to face the entire Etruscan army! Horatius prayed to the river god, “Oh, Tiber! Father Tiber! A Roman’s life take thou in charge this day!” Then, he jumped into the river. He struggled to stay afloat in his armor. He nearly drowned. But, in the end, he made it across the roaring river, back to Rome, where he was welcomed as a hero.

The people of Rome gave Horatius a farm. They also set up a statue of him: . . . they made a molten image, And set it up on high, And there it stands unto this day To witness if I lie. It stands in the Comitium, Plain for all folk to see; Horatius in his harness, halting upon one knee: And underneath is written, In letters all of gold, How valiantly he kept the bridge In the brave days of old.

This chapter was based on real events in history and includes parts of Macaulay’s poem, “Horatius.” This poem tells the story of Horatius in stirring detail. Some passages from this poem have been quoted in our version of the story.

Glossary for Stories of Ancient Rome:

Advisor — a person who offers advice and help.
Aid — to offer help.
Ambrosia — the drink of the gods; those who drank it became immortal.
Aqueduct — a stone structure built to carry water from the country into the city (aqueducts).
Architecture — design or style of buildings.
Arena — the area of a stadium where the events actually take place.
Armor — a protective covering, usually made of metal, worn by soldiers in battle.
Augustus — Julius Caesar’s adopted son, who changed ancient Rome from a republic to an empire by becoming the emperor.
Avalanche — snow, ice, and rocks that suddenly fall down the side of a mountain (avalanches).

BC/BCE — Before Christ (Jesus); Before the Christian Era, or Before the Common Era.
Banquet — a large feast to celebrate something.
Barbarian — a person who is wild, sometimes violent, and does not behave the right way (barbarians).
Beautiful — very pretty, lovely.
Beauty — being pretty.
Befriend — to become friends with (befriended).
Blacksmith — a person who molds hot iron into metal objects.
Byzantium — ancient city in the eastern part of the Roman Empire, later called Constantinople.

Carthage — city on the coast of Africa that Romans saw as a rival city (Carthaginians, Carthaginian).
Chariot — a cart with two wheels and no seats that is pulled by horses; the driver stands up in the cart to hold the horses’ reins.
Christianity — a religion based on the teachings of Jesus (Christian).
Circus Maximus — a large stadium where chariot races were held.
Civil war — a war between groups within the same country.
Civilization — a group of people living together, often in cities, with the same laws, leaders and form of government, language and writing system (civilizations).
Cleopatra — the Queen of Egypt; she became queen with help from Julius Caesar.
Collapse — to suddenly fail (collapsed).
Colosseum — a huge arena in Rome where people would go to watch events, mainly gladiator fights, that is one of the most recognizable buildings from the Roman Empire.
Conduct — to carry out, such as an activity.
Confident — sure, certain.
Confront — to meet face-to-face (confronted).
Conquer — to take control of something by force (conquered).
Conspirator — a person who has secretly planned to do something harmful (conspirators).
Constantine — the Emperor who ended the war between the Romans and Christianity; the first Roman Emperor to convert to Christianity.
Constantinople — new name for the city of Byzantium and Constantine’s favorite city, which he wanted to turn into a “new Rome.”
Consul — one of two top officials elected to govern the Roman republic (consuls).
Counter-attack — a military response to an attack.
Crouch — to stoop or squat (crouched).
Cruel — mean, causing pain on purpose.
Curious — wanting to know more.

Damocles — a friend of Dionysius who wanted to be king and have Dionysius’s life.
Dangle — to hang loosely (dangling).
Defeat — to win a victory over (defeated).
Democracy — a kind of government in which people are elected as representatives freely and equally by all people of voting age.
Depart — to leave.
Dictator — a person who rules a country with total control, often in a cruel way; a dictator is not elected (dictators).
Dionysius — the king of Syracuse, a part of the Roman Empire, and friend of Damocles.
Divine — relating to God.
Do his mother’s bidding — follow orders from his mother.
Downfall — a sudden fall from power.

Eager — showing great interest in something.
Eastern Empire — the eastern half of the Roman Empire.
Elect — to choose through votes (elected).
Emperor — the male ruler/head of an empire.
Empire — a group of nations or territories ruled by the same leader, an emperor or empress; like a kingdom.
Envy — to want what someone else has (envied).
Establish — to gain recognition for doing something well (established).
Etruscan — a person who was part of a civilization to the north of Rome who the Romans defeated (Etruscans).

Faith — strong religious beliefs.
Foe — an enemy.
Founding Fathers of the United States — men who played important roles in creating the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, including John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington.

Gladiator — a man trained to fight people and animals for entertainment, often resulting in death (gladiators).
Govern — to rule or control (governed, government).

Hagia Sophia — a large Christian church with a magnificent dome built under Justinian’s rule in Constantinople.
Hannibal — general from Carthage who led the fight against Rome during the Second Punic War; he won many battles, but lost the war.
Hew — to cut something with a sharp tool.
Historian — a person who writes about history (historians).
Honor — a privilege or special opportunity to do something.
Horatius — a Roman soldier who became a hero by fighting the Etruscan army with two other men, so that the other Romans could escape; he jumped into the river during the fight and drifted downstream to Rome.

Illegal — against the law.
Immortal — able to live forever.
Invade — to attack or enter a place in order to take control of it.

Jealousy — wanting what someone else has, wanting complete attention (jealous).
Jesus — a religious teacher born in the Palestine region of the Roman Empire, also called Jesus Christ; Christianity is based on his teachings.
Julius Caesar — a Roman general who conquered many lands and expanded the Roman republic; after serving as a consul, he decided that he did not like the way the republic was run. He became a dictator, was then seen as a threat, and was killed.
Justinian — great emperor of the Eastern Empire who built the Hagia Sophia and organized laws into Justinian’s Code.
Justinian’s Code — the laws organized and published by Justinian.

Latin — the language of ancient Rome.
Laugh — to giggle or chuckle at something that is funny.
Legendary — well-known, or stemming from an old story passed down from long ago that is usually not true.

Magnificent — impressive and beautiful.
Marriage — the committed partnership between two people to make a home and raise a family.
Mediterranean — the sea around which the Romans created their empire; an important body of water for trade, war, and transportation.
Messenger — someone who delivers messages back and forth.
Miracle — an amazing event with no explanation, believed to be an act of God (miracles).
Mission — a very important job.
Monarchy — a kind of government in which a king or queen rules and selects who will rule after his/her death, usually the oldest son.
Mosaic — art made by putting small pieces of glass or tile together to form a picture (mosaics).
Mount Olympus — the home of the Roman gods and Goddesses.
Mount Vesuvius — a volcano that erupted in AD 79 and wiped out the city of Pompeii.

Official — a person who holds an office and has authority (officials).

Pantheon — a temple built to honor all of the Roman gods.
Patrician — a person from an old, wealthy, powerful family in the Roman republic who held government positions (patricians).
Pillar — a column that supports a building or a supporting part of something (pillars).
Pity — to feel sorry or unhappy for someone.
Plebeian — an ordinary person who was poor and had little education or power in the Roman republic (plebeians).
Plume — a cloud of smoke that rises into the air in a tall, thin shape.
Pompeii — a city in the Roman Empire that was wiped out when Mount Vesuvius erupted.
Preserve — to save in its original form so that it remains the same (preserved).
Prick — to make a small hole with something sharp (pricked).
Priestess — a woman who performs special duties to honor and communicate with the gods.
Pumice — gray volcanic rock.
Punic War — one of the three wars fought between the Romans and the Carthaginians over control of the Mediterranean (Punic Wars).

Ransom — money paid to free someone who has been captured or kidnapped.
Reform — to change the way that things are done to make them better (reformed).
Reign — period of time during which a ruler is in charge.
Religion — the belief in a god or many gods.
Remus — one of the brothers who started Rome according to legend; he was killed by his brother Romulus in a fight over where to build the city.
Republic — a kind of government in which people are elected as representatives to rule.
Revolt — riot or revolution against a ruler or government.
Rival — an enemy.
Romulus — one of the brothers who started Rome according to legend; he killed his brother Remus in a fight over where to build the city and then built Rome and named it after himself.
Rough — not calm.
Rubicon — the river Julius Caesar crossed, even though the Roman Senators warned him not to, leading to a civil war.
Ruins — the remains of something that has fallen or been destroyed.

Satyr — a creature who was half man, half goat and was often found with Bacchus (satyrs).
Scholar — a person with a lot of knowledge about a certain subject (scholars).
Senate — a group of men (Senators) who were elected to represent the people who voted for them and met to make decisions and pass laws for the Roman republic; American government today also has a Senate (and Senators).
She-wolf — a female wolf.
Shrine — a place where people pray to or worship gods and goddesses.
Subjects — people who are ruled by a king or emperor.

Talent — a unit of measurement in ancient Rome, equal to about 71 pounds, used to measure gold and silver (talents).
Taunt — to tease or make someone upset by making fun of or being mean to the person.
Thou — old fashioned way of saying “you.”
Threat — someone or something that is or may be dangerous.
Tradition — custom (traditions).
Traitor — someone who is not loyal.
Trial — a meeting in court to determine if someone has broken the law.
Trident — Neptune’s magical, three-pronged spear that was shaped like a fork.
Tyrant — a ruler who is mean, harsh, and acts without regard for laws or rules.

Underworld — underground place where dead people’s spirits go.
Unusual — rare.

Valiantly — in a brave and courageous manner.
Veni, Vidi, Vici — “I came, I saw, I conquered,” Julius Caesar’s report about his efforts in Asia.
Vicious — dangerous, violent, mean.
Victorious — having won a battle, war, or contest.
Volcano — a mountain with openings through which melted rock, ash, and hot gases explode.

Western Empire — the western half of the Roman Empire.
Wisdom — knowledge and good judgment gained over time.

Ye — old fashioned way of saying “you.”
Yon — distant.
Subtitles To Images:

Mrs. Teachwell and her students, looking at a map showing Rome. Present-day Rome and the Tiber River. A map of the ancient Roman civilization. Parts of Roman buildings still remain today, even though they were built over two thousand years ago. The king of Latium told one of his servants to drown Romulus and Remus. The servant set the twins in a basket, which he put in the Tiber River. Romulus and Remus were saved by a kind she-wolf and later raised by a shepherd. Romulus and Remus argued about where to build their city. Remus taunts Romulus and steps over his wall. An ancient Roman coin showing Romulus and Remus with the she-wolf. Greek and Roman Gods. Greek and Roman Gods. Juno, Jupiter’s wife, was the goddess of marriage. Neptune, the god of the seas, with his magical trident. Mars was the god of war. Mercury was the messenger of the gods. Venus was the goddess of love. She was also Cupid’s mother. The planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Neptune are named after Roman gods and goddesses. Apollo, the god of the sun (right), talking to Vulcan, the god of fire (left). Apollo. Minerva springing forth from Jupiter’s head. Diana was the goddess of the moon and the hunt. Bacchus, the Roman god of grapes and wine. Venus, the goddess of love, was jealous when she heard others talking of the beautiful, young Psyche. Cupid aimed his arrow at Psyche. Instead of shooting Psyche, Cupid pricked himself. Night after night, Cupid visited Psyche in the magnificent palace. Psyche trembled when she saw Cupid, dropping hot oil on his shoulder. Psyche begging Venus to help her find Cupid. An army of ants comes to aid Psyche. Psyche was told to take a coin for the boatman and a cake to the three-headed dog to enter the underworld. There, she received the box of beauty from Proserpina. Psyche became immortal after drinking ambrosia, the drink of the gods. Damocles accepting Dionysius’s invitation to be king for one day. Damocles sits on the throne of King Dionysius, with the sword dangling from the ceiling. In the early days of the republic, the consuls and the Senators were patricians from wealthy Roman families. This is the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C. Many American government buildings look like ancient Roman buildings. Map of Roman and Carthaginian territories. Hannibal gathering his army to cross over the Alps. Hannibal and his troops won several battles against the Romans. Hannibal surrendered to Scipio in Zama. Caesar told the pirates he was worth a larger ransom. Caesar quickly became known as a brave and determined soldier. Caesar writing about his conquest of Gaul. Caesar crossing the Rubicon with his troops. Caesar met Cleopatra in Egypt and helped her become queen. Caesar became dictator of Rome for life. The Senators who stabbed Caesar thought they were saving the Roman republic. A marble statue of Augustus Caesar. The Pantheon as it appears in Rome today. The ruins of the Colosseum as it appears today. In ancient times, the Romans came to the Colosseum to see battles between people and animals. The Romans enjoyed watching chariot races at the Circus Maximus. An example of a Roman aqueduct as it appears today. Gladiators fighting. The lion gave Androcles a sad look, as if asking for help. Androcles waiting in the cell to enter the Colosseum. Androcles and the lion. The emperor signaled “Thumbs up!” Androcles and the lion were set free. Jesus. Paul. Christians were treated as enemies of Rome. A marble statue of Constantine. This church in Bethlehem is built where Jesus is said to have been born. A map showing the divided empire. Western Empire. Eastern Empire. The inside of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. A mosaic of Justinian from the Hagia Sophia. Vesuvius is the mountain that you can see in the distance. The people of Pompeii did not know that Mount Vesuvius was a volcano. Mount Vesuvius starting to erupt in the background. Top: A courtyard among the ruins of Pompeii. Bottom: Beautiful paintings that still remain on the walls of the ruins in Pompeii. The Romans decided that the only way to save the city was to tear down the bridge over the Tiber River. Horatius and the two other Romans battle the Etruscans. Horatius leaping into the Tiber River. The people of Rome made a statue of Horatius to honor him.





AW … continued:   

The prosecution found a huge flaw in the defense attorney’s arguments and then trampled their case.


My dog will gnaw on a bone for a while, and then he will bury it in the back yard.


George Bernard Shaw enjoyed great success with his literary work Pygmalion, which was adapted into the popular Broadway musical “My Fair Lady.”


I love to load cole slaw on top of my barbecued pork sandwich.


After a long hike in the cold winter weather, I love to thaw out by a cozy fire.


I’ve got an awful migraine, and I need to lie down for a while.


I overheard a lot of bawdy jokes being told at the pub last night.


This tawny kitchen wall color is too dark for me; let’s repaint it closer to an eggshell white.


After the pitcher hit the batter with an errant pitch, a brawl broke out between the two teams.


I’ve never seen a baby crawl across the floor so fast!


My cousin from Arkansas has this incredibly strong southern drawl.


Although her answer to the attorney’s question was long and drawn out, the information that she provided was all pertinent to the case.


Since I’m a huge shrimp fan, I’ll order the prawn entree for my main course.


It might be breezier than I expect today, so I’m going to take a shawl along with my jacket.


My cousin Shawn has started to work for a 3-D printer manufacturer.


That think tank has a research and development department that tries to spawn new ideas for using innovative products.


Throw out the trawl net and let’s see if we can’t get a big catch of fish today.


There’s no prettier bird than a really colorful macaw.


I call my mom’s parents Nana and Papaw.


I asked the waitress for a straw for my drink.


In the storm, a branch fell on the awning above the front door and tore a hole in it.


Kids, you’d best not dawdle, or we’re going to miss the start of the movie!


The boss kept trying to convince me of that point, and it finally dawned on me that she was right.


A bunch of vendors hawked their wares at the farmers’ market.


We were all jawing at the water cooler about the weekend’s football games.


The CEO contended that everything that their company was doing was totally lawful.


Kids, we’re going to hire your favorite, Mrs. Lawson, to sit for you while we’re away on vacation.


We thought that the family trust lawyer had set pretty reasonable rates for her services.


I pawned this old ring, and I think I got a decent price for it.


A pawpaw tree has large, oblong leaves and purplish flowers, and it bears a fleshy, edible fruit.


Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer is one of my favorite literary characters.


I would rate her bourgeois fashion sense, at best, as tawdry.


The brawny lumberjack showed us how he could roll a log in water — while standing on it — without falling.


My little sister hates creepy-crawly things, whether they are bugs, snakes, or things that she steps on in the ocean.


We need to amend the bylaws of our non-profit based on some new laws that were just passed.


Before the injured man passed out, he tried to scrawl some information about himself on a piece of paper.


As we were driving around the suburbs, it hit me that our city was a perfect example of urban sprawl.


Our parrot can’t imitate human words; all it will do is squawk.


Most vets will now tell you that to declaw a cat is an act of cruelty.


Now honey, this ugly gewgaw is one less thing that we need cluttering up a bookshelf.


I had to guffaw at the politician’s senseless rantings.


The farmer was awakened by his donkey’s loud, “heehaw!”


That is the most difficult jigsaw puzzle that I’ve ever put together.


McGraw Hill is one of the “big three” academic publishers in the U.S.


One of my favorite Clint Eastwood movies is, “The Outlaw Josey Wales.”


Our kids spent lots of time on the seesaw at the park this afternoon.


Warsaw is the capital city of Poland, with approximately 3.1 million residents.


The rides at Six Flags are simply awesome!


The young girl was very awkward when she stood in front of the class to do her show and tell.


Mr. Fawcett read an amazing story to us today that was adapted from Kipling’s “The Jungle Book.”


One of my favorite TV and film characters is Hawkeye Pierce from M*A*S*H.


The President will try to jawbone the transportation workers into not going on strike.


The wild, wild west was a lawless land that needed strong sheriffs in every locality.


The parties finally made an agreement with each other that avoided a lawsuit.


This mawkish story has a goody-two-shoes character who I can’t stand.


This whip is made of rawhide.


The sander threw so much sawdust into the air that Dad started sneezing uncontrollably.


My grandfather grew up in the lumber industry and eventually owned his own sawmill.


Some people claim that a crawdad tastes as good as lobster.


Waves were spilling over the seawall due to the surge from the tropical storm.


A goshawk is a large type of hawk that’s used in falconry.


I don’t know how she foresaw the impending crisis, but her warnings allowed us to prepare for it ahead of time.


Son, I think that we’ll be better off shaping this piece of wood by using a hacksaw.


That bumbling jackdaw is always putting his foot in his mouth.


The ambassador was transported to the Chinese Foreign Minister’s office in a rickshaw.


The candidate will withdraw her name from the field due to the sordid revelations about her checkered past.


Our kids were awestruck by the scintillating fireworks show.


I’ll be out in the garage giving the lawnmower an oil change.







Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view. This lesson is a “READ-ALOUD” Core Knowledge (R) passage that has been rewritten to be at a lower-grade independent reading level complexity than the original, largely by shortening and simplifying sentence structures while maintaining the richness of the text content.) 
Different Lands, Similar Stories

Lesson 8 – Part One

NEW WORDS: Amasis, Goliath, Irish, Memphis, Rhodopis, Rhodopis’s, admonished, adolescent, adorn, advisors, ambled, arduous, assailant, ballerina, barn’s, billowed, bloody, brannigan, brooded, buckled, capering, carriages, citrus, comforting, companionship, complimented, conducting, conflagrant, confrontation, countenance, cower, cumbrous, darkening, dealings, dedicated, delirium, departing, disconcerted, disdainfully, dispatched, dispirited, dodged, domestics, dragonflies, egrets, elbowed, emmer, emporium, enigmatic, enlisted, factotum, flicker, fluttered, foreshadowing, frolicked, futile, gamboled, gentleman’s, globular, gorged, gracefully, grotesque, guardedly, harrowing, hassled, heartbroken, heaviest, herdsman, hightailing, hippo’s, initially, inkling, launching, lave, laved, locality, magnate, malevolent, mauve, miasmal, millennia, nested, oldtimer, pacing, pasty, peregrine, permitting, plucking, plummeted, pomegranate, portent, positioning, posthaste, progeny, radiated, reappear, regional, rescuer, resemble, resentful, revived, saturated, scrunched, semblance, shielded, sidle, slaughtered, slayed, smaze, soles, stately, supplicated, throng, tidied, trumpeters, unambiguous, unblenchingly, unquiet, unsocial, vanquish, visor, wafted, wages, wardrobe, wonted, zephyr

A note to students: You have all already become familiar with the story of Cinderella and her glass slippers. Here is a similar tale that was created in a different part of the world!
The Girl with the Red Slippers
It was two millennia ago in Ancient Egypt. A beautiful adolescent girl lived there. She was called Rhodopis. Rhodopis was a slave. She had been born in Greece. But she had been kidnapped by pirates. The pirates had sold the young girl to a rich Egyptian magnate. Rhodopis now worked as a factotum in his stately home.

Now, Rhodopis was from another land. Thus, her semblance did not resemble that of the other servants. Nor did she look like her master. They all had dark hair and dark eyes. She had golden curls and green eyes. No amount of brushing would straighten those curls.

The other servants hassled Rhodopis. They also made her work more arduous than theirs was. She had to get up before the sun rose. She had to work while the stars twinkled in the night sky. She tidied her master’s house. She baked bread kneaded from barley and emmer wheat. She laved her master’s clothes. She sewed. She even tended to the garden.


Rhodopis lived an unsocial life. The other domestics wanted nothing to do with her. Now, her master was a kind man. But he dedicated his time to either sleeping in the warm sunshine, or in conducting his business dealings. Over time, the animals became her only friends. Rhodopis chatted with birds quite a bit. They nested in the citrus and pomegranate trees that she tended. She told her troubles to the great white egrets. She frolicked with the red-tailed dragonflies.

But her best friend was a hippopotamus. She would go to the Nile River to lave clothes from her master’s wardrobe. One particular hippo always ambled over to the river’s edge. He would wallow in the water near her. He would offer her companionship while she worked.

The hippo would look at her with his big globular eyes. His ears would flicker whenever she spoke. Sometimes they would play together. Rhodopis would splash water in the hippo’s direction. The hippo would sink down under the water. He’d then reappear close by.

Rhodopis gamboled in the comforting sunshine. As she danced, her master woke up from a long nap. He stretched and yawned. He looked around the garden. He spotted Rhodopis capering to the music. Rhodopis moved so elegantly that her master watched her for some time.


He thought that she was a beautiful young girl. He thought that she danced like a butterfly. He decided that she deserved some elegant shoes. They would adorn her bare feet. The next day he went to his own shoemaker. He supplicated him to make a pair of red silk dancing slippers. He was very unambiguous about the soles of the slippers. They were to be made of the very finest leather.

Several days later, the shoes arrived. Rhodopis’s master presented them to her as a gift. She was speechless.

Rhodopis loved her slippers. But the other servants were resentful. None of them had ever been given such an exquisite gift. They treated her even more disdainfully than before. This made Rhodopis further dispirited.

Whenever she could, she would guardedly sidle off into the garden. She’d put on her red slippers and dance. Quite often, she danced at night beneath the sparkling stars. That’s when everyone else was asleep.

One day, she was plucking lemons from the lemon trees in the garden. She heard music coming from her master’s house. She placed her basket on the ground. She began to dance to the music. She moved gracefully, like a ballerina.


On another day, her master was informed of an event. The pharaoh, Amasis, had decided to hold a grand banquet. It would be at his royal palace in Memphis. All of his subjects were invited. Even the servants could attend! Rhodopis was so excited. But she quickly learned that the other servants had no intention of permitting her to go.

Instead, they gave her piles of laundry to do. They admonished her to make sure that it was all done by the time they returned. The servants prepared to depart. At the same time, Rhodopis carried the huge pile of laundry down to the river. 

She worked for many hours, washing and scrubbing the clothes. Her faithful friend the hippo kept her company. The hippo always cheered up Rhodopis. And so, after a while, Rhodopis’s spirits were revived. She began to play with the hippo.

Rhodopis cheerfully splashed the hippo. He suddenly moved to duck down beneath the water. Then, posthaste, he reappeared right beside Rhodopis. As the hippo lifted its large head, it created a wave of water. The wave cascaded down upon Rhodopis. She was saturated with water. So, too, were her beautiful slippers.


Rhodopis sighed and scratched the hippo’s head. Then she took off her slippers and placed them on a rock to dry. After that, she continued with her work. She did not even stop to eat. After a long while, Rhodopis finished washing all the clothes. By now her back and arms were aching. But she was happy to be done.

She was about to put on her red slippers. She heard the flapping of wings. In an instant, one of her slippers was gone. From out of the darkening sky, a peregrine falcon had plummeted down and stolen it. Rhodopis gasped out loud. She was certain that the falcon was actually the god Horus. It was a foreshadowing of something. But of what she had no inkling.

There was nothing that Rhodopis could do. She put her one remaining slipper in her pocket. She returned to her master’s house in her bare feet.

Meanwhile, at the royal palace, an enormous crowd had gathered. The crowd was enjoying the festivities. 

Pharaoh Amasis was in the banquet room. He looked on from his raised throne. He was happy to see his subjects enjoying themselves. But he’d have preferred to be hunting. He did not have a wife or children. So, he spent most of his spare time hunting with his friends.


As the day wore on, Amasis became more unquiet. He was just about to sneak away from the banquet. But then, a great falcon swooped down. It dropped a small red slipper at his feet. Amasis picked up the small slipper and stared at it. He was certain that the god Horus had sent him a message. Amasis brooded about this for a while. Then he summoned his advisors.

He had made a decision. He thought that the god Horus was telling him something important. The owner of the red slipper would become his wife! The banquet was halted. An announcement was made. The pharaoh himself would search the land for the owner of the red slipper. The guests were now slowly departing.

Now, Rhodopis’s master had already left the palace. He had gone off to take care of some business. So, he had not heard this announcement. His servants, however, had heard it. Together they decided that they would not breathe a word of this to Rhodopis.

The weeks marched on. The pharaoh scoured the land for his future wife. He searched by land and by water, but his travels had been futile. At last, he was searching on his royal barge. He came to a region in the northern part of his kingdom.


Rhodopis was washing clothes in the river. The royal barge appeared in the distance. The other servants saw it, too. They were quite aware of its portent! The barge neared the bank of the river. The royal trumpeters sounded the pharaoh’s arrival. Immediately, the servants ordered Rhodopis to hide herself in the reeds as she was. They told her that she was too lowly a servant to be in the presence of the pharaoh.

Amasis stepped off the royal barge. He had the red slipper in one hand. Upon seeing the slipper, the female servants elbowed each other out of the way. They were all positioning to be the first to try it on.

As this was happening, Rhodopis peeked out from the reeds. She wanted to see the pharaoh’s face. As she peeked out, Amasis spotted her. He stared at the beautiful girl for several moments. And Rhodopis’s heart skipped a beat.

Amasis asked Rhodopis to step forward. He then placed her tiny foot inside the red slipper. As he did so, it was clear to all that she was the owner of the slipper. The other servants were horrified that she would be the pharaoh’s queen. But the master gave his blessing.

Together, Amasis and Rhodopis sailed away on the royal barge. Its mauve-colored sails fluttered in the gentle zephyr that wafted across the Nile River. Behind the barge swam Rhodopis’s best friend, the hippo. He would be her most-honored wedding guest!


Billy Beg
Once upon a time, there was an Irish prince. His name was Billy Beg. He was born the progeny of a king. But Billy didn’t live the wonted life of a prince. Billy worked in the fields. He herded cattle each day, from sunup until sundown.

Billy spent lots of his time with the cattle. Because of that, his best friend was the oldest bull in the herd. He was the one with a speckled hide and a white face. Billy was very fond of the bull. And the bull was just as fond of him.

One day, the old bull was to be sent to the regional market to be sold. When Billy heard this, he was heartbroken. But the bull said, “Don’t worry, Billy my boy! You’ll be all right without me. Look in the grove behind the barn. There are three gifts for you. They are a magic tablecloth, a stick, and a belt made from the hide of my grandfather.”

“Unfold the tablecloth. Then you’ll never be hungry. Wave the stick three times around your head. Then you’ll have the strength of a thousand men. Wrap the belt around your waist. Then no assailant will be able to vanquish you.” With that, the bull left unblenchingly for the emporium.


Initially, Billy Beg was too disconcerted to do anything without his friend. He cried for three days and three nights. Then Billy remembered what the bull had said. The sun rose the next morning. He went to the grove behind the barn. He pulled out the tablecloth from beneath a tree. He unfolded it. Lo and behold, it was covered with delicious food and drink. Billy ate and drank until he was gorged. Next, he grabbed the stick and the belt the bull had left for him. Then he set off to make his way in the world.

He walked on until he came to a fine old house. He knocked, and an oldtimer came to the door. “Excuse me,” said Billy. “I was wondering if you have any work.”

“As a matter of fact, I do,” said the old gentleman. “I need someone to watch over my cows, pigs, donkeys, and goats.”

“I am the best shepherd that you will ever see,” Billy interrupted.

“Well,” said the old man. “That may be. But a giant has moved into the forest next to my pasture. That beast has scared off the last three boys I enlisted to help me.”

“I’ll not cower in the beast’s presence,” said Billy. “If you’ll have me, I’ll take the job.”


So, the old man hired Billy to watch his cows, pigs, donkeys, and goats. The next day, Billy led the animals out to pasture. He sat down on a rock. Later on, a harrowing one-eyed goliath appeared from the rocks.

“Oh!” said the giant, licking his lips. “Here’s a tasty little treat. You are too big for one bite. But you’re not big enough for two! What should I do with a tiny morsel like you?”

Billy fastened on his belt. He then grabbed his stick. He swung the stick above his head three times. That give him the strength of a thousand men. It was a terrible brannigan between the two of them. But finally, Billy swung the stick. Thwack! He sent the grotesque giant flying off of the cliff and into the sea.

The old man heard that Billy had driven away the giant. He patted him on the back and complimented him. “You’re a fine boy! I’ll double your wages.”

So Billy became a herdsman. He kept watch over the old man’s animals and served him well. Then one day, the old man came out of the house. He yelled to his coachman, “Get the carriage! Saddle up the horses! I’m going to town!”

“What’s the occasion?” said Billy.


“Haven’t you heard?” the old man asked. Billy shook his head. “A malevolent dragon is in the village. The dragon has demanded the king’s own daughter. He wants to take the princess as his prisoner. The king’s champion fighter must defeat the dragon. Otherwise, the poor girl is as good as gone!”

“Oh,” said Billy, concerned. “That poor princess!”

The old man got into his carriage. He sped off to the city. Other people came on horseback, in carriages, and in wheelbarrows.

Billy made a decision. He’d go fight the dragon if he had to. He dressed himself in an old suit of armor. It had belonged to his master. He buckled his special belt securely around his middle. He slipped on his boots. He grabbed his magic stick. He went to the stable. There, he mounted the brown mare. He rode bravely into town.

Thousands of people had come to town. They wished to see the king’s champion face the dragon. Billy saw the champion. He was in the center of the crowd. He was pacing up and down, and back and forth. He was dragging his cumbrous sword behind him.

Next, he caught a glimpse of the princess. She was at the front of the throng. She was gathered with her maidens. She was certainly beautiful. But her countenance betrayed a sense of doom.


Just then, there was a fearsome roar. The dragon rose up out of the sea. He had conflagrant eyes.
Miasmal smaze billowed out of his nostrils. Giant flames radiated his mouth. 

The king’s champion turned pasty white with fear. He dropped his sword. He went hightailing out of there. The princess watched him flee. She began wringing her hands. She was in a delirium of fear. She wailed, “Oh, please! Won’t someone be my rescuer?”

At first, no one made a sound. Then Billy Beg stepped out of the crowd. He wore his borrowed suit of armor. The helmet and visor shielded his face. So, no one knew who he was. The old gentleman didn’t even know it was Billy. “I will enter a confrontation with the dragon!” Billy said.

The dragon charged at Billy. It was launching fire from his mouth. Billy dodged the flames. Then he swung his stick three times round his head. It was a bloody fight. But in the end, Billy Beg slaughtered the dragon.

There was great shouting and applause. The princess ran up to thank the enigmatic knight. But Billy mounted his horse to ride away. The princess reached out to stop him. But his horse galloped away. She had grabbed hold of one of his boots. It had slipped right off of his foot.


Billy Beg rode back to the old man’s farm. He took off the suit of armor. He put the mare back in the stable. He tossed his other boot into the barn’s haystack.

His master came back the next day. He told Billy what he’d seen. “Isn’t that amazing?” said the old man.

“I should say so,” said Billy.

The king was relieved that his daughter was safe. The next day, he gave orders to his men. “Find the brave knight who dispatched the dragon!” The king’s men went from house to house. They tried to find the man whose foot would fit the boot. This went on for many weeks. At last, they had made their way to the old gentleman’s farm. 

The king’s men had all the servants try on the boot. The coachman stuffed his big foot into the boot. He scrunched up his toes to make it fit. The cook put on his heaviest wool socks. He was trying to fill the boot. No one thought much of Billy Beg. But he slipped his foot into the boot. They all saw that it fit him as well as his own skin.

“What’s this?” asked one of the men. “Is this your boot?”

“It is,” said Billy. “I have the one just like it in the barn.”

Then the men knew the truth. Billy was the one who had slayed the dragon! They put a velvet suit on him! They hung a gold chain around his neck. Then they took him to the village. There, he married the princess. And he became the prince of that locality.

Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view. This lesson is a “READ-ALOUD” Core Knowledge (R) passage that has been rewritten to be at a lower-grade independent reading level complexity than the original, largely by shortening and simplifying sentence structures while maintaining the richness of the text content.)
Different Lands, Similar Stories

Lesson 9 – Part Two

NEW WORDS: Boshi, Boshi’s, Issun, Kyoto, abnormal, accedence, accommodative, accompanying, acquiesce, affection, affrighted, agh, amicable, animated, architect, aristocrat, assisting, avert, belching, blithesome, bombinating, brouhaha, burglars, burgle, burgling, burped, cacodemon, chimera, chopsticks, cinch, clods, companions, concentrated, conversing, cracksmen, dumbfounded, ensnaring, ensphered, exhilaration, expeditious, forfend, freakish, genially, geta, giddy, gnarred, hectoring, heedfully, hurtling, hustled, insane, kermis, knowledgeable, lord’s, mayor’s, milady, milkmaid’s, mouthful, murmuring, musclebound, noiseless, nudging, oni’s, ooh, pagoda, pappy, picklocks, precocious, prudent, recoiling, reeking, regardful, risked, roiling, rollicking, sanctioned, sapient, scampering, shadowed, sheeny, skedaddling, sleepily, sneaked, snickering, stuttering, suitably, swit, tenant, tenterhooks, tolerable, transferring, turbid, unbelievable, valiance, viscid, waking, wanderings, wealthiest, yearning

Tom Thumb
We’re going to learn of a farmer and his wife. The farmer would sit and poke at the fire in the evening. His wife would sit at her spinning wheel. The farmer would sigh a lot. He’d say, “How sad it is that we have no children. Our house is so quiet. Other people’s homes are so rollicking and blithesome.”

“Yes,” said the wife. “If only we had a child.” A year later, the woman gave birth to a little boy. He was strong and healthy. But he was no bigger than a thumb. His parents named him Tom Thumb.

As Tom grew up, he proved to be a very precocious and sapient lad. One day, his father was out cutting wood. He said, “I wish there was someone who could bring the cart out.”

“I’ll do it!” said Tom.

“But, Tom,” said his father. “How can you? You’re too small to hold the reins.”

“Never mind,” said Tom. “Have Mom harness the horse. Then I’ll sit in the horse’s ear. I’ll tell him which way to go.” And so, Tom’s mother harnessed the horse. She put Tom in the horse’s ear. Tom called out, “Giddy up!” The horse started walking.


The horse and cart were turning a corner. It happened that a strange man was walking by. He heard Tom call out directions to the horse. “Look!” he said to himself. “There goes a wagon. The driver is calling to his horse. But the driver is nowhere to be seen! Am I going insane?!” So, the man shadowed the horse and wagon. It arrived at where Tom’s father was chopping wood. Tom spotted his father. He cried out, “Whoa, boy!” Then he said, “Look, Father! Here I am!”

Tom’s father lifted his son down from the horse. He set Tom on a stump. The stranger saw this. He thought, “Look here. That little fellow could be useful! I should take him to town. I’d have him do little jobs for me.” He went up to Tom’s father. He said, “See here, old man. How about permitting the little man go to town with me? I’ll take good care of him. I’ll even give you this money for your trouble.”

“No!” Tom’s father said. “He is the apple of my eye. I would be too sad to see him go.”

Tom crept up onto his father’s shoulder. He whispered, “Go ahead, Father. Let me go. I’ll be back in no time.”

“But, Tom,” said his father, stuttering.


“Trust me,” Tom broke in. “I’ll take care of everything.” So, Tom’s father let him go with the man.

Off went Tom. He was riding on the brim of the man’s hat. They traveled for several hours. The sun had just set. The man came to a barn. It was located next to a quiet house. He thought that the barn would be a suitably tolerable place to sleep. They’d rest up for their wanderings the next day.

The man was all settled in for the night. He then took off his hat. At that moment, Tom went scampering away! He slipped into a mouse hole. He cried out, “So long, my good man! Have a good trip without me!” The man got down on his hands and knees. He was nudging sticks into holes. But he could not find Tom. After a bit, he gave up.

The man left. Tom came out of his hole. He found an empty snail shell. He said, “This looks like a safe place to spend the night.” He went to lay down. But just then, he heard voices. There were two burglars murmuring.

“Aye,” said one of them. “This is the house. The mayor won’t be back until tomorrow. So, now is the time to burgle his house. But how can we do it? The cook and the maid are still there. We’ll have to be noiseless to avert waking them.”


Tom knew he had to do something. He had to stop the robbers. So, he sprang out of his shell. He shouted, “I have an idea!”

“Who was that?” asked one of the affrighted picklocks.

“I should be accompanying you! I’ll be able to help you,” said Tom.

“Who’s talking? Where are you?” asked the cracksmen.

“Down here!” cried Tom.

The robbers looked down. There they saw Tom. He was waving to them. One robber lifted him up. He said, “What’s this, little one? How could you be assisting us in burgling the mayor?”

“It will be a cinch,” said Tom. “The mayor keeps his money behind iron bars, right? I can slip between the bars. I’ll hand the money out to you.”

“Hee-hee! That’s a fine idea,” they said. They were snickering all the way to the mayor’s house. Then they fell quiet. They whispered to Tom. “Speak softly, you hear? We don’t want to get caught!”


“Of course!” said Tom. He sneaked into the mayor’s house. He slipped between the bars. He found where the money was kept. Then he called out to the robbers. But he called in his loudest voice! “HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT? DO YOU WANT IT ALL?”

“Shh!” hissed the robbers. “Be quiet! You’ll wake the cook and the maid. We can hear you fine. Just start transferring the money to us.”

But Tom pretended not to hear them. Once again, he shouted at them. “WHAT’S THAT YOU SAY? YOU WANT TO TAKE ALL OF THE MONEY? I’LL GIVE YOU EVERYTHING. JUST HOLD OUT YOUR HANDS.”

This was quite a commotion. It woke the cook and the maid. They hustled from their rooms to see what all the noise was about. They burst in. At that point, the robbers went skedaddling from the scene.

Tom slipped out to the barn. The brouhaha had made him sleepy. So, he went to sleep on a pile of hay. The next morning, the maid came to the barn. She pitched a large bundle of hay. Tom was still sleeping in it! The cow ate up the hay. Poor Tom slid down into the cow’s stomach.


“Goodness me,” Tom said, sleepily. “Somebody forgot to put windows in this house!” Suddenly, “splish!” Something wet and heavy fell on Tom’s head. It was a mouthful of hay! The cow was eating again. More wet, viscid hay fell on Tom. He called out, “That’s enough! No more hay! I’m quite full, thank you!”

The milkmaid was milking the cow. She heard his voice come out of the cow. In shock, she fell off of her milking stool. That startled the cow. It then sneezed a big sneeze. “Achoo!” The sneeze caused Tom to come hurtling out!

Yuck! Tom landed onto a garbage heap. It was where the milkmaid’s family had thrown the remains of their dinner! Tom struggled to get up. He was ensphered by clods of meat and vegetables. He was starting to stand up. But at that moment, “ZING!” A hungry wolf snapped up the piece of meat that Tom was caught on. It ran off with the meat chunk.

Tom bounced along as the wolf ran. He thought, “Well, this is a freakish place to be!” Then he started conversing with the wolf. “Mr. Wolf, wouldn’t you rather eat some delicious treats? This old piece of meat is reeking. I can show you where to find such treats.”


“And where’s that?” growled the wolf.

“In a house I know,” said Tom. “It’s full of lots of delicious, fresh food.” Tom led the wolf back to his parents’ house. They got there in a bit. The wolf ate until he was stuffed. Then Tom called out, “Help! Help! A wolf’s in the house!”

Tom’s father came running. He had a big stick. He chased the wolf and sent him howling into the woods. “Good work, Pappy!” said Tom.

His father looked down. He cried out, “Tom, where’ve you been? We’ve been on tenterhooks thinking about you!”

“Well, Father,” said Tom. “I’ve been in too many places to count! And I think that from now on, I’d rather stay with you.”

“Oh, my dear boy,” said his father. “I never should have sanctioned your leaving us. And I’ll never acquiesce to let you go again!”


Issun Boshi: One-Inch Boy
It was long ago in a village in Japan. There lived an old man and his wife. They, more than anything, wanted a child. They were constantly yearning about this. They went to the temple and supplicated to the gods. “May we be blessed with a child,” they said. “And we don’t care if he is no larger than our thumbs.”

And then, their prayers were answered. In nine months’ time, a fine baby boy was born to the old couple. The child was lovely and very small. They called him Issun Boshi. That means “One-Inch Boy.” You see, he was no taller than his father’s thumb!

Issun Boshi grew up musclebound, prudent, and accommodative. But he never grew any taller. Twelve years had passed. Issun Boshi came to his parents. He said, “Father and Mother, please give me your accedence to go to the capital city. I wish to see the world, to become knowledgeable about many things, and to make a name for myself.”

His parents were very worried. They were scared to think of all the bad things that could happen to Issun Boshi in such a large city. But they knew that their boy was smart and strong. So, they agreed to let him go. They made for him a tiny sword out of a sewing needle. They also gave him a rice bowl for a boat, and some chopsticks for oars.


In the rice bowl, he floated down the river. He used the chopsticks as paddles when the water was roiling and turbid. And he used his sword for ensnaring fish. In a few days, he arrived at the city of Kyoto. “My, what an animated city this is!” he thought. “So many people concentrated in one space!” He walked heedfully through the streets, recoiling from feet and cart wheels. He kept walking, until he came to a beautiful house, the largest in the city. An architect had designed it to resemble a pagoda. At the foot of the steps sat a pair of shiny black “geta,” or wooden shoes. They belonged to the owner of the house, who was the wealthiest aristocrat in the city.

The door of the great house opened. Out walked the lord of the house, who put on the sheeny black shoes. Issun Boshi called out, “Hello! Hello there!” The man looked around and, seeing no one, began to go back in. But Issun Boshi called out, “Down here! I’m down here, near your shoes! Please be regardful that you don’t step on me.”

The man leaned down and was dumbfounded when he saw Issun Boshi. Issun Boshi bowed and genially introduced himself. “My name,” he said, “is Issun Boshi. I have just arrived in the city, and I would like to work for you.”


The lord picked up Issun Boshi in the palm of his hand. In an amicable voice, he asked, “But what can a little fellow like you do?”

A fly was bombinating around and hectoring the lord. So, Issun Boshi drew out his sewing-needle sword. With an expeditious swit-swat, away went the fly. “You are quite an unbelievable little fellow,” laughed the lord. “Come, you may work for me and tenant in my house.”

And so, tiny Issun Boshi went to live in the big, beautiful house, serving the noble lord. He made friends with each person there, especially the princess, the lord’s lovely daughter. It seemed that he was always at her side, helping her in whatever way he could. He might hold down the paper when she wrote a letter. He might ride on her shoulder and keep her company while she walked through the gardens around the house. In time, the princess came to feel a strong affection for her little helper.

In the spring, Issun Boshi traveled with the princess and her companions to the cherry blossom kermis. On their way home, they heard abnormal noises behind them on the narrow road. They could see nothing in the shadows, when a chimera leaped into their path. Everyone screamed and ran. That is, everyone except Issun Boshi and the princess.


“Who are you, and what do you want?” cried Issun Boshi.

“I am an oni,” gnarred the monster. An oni! The oni were terrible creatures who bothered the townspeople.

But Issun Boshi stepped forward. He shouted, “Get out of the way, you cacodemon! I am here to forfend the princess. Step back!”

“Ha! We’ll see about that!” growled the oni. Then he snatched up Issun Boshi, popped him into his mouth, and, “GULP!” swallowed him whole. Down, down Issun Boshi slid until he landed, “PLOP!” in the oni’s stomach.

“This oni should be more careful about what he eats,” said Issun Boshi. He pulled out his sewing-needle sword. He began to tickle the oni’s stomach.

“Ow! Ooh! Agh!” shouted the oni. Then he burped loudly. Out popped Issun Boshi! The oni ran away, belching the whole way.

Issun Boshi ran over to the princess. She was bending down and picking something up from the ground. With great exhilaration she said, “Look, Issun Boshi. The oni was so scared, he dropped this magic hammer. If you make a wish on it, it will come true.”


Issun Boshi bowed to the princess. He said, “Milady, I would ask that you make the wish.”

“No, Issun Boshi,” said the princess. “You won this because of your valiance. You should be the first one to wish on it.”

So Issun Boshi took the hammer. He said, “I already have my greatest wish, which is to serve you. But if I could have another wish, I would wish to be as tall as other people.”

Then he gave the hammer to the princess. She made a silent wish on it herself. Then and there, Issun Boshi began to grow taller. In moments, beside the princess stood a handsome young man!

That night, the princess told her father how brave Issun Boshi had been. She talked of how he had risked his life to save her. The lord was so happy that he gave Issun Boshi permission to marry the princess. And so, you see, the princess’s wish came true, too. She had wanted to marry him!

Issun Boshi’s brave deeds were celebrated throughout the land. He and the princess lived happily together, along with Issun Boshi’s proud and happy parents. Issun Boshi had been able to bring them to the lord’s house to be part of his new family!

Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view. This lesson is a “READ-ALOUD” Core Knowledge (R) passage that has been rewritten to be at a lower-grade independent reading level complexity than the original, largely by shortening and simplifying sentence structures while maintaining the richness of the text content.)
Different Lands, Similar Stories

Lesson 10 – Part Three

NEW WORDS: Bantu, Granny’s, Gu, Hu, Hua, Li, Po, Tselane, Tselane’s, Xin, abreast, adamant, amber, artful, assurance, ataga, awaited, beholden, benignantly, borderline, catnapped, chirrup, confounded, containing, cornflowers, crannies, croaky, deadbolt, deadbolted, deceptive, dialect, dillydally, discomposed, disquieted, donned, draught, easeful, elated, enervated, enounced, exhortations, facility, glistening, gypsophila, habitat, hankered, hotfooting, hour’s, ignoble, inhalation, intending, intensity, interrogatory, leopard’s, leopards, luncheon, masquerade, masquerades, meters, motioned, mulberry, neatening, nefarious, nigella, noisily, nooks, overfed, palate, panicky, pathway, porcelain, potable, provincial, refreshing, rumblings, sagacious, savanna, scorpions, secretively, shally, sheered, shilly, shush, silkworms, smothered, snoozed, spurted, stocks, straightaway, strayed, sunlit, sworn, tasteful, tiger’s, unmew, winsome, womanly

Little Red Riding Hood
Once there was a winsome little girl who was loved by all who knew her, but most of all by her grandmother, who could not do enough for her.
Once, the grandmother sent the girl a cloak with a red velvet hood. The little girl was so pleased with the cloak that she cherished it and donned it every day. So, she came to be known as Little Red Riding Hood.

One day, her mother said to her, “Little Red Riding Hood, your grandmother is feeling sick. I would like you to go and visit her. Take her some of the cakes that we baked yesterday. They will do her good. Go quickly, before it gets too warm. But remember to stay on the pathway, and do not dillydally along the way.”

Little Red Riding Hood gave assurance to her mother and said, “I will do just as you say.”

Little Red Riding Hood started on her way. Her grandmother lived in a house in the woods, a half hour’s walk from the village. Little Red Riding Hood had only just entered the wood when she came upon a wolf. The wolf hankered to make a luncheon of Little Red Riding Hood. But Little Red Riding Hood did not know what an ignoble animal he was, so she was not disquieted by his presence.


“Good morning, Little Red Riding Hood,” said the wolf.

“Good morning, wolf,” she answered benignantly.

“And where are you going so early?” he asked.

“To my granny’s house.”

“And what’s that in your basket?”

“Some cakes that we baked yesterday. Grandmother is sick, and the cakes will make her feel better.”

“And where does your grandmother live?”

“In the woods, a short distance from here, in a cottage under three big oak trees,” said Little Red Riding Hood.

“Mmm,” said the wolf, as he thought to himself, “What a tasty morsel this little girl would be. But she’s not big enough for a full meal. I must find a way to eat her and her grandmother, too.”

The wolf walked along beside Little Red Riding Hood for a while. Then he said, “Why, look at all the pretty flowers. Why don’t you stop to rest and pick some of them? You’re hotfooting along as if you were late for school, but listen to how the birds chirrup, and see how everything is so easeful here in the woods.”


Little Red Riding Hood looked up and saw the sunlight capering in the leaves of the trees. She saw the lovely flowers around her, and she thought, “I am sure that Grandmother would be elated if I took her a bunch of fresh flowers.”

Forgetting what she had sworn to her mother, which was to not shillyshally on her walk, she sheered from the path and went out of her way into the woods to pick some flowers. Each time she picked one, she saw others even prettier farther on, and so she strayed deeper and deeper into the woods. She gradually pulled together a lovely collection of cornflowers, stocks, gypsophila, and nigella.

As for the wolf, he spurted straight to Grandmother’s cottage and knocked on the door.

“Who’s there?” said a little voice.

“It is I, Little Red Riding Hood,” said the wolf, trying to sound like the little girl.

“Oh, lift the latch and let yourself in, dear,” said the old woman. “I am too enervated to get out of bed.”


The wolf lifted the latch and swung open the door. Before Grandmother could realize what was happening, the wolf gobbled her up in one mouthful! 

Then the artful wolf dressed himself in her nightgown and nightcap. With a wicked grin, he got into the bed, and pulled up the covers. He was putting on quite a masquerade.

Meanwhile, Little Red Riding Hood had picked all of the flowers that she could carry, and she found her way back to the path. She walked on quickly until she came to Grandmother’s house. She was surprised to find the door open, and as she stepped inside, she felt very strange.

“Oh dear,” she said to herself, “this morning I was so glad to be going to see my grandmother. Why do I feel so frightened now?” She took a deep inhalation and called out, “Good morning, Grandmother.” But there was no answer. She went up to the bed.


There she saw her grandmother. Or so she thought. The wolf had pulled the covers up under his chin and had pulled the nightcap down to his eyes. Little Red Riding Hood thought her grandmother looked very strange indeed.

“Oh, Granny,” she said, “what big ears you have!”

“The better to hear you with, my dear,” said the wolf.

“Hmm,” said Little Red Riding Hood. “Granny must be very sick indeed, for her voice is much deeper than it used to be. And Granny, what big eyes you have!”

“The better to see you with, my dear.”

“And Grandmother, what big teeth you have!”

“The better to eat you!” cried the wolf, as he sprang out of bed and swallowed Little Red Riding Hood in one big draught.


After his meal, the wolf was on the borderline of feeling overfed. He lay down on the bed and catnapped, and he began to snore very loudly. A hunter who was passing by the cottage heard the snoring. “My,” he thought, “the old woman sounds terrible! I’d better look inside and check on her.”

The hunter walked inside and saw the wolf. He instantly noticed the wolf’s big belly and realized that the wolf had eaten the old woman. He knew that he had to set her free. The hunter set them free, and out jumped Little Red Riding Hood and Granny.

“Oh, I’m so beholden to you for saving us!” said Little Red Riding Hood. Granny, too, thanked the hunter for his kindness. When the wolf woke up, he was so discomposed to see all of the people standing before him that he ran away, never to be seen again.

Little Red Riding Hood sat down with her grandmother and the hunter, and together they ate the cakes that Little Red Riding Hood had brought. And Little Red Riding Hood said to herself, “After this, I shall always do as my mother tells me, and I shall never leave the path again, not even to pick pretty flowers.”


Hu Gu Po
A long time ago in rural southern China, there lived a mother and her two young daughters. A Xin was the eldest daughter, and Li Hua was the youngest. A Xin, Li Hua, and their mother raised silkworms and sold their silk at the provincial market.

One sunlit fall morning, the girls’ mother set off to the local market to sell the silk thread that they had spun. However, on this particular occasion, she had decided to leave some silk thread behind so that she could make two new silk dresses for her daughters. Before the girls’ mother left, she gave them adamant exhortations to stay inside the house.

“Do not go outside,” the mother said to the girls. “I have heard rumblings that Hu Gu Po has come down into the foothills. She is a tiger that masquerades as an old woman and tries to trick people. Please latch the door as soon as I leave.”

“We will not go outside,” promised A Xin. “I will deadbolt the door, and we will spend our time neatening the house.”


“We will be right here waiting for you,” promised Li Hua.

And so the mother kissed her daughters and disappeared into the early morning mist that was rising up from the warm earth.

Straightaway, the two girls set to work. They scrubbed the floor and dusted all the nooks and crannies of their small farmhouse. It was almost midday by the time they were finished. The sun was shining brightly, and the birds were chirping loudly when the girls heard a knock on the door.

“Do not answer the door,” said A Xin to her younger sister. “I will find out who it is.” A Xin stood in front of the deadbolted door and asked, “Who is there?”

“Hello, my dear,” said a voice that sounded as ancient as the hills. “I have been walking for many miles. I wonder, could you spare a cup of water?”

A Xin was confounded. She knew that she should not open the door, but somehow she felt that this old woman, for an old woman it appeared to be, was in need of help.

“I cannot open the door,” explained A Xin, “but I can pass a cup of water through the open window.”


“Thank you, my dear,” replied the somewhat croaky voice. “You are very kind.”

A Xin filled a cup of water from the bucket that contained potable water from their well. “Here you are,” she said, as she passed the cup through the open window. The old woman now stood before the window. She took the cup in her old wrinkly hand and drank from it. When she was done, she handed the cup back to A Xin.

“How sweet your well water is,” said the old woman.

“Thank you,” said A Xin. As she spoke, A Xin looked more closely at the old woman. Just like her hands, her face was old and wrinkly. However, the woman had the most peculiar golden-amber eyes that A Xin had ever seen.

“I don’t suppose you have a little rice to spare?” asked the old woman.

As it happened, Li Hua had just cooked rice for lunch. “Yes, we have some rice that we can give you,” shouted Li Hua as she eagerly placed some in a small porcelain bowl. Then she rushed to the window and handed the old woman the bowl and some chopsticks.


The old woman looked at Li Hua and licked her lips. “Why, thank you, my dear,” said the old woman, all the while staring with intensity at Li Hua. “I don’t suppose that you would let me sit for a minute or two while I eat this delicious rice?” asked the old woman.

“Of course, you can,” exclaimed Li Hua. And before A Xin could stop her, Li Hua ran to the door, unlocked it, and opened it. In the blink of an eye, the old woman was in the house and sitting at the kitchen table. It was as if she had appeared by magic. A Xin began to feel panicky.

“Are you here all alone?” asked the old woman.

“Yes,” replied Li Hua. “Our mother has gone to sell the silk thread that our silkworms produce. She told us to stay inside for safety, and that is what we have done,” continued Li Hua proudly.

“I see,” replied the old woman. “You are sagacious girls. There are all kinds of dangers in the outside world.”

“Well, as soon as you have finished your rice,” interrupted A Xin, “I am sure that you will want to be on your way.”


“I am almost finished,” replied the old woman, who despite her words of praise, did not seem to like eating rice. “There are only two more things that I need.”

“Oh, what are they?” asked Li Hua.

A Xin guessed the answer just as the deceptive old woman enounced the words, “Two young girls!” exclaimed the old woman.

Once again, as if by magic, the old woman’s movements were quick and sudden. She produced a sack, and before A Xin could stop her, she snatched Li Hua and placed her inside it. “You are older,” announced the old woman, “and you would probably not be tasteful to my palate. I am not sure that I want the trouble of carrying you into the mountains.”

As the old woman was speaking, A Xin reached for some of the spun silk thread that her mother had left behind. It had been spun and wound around the small branch of a mulberry bush. A Xin secretively placed it inside the pocket of her dress.

A Xin had also decided that she would not let the old woman leave without her. “I want to be with my sister,” replied A Xin.


“Very well!” said the old woman. “Into the sack you go.” And in an instant, A Xin found herself stuffed inside the sack abreast her sister.

It was clear to A Xin that the old woman had remarkable strength. She carried them with relative facility.

After a while, the old woman stopped and placed the sack containing the two girls on the ground. Moments later, the sisters could hear someone, or something, noisily drinking water. As this was happening, A Xin whispered to her sister to shush. Then she used the mulberry branch that held the silk thread to poke a hole in the sack. What she saw scared her half to death. Instead of an old woman, there was a tiger sitting on the edge of a large glistening lake. The old woman was really Hu Gu Po!


Incredibly, instead of continuing onward, the tiger lay down in the afternoon sunshine and went to sleep. While the tiger snoozed, A Xin slowly pulled at the hole in the sack until it was wide enough for her to crawl through. She motioned to her sister to quietly follow her.

The girls crept toward the sleeping tiger. A Xin reached for the silk thread inside her pocket. Then, using the thread, the girls tied together the tiger’s front and back legs. Just as they were finished, the tiger woke up and roared loudly. The tiger tried to free itself, but the meters of silk thread that had been wound around its legs held it fast.

The girls ran like the wind back to their small farmhouse in the foothills. They hurried into their house and slammed the door and locked it. When their mother finally returned home, she hugged her daughters tightly.

“We have awaited your return, safely locked in the house, just as we promised,” said A Xin and Li Hua together.


Once upon a time, in the southern region of Africa, where a dialect of the Bantu language is spoken, there lived a girl named Tselane. She lived with her mother and father. The family lived in a little round house with a thatched roof.

One day, Tselane’s mother said, “I must go to the village for some things that we need. You may stay here. But be sure to keep the door locked. Watch out for the hungry leopards who roam the land.”

Tselane’s mother set out for the village. Tselane stayed at home, by herself. Tselane had stayed home by herself before. Each time, her mother would return and call out in her sweet, high voice that sounded like the song of the ataga bird. “Tselane, my child!” her mother would call from outside the door. “I have brought you some food. Open the door!”

“That is my mother’s voice!” Tselane would say. “Her voice is high and sweet, like the song of the ataga bird.” Each time, Tselane would open the door and see her mother standing there. Her mother would always bring Tselane some bread and porridge. Tselane would then sit down and eat with her mother.

One day, when Tselane’s mother had gone to the village, Tselane heard a knock on the door. “Tselane, my child!” said a low, gruff voice. “It’s your mother! I have brought you some food. Open the door!”


“That is not my mother’s voice!” said Tselane. “My mother’s voice is high and sweet, like the song of the ataga bird. Go away, you wicked leopard!” The leopard went away, but he came back soon after and tried to make his voice sound like a woman’s voice.

“Tselane, my child!” said the leopard, “It’s your mother. I have brought you some food. Open the door!”

“That is not my mother’s voice!” said Tselane. “My mother’s voice is high and sweet, like the song of the ataga bird. Go away, you nefarious leopard!”

The leopard went away. He came back, but this time he drank a special drink that made his voice higher, to sound like Tselane’s mother’s voice. “Tselane, my child!” said the leopard, in a high, womanly voice. “It’s your mother. I have brought you some food. Open the door!”

“That is my mother’s voice!” said Tselane. “High and sweet, like the song of the ataga bird.” Tselane opened the door and saw the leopard. With a fright, she tried to slam the door shut again, but it was too late.


The leopard stuffed Tselane into a sack and carried her away, intending to take her back to his habitat on the savanna. After carrying the heavy bag for a while, the leopard stopped by a small stream. After traveling so far in the heat, and carrying the heavy bag, he needed a refreshing drink. Rather than carry the heavy bag down to the stream, the leopard left the bag on the side of the road, as he intended to be away from it only a short moment. The leopard climbed down the hill to the stream to get a drink.

As soon as he was gone, a little girl came walking down the road. Seeing the bag alongside the road, the little girl became interrogatory about it, so she peeped into the bag. She saw some fingers sticking up and quickly closed the bag. “Whose fingers were those?” she asked.

“Mine!” said a voice. “My name is Tselane. Please unmew me! I am smothered here in this small, hot space!”


“Tselane?” said the girl. “Why, your mother is my aunt! You and I are cousins! She has been visiting here in our village.” The little girl let Tselane out of the bag. Then she and Tselane ran to get Tselane’s mother. When she heard what had happened, Tselane’s mother filled the leopard’s bag with scorpions and snakes.

When he had finished getting his cool drink, the leopard came back to the road and grabbed the sack. Then he set off for his home. When the leopard arrived back at the savanna, he opened the bag, intending to start eating his tasty feast.

Instead, angry snakes slithered out. Dozens of scorpions poured out of the bag, shaking their poisonous tails. Many of them stung the leopard, and it was extremely painful! The leopard put his great speed to work and darted across the savanna, never to bother Tselane or her family again.

As for Tselane, she decided to always accompany her mother to the village and follow her mother’s instructions, and they all lived happily ever after.








Blaise Pascal was an important French philosopher and mathematician.


I really feel for folks who don’t have the wherewithal to even pay their rent.


I’m going to smoke the chicken using alder wood.


I’m going to run for alderman in the next county elections.


Buzz Aldrin was the second human to set foot on the moon in the Apollo 11 mission.


I think that my husband is going to eventually be bald.


Don’t listen to that poorly informed idiot’s balderdash!


The witch dropped a newt, a bat’s wing, some wolfsbane, and a clove of garlic into her caldron.


That horse’s coat has an unusually piebald coloring.


That comedian’s ribald humor is way too much for me.


Don’t scald yourself with that boiling water.


I’ve got a few “Where’s Waldo” books, and I really enjoy reading them!


When I was a child, I liked the Christmas story “Amahl and the Night Visitors.”


Now kids, I don’t expect any backtalk from you about this, capiche?


You’ll probably balk when I say this, but I think that you should apply for this job opening.


When I hear, “Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum,” I immediately think of “Jack and the Beanstalk.”


I hope that they’re selling cotton candy on the boardwalk today.


I’ve studied so hard that this test ought to be a cakewalk.


I need you to get up on the catwalk and replace that burnt out light over the theater stage.


Lucy, can you give me that box of chalk to use on the blackboard?


That cornstalk is way taller than I am.


When you go across the street, you must remain inside the crosswalk.


In 1982, Argentina and Great Britain went to war over who had dominion over the Falkland Islands.


It’s actually possible to get a ticket for jaywalking across the street.


The sidewalk ends here, and we’ll walk on the grass from this point forward.


I probably sleepwalk at least one night a month.


The astronaut just completed her first-ever spacewalk.


Are you crazy, putting peanut butter on a celery stalk?


I’m going to give a talk to the Board of Directors about our new products.


That usually quiet little girl is mighty talkative today.


I need to take the dog out for a long walk.


We’ve eaten up all of the potato salad.


Have you ever heard the phrase, “All’s well that ends well?”


I had a ball at your birthday party.


The boss said that he needs to make an important phone call.


Don’t fall down on that slippery ice!


Our fallback plan is to kick a field goal if we can’t get a first down.


After she insulted me, she then had the gall to ask me for a favor.


Let me hang up your coat in the hall closet.


My friends and I are going to get together at the mall today.


A pall hung over the church congregation when it was announced that a dearly beloved member had passed away.


Nothing entertains kids more than an amusing or scary tall tale.


We should put this painting up right here on this wall.


Howdy; how y’all doing?


I’d like a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.


In the Senate, they’re trying to stall a vote on this bill with a filibuster.


My grandpa’s favorite rock group is the Allman Brothers band.


A dead tree has fallen on our roof above the garage.


The evil witch cackled, “A horrid curse will befall your family!”


I know that guy from somewhere, but I can’t recall his name.


Lots of boats in the harbor were damaged during the intense squall.


Gollum, in “The Lord Of The Rings,” was the thrall of the ring that could make one invisible.


There was little fallout to the Congressman’s career despite his insensitive comments.


Blast it, you tracked dirt down the hallway; you need to vacuum it up, now!


Mom’s going to pan-fry walleye pike for dinner tonight.


The builder is starting to put up the drywall in the new house that we’re building.


The doctor used a bright light to look at my eyeball.


The serviceman is here to install the new dishwasher.


Let’s put in a lowball offer for that house that’s for sale, and we’ll see how desperate they are to sell.


That new kid in our class is a dreamy oddball.


At the diner, they just put in a new pinball game.


If she suffers from one pitfall, I think it’s that she’s so confident that she’s cocky.


They’re constructing a seawall along the shore to try to keep the beach from eroding.


We were appalled by the neighbor boy’s bad behavior at our son’s birthday party.


My overalls are filthy and need laundering.


I can promise you that this magician’s show will totally enthrall you!


Grandma’s watching some sappy show on the Hallmark Channel.








Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view.)

Rattenborough’s Guide To Animals

Lesson 11 – Part One

NEW WORDS: Rattenborough, animal’s, aquatic, beavers, blooded, carnivores, chapters, classified, classify, classifying, cockroaches, crocodiles, earthworms, grassland, habitats, hardwood, herbivores, invertebrate, invertebrates, nonliving, omnivores, ponds, rounded, saltwater, toucans, upstream, vertebrate, zebras

Introduction: Meet Rattenborough
Greetings! Rattenborough, the famous explorer and animal expert here! Remember me? I taught you all about animals and habitats when you were just little kids in first grade. I’ve been busy since then, traveling around the world. But, I’m back now to teach you everything I’ve learned about animals during my travels.

First, let’s take a quick look at what you learned in first grade. Do you remember what a habitat is? A habitat is the place where animals and plants live. We learned that there are different habitats all over the world with different kinds of animals and plants living there.

We visited a desert habitat where it was very hot and dry. It hardly ever rains in a desert, so the plants and animals that live there have to be able to get by with very little water. I bet you remember that cactus plants live in the desert, along with snakes and lizards.

We also visited an African savanna. A savanna is also called a grassland. There were lots of interesting animals living there — zebras, elephants, and even lions! To be perfectly honest, I was always a little nervous while we were in the savanna!


Next, we checked out some different kinds of forests. We went to a hardwood forest full of trees with leaves that change color and drop off in the fall. We saw squirrels, deer, and even bears. We saw lots of different kinds of birds in those tall trees. Then, we visited a tropical rainforest that was very hot, humid, and wet. There were lots of birds in this forest, too. These birds were colorful, tropical birds like toucans and parrots.

Last, but not least, we visited freshwater and saltwater habitats. In the freshwater habitat, we saw fish, turtles, ducks, and beavers. In the saltwater habitat of the sea, we saw starfish, crabs, lobsters, and sharks!

Besides learning about habitats in first grade, we also studied the different kinds of things that animals eat. Do you remember talking about herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores? We learned that you can sort animals by what they eat.

So, get ready, because we are going to learn a lot more about how to sort animals. Rattenborough, your personal animal expert, at your service! See you next time!


Chapter One: Classifying Living Things
Rattenborough here! Do you remember who I am? I’m here now to help you learn about how scientists sort, or classify, living things into groups. Since I am an expert on animals, we will focus mainly on animals.

First, I’m going to ask you two very important questions. How do you know if something is living or nonliving? What important characteristics do all living things have?

• All living things create energy from food.

• All living things can have babies or make other living things just like themselves.

• All living things have a life cycle. They start out small and then grow.

• All living things change to fit in better with their habitat.


Plants make up one group of living things. We know this because plants have the same characteristics that all living things have.

• Plants create energy from food. They make their own food using the sun, water, and gases in the air.

• Plants make seeds that become new plants.

• Plants grow from small seeds into seedlings and become adult plants.

• Plants can adapt to their habitat. For example, all plants need water, but a cactus in a dry desert does not need as much water as other plants.

Animals of all shapes and sizes are living things, too. So, animals also have the same characteristics that all living things have.

• Animals get energy from the food that they eat.

• Animals can have babies.

• Baby animals are small but grow into adult animals.

• Animals can adapt to their habitat. For example, the fur of polar bears looks white so that they can blend in with the snow where they live.


Plants and animals are both living things, but plants and animals are different in important ways. For example, animals move from place to place, but plants do not.

Scientists study how living things are alike and different, and sort, or classify, them into large groups called kingdoms. There are five kingdoms of living things. You have just learned about two — the plant kingdom and the animal kingdom. (You will learn about the other kingdoms in later grades.) The living things in each kingdom can then be sorted into more specific groups.


Scientists study animals within the animal kingdom and classify them by the characteristics they share with other animals. One way scientists classify animals into more specific groups is by checking if an animal has a backbone. Insects do not have backbones, but birds and fish do. So, animals with a backbone are in different, more specific groups within the animal kingdom. Insects make up the largest group in the animal kingdom. But there are other large groups of animals, such as birds and fish. You will learn more about other major groups in future chapters.

We classify the things around us so that we can get to know our world better. As we learn about living things, we also learn about ourselves and our place in the world.

So far, scientists have classified over one million different kinds of animals. Most of these are insects! Many scientists think that there may be close to ten million other animals that still have not been classified!

That’s all for now! Rattenborough, over and out! I’ll be back in the next chapter to tell you more about how animals are classified into different groups.


Chapter Two: Warm-Blooded and Cold-Blooded Animals
Rattenborough, here again! In the last chapter, you learned how scientists classify living things into groups called kingdoms. You learned about the animal and plant kingdoms. You also learned that animals and other living things are classified into more specific groups.

Today, you will learn more about the animal kingdom. You will learn that there are many kinds of animals that have different characteristics. Scientists study these different characteristics to divide the animal kingdom into more specific groups.

Many animals — such as cats, mice, rats, cows, elephants, tigers, and even people — belong to a group called mammals. So, you and I are mammals! All mammals have hair, but some have more hair, or fur, than others. You have to get pretty close to an elephant to see its hair, but it is a mammal.

Another characteristic of mammals is that they give birth to live babies. Mammal babies begin breathing, moving, and looking for food as soon as they are born. Mammal mothers make milk to feed their newborns. This is another key characteristic of all mammals.


Do you think this crocodile is a mammal? Answer: No! Why not?

Crocodiles have scales, not hair or fur.

• Crocodiles lay eggs, and baby crocodiles hatch from those eggs.

• A baby crocodile does not get milk from its mother. Its first meal might be a bug. Later, he’ll eat bigger animals.

Crocodiles belong to a different group of animals called reptiles, along with snakes, lizards, and turtles.

Scientists also classify animals as mammals or reptiles based on how the animals control their body temperature. All animals need to keep a constant temperature inside their bodies for their bodies to work properly. If an animal gets too hot or too cold, its body will not work the way that it should. An animal may become sick or even die.

Mammals are warm-blooded animals. When warm-blooded animals are in a cold place, they use energy from food they eat to help keep their bodies warm. Some warm-blooded animals shiver to keep warm. When they shiver, their bodies make heat to keep warm.


When warm-blooded animals are somewhere hot, their bodies react in a different way to cool off. Some warm-blooded animals, like people, sweat to stay cool. Dogs pant to stay cool. Other warm-blooded animals drink lots of water as a way to cool off. Did you know that cows need to drink almost a bathtub full of water a day?

Warm-blooded animals act in different ways to maintain a constant temperature inside their bodies. Mammals can live in habitats with different temperatures because their bodies do not rely on the environment. Warm-blooded animals, like mammals, must eat often to make energy to heat or cool their bodies. Most warm-blooded animals need to eat every day. Some need to eat every hour!

Reptiles are cold-blooded animals. The body temperature of cold-blooded animals changes depending on the outside temperature. They become hot when it is hot outside and cold when it is cold outside. But cold-blooded animals must also keep a constant temperature for their bodies to work properly.


Cold-blooded animals do not use energy from their bodies to stay warm or cool. Instead they use what is around them to keep warm or keep cool. Crocodiles stay in water or mud in order to stay cool on hot days. If they need to warm up on cooler days, they bask in the sun.

While warm-blooded animals can live in just about any habitat, cold-blooded animals can only live in certain habitats. Cold-blooded animals do not need to eat as often as warm-blooded animals. This is because they do not need lots of food to make energy to warm or cool their bodies. Most crocodiles only eat once a week, but they can live for months – and sometimes years – without eating!


Chapter Three: Vertebrate or Invertebrate?
Rattenborough, here again! You have learned that scientists who study the animal kingdom classify animals into different groups, based on different characteristics. Some characteristics that scientists study are:

• What makes up the animal’s skin, such as hair or scales.

• Whether animals give birth to live babies or lay eggs.

• Whether mothers feed their babies milk from their own bodies.

• Whether animals are warm-blooded or cold-blooded.

Scientists classify living things by different characteristics, such as what is on their skin, if they lay eggs or have live babies, how they feed their babies, and whether they are warm-blooded or cold-blooded.

Another key characteristic that scientists study is whether animals have a backbone. Animals that have a backbone are called vertebrates. Humans are vertebrates. Place your hand on the back of your neck until you feel a bump. Now, rub your hand up and down the middle of your back. Do you feel bumpy bones that run in a row down your back, from your neck down to your waist? That’s your backbone.


Another name for a backbone is a spine. The backbone or spine wraps around and protects an important part of your body called the spinal cord. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves. Messages travel up and down your spinal cord from your brain to other parts of your body. This is the way that your brain sends signals telling the other parts of your body what to do.

Many other animals also are vertebrates. All mammals, reptiles, fish, and birds have a backbone, so they are all vertebrates. They have some type of spinal cord, too. Animals with a backbone come in all different shapes and sizes. Apes, rhinos, horses, rabbits, bats — and yes, rats and humans, too — are all mammals and vertebrates. Lizards, turtles, snakes, and crocodiles are reptiles and vertebrates. Huge sharks and tiny goldfish are also vertebrates. Small hummingbirds and large eagles are vertebrates, too.

But there are many more animals that do not have a backbone. Animals without a backbone are called invertebrates. Insects are the largest group in the animal kingdom. Insects are also the largest group of invertebrates. Insects include flies, wasps, beetles, cockroaches, ladybugs, and butterflies. Other kinds of invertebrates include earthworms and spiders.

Some interesting invertebrates live in the sea. Lobsters, shrimp, and crabs do not have a backbone. The giant octopus is an invertebrate as well. Have you ever seen a jellyfish or a starfish? They are also invertebrates. So, these animals do not have a backbone or spinal cord.


Chapter Four: Fish
Rattenborough here again! You have learned that scientists study the characteristics of animals. They do this to divide the animal kingdom into different groups, such as mammals and reptiles. Today you are going to learn about another group of animals within the animal kingdom — fish.

Fish are aquatic animals, meaning that they spend their lives underwater. Most fish are cold-blooded. Their body temperature changes with the temperature of the water. Fish are also vertebrates. In fact, they are the largest group of animals on Earth that are vertebrates. Earth is covered mostly by water, so it makes sense that fish are the most common vertebrates. There are many different types and sizes of fish.


Fish lay eggs underwater. They also eat and sleep underwater. Fish do not sleep in the same way that mammals sleep. Fish can’t close their eyes, because they don’t have eyelids. When they sleep, they float around or find a place to hide while they rest.

Like other animals, fish need to breathe oxygen. But fish do not have lungs like people, and they do not breathe oxygen from the air. Instead, they have gills just behind their heads. Fish gills take oxygen out of the water, so that fish can breathe. But gills do not work well outside water. They cannot take oxygen out of the air. A fish will die quickly — within several minutes — if it is removed from water.

Fish have scales that cover their skin. Scales are rounded and smooth, and there is usually an inner and outer layer. The scales protect the skin and help fish move easily through the water. Fish also use the different fins on their body and their tails to swim. They are able to glide through the water, rapidly changing direction by using their fins and tail.


Most fish live in saltwater, because most water on Earth is salty. Tropical fish that live in the warm ocean are very colorful. They look as if an artist painted interesting patterns on their bodies. Many fish also live in freshwater, including streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds.

Some fish travel in groups called schools. One type of fish that travels in schools is salmon. Salmon live in both saltwater and freshwater. Some types of salmon are born in freshwater streams and rivers. After about a year, they make their way to the ocean where they live for one to five years. Then, they migrate back to the exact same stream where they were born. They lay eggs and the life cycle begins again.

Salmon don’t use a map to help them find their way back home. Most scientists think that they use their strong sense of smell to find their way. They swim upstream, against the river’s current, sometimes swimming hundreds of miles. They leap over waterfalls and rocks to get to the same stream where they were born. They go through all this hard work to reach their home to lay their eggs.

Hopefully, along the way, a grizzly bear or fisherman won’t catch them first. It just so happens that salmon are among the tastiest of all fish!


Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view.)

Rattenborough’s Guide To Animals

Lesson 12 – Part Two

NEW WORDS: Aristotle, Cambridge, Goodall, Goodall’s, Leakey, Louisiana, activist, adaptive, amphibian, amphibian’s, billed, chimpanzees, classification, copperheads, deadliest, experimenting, fanciest, fanning, gorillas, heron, hibernate, importantly, injects, mamba, mates, molting, observing, ostriches, peacocks, platypus, plumage, primates, primatologist, rattlers, rattlesnakes, seagulls, spiny, survives, swamps, tadpoles, venom, yoo, zoologists

Chapter Five: Amphibians
Greetings once again from your pal and animal expert, Rattenborough! Are you ready to learn about another group of animals within the animal kingdom? The group we are going to talk about today is really interesting. They live both in water and on land. This group of animals is called amphibians. The word amphibian comes from Latin meaning “both sides of life.”

Amphibians are classified into three more specific groups. Frogs and toads are the largest group. Salamanders and newts make up another. Animals in the third group do not have legs, so they look more like large snakes. We don’t know as much about this group of amphibians because they live mostly underground.

To understand the life cycle of an amphibian, let’s take a closer look at an American toad. Like all amphibians, toads are cold-blooded. An amphibian’s body temperature changes as the outdoor temperature changes. Some amphibians hibernate during the winter. Some toads dig deep underground. Other amphibians, like frogs, bury themselves in mud at the bottom of a pond. Hibernating amphibians can survive for months. They do not eat or move, using only the fat stored in their body to stay alive. Frogs and toads — and all amphibians — are also vertebrates.


A toad’s life cycle begins as one of thousands of soft, slimy eggs. The mother lays her eggs close to shore in a pond, lake, or calm spot in a river or stream. But most of these eggs will never hatch. Instead, they will be eaten by fish or other animals. If the water moves the eggs away from the shore and into direct sunlight, the eggs will dry out and die.

Out of the thousands of eggs laid, a few hundred toad eggs manage to hatch into tadpoles. A tadpole is very fragile. Its young body is made up mainly of a mouth, a tail, and gills. At this stage, tadpoles are aquatic. Like fish, they use gills to breathe underwater.

After a while, tadpoles begin swimming around and eating tiny aquatic plants. Tadpoles tend to stay together in schools, like fish. However, this makes it more likely that other animals will be able to catch and eat them. Most tadpoles end up as fish snacks.

If a tadpole survives for a month, skin will begin to grow over its gills. After about six to nine weeks, the tadpole also starts to grow little legs. As its body changes, the young frog or toad starts to look less like an aquatic animal and more like a land animal.

After a few months, a toad will make its way out of the water to land. At this stage, it may still have a tail, but that won’t last long. By this time, its gills have become lungs. That means the toad now breathes oxygen from the air instead of oxygen from the water, like fish. Soon, it will be a full-grown adult toad living and hopping around on land. Adult amphibians are carnivores, eating insects, small reptiles, and even mice.



Adult toads are very good swimmers and can even swim underwater. But they cannot use their lungs to breathe underwater. Instead, their thin, moist skin absorbs oxygen from the water. Amphibians are a very interesting animal group.

Amphibians are the only type of animal that have both gills and lungs. As adults, they live on land but lay eggs in the water. The Latin meaning of the word amphibian makes perfect sense!


Chapter Six: Reptiles
Hi again, it’s Rattenborough! You have already learned a little about today’s group of animals, which are reptiles. You already know that reptiles are cold-blooded animals, and vertebrates. But did you know that reptiles live both on land and in water like amphibians? Reptiles have lungs from the time they are born, not gills, like amphibians. You may also already know that reptiles lay eggs. Some reptile eggs have soft shells and some have hard shells. They lay their eggs on land. A few snakes hold the eggs inside their bodies until they hatch. Very few rare reptiles do give birth to live young, never making real eggs.

Many different groups of animals are classified as reptiles. These include animals such as crocodiles, alligators, turtles, tortoises, snakes, and lizards. Some people may think reptiles, mainly snakes, are scary. Most reptiles will not harm people. But there are some reptiles that you should try to avoid. The black mamba is the best example. This is the longest and most poisonous snake in Africa. It is also the deadliest snake in the world. A mamba injects venom whenever it bites something. A mamba bite can kill any animal — even a human — in less than 20 minutes!


Rattlesnakes, copperheads, and water moccasins are types of poisonous snakes found in the United States. Rattlesnakes, or rattlers, are easy to spot because they have “rattles” that shake on their tails. You know when there is one nearby, because you can hear the rattles shaking.

Copperheads have a triangle-shaped head and dark stripes. They are normally less than three feet long. They prefer to live in rocky, wooded areas. They only bite humans if they are attacked or startled.

Water moccasins live in the water, so they are hard to spot. They have a dangerous bite, but rarely attack humans. If you live in a southern state like Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, or Louisiana, you are more likely to see one. They live in swamps or shallow lakes. You might want to avoid swimming in shallow waters if you live in those states.


 Some people think that snakes are slimy, because their skin looks shiny, but most reptiles have thick, dry, scaly skin. Reptiles are known for molting, or shedding their skin. Reptiles shed their skin several times during their lives. Snakes, for example, shed their skin in one big piece. They do this when they grow too big for their current skin.

The biggest reptile is the saltwater crocodile, which lives mainly in Australia, and in a few parts of India and Asia. Male saltwater crocodiles can grow to be 20 feet long or more! Attacks on humans are rare. If they do attack a human, it’s usually not a happy ending.

Crocodiles have the most powerful bite in the entire animal kingdom. Their bites are ten times stronger than that of a great white shark. Despite their power when they bite and snap their jaws shut, it is fairly easy to hold a crocodile’s mouth closed. They open their mouths using a weak set of muscles. In fact, a third grader may be able to hold a crocodile’s jaw shut . . . would you like to try?


Chapter Seven: Birds
Yoo hoo — over here! It’s Rattenborough! So far, you have learned about the following groups of animals within the animal kingdom: mammals, reptiles, fish, and amphibians. Do you remember all of their different characteristics? Do you remember that we said that fish were the largest group of vertebrates in the animal kingdom? Well, today we are going to talk about the second largest group of vertebrates — birds.

Birds belong to a group all their own. Birds, like all living things, are highly adaptive, meaning that they can survive in many different habitats. You can find them in deserts, and in the coldest places on Earth. Many love forests. There are only a few birds found way out at sea, many miles from land. But if you are out in a boat only a few miles from land, you may see many sea birds, such as seagulls.

Like mammals, birds are warm-blooded. Many birds migrate when the seasons change. In late fall, they fly from colder places to warmer places in groups called “flocks.” Then, in the spring after winter is over, they migrate back to the place where they were in the fall. Birds are the only animal besides some insects and bats that are able to fly like an airplane.


All birds have wings, but not all birds are able to fly. Penguins are probably the best known birds that do not fly. Penguins make up for not flying by being great swimmers. Ostriches, the largest of all birds, can’t fly either, but they surely can run very fast! They also lay the world’s largest eggs.

Besides wings, all birds have two legs and a mouth without teeth, called a beak. A key characteristic of birds is that they all have feathers. Feathers help these warm-blooded animals fly and help them maintain a constant body temperature. Bird feathers come in all kinds of colors and sizes. A bird’s feathers are also called plumage. Peacocks have the fanciest plumage of all. They like to show off by fanning their long, colorful feathers.


Most birds are nesting animals. Many birds make their own nest, often high up in the trees or in thick bushes. They use bits and pieces of nature, such as twigs and parts of plants, to create their nest. Other birds build their nests in tree holes. Some bird nests are made of mud. Most birds lay eggs in their nests. Some lay a bunch of eggs, and some lay only one or two. The nest needs to be in a safe place to protect the little eggs from both the weather and from other animals that might eat the eggs. Birds sit on their eggs to keep them warm and safe until the eggs hatch. Once they hatch, the baby birds need to eat. Mother and father birds fly out from the nest and find food for their babies. They fly back to the nest and place the food in each baby’s beak.

Many birds are omnivores. Some birds eat seeds and berries. Some eat insects. Some, like the great blue heron, eat fish. Hawks eat little mammals. Other birds, like tiny hummingbirds, eat nectar from flowers. All birds drink water. Birds are also known for their songs. Their songs are used to attract mates and to claim a place as their own. Sometimes it seems as if they sing because they want to. Maybe they sing just to remind us how beautiful and interesting the animal kingdom is!


Chapter Eight: Mammals
Aha! Now we get to an animal group that I really know a lot about!
I, Rattenborough, am part of this group of animals myself! I’m talking about mammals. Do you remember the characteristics that scientists use to identify mammals? Hair is one major characteristic. Live birth and giving milk to their young are others. They breathe oxygen from the air using their lungs. Mammals are also warm-blooded, and they are vertebrates.

Most scientists agree that mammals are the smartest creatures in the animal kingdom. All animals communicate in some way. Dogs communicate by barking and wagging their tails. Cows moo. Some cats meow, others roar. But mammals seem to use the most complex forms of communication. Humans use language to talk. They also communicate with their faces and hands. Some apes and chimpanzees have even been taught to use sign language to communicate.


There are two other mammals that also seem to use an advanced form of communication. In fact, you may not even realize that these animals are mammals because they live in the ocean. Dolphins and whales are classified as aquatic mammals. Dolphins and whales, like other mammals, do not have gills like fish, so they cannot breathe underwater. Instead, they use blowholes at the top of their heads to blow out water and to suck in air. Dolphins and whales rise to the surface of the water and poke their heads into the air to breathe.

Whales and dolphins communicate by sending out sound waves through the water. These waves, called “sonar,” help them find their way through the ocean. The sound waves bounce off of objects and echo back to the whale or dolphin. The whale or dolphin can tell the size, shape, and speed of objects – and the distance away from them – based on the time that it takes for the echo sound to travel back to them. They also use their sounds to “talk” to each other!


Dolphins and whales also give birth to live young. No eggs needed! They even feed milk to their young. If you study them closely, you will learn that dolphins and whales have hair, not scales. They also have very thick skin. Their skin protects them from the cold and from animals that are their predators.

You might also be surprised to learn that bats are also mammals. Bats fly like birds, but they do not have the other characteristics that birds have. Bats have fur, not feathers. Their arms have wing-like flaps of skin, but they are not like bird wings. Bats also give birth to live young, and they produce milk. So, scientists classify bats as mammals.

Here’s an interesting fact: not all mammals give birth to live young. The duck-billed platypus and the spiny anteater both lay eggs like birds and some reptiles, but they have all the other characteristics of mammals. Good luck finding one. They are very rare! Mammals have their fair share of odd members, like the duck-billed platypus. But the basic characteristics — hair, backbone, milk, warm-blooded — are always present in mammals, no matter what.


Chapter Nine: Scientists Who Classify Animals
Rattenborough, here once again! You have been learning about how scientists study the characteristics of living things. They classify all living things into one of five large groups called kingdoms. You have been learning a lot about how animals are sorted into more specific groups within the animal kingdom.

The scientists who study animals and their characteristics are called zoologists. Zoologists observe animals to see the ways that they are the same and the ways that they are different. For example, zoologists discovered that some animals are warm-blooded and some are cold-blooded. Zoologists also classify animals by whether or not they have a backbone. Animals with a backbone and a spinal cord are called vertebrates. Animals that do not have a backbone are called invertebrates. We learned that there are five groups of vertebrates — fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. The largest group of vertebrates is fish.

Zoologists also study other characteristics of animals. They study animal body parts and how they are alike or different. All animals need to breathe oxygen. But they may have different organs that help them breathe. Fish and young amphibians have gills that help them get oxygen out of the water. Mammals, reptiles, and adult amphibians get oxygen from the air using lungs.


Zoologists also study how different animal babies are born and cared for.

Everything we have learned about animals was discovered by scientists. There have been many scientists who have been interested in animals since long, long ago. A Greek man named Aristotle first classified animals over 2,000 years ago. He wrote a book called “A History of Animals.” As scientists have discovered and learned more about animals, the classification system has changed. There is still much to learn about animals. After all, there are thousands of new animals yet to be discovered and classified!

Every single day, scientists learn new facts about animals. Scientists even find new animals that they didn’t know existed. There is no end to new knowledge if you study living things! Today, there are about one million scientists around the world who are studying and classifying animals, even as you read this. Every one of them spends the day observing, experimenting, and finding new information. This adds to our knowledge about the world we live in.

If you want to be a zoologist when you grow up, there is plenty to study. You never know when someone is going to learn something that changes the way we think about the world. Who knows? Maybe you will be the first to find a feathered fish or a flying snail. It may sound silly now, but a hundred years ago, nobody knew that whales communicated with each other. What will you discover?


Chapter Ten: Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall is a very famous primatologist. She is a scientist who studies a group of mammals called primates. Primates are a group of mammals that includes humans, monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees. Jane Goodall has spent her whole life studying chimpanzees. She has focused on studying animal behavior in chimpanzees. Her discoveries have made her one of the best known scientists in the world.

Goodall was born in 1934 in London, England. When she was a little girl, her father gave her a toy chimpanzee. It looked so real that people who visited her house were afraid of it, but she loved it! When Goodall was 23, she went to Africa. She began studying chimpanzees with a well-known scientist named Louis Leakey. After a year of working in Africa, Goodall went back to England and studied at the University of Cambridge. Can you guess what her favorite subject was? Chimpanzees!


After finishing school, Goodall returned to Africa and spent the next 45 years studying chimpanzees in the wild. Her discoveries during those years completely changed the way people think about primates. Before Goodall’s work, people thought chimpanzees were herbivores. She discovered that they eat meat, too.

More importantly, Goodall discovered that chimps were quite intelligent. She observed them making and using tools! Before that, people thought humans were the only animals that made and used tools. When you hear the word tool, you may think of a hammer, saw, or shovel. Chimps don’t use those kinds of tools. A tool is something used to help make a job easier. Tools can be very simple. A rock becomes a tool if you pick it up and use it to crack open a walnut.

Goodall observed chimps using blades of grass and sticks as tools. Chimps like to eat termites, a type of insect that is like an ant. Termites live in holes underground. To catch these tasty insects, Goodall observed a chimp sticking a blade of grass into a termite hole. The termites crawled onto the grass. Then, the chimp took the grass out of the hole and ate all the termites. Before Goodall wrote about this behavior, people did not realize how clever chimps and other primates are.


Goodall gave names to all of the chimps in the group that she was studying. She got to know them pretty well. Over time, she learned that chimps were smart animals. She learned that chimps express many of the same feelings as people. They can feel happy, sad, and mad. Chimps can also be mean. Goodall saw them attack and eat small monkeys, not out of hunger, but because they didn’t want them around.

Goodall is more than a scientist. She is also an activist. An activist is someone who works hard to solve a problem and change something in the world. Goodall works as an animal rights activist to protect chimpanzees and their habitats. She tells others about human damage to habitats, such as hunting and pollution, and works to stop these problems. She loves working with young people and teaching them how to protect animals. She has written many books and has been the subject of books and movies. She has won many awards for her work in protecting chimpanzees. As of 2013, she was 79 years old and still working to spread the message that animals need to be protected!


Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view.)

Rattenborough’s Guide To Animals

Lesson 13 – Part Three

NEW WORDS: Costa, Indonesia, Indonesian, Rattenborough’s, Rica, anglerfish, approaches, believes, belonging, biologist, carnivore, chirps, colorless, copperhead, discovering, dragons, explores, extinction, frog’s, graders, herbivore, hummingbird, inject, kills, lodge, lodges, meaty, migrates, migrating, moccasin, molt, molted, nostril, omnivore, operates, pelts, penguin, porches, predator, primate, referring, remotely, safest, scuba, shivers, slaps, snakeskin, southeastern, spider’s, squeezing, startle, strongly, submarines, submersible, submersibles, suction, sugary, swallowing, territorial, throated, unchanging, wetland

Chapter Eleven: Deep-Sea Fish
Oceans are very, very deep bodies of water. However, people cannot go very deep into the ocean. Even with all the right scuba gear, including a tank of oxygen, there is a limit to how deep you can go underwater. The deeper you go, the higher the water pressure gets because of the weight of all the water around you.

You can notice water pressure if you swim to the bottom of a pool. If you rest on the floor of the pool for a few seconds, you will start to feel the pressure in your eardrums. The deeper you go in the ocean, the higher the water pressure gets. If you dive a few hundred feet down, you will start to feel like someone is squeezing your head and chest. At 1,000 feet, you might pass out. Go deeper than that, and you might be crushed by all the water pressure!


How deep are oceans? That depends on where you are in the world. Some parts are a few yards deep, while others are around 10,000 feet. The deepest part of the ocean is more than six miles deep! Down there, the water pressure is very strong. It is so strong that it would feel as if someone had dropped 3,300 elephants on you at the same time. In other words, you would be crushed to the size of an ant, maybe smaller. No creature that lives on land can survive the water pressure of the deep ocean. Most fish can’t either. However, there is life down there — lots of it! How do we know? Scientists have created special submarines called “submersibles” that can go deep in the ocean.

Some submersibles can carry a person or two. Others are controlled remotely from the surface. With a light and a camera, a submersible can be used to explore the deepest parts of an ocean. Scientists developed the first submersible about 50 years ago and have been discovering some pretty crazy-looking fish ever since!


Fish that live deep down in the ocean are unlike any other living things. They have incredibly thick bodies because they need to withstand all that water pressure. No sunlight reaches the bottom of the ocean, so it’s completely dark down there. Many deep-sea fish glow! Lantern fish are the most common deep-sea fish. In fact, they are among the most common of all vertebrates. There are billions of them down there!

The anglerfish is easily one of the strangest creatures on Earth. Have you ever seen anything so ugly? Anglerfish are known for their huge mouths and scary teeth. What is more amazing is that they have a built-in flashlight on their head used to communicate with other fish. Humans have only managed to explore a tiny part of the deep seas. If you are interested in discovering new creatures, then you might want to think about becoming a deep-sea marine biologist, which is a scientist who explores ocean life.


Chapter Twelve: Tree Frogs
As you have learned, amphibians are vertebrates that spend part of their lives in water, and part of their lives on land. They start out like fish because they are born with gills and can breathe underwater. They later develop lungs, so they can breathe air and live on land. Tree frogs are one type of amphibian. They are different from most amphibians because they spend most of their lives in trees. The American green tree frog can be found in most parts of the southeastern United States. A typical American tree frog is only about two inches long, so they are pretty small. But they can be loud if there are a few hundred of them gathered together.

If you live in the southern United States, near water and lots of trees, your summer nights may be filled with the gentle chirps of tree frogs. American tree frogs range in color from lime green to yellow. A tree frog’s most distinct characteristic is its long toes with suction cups. The suction cups allow a tree frog to cling to and climb anything. A tree frog can even stick to a window. Tree frogs like to stay in the trees, so you are more likely to hear them instead of see them. They will leave the trees to lay eggs. They are most likely to come down to the ground after a heavy rain, when everything is nice and wet.


If you do see one, don’t worry! They are pretty friendly. They are easy to catch, too. If you catch one, it might sit on your hand or crawl around on your back. You will probably only find them at night because they are nocturnal. This means that they sleep during the day and are active at night. They eat small insects, such as crickets, moths, and other nocturnal insects. Like other amphibians, American green tree frogs lay their eggs in or near the water. Most of them like to lay their eggs very close to water, but not quite in it. Their favorite place is on a tree limb or leafy branch that has fallen into a pond.

Different kinds of tree frogs have been around since long before the dinosaurs roamed the Earth. You can find many different types of tree frogs in parts of North and South America, Europe, and Southeast Asia. This is a red-eyed tree frog, which you can find in Mexico and much of Central America. Most tree frogs prefer a fairly warm, wet climate. If you live in a place with tree frogs, consider yourself lucky. In the summer, you can fall asleep each night listening to the steady song of a tree frog orchestra.


Chapter Thirteen: The Komodo Dragon
You have probably heard or read at least one fairy tale with a dragon as a character. In these stories, dragons fly around breathing fire and frightening innocent people, until a brave knight comes along and kills the dragon. Well, you won’t find fire-breathing dragons in a book about animal classification. There is no proof that these fairy tale dragons ever existed. There is, however, one real dragon that does exist: the Komodo dragon. No, it does not breathe fire, and it does not fly. It’s just a big reptile. They can be pretty mean. It’s rare, but they have attacked and even killed humans. So, be careful if you are ever traveling through Indonesia.

These dragons are named after the island of Komodo, which is part of Indonesia. They can be found on four or five other Indonesian islands, as well, but overall they are pretty rare. They prefer hot, dry places. They dig burrows two to three feet deep in the ground. Like most reptiles, they spend most of their time sleeping, or simply relaxing. A Komodo dragon can be as big, or bigger, than a crocodile. They weigh up to 150 pounds and can be over ten feet long from tail to head. The largest one on record weighed 370 pounds, or as much as about six third graders.


Like many reptiles, they can’t hear or see very well. Instead, they have a strong sense of smell. They do not use their nostrils to smell — they use their tongue! They can smell food several miles away if the wind is blowing in the right direction! Speaking of food, Komodo dragons are carnivores, so they eat mainly meat. For the most part, they eat dead animals. But if there are no dead animals around, they hunt for food.

They have sharp claws and teeth and, when needed, can move pretty fast. They are the only lizards known to attack, kill, and eat animals that are bigger than they are. They might hunt a goat, a deer, and even a water buffalo! Young Komodo dragons eat insects, smaller mammals, and birds. How? They climb trees and catch them. They will eat anything that they can get their claws on, as long as it’s meaty. You definitely don’t want a Komodo dragon to bite you, or even lick you! Its saliva is loaded with dangerous germs that can make people very sick. The best way to observe a Komodo dragon is at a zoo, unless you are very brave or very foolish!


Chapter Fourteen: Beavers
Beavers are mammals that have an important role in nature. Beavers have two key characteristics: long, sharp teeth and a flat, wide tail. They use their teeth to gnaw down trees of all sizes for food and for building things. They use their tails to swim, but that’s not all! If a beaver smells or sees danger nearby, it will warn the other beavers. It slaps its tail on the water surface as a loud warning. Beavers live in ponds and lakes in some parts of North America, and in some parts of Europe and Asia. They are pretty hard to find today, because they were nearly hunted to extinction. Beavers were prized for their pelts, which people used to make fur coats and hats.

They are still hunted today, not only for their pelts, but also because many people think that they are pests. As you will learn, beavers can play a very important role in nature by creating a special habitat called a wetland. But sometimes they are pests, because they disturb places where people live. Beavers are the second largest rodent in the world. They do look a bit like their fellow rodents, such as mice, rats, and hamsters.


Have you ever heard the expression “busy as a beaver?” It comes from the fact that, in the wild, beavers never seem to stop working. They spend much of their time in water. They are best known for building dams in rivers and streams. They build dams in order to create deeper bodies of water. They move slowly on land, but they are great swimmers. Deep water protects them from bears and other predators. When they sense danger, they dive underwater. They can hold their breath underwater for up to 15 minutes! Beavers also build places to live called lodges. Lodges are big piles of sticks and mud that they build after they have built a nice dam. Beavers use their strong teeth to gnaw down trees of all sizes. Then they strip off and eat the bark of the tree. They use what’s left over to build their lodges and dams.


A single beaver family can really change its surroundings. Beavers’ dams can cause the water in the stream or river to rise up, flooding the nearby land. This creates a swamp, or wetland. Wetlands are important habitats for many types of birds, mammals, fish, and insects. But if there are people living nearby, they may not welcome the flooding! Beavers don’t stay in one place for very long. Once the good bark from all the trees is eaten in one place, they tend to move downstream and start all over again. But the wetland that they made often remains long after they leave.

Beavers are very territorial. This means that they don’t like other beavers to move into the same area where they build their lodge. They want to keep all the tasty tree bark for themselves! They often attack other beavers that try to move into a space that they have claimed. All in all, beavers are interesting mammals to watch and study.


Chapter Fifteen: Hummingbirds
Birds can be found nearly everywhere on Earth, and they come in many different sizes and colors. They also live in many different types of habitats. This affects how they eat, nest, and sing songs. Hummingbirds are among the smallest birds. The bee hummingbird is the smallest bird on Earth, just two inches long. It weighs less than a penny! A hummingbird is an amazing little animal. It can flap its wings up to 90 times in one second! That’s so fast that it looks like its wings are a blur. It’s hard to see its wings because they are constantly flapping.

Hummingbirds dart around from flower to flower, like bees. They use their long, pointy beaks to drink sweet nectar from flowers. Since they are so busy flapping their wings, they need to eat a lot to replace all of their energy. A typical hummingbird will visit hundreds of flowers every day, drinking more than its own weight in nectar. Nectar has sugar, which gives hummingbirds plenty of energy. As they find insects on flowers, hummingbirds eat them up. Hummingbirds are attracted to red flowers. They are also drawn to red feeders, which people hang on porches and trees. The feeders are filled with sugary water, which is then dyed red to attract the birds. People hang feeders for them because these birds are a lot of fun to watch!


Like many birds, the ruby-throated hummingbird migrates. This means that it spends part of the year in one place and part of the year in another place. It can be found in parts of the eastern United States during the late spring and early summer. When autumn rolls around, it heads south for warmer weather. Here is an amazing fact: this tiny bird, which is shorter than your finger, doesn’t migrate just a few miles. It migrates all the way across the Gulf of Mexico — 500 miles — without stopping! From there, it may continue south through Mexico to Costa Rica and beyond. Here is another interesting fact: they are the only birds that can fly backwards! They can also hover and fly upside-down.

Their nests are very small, about half as big as a walnut shell. They make their nests using little bits of moss and leaves. They use spider webs to hold these little bits of nature together. They sometimes eat the spider before using its web as glue. The spider’s web is nice and sticky. It is also flexible. A hummingbird will lay two tiny eggs. When its tiny eggs hatch and the babies begin to grow, the spider web will allow the nest to expand. This helps the babies stay warm and safe. In the image, a hummingbird is feeding its babies. Maybe it is giving them a nice, juicy bug to eat. Maybe it is sharing a taste of sweet flower nectar with the babies. See if you can find a more interesting little bird than that!

Glossary for Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals:

Absorb — to take in or soak up (absorbs).
Activist — a person who strongly believes in changing something and works hard to try to make change happen.
Adapt — to change.
Adaptive — easily changes to live in different environments.
Adult — grown-up.
Amphibian — an animal that can live on land and in water (amphibians).
Animal — a living thing that is not a plant (animals).
Aquatic — living, growing, or found in water.
Aristotle — a Greek man who lived long ago and was one of the first people to write about classifying animals.
Attract — to draw or pull toward a person, place, or thing.

Behavior — how a person or animal acts.
Burrow — a hole in the ground dug by an animal for safety or for living (burrows).

Carnivore — an animal that mainly eats meat (carnivores).
Characteristic — something that makes a person, thing, or group different (characteristics).
Classify — to put things into groups based on similarities or type (classifying, classified).
Climate — the usual weather patterns in a particular area.
Cold-blooded — only able to control body temperature by using surroundings; reptiles are cold-blooded.
Communicate — to share information with others through language, writing, or gestures (communication).
Constant — unchanging.
Creature — an animal (creatures).
Crocodile — a large reptile that lives near water and has thick, scaly skin and very strong jaws (crocodiles).

Damage — harm.
Deadliest — most likely to cause death.
Duck-billed platypus — a mammal that has a bill like a duck and lays eggs.

Echo — a sound that is repeated when sound waves bounce off the surface of an object.
Exist — to be alive (existed).
Extinction — the state of no longer existing, usually referring to plants or animals that have died out completely.

Feather — one of many light, soft parts that covers a bird’s skin (feathers).
Fin — a bony spine covered with skin that sticks out from a fish’s body and helps it swim (fins).
Flexible — bendable.
Flock — a group of birds (flocks).
Fragile — easily harmed.

Gill — one of a pair of organs fish use to breathe underwater (gills).
Gnaw — to bite or chew something over and over.

Habitat — a place where plants and/or animals live and grow (habitats).
Herbivore — an animal that only eats plants (herbivores).
Hibernate — to spend a season resting or sleeping (hibernating).
Hover — to float in the air close to something.

Inject — to force in fluid, like poison, usually by piercing the skin (injects).
Intelligent — smart.
Invertebrate — an animal without a backbone (invertebrates).
Island — an area of land completely surrounded by water (islands).

Kingdom — a major group into which all living things are classified (kingdoms).
Knowledge — information.
Komodo dragon — the largest living lizard (Komodo dragons).

Language — words used to communicate.
Life cycle — the stages through which a living thing goes from birth until death.

Mammal — an animal that gives birth, has hair, feeds milk from its own body to its young, and is warm-blooded (mammals).
Marine biologist — a scientist who studies underwater sea life.
Migrate — to travel back and forth from one place to another.
Molt — to shed skin (molting, molted).
Moss — a very small green or yellow plant that grows on moist rocks, tree bark, or wet ground.

Nature — everything in the outside world that is not made by people.
Nectar — sweet liquid that comes from flowers.
Nocturnal — active during the night.
Nostril — one of the openings of the nose (nostrils).

Observe — to watch closely and carefully (observing).
Ocean — an enormous body of saltwater.
Omnivore — an animal that eats both plants and meat (omnivores).
Orchestra — a group of musicians who play instruments together.
Organ — an important body part that performs a specific function (organs).
Oxygen — a colorless gas that animals must breathe to stay alive.

Pelt — the skin of a dead animal with hair or fur on it (pelts).
Penguin — a bird that cannot fly, has black and white feathers, and uses its wings for swimming (penguins).
Plumage — birds’ feathers.
Poisonous — full of poison or venom.
Pollution — making land, water, or air dirty, thus causing damage.
Predator — an animal that hunts other animals for food (predators).
Primate — a mammal such as a monkey, ape, or human (primates).
Primatologist — a scientist who studies primates.

Reptile — a cold-blooded animal with tough, scaly skin that uses its surroundings to control its body temperature (reptiles).
Rodent — a small mammal with large, sharp front teeth, such as a squirrel, rat, or mouse (rodents).

Saliva — spit.
Savanna — a large flat area of land with a lot of grass and few trees, commonly found in Africa and South America.
Scale — a thin, small disc on the outside of the bodies of some animals, such as fish and reptiles (scales).
School — a large group of fish or other aquatic animals that swim together (schools).
Scientist — an expert in science who has knowledge of the natural world based on facts learned through observation and experiments (scientists).
Scuba gear — clothes and equipment used for diving and breathing underwater.
Sign language — a way to communicate using hands to make signs that stand for letters and words.
Sonar — a way to find things underwater using sound waves.
Spinal cord — a large group of nerves that connects to the brain and sends messages to other nerves in the body.
Spine — backbone.
Startle — to surprise (startled).
Submarine — a type of ship that carries people deep underwater for a long time (submarines).
Submersible — a type of ship used to travel deep underwater for research that usually operates without people inside of it (submersibles).
Suction cup — a round, shallow cup that can stick to a surface (suction cups).
Survive — to continue to live (survives).

Tadpole — the early form of frogs and toads that has gills and a tail, but no legs (tadpoles).
Temperature — the measurement of how hot or cold something is (temperatures).
Territorial — keeping animals or people from coming into an area already claimed.
Tongue — the part of the mouth used for tasting, licking, and swallowing.

Venom — poison produced by an animal used to harm or kill another animal.
Vertebrate — an animal with a backbone (vertebrates).

Warm-blooded — having a constant body temperature; mammals are warm-blooded.
Water moccasin — a type of poisonous snake found in the southern United States (water moccasins).
Water pressure — the weight or force of water as it presses against something or someone.
Weather — what it is like outside.
Weight — how heavy something is.
Wetland — an area of land covered with shallow water, such as a swamp (wetlands).

Zoologist — a scientist who studies animals and their characteristics (zoologists).
Subtitles to illustrations:
Rattenborough in two habitats. Rattenborough in three habitats. Rattenborough in two water habitats. Different animals eat different things. CARNIVORES Eat mainly meat. OMNIVORES Eat plants and meat. HERBIVORES Eat only plants. All living things are classified by their characteristics. Plants have the characteristics that all living things have. Animals have the characteristics that all living things have. Scientists classify living things into five kingdoms. They classify animals into other groups by their characteristics. LIVING THINGS, KINGDOM, INVERTEBRATES, VERTEBRATES, PLANTS, ANIMAL. Scientists classify living things by different characteristics. Mammal mothers feed their babies milk from their bodies. Crocodiles, snakes, lizards, and turtles are all reptiles. When a person shivers, his/her body is using energy to keep him/her warm. Dogs pant to stay cool. Cold-blooded animals like these crocodiles cool off by taking a swim when it’s too hot. When it’s cool outside, they warm up in the sun. Reptiles are one group of cold-blooded animals. What other animals are cold-blooded? Mammals are warm-blooded animals. What other animals are warm-blooded? Humans have a backbone and are classified as vertebrates. These animals are all classified as vertebrates because they have a backbone. These animals are invertebrates that do not have a backbone. These invertebrates live in the saltwater environment of the sea. Fish come in many sizes and colors. These tropical fish live in a saltwater habitat. A salmon leaping over a waterfall to get upstream to lay its eggs must watch out for enemies. Amphibians can live both in water and on land. This toad may be preparing to hibernate for the winter. Bottom: A young amphibian leaving the pond for land. Top: The life cycle of a frog or toad. EGGS, YOUNG AMPHIBIAN, ADULT AMPHIBIAN, TADPOLES. This frog has laid her eggs in the water. Crocodiles, turtles, snakes, and lizards are all reptiles. A poisonous black mamba snake. Rattlesnake. Copperhead. Water Moccasin. This snakeskin has been left behind by a large snake after it molted. Crocodiles have powerful jaws and a mean bite. Different kinds of birds live in many different habitats. A flock of migrating birds. All birds have wings and feathers, but not all birds can fly. Baby birds are being fed by their parents. Different kinds of birds eat different types of food. Mammals communicate in different ways. You might think dolphins would be classified as fish, but they are classified as mammals. Bats are also mammals. A duck-billed platypus. This zoologist is studying a turtle. Do you remember which group of animal mothers feed their babies milk from their own bodies? A statue of Aristotle. What kind of animals would you like to observe if you were a zoologist? Jane Goodall. Goodall studies chimpanzees, a type of mammal belonging to the primate group. A chimpanzee uses a plant stem as a tool. Jane Goodall continues to work as an animal rights activist. Scuba divers feel more water pressure the deeper they dive in the ocean. A submersible exploring deep underwater. Lantern fish. An anglerfish. An American green tree frog. This tree frog’s long toes with suction cups help it climb this branch. The American green tree frog is nocturnal. This type of tree frog lives in Mexico and Central America. Fire-breathing dragons are found only in fairy tales and movies. The Komodo dragon is a large reptile found in Indonesia. A Komodo dragon can be as large, or larger, than a crocodile. Komodo dragons use their tongues to smell! The safest way to observe a Komodo dragon is at a zoo. Beavers have long, sharp teeth and a flat, wide tail. Beavers are mammals that belong to a smaller group of animals called rodents. A beaver swimming from its lodge towards a dam. Wetlands are important habitats for many kinds of animals. Beavers are territorial. A hummingbird compared to the size of a penny. A hummingbird approaches a flower for nectar. The locations where the ruby-throated hummingbird lives in summer and winter. A ruby-throated hummingbird feeds its babies.







What does this year’s Farmer’s Almanac say about how tough a winter we’re going to have?


I’m going to order the trout almandine for my entree.


The preacher said, “And now let us praise the God almighty!”


Mom, can I get an Almond Joy candy bar?


We almost won the football game, but we fumbled in the last minute, and our opponents scored a touchdown with seconds left on the clock.


She showed her generosity by giving alms regularly.


I need some lip balm for my chapped lips.


The balmy weather was quite unusual for mid-March.


Kids, you need to calm down and stop making so much noise.


Holmes calmly looked Moriarty in the eyes and said, “Professor, I’m on to your tricks.”


We must immediately embalm our now-dead Pharaoh.


I’d like for you to taste this malmsey Madeira wine.


Napalm is a highly incendiary jellylike substance used in fire bombs, flamethrowers, etc.


These hurricane winds are so strong that they can uproot palm trees.


Arnold Palmer was one of professional golf’s most popular competitors.


Our pastor asked us to turn to Psalm 62 in the Bible.


I have no qualms about jumping off of the high dive.


We’re going to restain our home’s wood floors in a walnut color.


This day has flown by; is it already dinnertime?


If it’s alright with you, I’m going to go ahead and change the clocks for daylight savings time.


A walrus has flippers, a pair of large tusks, and tough, wrinkled skin.


Is this suggested answer to the question true or false?


This opera singer has an amazing falsetto voice.


Sir John Falstaff is a fictional character who appears in three plays by William Shakespeare and is eulogized in a fourth.


Cerebral palsy is a form of paralysis believed to be caused by a prenatal brain defect or by brain injury during birth.


Do you have any salsa that is spicier than this one?


I’m now going to play Chopin’s Grande Valse Brillante in E-flat major.


This politician is a dangerous member of the alt-right.


I knelt at the church altar to offer up a prayer.


We can’t go back in time and alter the past.


Honey, you and your brother can’t altercate about politics during Thanksgiving dinner!


Day will always alternate with night.


Although I generally prefer vanilla, tonight I’m in the mood for chocolate ice cream.


Altogether, the various car repairs added to $300.


In another similarity to Mars, the eruption involves basalt, a magma with a honeylike viscosity.


Cobalt-based blue pigments have been used since ancient times for jewelry and paints.


Dalton, GA is home to many of the nation’s floor-covering manufacturers, primarily those producing carpets, rugs, and vinyl flooring.


We should exalt the former President for her leadership during very difficult times.


Her health started to falter when she turned 90 years old.


In a gestalt moment, the detective finally put all the incomplete clues together to find out who committed the crime.


Halt, who goes there?


My favorite candy is malted milk balls.


Their economy only grew by a paltry half a percent in the last last six months.


Could you please pass the salt and pepper?


I’m going to have some saltine crackers with my lunch.


I need to fill up this empty saltshaker.


Everything on this restaurant’s menu comes out too salty.


This soap opera is absolutely full of schmaltz.


My favorite Walt Disney animated movie is “The Lion King.”


Walter Cronkite was probably the most beloved TV newscaster in American history.


Sir William Walton, a British composer, wrote a cantata called “Belshazzar’s Feast.”


The orchestra will now play Strauss’s Blue Danube waltz.


Thanks for your help; I can always count on you!


The stalwart knight has never lost a jousting match.

Letter-A “by itself” in any word containing “water”:

The water in the swimming pool is freezing!


This watercolor by Turner is exquisite.


I think I’ll punch up the salad a bit by adding some watercress.


This waterfall extends 60 feet.


The Battle of Waterloo in 1815 was the final defeat for the French leader Napoleon Bonaparte.


I’ve got a huge watermelon to bring to the picnic.


My new watch is completely waterproof.


I grew up in a backwater town in Mississippi.


The floodwaters have finally started to recede.


Is this a freshwater or an ocean fish?


This dessert is absolutely mouthwatering.


This saltwater taffy is mighty chewy.


You can’t drink seawater because it’s concentrated with so much salt in it that the human body can’t process it.








Lesson 14 – “Text Project” Vocab-Builder

NEW WORDS: Anatoly, Angeles, Asimov, Barbara, Borg, COVID, Carol, Carrie, Clapton’s, Clarke, Communist, Congressional, Danny, De, Eddie, Einstein’s, Ellen, Emily, Eric, Fermat, Gandhi, Iceland, Janet, Jason, Jimmy, KGB, Kansas, Los, Margaret, Marshall, Michael, Mozart’s, Negro, Oregon, Pierre, Portland, Puerto, Ramona, Rico, Sara, Spaniards, Stanley, Susan, Sweden, Taiwan, acceptance, accordingly, adjustments, administration, algae, alpacas, alpha, ammonia, analysis, angering, applying, assertive, assistant, astronomers, attempts, authorities, authors, axis, bacteria, beachhead, bonds, borscht, breeding, bronze, burden, candidate, candidates, canopy, carbohydrates, carbon, categories, centimeters, charts, chemistry, circles, circulation, collective, combinations, communications, communities, compass, competitive, conclusion, conflicts, consequences, consequently, consistent, consumer, converted, cooperation, corgi, corporations, corrupt, courts, crisis, criticism, critics, crude, crystals, debated, decreases, denied, deposits, depressed, depression, describing, detailed, determines, devices, diameter, dioxide, discrimination, discussing, distinction, distinguished, dominant, downward, drugs, earthquakes, economic, edgy, efficiency, efficient, eighteenth, electron, electronic, electrons, employed, employee, enclosed, encyclopedia, engineering, entrance, entry, enzymes, equality, equipped, erosion, essay, establishing, evaluation, ex, examination, exoplanets, explanations, explosion, exposed, expressions, extent, facial, farting, favorable, firms, flaws, formation, functioning, gates, granted, guitarist, handicapped, headquarters, healthcare, hoodoo, horizontal, hurricanes, identification, illustrated, immigrants, impression, improvement, impulses, increasingly, influenced, inherited, instances, instruction, interaction, interfere, intervals, invasion, investment, jumpy, labels, lake’s, landslides, lasting, lately, latitude, lawyers, legislation, legislature, libraries, lieutenant, lighted, linebacker, mainland, mankind, markets, masses, mathematician, maudlin, meanings, merging, methane, micro, miners, models, murdering, nitrogen, online, operated, opportunities, organism, organisms, origin, originally, outranks, paragraphs, participation, particles, payments, perception, permits, personality, personnel, persuade, physician, physics, pioneers, pitcher’s, plot, populations, possessed, presidential, primitive, promotion, prosecute, proteins, proton, psychological, pushy, qualities, ranks, reacted, readily, rec, receiving, recommended, recreation, reliable, reporter, reporters, researchers, restricted, resulted, rugged, sexual, shipping, similarly, singing’s, slim, slopes, smallpox, snacking, societies, sodium, software’s, spacecraft, sperm, stability, stimuli, striking, sufficiently, suits, sulfur, surreal, suspended, terminal, textbook, theories, titles, toothed, topics, towers, trait, traits, unemployment, unions, universal, uranium, urged, vaccine, vague, variable, variations, verbs, weights, when’s, women’s, worldwide, worthy, writings

COVID-19 was a worldwide crisis in 2020.

Lincoln had rugged facial features.

Those lawyers won the case!

Stop those crude farting noises!

We’ve ceased communications with their country.

We had a little explosion in chemistry lab today.

We’ll be discussing your grades tonight.

There were fierce battles on how to craft the healthcare legislation.

That dress suits you.

Tons of wheat is grown in Kansas.

Han Solo kept a messy spacecraft.

The doc operated on her knee.

The bully was suspended for a week.

Your work needs improvement.

Gandhi influenced Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our city’s libraries are world-class!


Lots of stimuli make me jumpy.

You eat too much sodium with your diet.

My job evaluation went well.


He’s named Jason.

My skin was exposed to the sun.

Nitrogen makes up 78% of the air we breathe.

I won a bronze medal.

Einstein’s theories are well-known.

The U.S. is a land of immigrants.

There are bad consequences for breaking the law.

The tennis courts are wet.

My investment plan is sound.

The President’s administration is corrupt.

Sperm whales are the largest of toothed whales.

We met with headquarters folks.

Negro Major League baseball was from 1920 to 1951.

He lives in Los Angeles.

My child loves illustrated books.

Bacteria are microorganisms.

This word has five meanings!

The unemployment rate measures job losses.

Jimmy has red hair.

Originally, I’d planned to be at the game.


Meet with my assistant first.

I trained the new personnel today.

Erosion can lead to landslides.

Portland, Oregon is rainy.

This textbook is 500 pages long.

The storm knocked out our electronic devices.

We held back the enemy invasion.

Today’s weather should be favorable.

She’s a reliable nurse.

Electrons have a negative charge.

Your diet’s full of carbohydrates.

I wrote an essay about the Trail of Tears.

Singing’s not one of my strong traits.

He gave me a vague answer.

Your car engine needs some adjustments.

She grew up at a tropical latitude.

That’s the pitcher’s eighteenth strike-out.

I can’t find a distinction between the twins.

They named their child Michael.

To what extent are you trained at this?


Carrie made me cry.

The maid was efficient at cleaning up.

The new leader brought stability to his nation.

She made a lasting impression.

Mom fights for women’s rights.

The troops are establishing a beachhead there.

Danny Boy” is a well-known Irish ballad.

When will researchers find a COVID vaccine?

Housing discrimination is against the law.

Her best trait is being kind.

Mr. Smith’s a physics teacher.

That reporter was tough on the mayor.

These two paragraphs make no sense.

Stanley has a pet corgi.

Eric Clapton’s a great guitarist!

We had a huge economic downturn in 2008 / 2009.

We’ll study many categories of marine life today.

Show more cooperation with your sister!

The critics loved this movie.

This car has great gas efficiency.


All the miners were rescued from the cave-in.

These labels go on those boxes.

My uncle lifts weights.

Asimov and Clarke were great sci-fi authors.

The Borg Collective were creepy Star Trek aliens.

Look up “methane” in the encyclopedia.

Three labor unions are on strike.

I’ll have trouble describing the robber.

The mayor gave a rousing acceptance speech.

Tim denied snacking on a cookie.

That maudlin soap opera gets me all depressed.

Ellen makes me laugh!

Large masses of people came to hear the Pope.

The dominant wolf is called the “alpha.”

My sister’s named Carol.

Punish him accordingly, to fit the crime!

Pierre de Fermat was a great mathematician.

He’s possessed by a demon!

Large populations of birds were hurt by the oil spill.

Margaret, please clear the table.


I’m the employee of the month!

Halt, this is a restricted area!

Our country has not achieved equality for all.

The compass points north.

After three attempts, she set a new world record.

That’s an unfair criticism of his work!

My package is shipping tonight.

Algae is covering the pond.

Solve the problem for the “X” variable.

Her participation was helpful.

You’ll be receiving my email in an hour.

You need permits to park here.

After my examination, Doc said that I’m in good health.

We inherited that canopy bed from my aunt.

Mom’s employed at a bank.

Those astronomers search for exoplanets.

The entrance is locked.

You came highly recommended for the job.

To get in, you’ll need to show your identification.

Did you write down the combinations to these locks?


Sara went home.

There was lots of sexual tension in that movie.

She’s a distinguished author.

Should corporations pay more taxes?

The two law firms are talking about merging.

The genie said, “Your wish is granted!”

That candidate dropped out of the Senate race.

That’s the wrong door; it says “No Entry.”

Here’s the instruction manual for the rice cooker.

Is mankind harming the Earth?

The presidential candidates debated hard last night.

The ski slopes were heavy with snow.

Are you equipped for your camping trip?

Your flight is in the “C” terminal at gate 14.

The coach determines the starting quarterback today.

She’s an ear, nose, and throat physician.

That movie had lots of plot flaws.

Anatoly was a Communist KGB agent.

Barbara flunked the test.

When Gramps died, Gran went into a severe depression.


How are an electron and a proton different?

Control your impulses!

We’d love to discover some living organism on another planet.

I’m applying for a job at the theater.

There are still primitive tribes living on Earth.

Eddie hit a homer!

The markets went up based on good jobs news.

We converted our basement into a rec room.

An inch is 2.54 centimeters.

Gran traced her family origin back to Iceland.

Are they from Mainland China or Taiwan?

Mrs. Marshall is a great teacher.

Julius Caesar was born in the year 100 B.C.

What qualities qualify you for this job?

I love the Ramona books.

Sweden has a population of about 10.3 million people.

Don’t interfere with my plans!

You’d better slim down!

I’ve not read her writings.

Have you seen Mrs. Gates lately?


The tourist population here decreases in the winter.

What are those particles in your hair?

Earth’s diameter is 7,926 miles.

I’m an engineering student.

Choose from these five titles to do your book report.

My cousins started breeding alpacas!

The pioneers headed west!

Can I persuade you to try this borscht?

His actions are not consistent with his words.

Sulfur water stinks!

They found deposits of gold in those foothills.

Their linebacker towers above me.

What’s the conclusion of your analysis?

Is Susan home?

Have you studied sufficiently to ace the test?

Her mom’s a burden to her.

A Congressional committee was formed to study the problem.

We get too many consumer complaints!

Which of these topics interests you?

I’ve caught her lying in three different instances.


A check is enclosed in your birthday card.

When’s Aunt Janet coming?

I’ll readily commit to help you!

I have conflicts on both of those days.

The “X-axis” is the horizontal one.

Give me a detailed write-up.

We can’t park in a handicapped parking place.

Emily is six feet tall.

Play Mozart’sVariations on Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

The sunset was striking.

Puerto Rico suffers from hurricanes and earthquakes.

I forgot to make two payments last month.

She’s getting increasingly edgy.

This lake’s a great recreation area.

That software’s functioning well.

Many societies in history never developed a written language.

Those fashion models are too thin.

The legislature is in session.

She cut all bonds with her ex-husband.

Spaniards brought smallpox to the New World.


Add these charts to the report.

She didn’t listen; consequently, she got in trouble.

That surreal rock formation is called a “hoodoo.”

Scrape off the ice crystals.

There are lots of job opportunities at this growing company.

He has an assertive personality.

My perception is that he’s not ready for a promotion.

Chocolate ranks high on my favorite foods list.

He’s a worthy opponent.

His explanations tend to go in circles.

She’s the most competitive player I’ve ever seen.

His comment resulted in angering his boss.

There’s a nasty rumor about him in circulation.

Murdering is wrong” is a pretty universal belief.

Mom reacted similarly to Dad upon hearing the good news.


You do NOT want to create an interaction of bleach and ammonia!

The authorities will prosecute him.

Don’t play psychological games with me!

Did you know that enzymes are proteins?

I urged her to get some sleep.

Uranium-235 is used in nuclear power plants.

A captain outranks a first or second lieutenant.

She participates in four online communities.

As she aged, her health went into a downward spiral.

This signal from space is coming in odd intervals.

Use more action verbs in your story.

News reporters can be pushy.

He makes funny facial expressions.

The Martian atmosphere is 96% carbon dioxide.

This is not a well-lighted room.


Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading

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Gods, Giants, And Dwarves


Lesson 15 – Part One 

NEW WORDS: Asgard, Freya, Freya’s, Frigga, Heimdall, Loki, Loki’s, Mjollnir, Nidavellir, Norse, Odin, Odin’s, Sif, Sif’s, Thrym, Tyr, Valkyries, anvils, boomerang, briefly, chested, corset, dwarves, flatter, flattery, glittered, grouchy, guardian, mead, mince, outrage, praised, scoundrel, skidding, snorting, squinty, stubble, tested, trailed, tufts, villainy, workshop

Chapter One: Sif’s Golden Hair
Odin, the father of the Norse gods, sat at the dinner table. By his side sat two ravens. Their names were Thought and Memory. They were Odin’s flying spies. Each day, they left Asgard, the home of the gods, and flew around the world. Each night, they flew back to Asgard to tell Odin what was happening in the world.

On this day, the ravens did not have much to report. Things were quiet on Earth. Odin tossed the ravens some crumbs. He cut off pieces of meat and fed them to two wolves who sat at his feet.

Odin himself did not eat. He never ate. He sipped some mead from a goblet. Then, he pushed the goblet away and scanned the room with his one good eye. He spotted two of the Valkyries who worked for him as serving maids. He nodded to them. The Valkyries began to clear the table.

Odin stood up to leave, but just then, he heard a clap of thunder, the snorting of goats, and the skidding of a cart. He knew that this could mean only one thing. His son Thor was arriving in his goat-drawn cart.


Sure enough, Thor, the mighty god of thunder, burst into the room. His wife Sif trailed behind him, her head covered with a veil. Thor was enraged. The veins on his forehead bulged. There was fire in his eyes.

“It’s an outrage!” said Thor, “an outrage! This time Loki has gone too far!”

“What’s the matter?” Odin asked.

“Her hair!” shouted Thor, “that scoundrel has cut off her hair!”

“Whose hair?” Odin asked.

As he said this, Sif let her veil fall to her shoulders. Odin looked at Sif and blinked. Her hair, her long, golden hair, which every goddess in Asgard admired, was gone. It had been cut off. There was nothing left but a few tufts of yellow stubble.

“Look at me!” shrieked Sif, “I am hideous! I will go live with the dwarves! Without my hair, I am as ugly as the ugliest dwarf!”

Odin frowned. He turned to Thor and said, “Are you sure it was Loki who did this?” Odin asked the question, but even as he did so, he felt there was no need to ask. It had to be Loki. It was always Loki. Whenever something was stolen, whenever things went awry, whenever any bad deed was done, it was always Loki who was behind it.


Odin blamed himself. It was he who had invited Loki to join the gods in Asgard. Loki was not a god. He was a giant who could change his appearance. Loki had been a constant source of problems ever since.

“I will kill him!” shouted Thor, “I will!”

“Be calm,” said Odin, “I will deal with Loki.”

Odin called an assembly of the gods. He summoned Loki as well. When Loki arrived, he saw the stern look on Odin’s face. He saw that Thor was steaming mad, clutching at his hammer, barely holding back his temper. Loki saw that lies would do him no good this time. He knew that he would have to admit what he had done. He bowed his head.

“You will restore Sif’s hair!” said Odin, in a booming voice. “I know not how it is to be done, but you will do it. I require it of you!”

Loki nodded.


Chapter Two: Loki and the Dwarves
Loki came up with a plan to replace Sif’s hair. He left Asgard. He went down the Rainbow Bridge to Earth. Then, he went down below Earth to Nidavellir, the realm of the dwarves.

The dwarves were short creatures who lived deep underground. They were grouchy, surly, and unpleasant. However, they were master craftsmen. They could make just about anything.

Loki was a smooth talker. He knew how to flatter the dwarves. He went to their workshop and watched them work. “What fine work you do!” Loki said. “Why, I’ve never seen better craftsmen! How do you do it?” The dwarves smiled. (Who does not like to be praised?)

Loki went on with his flattery. “You must be the best blacksmiths in the world,” he said. “Your work is amazing, but there is only so much that blacksmiths can do. I have a task that I fear is too hard even for you.”

The dwarves stopped banging on their anvils and looked up. “Too hard for us?” said one of them. “I think not! There is nothing that we cannot make!”


“Could you make golden hair as beautiful and fine as Sif’s hair?”

“We can make it!” shouted the dwarves. Make it they did. They grabbed a bar of gold and heated it in their forge. Then, they began banging away at it with their hammers. They stretched the bar into tubes. Then, they stretched the tubes into threads. They beat on the golden threads with tiny hammers until they were as fine as real hair.

The dwarves worked day and night for a week. When the hair was finished, it was a wonder to behold. It glittered and shone like gold, but it was soft to the touch, like real hair.

Loki had what he needed. He could have gone straight back to Asgard, but he was very clever. He knew he that had angered Odin and Thor. He decided to trick the dwarves into making presents for them. “This hair is amazing!” he said. “You are truly masters of your trade. But surely there are some things that even you cannot make.”

“There is nothing that we cannot make!” said the dwarves.


“Could you make a spear so fine that it never misses its target?”

“We can make it!” shouted the sooty, squinty-eyed little men. Make it they did. A week later, the dwarves handed Loki a silver spear. Loki tested it and found that it never missed its target. “Astonishing!” said Loki. “You are not tradesmen, really. You are artists! But surely there are some things that even the finest artist cannot create.”

“There is nothing that we cannot make!” said the dwarves.

“Could you make a boat that can sail in the air as well as on the sea; a boat that can be folded up and carried in a pocket?” Loki asked.

“We can make it!” cried the confident little blacksmiths. Make it they did. A week later, Loki left Nidavellir with the golden hair, the silver spear, and the magical boat. Loki went up from the underground world of the dwarves. He passed Earth and made his way up the Rainbow Bridge. Heimdall, the guardian, saw him and let him pass.

Odin called a meeting of the gods. Loki placed the golden hair on Sif’s head. It was beautiful. Sif was delighted. Next, Loki gave Odin the silver spear. Odin was pleased with his present. He convinced himself that Loki was not so bad after all. Next, Loki gave Thor the magical boat. Thor had never liked Loki. Many times he had longed to pound him to pieces. But even he had to admit that the magic boat was a splendid gift.

So, Loki made peace with the gods and all was well in Asgard, at least for the moment.


Chapter Three: Stolen Thunder
Thor had a hammer that he carried with him everywhere. It was called Mjöllnir. Mjöllnir was a magical weapon. It had been crafted by the dwarves in their underground workshop. When Thor threw the hammer, it would sail through the air and strike its target. There would be a flash of lightning and a boom of thunder. Then, the hammer would fly back to Thor’s hand like a boomerang.

Thor loved his hammer. He never went anywhere without it. He even slept with it. The first thing that he did when he got up in the morning was to grab Mjöllnir. But one morning, Thor woke up and found that Mjöllnir was gone. He looked everywhere but could not find it. “Loki!” said Thor. “Loki has stolen my hammer!”

Thor found Loki. He took him by the throat and lifted him up so that his legs dangled in the air. Loki could barely breathe.

“I, did, not, take, it,” he stammered.


“Liar!” roared Thor. Thor glared at Loki and waited for the truth to come out. However, Loki said nothing. Thor waited a little longer. Still, Loki said nothing. Thor was puzzled. He began to think that maybe Loki was telling the truth this time. (Every so often, Loki did tell the truth.) Thor set Loki down. He went to speak with Odin. Odin sent his two ravens out. They flew around the world and came back with a report.

“It was Thrym, the giant,” the ravens said. “He stole the hammer.” Thrym was a giant who was quite ugly, but very rich. Odin sent Loki to speak with Thrym. Loki made the long journey to the world of the giants.

Thrym greeted him with a smile. “Hello, Loki,” he said. “How are the gods today?”

“They are not well,” said Loki. “Someone has taken Thor’s hammer.”

“What a pity!” said Thrym, but he did not seem too upset.

Loki did not mince words. “Was it you?” he asked.

Loki expected Thrym to deny it, but that is not what happened.

“Yes!” said Thrym, “I stole the hammer! I have buried it six miles underground, where no one can ever find it!” Thrym paused briefly to cackle and enjoy his own villainy. Then, he spoke again. “Tell Thor he will never see his hammer again, unless.”


“Unless what?” Loki asked.

“Unless Freya will agree to marry me,” said Thrym.

“Not likely,” said Loki. “She’s married already, you know.”

“What do I care?” said Thrym.

“It will never happen,” said Loki.

“Then I will keep Thor’s hammer,” said Thrym. “No Freya, no hammer!”

Loki went back and told the gods that Thrym had stolen the hammer. “He says that he will give it back, on one condition,” Loki reported.

“What is that?” Odin asked.

“If Freya will agree to marry him.”

“What?” said Freya. “I will never marry that disgusting beast, NEVER!”
Odin was very wise. He had drunk from the famous Well of Wisdom. He had even traded one of his eyes in order to get more wisdom. But, even with all this wisdom, he was not sure how to get Thor’s hammer back.

“What shall we do?” Odin asked the other gods. “How shall we get Thor’s hammer back?” There was a long silence, for none of the other gods seemed to know what to do either.


Chapter Four: A Plan Is Made
The gods sat puzzled. None of them had any idea how to get Thor’s hammer back from Thrym.

At last, Loki spoke. “Perhaps we could trick Thrym,” he said.

“Go on,” said Odin.

“We can’t send the real Freya,” Loki said. “That’s clear. But maybe we could send a fake Freya.”

“A fake Freya?” said Odin. “What do you mean?”

“I mean one of us could dress up as Freya.”

“I see,” said Odin. “Who did you have in mind?”

“Well,” said Loki, with a grin. “It’s Thor’s hammer. Maybe he should go get it himself.”

“What?” said Thor. “You want me, the great and mighty Thor, to dress up as a girl? Why, you rogue!” Thor reached out for Loki. He was eager to grab him. Tyr, the god of war, had to hold him back.

“Relax,” said Loki/ “It will just be for a few hours, until we get your hammer back. I will go with you myself. I will dress up and pretend to be your maid of honor.”


But Thor was having none of it. “Never!” he roared. “I will not do it!”

“Well,” Loki said. “Has anyone else got a better plan?”


At last, Odin’s wife, Frigga, spoke. “Loki’s plan just might work,” she said. “It’s our best chance.” Frigga placed a lovely, white hand on Thor’s massive shoulder. “Thor,” she said. “I know that you don’t like the plan, but would you do it for me, and for Freya?”

Thor grumbled and groaned, but in the end he agreed.

“It’s just for a few hours,” Odin said, patting Thor on the back. “A man can stand anything for a few hours.” The gods sent a message to Thrym. Thrym wrote back. He announced that the wedding would take place in eight days. Eight days later, the gods were hard at work getting Thor ready.

“Pull!” shouted Frigga.


“I’m pulling as hard as I can!” replied Tyr. Thor was barrel-chested and muscular. It was not easy fitting him into Freya’s clothing. Tyr and Loki had already spent ten minutes trying to tighten the waist-strings on Freya’s corset.

“Why did I let you fools talk me into this?” said Thor.

“Take a deep breath,” said Loki. Thor took a breath. Then, Loki and Tyr began yanking on the corset strings.

“It’s no use,” said Tyr. “We’ll never make him look thin and dainty.”

“You’re right,” said Loki. “Let’s hope that he’s not too large to fit into Freya’s dress!”

Eventually the gods got Thor into his corset. They brought him a fancy white dress and dainty white shoes. They fitted him with veils that covered his face and concealed his thick, red beard. Loki got dressed, as well. Freya came to put on the finishing touch. She took off the famous golden necklace that she always wore and placed it around Thor’s neck.

At last, Thor and Loki were ready. Freya called for her chariot, which was pulled by two cats. Thor and Loki stepped in. The cats mewed, and the chariot lurched forward. Thor and Loki were off on their excellent adventure.


Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading

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Gods, Giants, And Dwarves


Lesson 16 – Part Two 

NEW WORDS: Balder’s, Fenrir, Hel, Hermod, Hod, Jormungand, Ragnarok, Siguna, Sleipner, Thrym’s, Valhalla, Woden, Wodensday, Yggdrassil, attendant, belch, belched, cavern, chained, clings, craftsman, despair, destiny, encircles, flattered, girlish, helpless, indirect, loaned, madly, midair, mistletoe, mourned, mourning, mythical, nightmare, playfully, prediction, prophecies, prophecy, raved, serpent’s, sincere, specifically, sprig, steed, thoughtful, undergarment, urrrrrrp, vanish, villain, vow, welling, writhe

Chapter Five: The Wedding Feast
When his wedding arrived, Thrym was as happy as a giant could be. When he saw Freya’s chariot approaching, he felt his heart racing. He had been madly in love with Freya for years. He did not think that he would ever get her to marry him. But now it seemed that his dreams were coming true.

“Welcome, fair bride!” he called out.

Thor and Loki stepped out of the chariot. Thrym came forward. He tried to welcome his bride with a kiss, but Loki pushed him away.

“Not yet!” Loki said, in his most girlish voice. “Not until you are married!”

Thrym led his guests to a table. They sat down to enjoy the wedding feast. Thor was hungry. He ate a whole tray of snacks. He ate eight big salmon. He gobbled down half of the ox that Thrym’s servants had roasted. He washed it all down with three barrels of mead. When he was done, he belched loudly. “Urrrrrrp!”


Thrym was taken aback. “Goodness!” he said. “I have never seen a woman eat so much or belch so loudly.”

Loki saw the danger. “Well, you see,” Loki explained, “ever since Freya heard that she was to marry you, she has been so excited that she has not had a bite to eat, or a drop to drink. For eight days she has fasted and thought only of you!”

“Ah,” said Thrym. “Well, then it’s no surprise that she’s hungry. Let her eat as much as she wants, the sweet darling! Tell her that her suffering is almost over; she will not have to wait for me much longer!”

Thrym sat next to his bride. He tried once more to steal a kiss. He started to lift up her top veil, but he quickly dropped it. “Why do her eyes burn like raging fires?” he asked.

“Oh,” said quick-thinking Loki. “That is because she has not slept these past eight nights. She sat up the whole time, thinking of you!”

“Ah,” said Thrym. “She is indeed a thoughtful one! I am sorry to have kept you waiting so long, fair one!”

Loki changed the subject. “Is the wedding present ready?” he asked.


“Yes,” said Thrym.

“Perhaps you will go and get it,” squeaked Loki.

“I will, indeed,” said Thrym.

When Thrym wandered off, Thor growled beneath his veil, “Grr! I will kill the villain!”

“Hush!” said Loki. “Not until we have the hammer.”

Thrym returned with Thor’s hammer. He set it down next to Thor. “Ooh!” said Thor, in his best girlish voice. “It’s so big! May I touch it?”

“If it pleases you, fair one,” said Thrym.

“It pleases me,” said Thor, still using his girlish voice. Then, lifting the hammer above his head and bursting out of his wedding dress, he called out in a voice like thunder, “IT PLEASES ME GREATLY!” Boom! Smash! Crash! Thor threw his hammer every which way. Five minutes later, Thrym and all of his servants lay dead on the ground. Loki and Thor went back to Asgard. There they told their story to the gods. For three days and three nights, the gods ate and drank to celebrate the return of Thor and his hammer.


Chapter Six: Balder, the Beautiful
Balder, one of the sons of Odin and Frigga, was the god who was most loved. He was beautiful, but he was also kind and friendly. He always had a smile on his face, and the other gods smiled when they saw him. Everyone loved Balder; everyone except Loki.

One day, Loki noticed that nobody was paying any attention to him. They were too busy looking at Balder. Loki felt a great hatred welling up inside himself. He began to think about how he might get rid of Balder. He knew it would not be easy, because Balder’s mother, Frigga, had gone out of her way to make sure that her son was safe.

It had all started many years earlier, when Balder was young. One night Balder had a nightmare. He dreamed of his own death. But the dream was foggy, and he could not tell how he died.

He told his mother, Frigga, about the dream. Frigga was frightened. She worried that the dream was a sign of things to come. She loved her son and wanted to protect him. She went to Odin and told him about the dream.

“Is Balder in danger?” Frigga asked.


“I will look into it,” Odin said. Odin sent his two ravens out. They came back with alarming news.

Hel, the goddess of the underworld, is making preparations,” said one of the ravens. “She is preparing to receive one of the gods in the kingdom of the dead,” said the other.

“Which one?” asked Odin.

“That is more than we know,” said the ravens.

When Frigga heard this, she decided to take action. She decided that she would talk to everything in the world and make each thing promise to do her son no harm.

Frigga went and spoke to the rocks. “Rocks,” she said, “promise me that you will do no harm to my son, Balder.”

“We will not fall on him,” said the rocks. “We promise.”

Frigga spoke to the water. “Water,” she said, “promise me that you will do no harm to my son, Balder.”

“I will not drown him,” said the water. “I promise.”

Frigga kept going. She spoke to all of the animals and made them promise to leave Balder alone. She spoke with the trees, as well.


Loki knew what Frigga had done. He knew that there was almost nothing that could harm Balder. Many times he had watched the gods play a game. They would throw rocks at Balder and watch the rocks bounce off. Sometimes they even shot arrows at him. The arrows broke into pieces and fell to the ground at Balder’s feet.

The gods laughed and laughed. But Loki did not laugh. “There must be something that will not bounce off of him,” Loki said. “I will find out what it is.”

Loki disguised himself as an old woman. He went to Frigga. “Frigga,” Loki said, “I have heard rumors. I have heard that your son Balder is in danger. I am a mother myself. I wanted to warn you, mother to mother.”


“Thank you,” said Frigga, “but you need not worry about Balder. I have spoken with everything that might harm him. I have made them all promise not to harm him.”

“Has everything sworn to do him no harm?” Loki asked.

“Everything,” said Frigga, “well, almost everything. When I was talking to the oak tree, I spotted a little sprig of mistletoe growing on the oak. I was about to ask it to promise not to harm Balder, but I decided not to bother. What could mistletoe possibly do to anyone? It’s such a tiny little plant! It hasn’t even got roots of its own, you know. It grows on other trees and clings to them, as helpless as a baby clinging to its mother!”

“Yes,” said Loki, “what could mistletoe do?” But as he nodded his head in agreement, he was thinking, “Mistletoe will do much!”


Chapter Seven: The Death of Balder
Mistletoe was the only thing that had not sworn to protect Balder. When Loki found this out, he went and got a sprig of mistletoe. He cut the mistletoe into the shape of an arrow. Then, he went to find Balder. He found Balder and the other gods playing their favorite game. They were tossing things at Balder and laughing as they bounced away.

But there was one god who sat apart and did not join in the game. It was one of Balder’s brothers, a god named Hod. “Hod,” said Loki, “why are you just sitting there? Why don’t you join in the fun?”

“Loki,” said Hod, “you know that I’m blind. How can I throw things at Balder when I can’t even see him?”

“Here,” said Loki, taking Hod by the hand, “I will help you. Place this arrow on the bow. I will point you in the right direction.” Loki guided Hod into position and told Hod to shoot the arrow. The sprig of mistletoe sped through the air, and, to everyone’s amazement, struck Balder in the chest. Balder fell to the ground.

“What has happened?” cried Hod, “did the arrow bounce off? Was it funny? What are you doing, brother? Are you playing at being dead?”


But Balder was not playing. He was really dead. Loki smiled an evil smile. Then, he sneaked away. When Frigga heard, she was in despair. She cried and raved. “I will not let my son go to the underworld!” she swore. “I will not let Hel have him!”

The gods sent Hermod, another of Balder’s brothers, to talk to Hel, the goddess of the underworld. Odin loaned Hermod his eight-legged steed, Sleipner. Hermod rode to the underworld. Hel said that the gods could have Balder back, but only if every living thing in the world mourned for him. Hermod mounted Sleipner and rode back to tell the gods.

Odin sent word; all things were to mourn for Balder. Throughout all the halls of Asgard, the gods mourned for Balder. Tyr went to Valhalla, where the bravest men from Earth feasted, waited upon by the Valkyries. “Warriors!” Tyr called, “Valkyries, hear me, Odin asks that you all join us in mourning for Balder.” All the men on Earth mourned. The animals mourned. The plants mourned, too.


All things mourned for Balder, all except for Loki. He disguised himself as an old lady and appeared before Hermod. “Good day, old lady,” said Hermod. “I trust that you will join us in weeping for Balder?”

“I will not,” said Loki. “What do I care for Balder? Let Hel have him!”

That was it. The old lady had refused to mourn for Balder. Hel refused to let him return to the world of the living. The gods placed Balder in a boat. Then, they set the boat on fire and shoved it out on the water. As the flames rose into the sky, Frigga wept for the loss of her child. Her tears flowed freely, but tears would not bring Balder back. Nothing could bring him back.


Chapter Eight: Loki’s Punishment
In time, the gods found out what Loki had done. They learned that it was Loki who had visited Frigga in disguise and found out about the mistletoe. It was Loki who had made the arrow and convinced blind Hod to shoot it at Balder. It was Loki, disguised as an old woman, who had refused to weep for Balder and kept him from returning to the land of the living.

Loki had been in trouble many times before. He had done all sorts of bad things. But he had never done anything quite so evil. The gods had lost all patience with him. Even Odin, who had defended Loki so many times in the past, refused to speak for him. The gods vowed to hunt him down and punish him.

Loki disguised himself as a salmon. He swam in the rivers. The gods tried to catch him, but Loki leaped out of their nets and escaped. At last, Thor caught him. He grabbed him in midair. Loki struggled, but Thor held him tight with his powerful hands.


The gods took Loki, who was no longer disguised as a salmon, to a cavern deep underground. They chained him to the rocks. They took a serpent, whose mouth dripped with poison, and fastened it to the roof. Drops of poison fell out of the serpent’s mouth and landed on Loki. Loki was in terrible pain. The poison dripped all night and all day, and each drop stung like a knife wound. Loki, the giant who had lived in Asgard with the gods, writhed in agony on the floor of the cave.

Loki went on suffering until his wife Siguna heard about his troubles. Loki had treated Siguna badly, but she still loved him. She left Asgard and went to live with Loki in the cavern. She stood next to her husband, with a cup in her hand. She caught the drops of poison in the cup to keep them from falling on Loki. Loki still suffered, especially when Siguna had to empty the cup, but his suffering was much reduced.


As Loki lay in the cavern, Siguna whispered to him and soothed him. She reminded him of prophecies that they both knew, prophecies about Ragnarok and the fall of the gods. “For the moment, we are beaten,” she said. “The gods in Asgard rejoice at their triumph over you. But they know that the day is coming. They have heard the prophecies. They know as well as you and I that the final battle, the battle of Ragnarok, is coming.”

Siguna paused to toss a cup of poison away. Loki writhed in pain as two drops of poison fell on him. Siguna soothed him and began again.
“When Ragnarok comes, Yggdrassil, the tree that holds up the world, will tremble. The giants will rise and fight against the gods. A great eagle with a white beak will shriek in the sky. Your son, Fenrir the Wolf, whom they keep chained in a cavern like this one, will break his chains and attack the gods themselves. He will swallow up Odin himself.”

“Meanwhile, Jormungand, the mighty serpent whose body encircles the earth, will do battle with Thor, and Thor will not escape his fate. None of the gods will escape! All of them will die! The sun will turn black. Earth will sink into the sea. The stars will vanish. The world will be destroyed!”

Glossary for Gods, Giants, and Dwarves:
Adventure—an exciting or dangerous experience.
Agony—severe pain.
Anvil—a large, iron block used by blacksmiths on which heated metal is hit to shape it (anvils).
Assembly—a meeting.
Awry—wrong, happening in an unexpected way.

Barrel-chested—having a large, round chest.
Belch—to burp (belched).
Boomerang—a curved stick that is thrown and then returns to the person who threw it.

Conceal—to hide (concealed).
Corset—a tight, stiff undergarment worn to make a woman’s waist appear smaller.
Craftsman—a person who is skilled in making things, especially by hand (craftsmen).
Creature—a living thing, specifically an animal (creatures).

Dainty—small and pretty, delicate.
Despair—a feeling of being hopeless or extremely sad.
Disguise—to hide by changing appearance (disguised).
Dwarf—a mythical, human-like creature that lives underground (dwarves).

Fast—does not eat for a period of time (fasted).
Fate—the things that will happen to a person, destiny, fortune.
Flatter—to praise too much in a way that is not sincere or genuine (flattered, flattery).
Forge—the furnace in a blacksmith shop used for heating metal.

Guardian—a person who watches and/or protects something or someone.

Harm—to hurt or damage someone or something.
Hideous—very ugly.

Journey—a trip.

Maid of honor—an unmarried female attendant of a bride.
Master—an expert (masters).
Mead—a drink made by mixing water, honey, malt, and yeast.
Mince words—to speak in an indirect and dishonest way.
Mistletoe—a plant with thick leaves and white berries; it grows on trees.
Mourn—to feel or show sadness after a death or loss (mourned, mourning).

Patience—able to put up with problems without getting upset.
Prophecy—a prediction of what will happen in the future (prophecies).

Raven—a large, black bird that was one of many flying spies for Odin (ravens).
Realm—a kingdom.
Rogue—a person who playfully causes trouble.
Rumor—a thing that people say to others about someone or something that may or may not be true (rumors).

Scoundrel—a cruel, dishonest person.
Serpent—a snake.
Steed—a horse.
Summon—to call for (summoned).
Surly—rude, mean, unfriendly.
Swear—to make a serious promise (sworn).


Veil—material worn on the head to cover the face.
Vein—a vessel like a tube that carries blood to the heart from other parts of the body (veins).
Villainy—evil behavior.
Vow—to make an important and serious promise (vowed).

What a pity—that’s too bad.
Wisdom—knowledge and good judgment gained over time.
Wound—an injury caused when something cuts or breaks the skin.

Writhe—to twist and turn in pain (writhed).
Subtitles to illustrations:
Odin, the father of the Norse gods, was also known as Woden. Many years ago, the Norse people named one of the days of the week for Odin. They called it “Wodensday,” and today, we call it Wednesday. Odin’s son Thor was the god of thunder. The Norse people named one of the days of the week “Thor’s day,” and today, we call it Thursday. “Look at me, I am hideous without my hair,” shrieked Sif. Loki was not a god; he was giant whom Odin had invited to live at Asgard with the gods. Loki flattered the dwarves. The dwarves beat on the golden threads with tiny hammers. “This hair is amazing! Could you make a spear that never misses its target?” asked Loki. Loki was astonished by the silver spear that the dwarves made. Sif, Odin, and Thor were all pleased with the gifts that Loki gave them. Thor looked everywhere for his hammer but could not find it. Thor glared at Loki and waited for the truth to come out. Odin sent Loki to speak with the giant, Thrym. Thrym said that he would return Thor’s hammer, but only if Freya would agree to marry him. None of the gods seemed to know what to do. “Well,” said Loki, with a grin, “it’s Thor’s hammer. Maybe he should go get it himself.” “You want me, the great and mighty Thor, to dress up as a girl? Never!” roared Thor. “Loki’s plan just might work,” said Frigga. “It’s no use,” said Tyr, “we’ll never make him look thin and dainty.” The cats mewed and the chariot lurched forward. Thor and Loki were off on their excellent adventure. “Not yet,” said Loki in his most girlish voice, “not until you are married.” “I have never seen a woman eat so much or belch so loudly!” Thrym exclaimed. “Why do her eyes burn like raging fires?” asked Thrym. Thor called out in a voice like thunder, “IT PLEASES ME GREATLY!” Balder, the son of Odin and Frigga, was beautiful, kind, and friendly. Frigga begged Odin to send out his ravens to see if their son Balder was in danger. Frigga decided to make everything in the world promise not to harm Balder. “Frigga,” Loki said. “I have heard rumors; I have heard that your son Balder is in danger.” The only thing that Frigga did not insist make a promise not to harm Balder was mistletoe. Loki approached Hod with a sprig of mistletoe. Can you guess what Loki is up to? “What happened?” cried Hod, “did the arrow bounce off?” Odin sent word, all things were to mourn for Balder. Loki, disguised as an old woman, refused to mourn for Balder. Loki disguised himself as a salmon. He struggled, but Thor held him tight with his powerful hands. Poison dripped from the serpent all night and all day, causing Loki great pain. Loki’s wife Siguna tried to catch the poison before it fell on him. When Ragnarok comes, the world will be destroyed.







#1 OO:   

I jumped out of my sister’s closet and yelled, “BOO!” and I thought she was going to have a heart attack.


Is that the pleasant coo of a dove that I hear on our windowsill?


Let’s try using some Goo Gone to get this gunk off of the window.


In England, they call a lavatory a “loo.”


While walking past a farm, we heard the loud “moo” of a cow.


I went off of my diet and ate way too much for Thanksgiving dinner.


WooHoo, the Astros won their second World Series!


We saw an albino alligator at the zoo today.


Oops, I spilled some food onto the floor.


A little bit of blood might ooze into your bandage.


That poor boob can barely tie his own shoes.


The loud boom that we heard was a jet fighter hitting Mach 1.


The pandemic’s forced stay-at-home requirement was a huge boon to Netflix.


Mom, I can’t find my left snow boot.


We’re going to have pretty cool temperatures this week.


I hope that’s not a fox roaming around the chicken coop.


That grouchy old coot a couple of houses down from us actually said something nice to me today.


A sense of doom fell over the town as the hard winter arrived with its first blizzard.


This buffet has so much tasty looking food that I can’t decide what to eat.


Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.


I hope that I don’t goof up at my piano recital.


That guy’s a goon when it comes to academics, but he’s a really good athlete.


My ice cream has melted, and it just looks like ugly goop now.


I want to see if I can slam dunk a basketball into the hoop.


The comedy that we watched at the theater was a total hoot.


I hope that the judge locks up that kook for at least 20 years.


Would you like a cold glass of peach-mango Kool-Aid?


Their hiking trail went from easy to difficult, as the loom of a moraine appeared directly in their path.


We heard the distinctive cry of a loon, and then we saw one diving into the water searching for a fish.


There’s a nice loop trail around this lake.


The bank robbers got away with lots of loot.


My sister is in a particularly good mood, because someone who she likes asked her to the prom.


My brother jokingly bayed like a wolf when the full moon appeared in the sky.


The defense attorney objected to the prosecution’s comment, arguing that it was a moot point.


It was high noon, with a hot sun bearing down upon the wild west town.


My favorite childhood book was Winnie the Pooh.


Stay out of the swimming pool until your lunch digests; you don’t want to get a cramp.


This cat is well-trained, and she will poop only in her litter box.


A large rood hung over the entrance to the church choir.


A few shingles came off of the roof in last night’s big storm.


We invited our guests into the living room.


I’m in the mood for a strongly-flavored root vegetable, like parsnips or rutabaga.


We’ll finally arrive at our destination very soon.


Dad’s trying to figure out which tool will work best to stop this leak.


Toon is a large tree in the mahogany family, found in the East Indies and Australia, and having clusters of flowers from which a dye is obtained.


We moved our arms up and down trying to get the trucker next to our car to toot his horn.


I see a car in my rearview window that is about to zoom by us, way over the speed limit.


Shoo fly, and stop landing on my plate!


The bird that the English named “booby” was possibly based on the Spanish slang term “bobo,” meaning “stupid.”


You need some food in your tummy to help boost your energy.


The waitress asked us if we’d prefer a table or a booth.


My uncle doesn’t drink booze any more because he drank heavily and often got himself into lots of trouble.


That was a doozy of a test that Mrs. Thomas gave us!


The slime that mommy just made for us is really gooey.


My favorite Disney cartoon character is Goofy.


Wipe that gooney (also “goony“) smile off of your face and please pay attention.


I way undercooked the cake, and it’s all goopy in the middle.


When I was a kid, I liked to play the game “Duck, Duck, Goose.”


Back in the day when moonshine was made in the Appalachian hills, they called it “hooch.”


Hooey, you know that’s totally untrue!


I can’t stand that kooky TV show that you’re always watching.


That poor looby has no coordination and isn’t good at any sports.


Mom, have you gone loony; there’s no way I’m wearing that wretched dress to school!


That prescription that the doctor gave me is making my head feel loopy.


I think I’ve got enough loose change to get a soda from that drink machine.


That guy is always trying to mooch money from his friends.


She’s really moody, and you can never predict whether she’ll be happy or grouchy.


I’m going to have to save up a lot of moola (also “moolah“) to buy that skateboard.


That moony girl is always fantasizing about romance.


I got a great photo of a moose on our trip to the Grand Tetons.








Lesson 17 – “Longman” Vocab-Builder

NEW WORDS: Brahms, Brits, CD, CIA, Catholic, DVD, Faulkner, Keith, Ned’s, Oscar, Pulitzer, Shakespeare, Taylor, Webster’s, Wright’s, absence, abuse, academic, accommodation, administrative, admission, adopt, advert, adviser, agency, agriculture, aircraft, allowance, ambulance, analyst, apology, appeals, application, appointment, artificial, assault, assessment, assistance, assumption, auxiliary, ban, barrier, basically, beforehand, bladder, blockade, bloke, blonde, blushed, boyfriend, breaker, brownie, budget, calculation, calculator, cancel, cellphone, certificate, characterize, chemist, cheque, cinema, circuit, classical, cluelessness, cocaine, commitment, concentration, conference, congratulations, consciousness, consumption, continuous, conviction, corridor, county’s, criterion, critic, criticize, cultural, database, definition, delete, deliberately, delivery, demonstration, departure, description, designer, determination, directory, discount, distinguish, earning, economics, edition, embarrassed, emergency, emphasize, employer, enjoyable, enquiry, enterprise, enthusiasm, enthusiastic, entitle, environmental, essentially, establishment, executive, expectation, expenditure, experimental, extension, filing, firstly, fizzy, flight’s, fonder, freeway, fulfill, fussed, gallery, goofs, gram, grandad, handbag, icon, implication, import, indication, inevitably, infection, inflation, informal, initiative, innovation, inspection, inspector, install, institution, intellectual, interpretation, intervention, journalist, keyboard, landlord, latter, lawyer’s, leisure, limitation, lineman, literary, literature, lorry, lunchtime, maintenance, manufacturer, marketing, medieval, millimeter, mineral, minority, mortgage, motorway, negotiate, negotiation, nil, nuisance, nursing, objection, offense, opposition, organic, overtime, overturned, ownership, peasant, penalty, pennant, petrol, photocopy, physically, poll, poverty, premise, preparation, presumably, priest, proceeding, prompt, proposal, prosecution, protests, provision, publicity, qualification, quartz, queue, rabid, ranked, reasonably, reception, recommendation, recovery, reduction, reggae, registration, regulation, relationship, remarks, rescue, resident, residential, resign, resignation, resistance, resolution, resort, respectively, restriction, retirement, rifles, sample, script, secondly, sensible, signature, significance, significantly, siren, sluggish, solicitor, spokesman, statesman, strategic, studio, supporter, surprisingly, swap, telly, terrorist, theoretical, threaten, trainer, transaction, transition, traveler’s, ultimately, unemployed, unity, universe, urgent, variation, vegan, virus’s, ward, website, weekly, whatsoever, wrongful

Grandad just turned 75.

He played the match with determination.

Mr. Taylor will be our spokesman about the oil spill.

Rescue Frisky from that tree branch.

Where’s a good import car repair place?

He ran down that corridor!

My uncle’s in a mental institution.

Police worked overtime during the protests.

This is a variation on mom’s recipe.

Make an apology to your sister!

I’ll rent a studio apartment.

Another terrorist attack; where?!

On the criterion of “be nice,” you’ve failed!

Faulkner was a literary genius.

Being a medieval peasant was a tough life.

Congress was in unity on this bill.

What’s your proposal for earning an allowance?

He’s a lineman on the offense.

Check the fuse on the circuit breaker.

I’m enthusiastic about my flute recital.


Take ownership for your goofs!

Buy a maintenance contract on the car.

I take objection to that comment!

Yes, it’s theoretical, but it makes sense.

You can use a calculator on the math test.

Set up a transition team for the new President.

Leave the key at the registration desk.

Brahms wrote classical music.

We’ll make an accommodation for your being vegan.

This meal will fulfill your hunger.

Play a reggae CD.

What’s your interpretation of this graph?

Mom likes her personal trainer.

CIA stands for “Central Intelligence Agency.”

She lost consciousness when she saw the wound.

Does your diner do home delivery?

The prosecution rests its case.

I’ll threaten to resign!

I made a dentist appointment.

We got an extension for filing our tax forms.

The Brits call a “truck” a “lorry.”

What’s your assessment of the damage?


The patient’s in the recovery room.

I got a 10% discount!

You can spell “blond” with an “E” at the end, “blonde.”

I got fussed at for that expenditure.

We’re reading Shakespeare in my literature class.

That website is sluggish.

They moved from downtown to a residential neighborhood.

Auxiliary power just kicked in.

And secondly, you were rude to our guests!

This is the eleventh edition of Webster’s dictionary.

I can’t distinguish which twin is which person.

His rude remarks prove his cultural cluelessness.

A good cook is somewhat of a chemist!

Beforehand, make sure that you stretch your muscles.

Mom got a bladder infection.

We paid off our mortgage!

He went into retirement at age 55.

Let’s head to the wedding reception.

I need silence to help with my concentration.

We went to an art gallery show.

She takes lots of initiative with her work!

The negotiation was a win-win.


Surprisingly, I aced the test.

There’s been a reduction in traffic deaths.

My expectation is that you work hard.

It was a wrong assumption that they’d eat meat.

The aircraft landed on time.

She’s a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.

Our landlord called about our late rent.

I’m proceeding to get on the plane.

I read some at lunchtime.

Congratulations on your good grades!

I’m at a vocational school, not an academic one.

The Brits call “gas” “petrol.”

I got popcorn at the cinema.

She leads the opposition party.

In England, a “lower court” lawyer’s a “solicitor.”

My uncle’s a Catholic priest.

The departure flight’s at 5:00 PM.

Help me to install this software.

They got a 15-yard penalty.

The freeway is packed.

Have you reached resolution regarding your tiff?

Mr. Wright’s our financial adviser.


I do resistance weight training.

Cancel that meeting.

Try this sample of cake.

The critic loved the film.

Meet my boyfriend, Keith.

Should there be a ban on assault rifles?

She handed in her resignation.

Write your signature on this line!

This chant will ward off evil.

I’ll answer your enquiry in an hour.

Turn off your cellphone.

I’m significantly slower than she is.

The Chief Inspector has questions for you.

This is an urgent matter.

Pour me some fizzy mineral water.

They ran a good marketing campaign.

Did you hit me deliberately?!

Drive me to the emergency room.

There’s a restriction in the hose.

That country has a tax on consumption.

She’s an icon of the teaching establishment.

Make me a photocopy of this note.


I will vote with the minority.

Go negotiate a lower price.

How would you characterize his mood?

There’s no indication of snow.

Dad’s an executive at the bank.

His stealing is a continuous pattern.

My best qualification is being a hard worker.

Show enthusiasm when you make a speech.

Their chance of winning is nil.

I’ve no idea whatsoever why she did that!

The inflation rate has dropped.

We’re a manufacturer of home tools.

Mom tries to buy only organic foods.

We’re working on an experimental motor.

Find her in the phone directory.

She’s gained admission at three colleges.

The boss liked our strategic plan.

Wash your hands in preparation for lunch.

What’s the definition of “quartz?”

Ned’s in a nice relationship with a sweet girl.

I’m a resident of Maine.

That was an enjoyable snack.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Can I use cash for this transaction?


Where’s the Shrek DVD?

This poll shows her three points ahead.

I play keyboard in a band.

We think we’ll adopt a child.

Becoming 18 will entitle me to vote!

There was lots of publicity over his gaffe.

My assistant has strong administrative skills.

Smith and Jones were ranked third and fourth, respectively.

Let’s take a trip to a beach resort.

Do I have your commitment to do your homework at 5:00?

Pay for lunch with a traveler’s cheque.

That film’s script won an Oscar.

What’s your recommendation about hiring her?

Their firm has grown to be a $90 million enterprise.

The invention of the wheel was a big innovation.

Ultimately, I think they’ll win the pennant.

Mom’s gone to a nursing conference.

I’m physically exhausted.

Presumably, he was still at work at 7:00 PM.

Firstly, I’m honored to receive this award.

A millimeter is just 0.03937007874 inches.

What’s the implication of his admission of guilt?


I need assistance lifting this.

Essentially, he’s the wrong guy for that job.

In the U.S., we “get in line”; in the U.K., they “queue up.”

That fact is of no significance.

Inevitably, if you cheat, you’ll get caught!

I’m afraid your calculation is off by a mile.

The Brits say “motorway,” where we say “highway.”

I’m reasonably sure that I aced the test.

Our database got hacked!

Mom left her handbag in the car.

Our county’s main business is agriculture.

Basically, this is just a lousy product.

He’s a rabid supporter of the Red Sox.

My employer hired 50 more people!

Thank goodness, the demonstration was peaceful.

Let’s watch the news on the telly.

I need to enjoy some quiet leisure time.

That’s a sensible decision.

Our aunt’s been unemployed for two months.

Class, I need your prompt attention!

Our costs came in under budget.

Most of their citizens live in poverty.


We have a weekly phone chat with our grandma.

Poor eyesight is a limitation for her.

The economics of your plan don’t add up.

What’s your premise about the virus’s origin?

She’s an analyst at an investment firm.

Give us a description of the robber.

That statesman is an intellectual powerhouse.

We can’t do an intervention in their family’s affairs.

Their naval blockade was a successful barrier to trade.

Delete that provision from the contract.

The new bloke at work is strange.

Does the universe ever end?

The inspection of the troops went well.

That ambulance siren is grating!

Fill out this job application.


Will you swap a brownie for a cookie?

Wear informal dress to their party.

Book him, there’s a gram of cocaine in his trunk.

I hate artificial sweeteners!

My younger brother’s such a nuisance!

Don’t criticize my art work!

This certificate proves that you took the class.

The Appeals Court overturned his wrongful conviction.

I’ll emphasize her eyes when I work on the photo.

I want to be a fashion designer.

Stop the chitchat and let’s advert to the task at hand.

I embarrassed him, and he blushed.

Things got dull in the latter part of the show.

It’s bad for a leader to abuse their power.

This environmental regulation will make the water safer.


Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading

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Adventures Of Light And Sound


Lesson 18 – Part One

NEW WORDS: Biv, channels, concave, convex, denser, distorted, funhouse, heavier, infrared, kaleidoscope, kindergarten, magnified, magnifies, magnifying, masking, microscopes, opaque, peephole, peepholes, prism, projected, projector, reflect, reflections, refract, refracted, refracting, refraction, refracts, sealed, separates, skylight, slower, slowing, surfaces, telescope, telescopes, tracing, tracings, ultraviolet, wavelength, wavelengths, wedge

Chapter One: What Is Light?
Did you know that the sun is the greatest source of light for our planet, Earth? But what is light? Why is it so important? Hot gases of the sun give off both light and heat energy. Light carries energy, with the long wavelengths carrying the least, and the short wavelengths carrying the most. When you think of something with lots of energy, what comes to mind?

Do you think of something fast like a race car? Do you think of something with great force like a very strong wind knocking down a tree? Believe it or not, light can be many times more energetic than a car or the wind.

Light travels at 186,000 miles every second in a vacuum. At that speed, light can go around Earth more than seven times every second! No human-made machine can go that fast—not even a jet plane or rocket!

One way that light travels, including light from the sun, is in the form of waves. Scientists can measure how long light waves are. Waves can be different sizes—some are long and some are short. Some light waves are visible and some are invisible. Whether you can see light or not depends on the length of the wave. The longest wavelength of visible light is seen as red and the shortest wavelength is violet. Short wavelengths carry the most energy.


The sun gives off what is called white light. Perhaps you think of the light from the sun as having no color at all. Maybe you think the light from the sun is more yellow in color. It may surprise you to know that the sun’s light, white light, is made up of all the colors of the rainbow. White light includes light of different wavelengths, including all of the colors that we can see.

Of all the wavelengths in the sun’s light, there is just a little more of the yellow wavelengths than the other colors. This is why the sun looks yellow when we see it against the blue sky. Still, the light from the sun includes all of the other colors and wavelengths. You will learn more about white light, visible light, and colors in a later chapter in this Reader.

Although the sun is the greatest source of visible light, there are also other sources of light. What else in the sky provides light? The other stars in the night sky provide light, though it is not as bright as the light from the sun during the day. The moon is not a star and does not give off its own light.


Can you think of other sources of light? Is there light in your classroom right now? Perhaps it is from the sun shining through the windows. Chances are good, though, that some of the light in the room may be coming from light bulbs. Like the sun, most light bulbs give off white light. Electric lights are such a part of our everyday life that we don’t even think about them—unless the electricity goes off! This doesn’t happen often, but sometimes it does during a bad storm. When the electricity goes off and we do not have light from light bulbs, people sometimes use other sources of light, like flashlights or candles.

Light is important for many reasons. Light and heat energy from the sun warm the Earth. Without the light and heat energy from the sun, Earth would be freezing cold. You also learned back in kindergarten that the sun’s light is needed for plants to grow. Also, without light, there would be no colors. Can you think of another reason that light is important? Try to imagine a world in which there is no light — no sun, no stars, no candles, and no light bulbs.

What would be different? If you just said that it would be dark, you are only partly right. What else would change? Without light, you would not be able to see anything! A world without light is almost impossible to imagine.


Chapter Two: How Are Shadows Made?
Do you remember any interesting facts about how light travels? In the last chapter, you learned that it travels in waves that can be measured as wavelengths. You also learned that it travels at a very high rate of speed. Here’s another interesting fact: light waves travel from a source in straight lines that spread out in all directions, like rays.

Take a look at the image on the opposite page. In this image, there are several light sources. Each source or dot of light has several rays of light shooting out. Put your finger on the source that you can see. Now, using your finger, trace the lines of light coming out from that source. Each ray of light is a straight line.

Have you ever wondered what happens when a line or path of light bumps into something in its way? Different things may happen depending on what exactly is in the light’s path.

If a path of light hits something that is transparent, most of the light will pass right through. Air, water, and glass are all transparent. When light hits these transparent objects, it passes through to the other side. It is almost as if the object isn’t there.


Most buildings have glass windows so that natural sunlight can travel from the outdoors inside. Have you ever been in a building that has a glass roof or skylight? Sometimes you can even see blue sky and clouds through the skylight!

Light cannot travel through all materials. If a path of light hits something that is opaque, the light is absorbed and blocked by the object. It cannot continue in a straight line through the object. Wood, cardboard, and even a person’s body are all opaque objects. Light cannot pass through to the other side. Instead, a shadow is created because the light is absorbed.

Look around your classroom. Do you see transparent objects through which light is passing? Can you also find opaque objects? You will probably find that your classroom has many more opaque objects than transparent objects. Do you see any shadows?

The shadow created by blocked light takes on the shape of the object. Can you guess the object or objects that are making the shadows in these images?


The size of a shadow depends on several different things. The closer an object is to a light source, the larger the shadow will be. If you move the same object farther away from the light source, the shadow will become smaller. So the size of the shadow changes, even though the size of the object does not. What makes the shadow larger or smaller is the distance of the object from the source of light.

You can experiment making larger and smaller shadows just by using your hand. You will need:

• a light source, such as a flashlight or projector.

• several sheets of large white paper and a marker.

masking tape.

• a blank wall.

• several helpers.

• a cardboard cutout of a tree.

First, tape a piece of white paper to the wall. Then, mark a spot on the floor and tell a classmate to stand on that spot to project the light. He or she should not move. Now, try holding the cutout of the tree in front of the light so that a shadow is projected onto the white paper. Have one classmate put a piece of masking tape marked “1” on the floor next to where you are standing. At the same time, another classmate should trace the shadow of the tree on the white paper. Mark this tracing of your shadow with a “1.”


Next, tape up another sheet of white paper. This time, move away from the light, closer to the sheet of paper. Have your classmates mark the floor and shadow tracing with a “2.”

Last, try it one more time. This time move closer to the light — even closer than the spot marked “2.” Have your classmates mark the floor and shadow tracing with a “3.”

Now, compare the tracings. Which is the biggest? Where were you standing in relation to the light when the tree made the biggest shadow? Where were you standing when the tree made the smallest shadow?

You can have even more fun making shadows with your hands. Try making the shadows in these drawings. Look carefully at one drawing at a time. Try placing your hands exactly as shown in the drawing. Practice several times. When you think you have it right, try making the shape in front of the light. If you get really good, you might want to put on a show for your family!


Chapter Three: Mirrors and Reflections
Have you been to the dentist recently? Do you remember if he or she used a tool with a mirror to look at your teeth? Think for a minute about how useful that mirror is. Why does the dentist use it? This simple tool allows him or her to see the back of your teeth. He or she can also see teeth way in the back of your mouth. Without it, he or she couldn’t do his or her job nearly as well! Ask to see this tool the next time you’re at the dentist.

So, what is a mirror? A mirror has a smooth, shiny surface that reflects light. Light that is reflected bounces off of something in its path. You have already learned that light travels in a straight line, unless it runs into something in its way. If light hits a transparent object, it passes right through the object. If it hits an opaque object, the light is absorbed and blocked so that a shadow is made. If light hits a smooth, shiny surface like a mirror, it is reflected.

When a mirror is made, glass is coated with hot, silvery metals and then cooled. This coating makes the mirror shiny so that it reflects back all of the light that hits it.


Did you know that there are different types of mirrors? You probably use a plane mirror every morning when you get ready for school. A plane mirror has a more or less flat surface. The reflection of something in a plane mirror is almost the same size as the real object.

Plane mirrors are used in many tools. Cameras, telescopes, and microscopes sometimes use plane mirrors. Some toys even use plane mirrors. Have you ever looked through a toy called a kaleidoscope? A kaleidoscope is a tube with plane mirrors inside. There are also tiny bits of colored glass and beads sealed up inside the kaleidoscope. You look through a small hole at one end of the kaleidoscope and point it toward the light. As you rotate the tube, you will see beautiful, colored patterns.

There are two other types of mirrors that are different from plane mirrors. Plane mirrors have flat surfaces, but concave and convex mirrors have curved surfaces. The smooth, shiny side of a concave mirror curves inward like a spoon. The smooth, shiny side of a convex mirror curves outward.


Here’s another way that concave and convex mirrors are different from plane mirrors. Remember that in a plane mirror, the reflection of an object is about the same size as the object. In concave and convex mirrors, the reflection can look larger or smaller than the real object.

Concave and convex mirrors are also useful. Concave mirrors can be used to provide heat using the light from the sun. Remember that sunlight is a form of light and heat energy. The large concave mirror in the image on the next page reflects the sun’s energy so that people can warm their hands or bodies outside.

What about convex mirrors? The next time you get on a bus, take a look at the mirrors on the sides of the bus. Most buses and large trucks have a small, extra convex mirror on the side-view plane mirror. The convex mirror makes objects look smaller but shows a wider area so that you can see more. It helps drivers avoid hitting something that they might not see in the regular plane mirror.

So now you see how useful mirrors are in our everyday lives. Mirrors can also be a lot of fun. A circus or carnival sometimes has a place called the “Funhouse,” or “House of Mirrors.” If you go in, there are lots of concave and convex mirrors. When you look in these mirrors, you might not recognize yourself! Your reflection is distorted. What makes that happen? Now you know that it’s concave and convex mirrors.


Chapter Four: Refraction and Lenses
In the previous chapters, you have been reading about how light travels. You already know that light travels at a very fast speed — faster than any machine made by humans. You also know that light travels in a straight line, unless it runs into something in its way.

One of the things that we haven’t studied yet is what happens to the speed of light when it passes through something transparent. As fast as light is, when it passes through something transparent, it does slow down. So, when light passes through windows, water, and even air, it slows down.
The denser or heavier something is, the slower light travels through it. For example, light travels more slowly through glass than it does through water or air. It travels more slowly through water than it does through air.

When light moves through one thing that is transparent to something different that is transparent, it changes speed. When light changes speed, the angle of the light rays change and appear to bend.

Take a straw and put it in a glass of water. Now, look at the straw where it enters the water. Can you see that it appears to be at a different angle? That is called “refraction.” It’s caused by the slowing down of light as it moves from air to water. As the light enters the water, it changes angle direction because it slows down. It seems like magic, but it’s really just how light travels — no trick.


You may be surprised to learn that there are many ways that we use light refraction every day. Do you or any of your classmates wear eyeglasses? The lenses in eyeglasses correct different kinds of vision problems by refracting light. Transparent glass or plastic lenses are made to refract light in different ways. Like mirrors, these lenses can be convex lenses or concave lenses.

Remember that something convex curves outward. A convex lens refracts and bends light rays closer together. When you look through a convex lens, an object will look larger and closer. It looks magnified because the light rays are closer together.

A concave lens curves inward. A concave lens refracts and spreads light rays apart. If you look through a concave lens, an object will look smaller. It looks smaller because the light waves are spread apart.

A magnifying glass is an example of a simple convex lens. If you hold and look at something closely through a magnifying glass, it will look larger. People use a magnifying glass to more clearly see the details of something small.


Convex lenses are also found in scientific instruments. A scientist might look through a microscope with a convex lens. The lens magnifies very small things that cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Scientists study outer space with telescopes. Telescope lenses are also convex. They make the moon, stars, and planets look larger and closer so that scientists can learn more about them.

Concave lenses are also useful. Remember that concave lenses spread out light rays. Concave lenses are used in security cameras because they provide a wider view of a place.

Do you have a peephole in your door at home? If so, you may have a concave lens. In many homes and apartments, the peepholes of doors have two lenses, one of which is concave. The other lens is convex and magnifies the image made by the concave lens. The people looking in from the outside can barely see what’s inside. (Remember, concave lenses make things look smaller.) However, if you are looking from the inside out, you can see who is standing in front of your door.


Chapter Five: Color and Light
Do you remember what color sunlight is? Hopefully, you didn’t say, “no color!” You learned that sunlight is white light. You also learned that instead of being “no color,” white light is made up of all the colors of the rainbow. Remember, the sun looks yellow because it gives off more yellow light than it does the other colors.

You can prove that white light is really many colors if you have a wedge-shaped piece of transparent glass called a prism. If you hold a prism near a sunny window, light will shine through and make a rainbow-like band of colors. This shows that white light is really made up of all colors.

Do you remember what you learned about refraction? What happens to light when it passes through something transparent like glass? The light slows down and changes its path. A prism has a special shape that refracts white light into all of the colors of the rainbow.

Have you ever seen a rainbow in the sky when the sun comes out after it rains? Raindrops in the sky refract the light, just like a prism. This is what creates the rainbow.


When white light is refracted, it often separates into a combination of colors called the spectrum. The colors in the spectrum always appear in the same order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. These colors are part of the visible light spectrum. They are the light waves that humans can see. The colors of visible light are a result of differences in wavelength. Red light has long wavelengths and violet light has short wavelengths. You can remember the names of the colors in the visible light spectrum in the right order if you can remember this funny name: “Roy G. Biv.” Each letter in that name stands for a color in the rainbow. Say it out loud. Try to remember it!

Did you know that the color of any object depends on what light wavelengths it reflects? Different objects absorb light wavelengths of some colors, but reflect others. This is what creates color. Blue jeans appear blue because something in the material reflects blue light and absorbs all of the other light colors. Do you see anyone in your class today wearing a red sweater? The sweater appears red because something in the material reflects red light and absorbs all of the other light.

What about things that appear to be white? They look white because the object reflects all of the white light wavelengths and doesn’t absorb any light. Can you guess why something looks black? Things that appear black do not reflect any light. They absorb all of the light wavelengths.


Remember that the colors we see are from light of specific wavelengths. But, there is much more to light than just the wavelengths that we can see. In fact, visible light is only a small part of the energy waves that come from sunlight.

For example, on the shorter wavelength end of the light spectrum, there are invisible ultraviolet light waves that cause sunburn. X-rays are even shorter wavelengths of light. We can’t see these light x-rays, but they can travel through the human body. You learned in “How Does Your Body Work?” that x-rays are used to create black and white photos of what’s inside the body. Do you know of any other ways that x-rays are used?

Another type of invisible light is infrared waves. The wavelengths of infrared light are longer than those of red light. These are the type of light waves that you use when you click on the remote control to change television channels!


Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading

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Adventures Of Light And Sound


Lesson 19 – Part Two

NEW WORDS: Aleck, Aleck’s, Alhazen, Alva, Arab, Aristotle’s, Daguerre, Eastman, Eastman’s, Edinburgh, Edison, Edison’s, Edwin, Eliza, Frenchman, Menlo, Milton, Morse, Nancy, Niepce, Niepce’s, SOS, Scotland, Watson, album, albums, bell’s, clearer, communicating, comparing, cylinder, daguerreotype, daguerreotypes, dense, devoted, digital, disk, earliest, emptiness, engineers, explosions, figured, films, graphein, grooved, helio, heliograph, heliographs, illnesses, improvements, incandescent, inspiration, interestingly, inventing, inventors, iodine, kinetoscope, labs, larynx, liquids, loudness, lowness, magnify, mechanic, mediums, operator, outgrew, patent, patents, philosopher, phonics, phonograph, photographs, photography, pinhole, puppets, purplish, recorded, recording, reproduces, solids, telegraph, tinfoil, trachea, transmission, varies, vocal, weaker, windpipe

Chapter Six: What Is Sound?
An alarm clock rings, a dog barks, a voice calls, “Time to get up!” Every day is full of familiar sounds. But what exactly is sound?

Sound is caused by a back and forth movement called vibration. Try this. Close your lips and hum. While you are humming, feel your throat under your chin. Do you feel something buzzing or vibrating? What you feel is caused by something moving back and forth very fast. When you hum, the vocal cords in your throat vibrate back and forth. This makes the air around them vibrate, which then creates the sound that you hear.

Sound, like light, is a form of energy. Also like light, sound moves in waves. Sound waves move out from a vibrating object, making the air move back and forth in a way that we can’t see.

Two things must happen to create a sound. First, something needs to vibrate and create sound waves. Then, something like air or another medium needs to carry the sound waves. You hear sounds more clearly if you are close to whatever is vibrating and making the sound waves. The farther away that the sound waves spread out, the weaker they get. That is why you can hear a friend standing right next to you better than if they are calling to you from across the street.


This is what a sound wave might look like if we could see it. Sound travels not only through air, which is a gas, but through other mediums. In fact, sound can travel through solids, liquids, and gases.

Think about sound traveling through solids, like a window or even a closed door. If you are close enough, you can still hear sounds on the other side of a window or door.

How about liquids? Have you ever been underwater in a swimming pool when you have heard someone’s voice or another sound? It probably sounded different than it would if you were not under water, but you were still able to hear it. This is an example of sound traveling through a liquid — the water in the pool.

One place that sound cannot travel is in outer space. Sound cannot travel through the emptiness, or vacuum, of space. There is no sound in outer space because there is no medium to carry it.

You might wonder about the speed at which sound travels. Sound waves travel much slower than light waves. Sound waves travel at about 750 miles per hour. That’s fast, but not close to the 186,000 miles per second that light can travel. It would take a sound 33 hours to travel around Earth once. Remember that light can go seven times around Earth every second!


Here’s an example to prove that light travels faster than sound. Think about the last time you were around a storm with thunder and lightning. Did you notice that you saw each flash of lightning before you heard the clap of thunder? That’s because light travels faster than sound!

The medium through which sound travels affects its rate of speed. Interestingly, sound waves travel fastest through solids. In old western movies, you may have seen a cowboy put his ear down to the steel railroad tracks to hear if a train is coming. That is because the sound travels faster through the steel than through the air.

Try this. Listen while you drum your fingers on your desk. Now, rest your ear right on the surface of the desk and drum your fingers again. Which way sounded louder? The sound was louder when you put your head on the desk. This is because the sound traveling through the solid wood of your desk traveled faster than if it had first traveled through the air. Every time sound changes mediums, it loses some of its loudness.


Chapter Seven: Characteristics of Sound
Let’s review what you have learned so far about sound by comparing it to light. How is sound different from light? Sound must have a medium to travel through — a solid, liquid, or gas. Light does not need a medium. Remember, light can travel through the emptiness, or vacuum, of outer space. Sound cannot.

The speed at which light and sound travel is also different. Light travels much faster than sound.

There are important ways that light and sound are similar. They are both forms of energy that travel in waves. There are also other similarities.

When you learned about light, you learned that light waves can be different lengths. Some are long and some are short. It is the length of a light wave that makes it appear to be a particular color.


Perhaps you are wondering whether sound waves differ from one another. Imagine these two sounds — a baby crying for its mother and an adult yelling. Both of these are sounds. The sound waves of each travel through the same medium, air, so they are alike in that way. But a baby crying surely sounds different than an adult yelling! The baby makes a high-pitched, “screeching” sound. When an adult yells, it is a low pitched, deep tone. Could this difference in pitch, or how high or how low a sound is, come from different kinds of sound waves?

The answer is “yes,” and it has to do with the length of the sound waves! It helps if we first understand how vibrations affect sound waves. Faster vibrations produce shorter sound waves, which make sounds with a higher pitch. The baby’s screeching sound vibrates very rapidly, making shorter, but more, sound waves. Can you think of some other sounds that have a high pitch?

Slower vibrations produce longer waves, which make sounds with a lower pitch. A yelling voice makes longer, fewer waves so you hear a lower pitch. Pitch describes the highness or lowness of a sound. Can you think of some sounds that have a low pitch?


Try changing your voice pitch. Can you speak in a high, squeaky voice? Can you speak in a low, rumbling voice?

Sound also varies in loudness. If you’re listening to the radio and a favorite song comes on, you might say, “Turn it up!” and reach for the knob marked VOLUME.

When you turn up the volume, you are making the sound louder. A scientist might say that you are increasing the sound’s intensity. More intense sound waves carry more energy and make louder sounds.

How far away you can hear a sound depends on its intensity. A quiet sound, like a whisper, doesn’t travel very far. A really loud sound can travel for hundreds of miles. When fireworks are set off, the sound can be heard miles away.

Very loud sounds can damage your hearing. People who work around loud sounds all day long often wear ear coverings or plugs to protect their hearing. You should be careful, too, not to turn the volume too loud if you like to listen to music.


Chapter Eight: The Human Voice
Have you ever noticed how well you know your mother or grandmother’s voice? You have heard it so often that you can tell right away who it is. Each person has a distinct voice. It’s a voice that can make many sounds with different pitch and intensity. It can make high- and low-pitched sounds, loud and soft sounds.

So, how does your body make all of those different sounds? You already know that something needs to vibrate to create sound waves. You also know that sound needs a medium, like air, to travel through. Here’s how it works in the human body.

Air passes in and out of your body all of the time when you breathe. Inside your chest, your lungs expand to take in air and then contract to let it out. Leading out of your lungs is a long tube called the trachea, or “windpipe.” At the top of your trachea is another part of your body called the larynx, or “voice box.”

Inside the larynx are two bundles of muscle that are known as vocal cords. When you breathe in, the vocal cords relax so that air can move past them and into your lungs. When you speak, you force the air out of your lungs and over the vocal cords in your larynx. The vocal cords vibrate to make waves in the air that continue up your throat and out of your mouth.