Module E – Lessons 11 to 20


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Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading

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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

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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.

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.


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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.


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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.


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

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

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.


When you were a baby, you did not need to learn how to breathe. Your lungs worked automatically, bringing air into and out of your body. You also did not need to learn how to use your vocal cords to make sounds. When you were a baby, you made lots of funny noises and grunts. Ask your parents!

You did, however, need to learn how to change those grunts and noises into words so that you could talk. You did this by listening to the people who talked to you when you were a baby. You practiced saying the same sounds and words. You learned to speak whatever language all of those people were speaking to you. If your family spoke only English to you, you learned to speak English. If your family spoke only Spanish to you, you learned to speak Spanish. People can learn to speak more than one language. Maybe you or some of your classmates speak more than one language.

Your vocal cords grow as you grow. When you have shorter vocal cords, you tend to speak at a higher pitch. This is why small children have higher-pitched voices than adults. The pitch of your voice depends on the size of your vocal cords and larynx.


The volume of your voice, or how loudly you speak, depends on how much air is produced by your lungs and comes out of your mouth. When more air is pushed out of your mouth, your voice will be louder.


Chapter Nine: Light and Photography
The word photography comes from two Greek words. Photo means “light” and “graphein” means “to draw.” So, you might say that photography means “to draw with light.”

The earliest ideas for making pictures using light came in the 4th century BC from a Greek man named Aristotle. He observed and made notes about how light acts.

The first person to put Aristotle’s ideas into practice was an Arab scientist, Alhazen, around 1000 AD. He made the first pinhole camera. It was a box with a small hole in one side. Light from the outside came through this little hole and projected an image on the opposite side of the box. Alhazen used it to help him draw. His camera did not take photographs as we know them today. Others continued to experiment with and improve pinhole cameras. Even today, some people still enjoy making their own simple pinhole cameras.

The first thing similar to a photograph was made in 1826 by a Frenchman named Joseph Niepce. He invented what were called heliographs. “Helio” is the root for “sun.” He used sunlight to create images. The sunlight mixed with a form of coal and some other natural chemicals on a square, glass plate to make an image. It took eight hours in the sunlight before the image appeared! Then, it faded.


Another Frenchman named Louis Daguerre took Niepce’s ideas and improved them. He was able to use light to create an image in less than thirty minutes. His images were called daguerreotypes, named for their inventor. Daguerreotypes used light-sensitive chemicals like silver and iodine to make an image on a metal plate. These became popular around the world.

The late 1800s brought even more improvements to photography, thanks to some very creative inventors. One such inventor was the American George Eastman. In 1888, he invented flexible, rolled film that could replace the glass plates that were used in earlier cameras.

The invention of film led to the creation of the box camera, which was a tight box with a simple lens. The camera had film that could take as many as 100 photos. People could take photos and then send the camera back to Eastman’s company to print the photos. The company then sent both the photos and camera back to you. Ask to see your family’s older photo album. Chances are that some of the much older photos may have been taken with a box camera.


Color films were not invented until the late 1930s and early 1940s. By then, most families owned at least one camera, and photo albums became a common household item.

Cameras improved at a fast rate around the 1950s. Instant photography was invented by Edwin Land, who sold his first camera in 1948. With his camera, one minute after you took the photo, you would have a fully developed photograph from the camera. These cameras were popular because people did not have to wait to get their photos. They had them right after they shot the photo with their camera.

Chances are that if you or your family has a camera now, it is a digital camera. Digital cameras do not use film like the early cameras described previously. Digital cameras have a special computer “chip” that takes the place of film. In fact, many cell phones now also have digital cameras. Imagine how amazed the early inventors would be to see all of the cameras that we have today!


Chapter Ten: Alexander Graham Bell, Part One
What makes someone famous? Who would you think of if you were asked to name someone famous today? Would you name a famous athlete? An actor or musician? Maybe you would think of a president or famous leader. One of the most famous inventors of all time lived over 100 years ago. His name was Alexander Graham Bell.

Alexander Bell was born March 3, 1847. He was the middle of three sons born to Alexander and Eliza Bell of Edinburgh, Scotland. His parents nicknamed him “Aleck” as a young boy. Aleck’s childhood was happy. He lived the best of both worlds by spending time at his home in the city of Edinburgh and also in the country on the weekends. More than anything, Aleck loved to learn new things.

At Milton Cottage near Edinburgh, young Aleck enjoyed exploring nature. He collected plants and studied animals.

In school, Aleck’s best subjects were science and music, which he learned from his mother. Aleck’s mother was nearly deaf, so she played music mostly by feel. To hear the music, she would put a hearing trumpet to the strings of the instrument. The trumpet magnified the sound.


Aleck’s father was an important speech professor. He studied the sounds of the English language, similar to the phonics that you studied to learn to read. He very much wanted to help his wife, Eliza, and other deaf people. In 1864, he invented a “sound alphabet” called Visible Speech. He spent years coming up with symbols to stand for any sound that the human voice could make. The symbols that he used looked the way a person’s mouth looked when making certain sounds. Visible Speech helped deaf people learn how to talk better so that they could communicate with others.

The example of both his mother and father was an inspiration for Aleck. He became interested in inventing things on his own. He especially wanted to invent things to help other people. Aleck and his brother actually made a “speaking machine.” The machine used the voice box (larynx) of a dead sheep. Part of the machine acted like a mouth and throat and could say the word “mama.”

As an adult, Aleck worked with deaf students. He later took a job as a professor at Boston University. Inventing things was a big part of Aleck’s life. After one invention, he set his mind on others, never satisfied with the past invention. The invention that he is most famous for, however, was yet to come.


Chapter Eleven: Alexander Graham Bell, Part Two
Aleck Bell loved thinking of new things to invent more than anything else in the world, especially to help other people. In 1837, another inventor, Samuel Morse, created a machine called the telegraph. The telegraph was a way to send messages long distances across wires. It was limited to dots and dashes and could not transmit human sounds. Aleck began to think about ways that he might improve upon this new invention. “I used to tell my friends that one day we should speak by telegraph,” said Bell. He devoted all his time to this new goal. So did many others, and the race for a new invention was on.

Boston, Massachusetts became an important place for many inventors. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) made space in one of its labs for Aleck to do his experiments. His days were filled with teaching and then trying over and over to make human sound travel across a wire. All of his energy was spent on this creative idea. He wrote that his idea of using electric current to carry a sound would likely make others think him “crazy.” So, he kept most of his ideas and experiments secret.


Aleck hired a young mechanic to help him. Thomas Watson knew how electricity worked. At first, their experiments failed more than they succeeded. Aleck thought they were getting closer to success. “I think the transmission of the human voice is much more nearly at hand than I thought.” On June 2, 1875, his dreams came true.

Like many inventions, an accident led to an important discovery. With the electricity turned off, Watson sent a message to Aleck that Aleck could hear. He heard tones, not just one single-pitched sound. He knew instantly it was a huge step forward! “I have (by accident) made a discovery of the very greatest importance,” wrote Bell.

Three days later, the first telephone recorded, “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.” To Bell’s great joy, Watson had heard and understood what Bell had said!

Fame and fortune came to Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Watson. They soon formed the Bell Telephone Company to make and sell their new invention.

Bell continued to invent for the rest of his life. “Self-education is a life-long affair,” said Bell. “There is no failed experiment,” he said to convince people to keep going with their ideas. He passed his love of learning on to his grandchildren and inspired a whole group of new inventors.


Chapter Twelve: Thomas Edison: The Wizard of Menlo Park
Have you figured out why inventors are so important? They have helped every person’s life in one way or another. Shouldn’t there be an inventors’ “Hall of Fame?” If there were, then a man named Thomas Alva Edison would be quickly voted in.

Thomas Alva Edison was born February 11, 1847, in a small, northern Ohio town. He was the last of seven children born to Sam and Nancy Edison. Al, the nickname that his friends gave him, was a sickly child. He didn’t even attend school until he was eight years old. Because of scarlet fever as a child, Al was left more than partially deaf. His illnesses did not stop his interest in nature. He asked questions that teachers didn’t know how to answer: “Why is the sky blue?” or “How does fire work?” He was curious about everything and liked to figure out things on his own.

At the age of 12, he worked selling newspapers on the railroad near his home. On the train, he heard people talking about many new ideas and inventions. He learned by listening to their stories. At 15, Al landed a job working the telegraph machine. He became an expert telegraph operator over the next six years. Even though he was deaf, he could feel the vibration of the wire.


Al liked to work with electric machines. He found a way to make the telegraph faster and sold the idea to Western Union Telegraph Company for $40,000. With the money he made from the sale, he set up his first lab to continue his experiments.

When the work that Al was doing outgrew this lab, he built a bigger lab in Menlo Park, New Jersey. He hired some of the smartest scientists and engineers from around the world to work with him. Much of his early work was on sound. They called him the Wizard of Menlo Park because some of the inventions seemed magical.

In this new lab, he discovered a way to make Alexander Graham Bell’s new telephone louder. He sold the patent for his new invention for $100,000. That was a huge sum of money at the time.


His next invention was the phonograph. He was able to record sound on a cylinder wrapped in tinfoil. He played a version of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” to his fellow scientists. This was the first time anyone was able to listen to recorded music.

The invention that Edison is best known for came next. In 1879, he invented the first incandescent (glowing) electric light bulb. Three years later, he lit up 85 homes at once in New York City and the age of electric light began.

By the time Edison “retired,” he had patents on over 1,000 inventions. They include the kinetoscope, which is a machine for showing movies, and the microphone.

What people sometimes forget is that many of Edison’s experiments “failed” at first. He caused explosions at his labs and was forced to start all over many times. However, he kept moving forward each time. He always had a positive attitude. He knew that he was closer to his next success!

Glossary for Adventures in Light and Sound:
Absorb — to take in or soak up (absorbed).
Angle — the space formed when two lines or surfaces meet.
Aristotle — a Greek philosopher who made notes about how light acts; his notes later helped inventors make cameras.
Automatically — operating on its own without direct control.

Camera — an instrument for taking photographs (cameras).
Concave — curved inward, like a spoon.
Convex — curved outward.
Curve — to bend (curved, curves).

Daguerreotype — a type of early photograph invented by Daguerre; it appeared in less than 30 minutes and did not disappear as quickly as a heliograph (daguerreotypes).
Damage — hurt, harm.
Dense — thick, heavy (denser).
Discovery — an event in which someone finds or learns something for the first time.
Distort — to twist out of normal shape (distorted).

Electric current — the flow of electricity.
Electricity — energy carried over wires (electric).
Energy — a supply of power.

Hearing trumpet — a cone-shaped tool that helps a person hear better by placing the small end in one ear.
Heliograph — a type of early photograph made by mixing coal and other natural elements that are then left in the sun to make the images; they took a long time to appear and disappeared quickly (heliographs).

Incandescent — glowing.
Indigo — a dark purplish-blue color.
Infrared — long light waves, beyond red on the spectrum, that can only be seen with special instruments.
Inspiration — something that gives a person an idea about what to do or create.
Intense — strong (intensity).
Invent — to make something new that no one else has ever made (invented, inventor, inventors, invention).

Kaleidoscope — a tube with plane mirrors and pieces of colored glass that you hold up to the light and rotate to make colorful patterns.
Kinetoscope — an early machine for showing movies.

Larynx — the organ in your throat that holds the vocal cords and makes it possible to speak; voice box.
Lens — a clear piece of curved glass or plastic that is used to make things look clearer, larger, or smaller (lenses).
Lung — one of a pair of organs that allows animals to breathe by filling with air (lungs).

Magnify — to make something look larger or sound louder (magnified, magnifies).
Magnifying glass — a convex lens that makes things look larger when they are held close to the lens.
Material — cloth or fabric.
Medium — a substance that light or sound can travel through, like a solid, a liquid, or a gas (mediums).
Microphone — an instrument for recording sound or making sound louder.
Mirror — a shiny surface that reflects light (mirrors).
Morse Code — a way of communicating with dots and dashes using the telegraph.

Opaque — not clear, blocking all light so that none gets through.

Patent — the rights to make and sell something (patents).
Phonograph — an instrument that reproduces sounds that have been recorded on a grooved disk.
Photograph — a picture made with a camera (photography, photographs, photos, photo).
Pitch — how high or low a sound is (pitched).
Plane — a more or less flat surface.
Prism — a wedge-shaped piece of transparent glass that breaks up light into all the colors of the spectrum.
Professor — a college teacher.
Project — to cause light to appear on a surface (projected, projector).

Reflect — to throw back light, heat, or sound from a surface (reflections, reflects, reflected, reflection).
Refract — the appearance of light bending when it moves from one medium to another (refraction, refracting, refracts).
Remote control — a device that uses infrared waves to operate equipment, such as a TV, from a distance.

Scarlet fever — a disease that causes a fever, sore throat, and a red rash.
Security — protection from danger.
Shadow — a dark shape or outline of something that is made when light is blocked (shadows).
Silvery — shiny or silver in color.
Skylight — a window in a ceiling or roof that lets in light.
Sound wave — a series of vibrations that can be heard (sound waves).
Source — a starting place, where something comes from (sources).
Spectrum — the distribution of all the colors that make up the light that we see.
Speed — how fast or slow something moves.
Surface — the outside layer of something.
Symbol — an object or picture that stands for something (symbols).

Telegraph — a tool for communicating by sending electrical signals by wire or radio.
Trachea — a tube that air passes through going to and from the lungs; windpipe.
Transmit — to move or send something from one place to another (transmission).
Transparent — clear, see-through so that light gets through.

Ultraviolet — short, invisible light waves, beyond violet on the spectrum, that cause sunburn.

Vacuum — emptiness.
Visible Speech — a system of communication used by deaf people, in which symbols represent sounds.
Vocal cords — muscles that produce sound when air passes over them.
Volume — the loudness or intensity of a sound.

Wave — an amount of energy that moves in a rippling pattern like a wave (waves).
Wavelength — how long a wave is, the distance from the top of one wave to the top of the next wave (wavelengths).
White light — light that is made up of waves with different wavelengths and includes all of the colors that we can see.
Illustration subtitles:
The sun is the greatest source of light for Earth. One way light from the sun travels is in waves. Waves can be different sizes. Short wavelengths, like those at the far right, carry the most energy. Long Wavelengths. Short Wavelengths. White light is a well balanced mix of different wavelengths. Can you think of sources of light other than the sun? Here is a scene with lots of light. Here is the same scene without any light. Light travels in straight lines like rays from its source. How do you know that the glass in this skylight is transparent? Are people’s bodies transparent or opaque? How do you know? What objects created these shadows? Are these objects opaque or transparent? Shadows can be different sizes. What causes the size of a shadow to change? Here’s what you need to experiment with shadows. A light source. Paper and marker. Helpers. Tree cutout. Masking tape. A blank wall. Is the cutout of the tree making these shadows closer to the light in the top image or bottom image? You can make shadow puppets with your hands. Light reflected from the surface of this mirror allows the dentist to see the back of this person’s teeth. This little girl is looking at her reflection in a plane mirror. Here’s what the outside tube of a toy kaleidoscope looks like. Here’s what you might see if you looked inside a kaleidoscope. Three types of mirrors. Concave mirror. Convex mirror. Plane mirror. Curved mirrors change the look of things because of the ways they bounce light rays back. CONCAVE. CONVEX. Concave and convex mirrors can distort the reflection of an object. When light hits a transparent object, it passes right through the object. When light hits an opaque object, the light is absorbed and blocked so a shadow is made. When light hits a smooth, shiny surface like a mirror, it is reflected. Does light travel fastest through glass, water, or air? Why does the angle of the straw look different after it enters the water? Lenses can be used to refract light to correct vision problems. Convex and concave lenses bend light in different directions. Do objects look larger or smaller through a convex lens? What about through a concave lens? CONVEX. CONCAVE. A magnifying glass has a convex lens that makes small details appear larger if you hold the magnifying glass close to the object you are looking at. Scientists look through microscopes with a convex lens to see tiny things that are not visible to the naked eye, like these germs. Scientists also use telescopes with convex lenses to study outer space. Concave lenses that spread out light rays are useful for security purposes. A prism refracts white light into all of the colors of a rainbow. A rainbow occurs when raindrops refract sunlight into all of the colors of visible light. You can remember the order of the colors in the visible light spectrum if you remember “Roy G. Biv.” Can you explain why each thing appears to be the color it is? We can’t see x-ray wavelengths, but these light waves can pass through your hand and create an image of your bones on special x-ray film. Certain wavelengths of light are invisible. We can’t see the infrared light from a remote control but we can see its effect when a channel is changed. When you hum, your vocal cords vibrate to make sounds. This is what a sound wave might look like if we could see it. The next time you turn on your radio or TV, lightly put your fingers on the speakers. Do you feel the sound vibrations? Sound travels through solids, liquids, and gases (air). During a storm, you will see lightning before you hear thunder. That is because light travels faster than sound. Sound travels fastest through solids, such as the wood of your desk or a wall. Both light and sound are forms of energy that travel in waves. Light waves. Sound waves. Both of these sounds travel through air. How are they different? Which sounds are high-pitched? Which are low-pitched? Sounds with greater intensity are louder and travel greater distances. Listening to loud sounds repeatedly can damage your hearing. Do you recognize the voices of your friends and people in your family? Air passes in and out of your body through the larynx, trachea, and lungs. Lungs. Trachea. Larynx. When you speak, air is forced from your lungs and trachea to your larynx. The vocal cords in your larynx vibrate to make waves in the air. These vibrations make sounds. Vocal cords. When you were a baby, you learned to speak the same language that the people around you were speaking. Who do you think has shorter vocal cords and speaks in a higher-pitched voice? Pinhole cameras do not have lenses. Alhazen. Aristotle. There is just a small hole on one side of the box that lets light into the box. A figure is projected on the opposite side of the box. Joseph Niepce invented heliographs. Louis Daguerre. Here is an 1850 daguerreotype of a young woman. George Eastman invented film for use in cameras. An early box camera and a roll of film. With the invention of the instant film camera, a fully developed photo was ready one minute after you took the picture. A digital camera. A digital memory card in a digital camera takes the place of film. Alexander Graham Bell. Aleck as a child with his family. Aleck’s parents, Alexander and Eliza Bell. Do you see the hearing trumpet that Mrs. Bell is using to listen to her granddaughter? A Visible Speech poster showing the symbols invented by Aleck’s father to help the deaf. When he was young, Aleck and his brother invented a “speaking machine.” With the invention of the telegraph by Samuel Morse, people could send messages long distances. A system of dots and dashes called Morse Code was used to tap out the messages on the telegraph. Three dots, followed by three dashes, followed by three more dots stands for SOS, code for “Help!” Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Watson worked together to try to transmit sound using electricity. Bell’s first telephone. “There is no failed experiment,” said Alexander Graham Bell. A photograph of Thomas Edison. Edison in his lab at Menlo Park. Thomas Edison with a phonograph, 1878. Thomas Edison in 1928 and two of his inventions, the kinetoscope and the light bulb.


Lesson 20 – Stories Misc
The Velveteen Rabbit (or “How Toys Become Real”)

By Margery Williams

NEW WORDS: Williams, acknowledgment, acutely, aggravating, ahhing, allege, alluded, almonds, anachronistic, apace, arrogance, authentic, balcony, bashful, bedclothing, bestirred, betimes, blotchy, bonfire, bracken, brigands, broader, bunchy, cavort, cavorting, chafe, chuffed, clockwork, conceiving, configuration, confound, consideration, contemplate, counterpanes, cuddled, dartled, decolored, dehydrated, delineate, dilapidated, disabled, discerning, dither, diverting, enamoring, enshrouded, enthralling, euphoric, eventide, evidently, fairy’s, fathomed, febrile, feral, ferine, flowerbed, flushed, footfalls, forbearingly, fronds, glimmering, goggled, greensward, guffaw, headaches, hied, homelike, hustle, incinerate, incognizant, infirm, inflicted, insightful, insignificant, interrogation, invigorating, jabbered, jejune, luncheons, lymph, mainsprings, malady, manufactured, markings, melancholy, mesmerize, microbes, mimosa, modernistic, moonlit, mornings, mystifying, napless, nattered, nauseated, necklaces, nodes, noteworthy, notions, objected, objectionable, oohing, outsiders, padded, parent’s, patches, paunchy, perdure, pincushion, pixy, plaguing, playfellow, playthings, plumpish, pneumonia, posterior, prearranged, predisposed, preoccupied, presumed, pretentious, preternatural, principally, prosaic, purported, rainstorm, rearward, regress, reiterated, remembrances, rendible, rigging, roister, rouse, rumpus, rustling, sandcastles, sateen, savvy, scooting, seams, shabbier, shabbiness, shabby, shepherdess, shopworn, sideboard, sideboards, skidoodle, snubbed, soughed, sourpuss, spinney, splendorous, spruce, submerged, succession, swagger, swoop, sylphlike, tatters, thirsted, threadbare, tickly, tidying, timorous, tonsils, transcendent, treasured, trickled, truthful, twitching, unfathomable, uninviting, unjust, unsewn, unstirring, unwrapping, vehement, vertiginous, wagered, warranted, wearying

There was once a velveteen Rabbit. Early on, he was really splendorous to look at. He was paunchy and bunchy. That’s as a rabbit should be. His coat was spotted brown and white. He had real thread whiskers. And his ears were lined with pink sateen.

It was Christmas morning. He sat wedged in the top of the Boy’s stocking. There was a sprig of holly between his paws. The effect was enamoring.

There were other things in the stocking. There were nuts and oranges. There was a toy engine. There were chocolate almonds. There was a clockwork mouse. But the Rabbit was quite the best of all. For at least two hours, the Boy loved him. Then Aunts and Uncles came to dinner. There was a great rustling of tissue paper. There was much unwrapping of parcels. There was much excitement, with everyone oohing and ahhing over all of the new presents. So, the Velveteen Rabbit was briefly forgotten.

For a long time, he lived in the toy sideboard. Or he might be on the rumpus room floor. No one gave him much consideration. That didn’t chafe him. He was predisposed to be shy, anyway.


The Rabbit was made only of velveteen. So, some of the more expensive toys snubbed him. The mechanical toys were very superior. They were quite pretentious, and they looked down on everyone else. They were full of modern notions. And they purported to be real. The model boat had lived through two seasons. He’d lost most of his paint. But he picked up on the mechanical toys’ arrogance. He never missed an opportunity to refer to his rigging in technical terms.

The Rabbit could not allege to be a model of anything. That’s because he was incognizant of the existence of real living rabbits. He presumed that they were all stuffed with sawdust wadding, like himself. And he knew that sawdust was anachronistic. It should never be alluded to in modernistic circles. There was another toy in the home. It had been made by the disabled soldiers. That was Timothy. He was a wooden lion. Even he should have had broader views. But he put on airs, too. He pretended that he was connected with the Government. Between them all, the poor Rabbit was made to feel very insignificant and prosaic. There was only one person who was kind to him at all. That was the Skin Horse.


The Skin Horse had been in the nursery longer than the others. He was quite old. His brown coat was bald in patches. And it showed the seams underneath. And most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out. They’d been used to string bead necklaces. He was wise, though. He had seen a long succession of mechanical toys. They’d arrive to roister and swagger.

But by-and-by, they’d break their mainsprings. They’d become less useful. He knew that they were only toys. They’d never turn into anything else. You see, nursery magic is very preternatural and wonderful. Playthings that are old, insightful, and savvy beyond their years understand all about it. The Skin Horse was one of these noteworthy toys.

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day. He was side-by-side with the Skin Horse. They were near the nursery fender. It was before Nana had come to spruce up the room. “Does it mean that you have things that buzz inside of you. Or, is it that you have a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you’re manufactured,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that HAPPENS to you. For a moment, contemplate a child loving you for a long time. You’re not just a plaything. The child REALLY loves you. THEN you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.


“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse. He was always truthful. “When you’re Real, you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once? Is it like being wound up?” the Rabbit asked. “Or does it occur bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You ‘become’. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen much for most people. There are those who break too easily. Others have sharp edges. Some have to be too carefully kept. Generally, by the time you’re Real, most of your hair has been loved off. And your eyes drop out. And you get loose in the joints. And you end up very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all. It’s because once you’re Real, you can’t be objectionable. Well, except to people who just don’t understand.”

“For a long time, I’ve wagered that you’re real,” said the Rabbit. And then he wished that he had not said it. He thought that the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.

The Boy’s Uncle made me Real,” he said. “That was long years past. But there’s good news. Once you’re Real, you can’t regress to be unreal again! It lasts for always.”


The Rabbit soughed. He thought it would be a long time till this magic called “Real” would happen to him. He thirsted to become Real. He wished to know what it felt like. But what about the thought of growing shopworn? What about losing his eyes and whiskers? All of that was sad to him. He wished that he could become Real without these uninviting things plaguing him.

There was a person called Nana. She ruled the nursery. Sometimes she took no notice of the playthings lying about. And sometimes, for no reason at all, she’d swoop about like a great wind. She’d hustle them all away in sideboards. She called this “tidying up.” The playthings all hated it. The tin toys complained the most. The Rabbit did not mind it so much. Wherever he was thrown, he came down soft.

One night, the Boy was going to bed. He couldn’t find his China dog. That dog always slept with him. Nana was in a hurry. It was just too aggravating to hunt for China dogs at bedtime. So, she simply looked about her. She saw that the toy cupboard door stood open. So, she made a swoop.

“Here,” she said, “take your Bunny! He’ll do to sleep with you!” And she dragged the Rabbit out by one ear. Then she put him into the Boy’s arms.


That night the Rabbit slept in the Boy’s bed. At first, he was uncomfortable. That’s because the Boy hugged him very tight. Worse, sometimes he rolled over on him! Why, sometimes he pushed him far under the pillow. Then the Rabbit could scarcely breathe. And he missed, too, those moonlit hours in the nursery. That’s when the house was silent. And he missed his diverting talks with the Skin Horse.

But soon he grew to like it. First, the Boy talked to him a lot. And he’d make tunnels for him under the bedclothing. He said that these were like the burrows of real rabbits. And they played fun games, in whispers. That’s when Nana had gone to her supper. She’d have left the nightlight burning on the mantelpiece. The Boy would drop off to sleep. The Rabbit would snuggle down close. He’d nuzzle under the Boy’s warm chin. He’d have sweet dreams. The Boy’s hands would be clasped close ’round him all night long.

And so time went on. The little Rabbit was euphoric about his new life. He was so chuffed that he ignored how threadbare he’d become. His velveteen fur was getting shabbier. It was in tatters. His tail was becoming unsewn. All the pink had rubbed off his nose where the Boy had kissed him.

Spring came. They had long days in the garden. Wherever the Boy went, the Rabbit went, too. He had rides in the wheelbarrow. They had luncheons on the grass. The Boy built lovely fairy huts for him. They were under the raspberry canes behind the flower skirting.


Once, the Boy was called away, apace, to go out to tea. The Rabbit was left out on the greensward until long after eventide. Nana had to come and look for him with the candle. The Boy couldn’t go to sleep unless he was there. He was wet through with the dew. And he was earthy from diving into the burrows the Boy had made for him in the flower bed. And Nana nattered to herself as she rubbed him off with a corner of her apron.

“You must have your old Bunny!” she said. “Fancy all that dither for a toy!”

The Boy sat up in bed. He stretched out his hands.

“Give me my Bunny!” he said. “Don’t be a sourpuss! You mustn’t say that. He isn’t a toy. He’s REAL!”

When the little Rabbit heard that, he was happy. He now fathomed that what the Skin Horse had said was true, at last. The nursery magic had happened to him. He was a toy no longer. He was Real. The Boy himself had said it.

That night he was almost too happy to sleep. So much love bestirred in his little sawdust heart. Why, it almost burst! And you could see something in his boot-button eyes. They had long ago lost their polish. But there now came a look of wisdom and beauty. Even Nana noticed it the next morning. She picked him up and said, “Well, I’ll declare! That old Bunny has such a knowing expression!”


Near the house where they lived there was a wood. In the long June evenings, the Boy liked to go there after tea to play. He took the Rabbit with him. He’d make the Rabbit cozy first. Then he might wander off to pick flowers. Or he might play at brigands among the trees. He’d always made the Rabbit a little nest among the bracken. He was a kindhearted boy. He liked Bunny to be homelike.

One evening, the Rabbit was lying there alone. He was watching the ants that ran to and fro between his velvet paws in the grass. He saw two strange beings! They crept out of the tall bracken near him.

They were rabbits like himself. But they were quite furry and brand-new. They must have been very well made. Their seams didn’t show at all. And they changed shape in a queer way when they moved. One minute they were long and thin. But the next minute they were plumpish and bunchy. That was different from him. He always looked the same.

Their feet padded softly on the ground. They crept quite close to him. They were twitching their noses. The Rabbit goggled hard to see which side the clockwork stuck out. He knew that people who jump principally have something to wind them up. But he couldn’t see it. They were evidently a new kind of rabbit altogether.


They stared at him. The little Rabbit stared back. And all the time, their noses twitched.

“Why don’t you rouse yourself and cavort with us?” one of them asked.

“I don’t feel like it,” said the Rabbit. He didn’t want to delineate that he had no clockwork.

“Ho!” said the furry rabbit. “It’s as easy as anything.” He gave a big hop sideways. Then he stood on his posterior legs.

“I don’t believe you can!” he said.

“I can!” said the little Rabbit. “I can jump higher than anything!” He meant when the Boy threw him. But, of course, he didn’t want to say so.

“Can you hop on your hind legs?” asked the furry rabbit.

That was a rendible interrogation. The Velveteen Rabbit had no hind legs at all! The back of him was made all in one piece, like a pincushion. He sat still in the bracken. He hoped that the other rabbits wouldn’t notice.

“I just don’t want to!” he reiterated.

But the wild rabbits have very discerning eyes. And this one stretched out his neck and looked.

“He hasn’t got any hind legs!” he called out. “There’s no conceiving a rabbit without any hind legs!” And he began to guffaw.


“I have!” cried the little Rabbit. “I have got hind legs! I’m sitting on them!”

“Then stretch them out and show me, like this!” said the wild rabbit. And he began to whirl ’round and dance. The little Rabbit watched him spin and became vertiginous.

“I don’t like dancing,” he said. “I’d rather sit still!”

But all the while he was longing to dance. A funny new tickly feeling ran through him. He would have given anything in the world to be cavorting about like these rabbits.

The ferine rabbit stopped dancing. He came quite close. He came so close that his long whiskers brushed the Velveteen Rabbit’s ear. Then he wrinkled his nose, flattened his ears, and jumped rearward.

“He doesn’t smell authentic!” he exclaimed. “He isn’t a rabbit at all! He isn’t real!”

“I am Real!” said the little Rabbit. “I am Real! The Boy said so!” And he nearly began to cry.

Just then there was a sound of footfalls. The Boy ran past near them. With a stamp of feet and a flash of white tails, the two feral rabbits went scooting off.

“Come back and play with me!” called the little Rabbit. “Oh, do come back! I know I am Real!”


But there was no acknowledgment of his appeal. Only the little ants ran to and fro. And the bracken swayed gently where the two strangers had passed. The Velveteen Rabbit was all alone.

Confound it!” he thought. “Why did they skidoodle like that? Why couldn’t they perdure here and talk to me?”

For a long time he laid there, unstirring. He watched the bracken. He kept hoping that they would come back. But they never returned. Betimes, the sun submerged beneath the horizon. The little white moths dartled about. Finally, the Boy came and carried him home.

Weeks hied on. The little Rabbit grew very old and dilapidated. But the Boy loved him just as much. He loved him so hard that he loved all his whiskers off. And the pink lining to his ears turned gray. And his brown spots decolored. He even began to lose his configuration.

He scarcely looked like a rabbit any more, except to the Boy. To him he was always beautiful. And that was what the little Rabbit treasured. He didn’t mind how he looked to other people. That’s because the nursery magic had made him Real. And when you are Real, shabbiness doesn’t matter.


And then, a parent’s worst nightmare occurred. One day, the Boy became acutely ill. He’d become inflicted with a formidable malady, scarlet fever. It is a febrile disease that gives you a blotchy rash. You can get a sore throat and bad headaches. You can get nauseated. You can become dehydrated. Your tonsils and / or your lymph nodes may swell up. If it gets to your lungs, you can get pneumonia. And though you’re burning with fever, you can get chills.

The Boy’s face grew very flushed. He jabbered in his sleep. His little body was so hot that it burned the Rabbit when he held him close. Outsiders came and went, in and out of the nursery. And a light burned all night. Through it all the little Velveteen Rabbit lay there. He was hidden from sight under the counterpanes. He never stirred, for he was timorous. If they found him, someone might take him away. And he knew that the Boy needed him.

It was a long wearying time. The Boy was too infirm to play. The little Rabbit found it to be a jejune time, with nothing to do all day long. But he nestled with the Boy, forbearingly. He looked forward to the time when the Boy should be well again. Then they would go out in the garden. They’d be amongst the flowers and the butterflies. They’d play splendid games in the raspberry spinney like they used to.


All sorts of delightful things he planned. And while the Boy lay half asleep, he crept up close to the pillow and whispered them in his ear. And presently, the fever turned. And the Boy got better. He was able to sit up in bed and look at picture-books. The little Rabbit cuddled close at his side. And one day, they let the Boy get up and dress.

It was a bright, sunny morning. The windows stood wide open. They had carried the Boy out on to the balcony. He was wrapped in a shawl. And the little Rabbit lay tangled up among the bedclothes, thinking.

The Boy was going to the seaside tomorrow. Everything was prearranged. Now it only remained to carry out the doctor’s orders. They talked about it all. The little Rabbit lay under the bedclothes, with just his head peeping out, and listened. The room was to be disinfected. All the books and toys that the Boy had played with in bed must be burnt.

“Hurrah!” thought the little Rabbit. “Tomorrow we shall go to the seaside!” For the boy had often talked of the seaside. He wanted very much to see the big waves coming in. And he wished to see the tiny crabs, and the sandcastles.

Just then Nana caught sight of him. “How about his old Bunny?” she asked.


“That?” said the doctor. “Why, it’s a mass of scarlet fever microbes! Burn it at once.” Nana objected. She knew how the Boy loved that Rabbit. But the doctor was vehement.  “What? Nonsense! Get him a new one. He mustn’t have that one anymore!”

And so the little Rabbit was put into a sack. He was there with the old picture-books and a lot of rubbish. The sack was carried out to the end of the garden behind the fowl-house. That was a fine place to make a bonfire. But the gardener was too preoccupied with his work just then to attend to it. He had the potatoes to dig and the green peas to gather. But he warranted that he would come quite early the next morning to incinerate the whole lot.

That night the Boy slept in a different bedroom. And he had a new bunny to sleep with him. It was a splendid bunny. It was all white plush with real glass eyes. But the Boy was too excited to care very much about it. For tomorrow he was going to the seaside. And that in itself was such a wonderful thing that he could think of nothing else.

The Boy fell asleep, and he dreamt of the seaside. At the same time, the little Rabbit lay among the old picture-books. They were all in the corner behind the fowl-house. He felt very lonely. The sack had been left untied. So, by wriggling a bit he was able to get his head through the opening and look out.


He was shivering a little. He had always been used to sleeping in a proper bed. By this time, his coat had worn so thin and napless from hugging that it was no longer any protection to him. Nearby he could see the thicket of raspberry canes. They grew tall and close like a tropical jungle. Alas, there were so many bygone mornings where they had played beneath their shadows. He thought of those long sunlit hours in the garden. How happy they had been.

Now a great melancholy enshrouded him. He seemed to see all of those hours pass before him. Each one was more beautiful than the other. Wonderful remembrances flowed like a rainstorm. The fairy huts in the flowerbed. The quiet evenings in the wood when he lay in the bracken and the little ants ran over his paws. The wonderful day when he first knew that he was Real.

Then he thought of the Skin Horse, so wise and gentle, and all that he had told him. But what use was it to be loved and to lose one’s beauty. It seemed so unjust to become Real if it all ended like this. And a tear, a real tear, trickled down his little shabby velvet nose. It fell to the ground.


And then an unfathomable thing happened. For where the tear had fallen, a flower grew out of the ground! It was a mystifying flower. It was not at all like any that grew in the garden. It had sylphlike green leaves. They were the color of emeralds. And in the center of the leaves was a blossom. It was like a golden cup. It was so beautiful that the little Rabbit forgot to cry. He just lay there, letting it mesmerize him. The blossom opened. Out of it stepped a fairy!

She was the most enthralling pixy in the whole world. Her dress was of pearl and dew-drops. There were sweet mimosa flowers ’round her neck and in her hair. Her face was like the most transcendent flower of all. And she came close to the little Rabbit. She gathered him up in her arms. She kissed him on his velveteen nose that was all damp from crying.

“Little Rabbit,” she said. “Don’t you know who I am?”

The Rabbit looked up at her. It seemed to him that he had seen her face before. But he couldn’t think where.

“I’m the nursery magic Fairy,” she said. “I’m the shepherdess of all the playthings that children have loved. They become old and worn out. The children mature, and they don’t need them anymore. So, I come and take them away with me. Then I turn them into Real.”


“Wasn’t I Real before?” asked the Rabbit.

“You were Real to the Boy,” the Fairy said. “It’s because he loved you. Now you shall be Real to everyone.” She held the little Rabbit close in her arms. She flew with him into the wood.

It was light now. The moon had risen. All the forest was glimmering. The fronds of the bracken shone like frosted silver. There was an open glade between the tree-trunks. There, the wild rabbits danced with their shadows on the velvet grass. They saw the Fairy. They all stopped dancing. They stood ’round in a ring to stare at her.

“I’ve brought you a new playfellow,” the Fairy said. “You must be very kind to him. Teach him all that he needs to know in Rabbit-land. He is going to live with you forever and ever!” And she kissed the little Rabbit again. She put him down on the grass. “Run and play, little Rabbit!” she said.

But the little Rabbit sat quite still for a moment. He never moved. He saw all the wild rabbits dancing around him. He suddenly remembered about his hind legs. He didn’t want them to see that he was made all in one piece. He did not know what the Fairy’s kiss did to him. She had just changed him altogether! And he might have sat there a long time, too bashful to move. But something tickled his nose. And before he thought what he was doing, he lifted his hind toe to scratch it!


And he found that he actually had hind legs! Instead of dingy velveteen, he had brown fur. It was soft and shiny. And goodness, his ears twitched by themselves. And for heaven’s sake! His whiskers were so long that they brushed the grass.

He gave one leap. Oh, the joy of using those hind legs was so invigorating. He went springing about the turf on them. He jumped sideways. He went whirling round as the others did. He grew very excited. When at last he did stop to look for the Fairy, she had gone.

He was a Real Rabbit at last. He was at home with the other rabbits.

Autumn passed. Then came Winter. In the Spring, the days grew warm and sunny. The Boy went out to play in the wood behind the house. And while he was playing, two rabbits crept out from the bracken. They peeped at him. One of them was brown all over. But the other had strange markings under his fur. It was as though, long ago, he had been spotted. And the spots still showed through.

The Boy looked about this Rabbit’s little soft nose and his round black eyes. There was something very familiar. The Boy thought this to himself. “Why, he looks just like my old Bunny that was lost when I had scarlet fever!”

But he never knew that it really was his own Bunny. The Velveteen Rabbit had come back. He was there to look at the dear child who had first helped him to be Real.

Click on this link to move forward to Module E, Lessons 21 – 30


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