Module E – Lessons 21 to 30


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Lesson 21 – 2013 New General Service List Vocab-Builder

NEW WORDS: CEO, Corvette, GDP, Greer, Reese, abortion, agenda, asset, boost, civilian, clinical, comedy, compensation, competitor, composition, compromise, consultant, controversial, damn, decrease, dedicate, deficit, density, dialog, disorder, divisive, dramatically, embrace, episode, excess, exposure, faithfully, frequency, genetic, historic, immigrant, inspire, institutional, investor, lacks, liability, listener, luxury, milestone, module, monthly, motivation, narrative, participant, pregnancy, protein, racism, recruit, refugee, romantic, server, shareholder, show’s, specialize, sponsor, supplier, swarming, symptom, therapy, tourism, tournament, veteran, voter, whooped, wrestles

Our supplier gave us a price decrease!

He’s an Army recruit.

Housing density is high downtown.

Please compromise to close this deal.

Gramps is a war veteran.

My knee needs physical therapy.

A financial consultant makes you a good investor.

My competitor whooped me!

The ref made a controversial call.

Greer won the chess tournament.

The end of World War II marked a historic milestone.

I got too much sun exposure.

This news will boost your mood!

I’ll dedicate my book to my mom.

The U.S. wrestles with institutional racism.

She was a participant in the poll.

The show’s last episode was a nail-biter!

20% of their GDP comes from tourism.

Our teacher told us of her pregnancy.

It’s time for my monthly shot.

We had a high frequency of flu cases last winter.

Reese is a good listener.


Read a narrative about the Civil War.

Their team has a deficit of good talent.

My college was a sponsor of the arts convention.

The last day of school was total disorder.

The topic of abortion is a divisive issue in the U.S.

We had a romantic dinner.

Here’s the meeting agenda.

He lacks the motivation to make the team.

I just don’t give a damn!

That immigrant is now a U.S. citizen!

We’ve learned a lot about genetic code.

Our dog faithfully guards our house.

The refugee camp is swarming.

You must inspire them with your speech!

The web server went down.

The Lunar Module will land on the moon.

You need more protein in your diet.

There were no civilian deaths in the air strikes.

Drop the price on the excess inventory.

He’s more a liability than an asset!

A Corvette is a luxury that we can’t afford.

I want to specialize in treating cancer.


We must embrace that concept!

There’s no evidence of voter fraud.

She wept dramatically.

Pro sports coaches get huge compensation!

That’s just a symptom, not the cause.

The shareholder meeting went poorly for the CEO.

The two leaders had a productive dialog.

Her art composition stunned the crowd.

She’s a clinical nurse.

The comedy movie had us in stitches.

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What’s In Our Universe?

Lesson 22 – Part One

NEW WORDS: Andromeda, Earths, Edmund, Halley, Halley’s, Incas, Mercury, Pluto, Pluto’s,  Saturn’s, Uranus, asteroid, asteroids, astro, astron, comets, crater, eclipse, eclipses, galaxies, galaxy, hydrogen, meteorites, meteoroid, meteoroids, meteors, milky, moons, orbiting, predicted, prefix, probe, probes, relates, robots, rotates, specks

Chapter One: The Sun, Earth, and Our Solar System
Look up in the sky at noon. What do you see? If it is not cloudy, you will see the sun shining brightly in the sky. The sun provides energy – both light and heat energy. The sun’s light and heat give life to plants and animals. Without the sun, Earth would be freezing cold. Have you ever wondered what the sun is made of, or why it gives off so much light and heat?

You may be surprised to know that the sun is a star. It is in fact the closest star to Earth. It is made up of different, hot gases. How hot? A hot summer day on Earth is 100 degrees. On the sun, it is 10,000 degrees! The sun stays that hot all the time! The sun’s gases create the light and heat energy that it gives off.

Long ago, people believed that the sun moved around Earth. This seemed to make sense. Each morning at the start of the day, the sun rose in the east. At the end of the day, the sun set in the west, exactly opposite from where it had come up. To explain this change, people said that the sun moved around Earth. But now we know that this is not what really happens. The sun does not move around Earth. It is Earth that moves around the sun!


The sun is in the center of a group of eight planets. All of these planets, including Earth, circle, or orbit, around the sun. The sun, planets, and other objects in space that orbit the sun are called the solar system. The word solar has the Latin root word “sol,” which means “the sun.” Everything in the solar system relates to the sun.

Our planet, Earth, moves in two ways. We have just learned that Earth circles around the sun. It takes about 365 days, which is one year, for Earth to orbit the sun. Earth also moves by spinning, or rotating, on its axis. It is this spinning that makes day and night on Earth and the motion of the sun across the sky from sunrise to sunset. It takes one day for Earth to make one complete rotation on its axis. As Earth rotates and spins, different parts of it face the sun. When the part facing the sun gets sunlight, it is daytime on that side of Earth. The part that faces away from the sun gets no sunlight. So, on that side of Earth, it is nighttime. Did you know that when it is daytime where we live, it is nighttime on the other side of Earth?

When Earth rotates on its axis, it is tilted. At certain times of the year, one part of Earth is tilted toward the sun. The sunlight is more direct, and it feels hotter. For people living on this part of Earth, it is summer. For people living on the part of Earth tilted away from the sun, there is less sunlight, and it is winter. So, when it is summertime for us, there are people living on other parts of Earth where it is winter! So, the fact that Earth is tilted on its axis is what creates the seasons of the year.


Chapter Two: The Moon
Look up in the sky at night. What do you see? If it is not cloudy, you may be able to see the moon. When you see the moon at night, it might look white. It might look gray or silver. Sometimes, it seems to shine and glow. But the moon does not give off light the way that the sun does. The moon is a ball of rock that gives off no light of its own. It simply reflects light from the sun. That means that light from the sun hits the moon and bounces off.

You already know that Earth orbits around the sun. But did you know that the moon orbits around Earth? It takes just about one month for the moon to completely circle Earth. If you look up at the night sky each night of the month, you may think that the size and shape of the moon is changing. However, the size and shape are not really changing. The moon is still a round ball. It looks different at different times of the month because of the way that the light from the sun is reflected and how much of the moon we can see from Earth.

The way that Earth, the moon, and the sun move can also make other interesting things to look at in the sky. When Earth, the moon, and the sun all move together in a direct line, something called an “eclipse” can take place. We can see two kinds of eclipses from Earth. One kind happens when the moon gets in between the sun and Earth. When that happens, we can’t see the sun for a while. At least, we can’t see part of it. We call this a “solar eclipse,” or an eclipse of the sun.


The other kind of eclipse, called a “lunar eclipse,” also involves the sun, the moon, and Earth. It takes place when the moon passes behind Earth and into its shadow. In the image on the next page, you can see that a shadow covers part of the moon. It is Earth’s shadow that you see. Earth has blocked out the sun and has left part of the moon in darkness.

Eclipses do not happen often, because the sun, Earth, and the moon all have to line up just right. Solar eclipses can only be seen from a narrow strip of Earth at a time. While they happen once or twice a year, it is very, very rare to see one. Eclipses of the moon happen more often, several times each year. They can be seen from half of Earth at a time, so they are more often visible.

Whether or not you can see an eclipse depends on where you are on Earth. You must NEVER look directly at a solar eclipse. The sun is very bright and could burn your eyes. But, it is safe to look at an eclipse of the moon. If an eclipse is predicted, it is usually big news, so you will likely hear about it.


Chapter Three: The Planets Closest to the Sun: Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars
Our planet, Earth, is one of eight planets in our solar system that orbit around the sun. The other planets are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. People have been looking at the planets for thousands of years. People from Mesopotamia, the Greeks, Mayans, Incas, and Aztecs were all interested in the planets. They used just their naked eye to study the planets. Now, we have telescopes and other tools that help us get a better look at the planets.

The four planets closest to the sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, are small planets. These planets have a rocky, or solid, surface. Mercury and Venus are closer to the sun than Earth. The other planets are farther away. Earth needs 365 days to make one orbit around the sun. That is the length of one year on Earth. The closer a planet is to the sun, the less time it needs to make an orbit around the sun. Mercury is the closest planet to the sun. It needs just 88 days to make one orbit. Venus is the next closest to the sun. It needs just 225 days to make an orbit. The planets that are farther away take much longer. It takes Neptune 165 years to orbit the sun!


Besides being closest to the sun, Mercury is the smallest of all the planets. The English name for the planet comes from the Romans. They named the planet after the Roman god Mercury. The Greek name for this same god is Hermes. Venus is the second planet from the sun and is closest to Earth. This planet was named after the Roman goddess of love. For a long time, scientists thought that Venus might be a lot like Earth. After all, it is close to Earth. It is about the same size as Earth, and it is covered with clouds, like Earth. But this idea turned out to be wrong, too. We know now that Venus and Earth are different in lots of ways. Scientists had to change their ideas to fit the new facts. They have now concluded that Venus is much hotter than Earth. It would not be a good place for us to live or even visit.

Mars is the fourth planet from the sun. It is named after the Roman god of war. When you look at Mars in the night sky, it looks quite red. This is because the rocks on Mars contain rust. Many space probes and robots have landed on Mars. They have taken photographs and have also dug up rocks. One probe that went to Mars not long ago found some ice. That was big news. Ice is frozen water. If there is water on Mars, there might be life. Some experts argue that nothing could live on Mars. They say that it’s too cold and too dry. Others think that there might be life on Mars. They think that there might be something alive down under the rocks. Still others think that there might have been life on Mars at one time, but that there isn’t any now.


Chapter Four: The Outer Planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune
Do you remember the names of the four planets closest to the sun? If you said, “Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars,” you are right! There are four more planets called the outer planets. So, there are eight planets in all. Jupiter is the very next planet after Mars. After Jupiter come Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune in that order. Neptune is the planet that is farthest from the sun. Uranus is difficult to see with the naked eye, and Neptune is impossible to see without help. Neptune is only visible using a telescope.

The outer planets are very large and are mostly made of gas. Scientists often call these planets gas giants. Of all the planets, Jupiter is the largest. 1,300 Earths could fit inside Jupiter! It is made mostly of hydrogen gas, the most common gas in the universe. The gases on Jupiter seem to be blowing around. In the image of Jupiter on the next page, you can see the giant red spot. It looks like an eye! Experts think that it’s a big wind storm, like a huge hurricane. Jupiter also has 92 (as of Feb. 2023) known moons that orbit it. Some of these moons are very large, even larger than Earth’s moon.

Saturn is known for its many large rings that orbit the planet. These rings are made of ice and dust. The ice reflects light and makes the rings glow. Saturn also has many moons that orbit it.


The last two planets are Uranus and Neptune. These planets are the farthest from the sun, so they are very cold. Uranus and Neptune also have rings, but they aren’t easily seen like Saturn’s. Both planets also have moons.

So, now you know the names of all eight planets. Try asking the adults in your family how many planets there are. They may tell you that there are nine planets. When the adults in your family were in school, people said that there was a ninth planet called Pluto. But in 2006, scientists decided that Pluto did not have all of the characteristics needed to be classified as a planet. They removed Pluto’s name from the list of planets, so now there are only eight planets.


Chapter Five: Asteroids, Comets, and Meteors
There are other objects that orbit the sun in the solar system besides the planets. Millions of space rocks called asteroids also orbit the sun. Asteroids are made of rock, metal, and sometimes ice. Many asteroids are found orbiting the sun between the planets Mars and Jupiter. They cluster together in a shape like a belt as they orbit the sun. This part of the solar system is called the asteroid belt.

Comets also orbit the sun. Comets are made mostly of ice and dust. When a comet gets close to the sun, the sun’s heat causes some of the comet to change into a gas. This gas streams off the end of the comet like a tail. The most famous comet is Halley’s Comet. It is named for the British scientist Edmund Halley who first discovered it. Halley’s Comet is visible from Earth with the naked eye every 76 years. It was last seen in 1986. Can you figure out when it will be seen again?


Other kinds of space rocks called meteoroids are also found throughout the solar system. When a meteoroid enters Earth’s atmosphere, we call it a meteor. Small pieces of the meteor burn brightly and look like a white trail across the sky when viewed from Earth. Sometimes people call this a “shooting star.” Have you ever seen one? A meteor “shower” is when many meteors can be seen falling in the sky on the same night. Sometimes they last over several nights. It’s an amazing space show! If a meteor doesn’t fully burn up in the atmosphere, it falls to Earth and can make a large hole called a crater. Pieces of a meteor found on the ground are meteorites.


Chapter Six: Galaxies and Stars
Look up in the sky at night. What do you see besides the moon? If it is not cloudy, you may be able to see lots of stars glittering in the sky. Remember that the sun is also a star. The stars in the night sky do not look like the sun. They do not look as big or as bright. But they are, in fact, very much alike. The stars in the night sky are big balls of hot gas, just like the sun.

So, why don’t they look the same? The night stars are much, much farther away from Earth than the sun. That is why they look like tiny specks of light. If we could get close to the stars, they would look bigger, brighter, and more like the sun. But the stars we see at night are so far away that no one from Earth has ever been able to get close to them.

Scientists who study the stars and outer space are called astronomers. The Greek root word “astron” means star. The prefixastro” is used in many other English words. All stars are big balls of hot gas, but astronomers have discovered that stars differ in many ways. Stars can be different sizes and colors. Some stars are closer to Earth than others, and some stars are hotter than others. Stars that are the hottest and closest to Earth appear brighter than other stars.


Astronomers also discovered that stars cluster together in large groups. A large group of stars that cluster together in one area is called a galaxy. There are billions and billions of stars in one galaxy. That’s a lot of stars! The galaxy to which our sun and solar system belong is called the Milky Way Galaxy. It has a spiral shape when viewed from space. From Earth, it looks like a “milky” band of white light.

The nearest spiral galaxy to the Milky Way Galaxy is called the Andromeda Galaxy. It is billions and billions of miles from the Milky Way Galaxy. There’s that number “billions” again. You have probably heard of a million before. A million is a huge number. So, what’s a billion? It’s one thousand million! It is safe to say that the Andromeda Galaxy is a long, long, long way away! Even so, it is sometimes possible to see the Andromeda Galaxy at night.

Scientists think that there are billions of galaxies in the universe. There’s that number “billions” again. There are billions of stars in each galaxy and billions of galaxies in the universe. That is almost more than you can think about!

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What’s In Our Universe?

Lesson 23 – Part Two

NEW WORDS: Aldrin, Armstrong, Collins, Copernicus, Dartmouth, Decatur, Einstein, Endeavour, Friedmann, Galileo, Galileo’s, Jemison, Lemaitre, Mae’s, Nicolaus, Polaris, Polaris’s, Ptolemy, Ptolemy’s, Stanford, achieves, aeronautics, artist’s, astronomer, astronomy, astrophysicist, astrophysicists, booster, cartwheels, constellation, constellations, contributed, dipper, directs, excelled, expanding, flights, heavenly, inc., manned, meteorite, missions, observations, observatories, observatory, orbited, phases, pointer, prevention, pumped, runway, samples, schoolwork, shuttled, shuttles, singers, spaceships, speeding, spheres, splashdown, tuned, unmanned, viewing, weightlessness, willingly

Chapter Seven: Constellations
Go outside one night and look at the stars. Of the billions of stars in our galaxy, it is possible to see only 2,000 with the naked eye. When you first look at them, you might not see much. They might look like just a bunch of tiny dots. Look a little closer. You will see that some stars shine more brightly than others. Focus on the bright stars. Which ones really jump out at you? Then, focus on the spaces in between the bright stars. Ask yourself, “What would it look like if I drew lines from one bright star to the next? What would it look like if I were to connect the dots? Would I see any shapes? Would I see any patterns?” Since ancient times, people have been studying the stars. When ancient people looked at the stars, some seemed to be closer together and formed patterns.


One of the first people to describe these star patterns, called constellations, was a man named Ptolemy. He picked out the brightest stars and traced lines from one star to the next. He saw all types of shapes and patterns. One looked like a bull. He saw another that looked like a crab. A third looked like a bear. In all, he found 48 constellations. Much later, 40 more constellations were added to Ptolemy’s list. Today, astronomers say that there are 88 constellations that can be seen in the night sky. On the next page is a drawing of a constellation that Ptolemy described. It is called “Ursa Major,” or “Big Bear.” The white dots or circles stand for the stars in the constellation. The dotted lines connect the stars and trace the pattern so that you can see the shape. Do you see a Big Bear in the pattern? It does not look exactly like a real bear. So, you may need to imagine that it looks like a bear. Hint, its head is to the left with its nose being the star that is on the far left.


 Within Ursa Major, there are seven very bright stars that form another small group of stars called the Big Dipper. Look at the image at the top of the next page. Can you see why it is called the Big Dipper? When you trace a line from star to star, the shape looks like a dipper. A dipper is like a ladle that you can use to scoop something into a bowl. The stars on the left look like the handle. The stars on the right look like the scoop. Ptolemy also described another constellation called “Ursa Minor,” or “Little Bear.” This constellation is also made up of seven stars. In the image on the bottom of the next page, the seven dots stand for the stars. An artist has added a drawing of a bear to help you better imagine how the star pattern looks like a bear.

Ursa Minor is also called the Little Dipper. The brightest star at the end of the handle is called Polaris. Can you see it? Polaris stays in the same place in the night sky all year long. (Other stars are found in different places in the sky at different times of the year.) Polaris’s place in the sky is almost directly over the North Pole of Earth. By finding Polaris, also called the North Star, you can find the direction north and the other directions. In ancient times, sailors and explorers used this star to find their way when they traveled. Try to find Polaris the next time you look at the night sky. Start by first looking for the Big Dipper, because it is easier to find. Then, find the two “pointer” stars at the edge of the Big Dipper’s scoop. Then, pretend there is a long arrow pointing the same way as the pointer stars. The first star you will see at the end of the arrow is Polaris.


Chapter Eight: Exploring Space
As you have learned in the last chapters, people have been interested in studying space since ancient times. It was possible to see only some stars and planets with the naked eye. Since they were far, far away, it was impossible to see anything in very much detail. In 1609, an astronomer named Galileo created a telescope that he used to observe the night sky. Galileo’s telescope made things appear three times larger. Using his telescope, he discovered four of the many moons that orbit the planet Jupiter. He also observed the planet Saturn and the Milky Way.

Since Galileo’s time, scientists have created more and more powerful telescopes. Some telescopes are housed in large observatories on Earth. Often, these observatories are on the top of mountains, far away from any cities or lights. This allows astronomers to clearly see the stars and planets.


Other telescopes are launched into space using rockets. They travel far above Earth and have a better view of the universe than telescopes on Earth. One of these telescopes is the Hubble Telescope. It was launched in 1990 by NASA, the American group of scientists who study outer space. The Hubble Telescope is still in space today, orbiting Earth. Since its launch, it has sent back thousands of photos to NASA. Hubble’s photos have led to many new discoveries about the universe. For example, using photos from Hubble, scientists now think that the universe is about 13 to 14 billion years old!

Besides sending telescopes into space, NASA has also launched rocket ships into space. Scientists believed it was too dangerous for humans to ride the first rocket ships into space. They did not know what effects space travel might have on humans. So, NASA first sent apes into space on rocket ships. “Why apes?” you might ask. Think back to what you learned in a previous reader about animals. Apes are mammals and belong to the same group of animals, called primates, as humans. By studying the apes, scientists hoped to learn how space travel might affect humans. In 1961, NASA sent the first American astronaut into space on a rocket ship. His name was Alan Shepard. He stayed in space for only 15 minutes.


After 1961, NASA sent more manned flights into space. These flights orbited Earth but did not stop or land anywhere in space. Then, in 1969, the United States sent a rocket ship to the moon. The rocket ship was called Apollo 11.

Have you ever tried to throw a ball up in the air? The ball goes up at first. Then, it comes back down. No matter how hard you throw it, it comes back down because of gravity. Gravity is a force of attraction that pulls things toward one another. Earth’s gravity pulls the ball back down to Earth. Earth’s gravity is a challenge for rocket ships like Apollo 11. In order to fly off into outer space, the rocket ship has to push up with a lot of force. It has to push up with so much force that gravity cannot pull it back down. Apollo 11 fired a lot of strong rockets. It lifted off and went up slowly at first. Then, it got faster and faster. This is what it looked like after a few seconds. After just a few seconds more, it shot up out of Earth’s atmosphere and into outer space.


Chapter Nine: A Walk on the Moon
Once Apollo 11 was up in space, the astronauts had to steer it to the moon. There were three astronauts on Apollo 11. You can see them in the image on the next page. Each had a job to do. One of them was in charge of flying the spaceship, called Columbia. The other two had to get into a landing craft called the Eagle. Then, they had to steer it down and land it on the moon.

The astronaut who had to steer the Eagle was named Neil Armstrong. He had to find a good, flat spot to land on. He also had to set the Eagle down gently. Lots of people tuned in to watch Armstrong and the Eagle on live TV. At first, Armstrong had a hard time getting the Eagle to go where he wanted it to go. But, in the end, he landed it just fine. Armstrong sent a message back by radio, “The Eagle has landed!” The crowds watching it on TV went wild. They danced and sang. They shouted and waved the United States flag. For the first time ever, humans had landed on the moon! What happened next was even more amazing. The astronauts went for a walk on the moon!


There is no air for breathing on the moon. It is also very cold. So, the astronauts could not just walk out in shorts and a T-shirt. They had to put on space suits like the one in the image on the next page. They had to wear masks. They had to carry tanks full of air for breathing. Armstrong went out first. He went down the steps of the Eagle until he was on the last one. Then, he made a little hop. He landed on the moon and kicked up a little moon dust. Then, he said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Another astronaut joined Armstrong on the moon. His name was Buzz Aldrin. Once again, people watching it on TV cheered. They were proud that the United States had put a man on the moon!

While Armstrong and Aldrin were on the moon, pilot Michael Collins stayed on a part of the spaceship that was still orbiting the moon. Armstrong and Aldrin spent more than 21 hours on the moon. They found that it was easy to move about on the moon, which has less gravity than Earth. They could jump up high and seemed to float down slowly. They used different tools to explore the moon. They knew the scientists back on Earth were hoping to learn new information about the moon. They dug up samples of moon rocks to take back to Earth. After exploring the moon, Aldrin and Armstrong got back in the Eagle. They lifted off. They met up with Michael Collins on board the other part of the spaceship. Then, all three of them flew back to Earth. The spaceship came speeding back from space and splashed down into the sea. A Navy ship came to pick up the astronauts and take them back to NASA.


Chapter Ten: What’s it Like in Space?
Since Apollo 11, many more astronauts have traveled in space. Scientists have learned that there are many differences between Earth and space. One of the biggest differences has to do with gravity. Remember that gravity is a force of attraction that pulls things toward one another. The force of gravity on Earth is pretty strong. Even the best jumpers can only jump a few feet off the ground. (Try it and see!)

Remember that on the moon, astronauts Aldrin and Armstrong were easily able to jump up high. They didn’t come down quickly either. Instead, they seemed to float down slowly. That was because the force of gravity on the moon is not as strong as on Earth. The moon is not as big as Earth. So, the force of gravity is not as strong on the moon. If you think that this is cool, wait until you read what happens out in space, away from the moon or planets. Out in space, astronauts do not feel the effects of gravity. They and their spaceship are moving freely in space. Since the astronaut and spaceship are moving freely together, the astronauts look and feel as if they are floating!


Up in space, lots of things are different. You can do a flip and not worry about whether you will make it all the way around before you come down! Eating is different in space, too. I’ll bet that when you eat lunch at school, your food stays where you put it. If you set it on a table, it stays there until you pick it up. The force of gravity holds it down. But if you were up in space, you and your food would be moving freely together. If you let go of it, your food might drift away!

There are other differences in space besides less gravity. Do you remember that the astronauts on the moon had to carry tanks of air for breathing? Another way outer space is different from Earth is that there is no air or oxygen at all in outer space. Look again at the image on page 87 of the astronauts inside the spaceship. The astronauts are not carrying tanks of air. That’s because oxygen is being pumped inside the spaceship. Since there is no air in space, you also do not hear sounds in outer space. It is also very cold in space. The astronauts must train many months before going into space, so that they know what to expect. Do you think that you would like to go into space some day?


Chapter Eleven: The Space Shuttle
Interest in manned space exploration soared after Apollo 11. Other astronauts went to the moon. But scientists were also interested in exploring other parts of space beyond the moon. It was very expensive and took a lot of time to build and send spaceships into space. Do you remember that when Apollo 11 returned from space, it landed in the sea? It was not able to land safely on the ground, so this type of spacecraft always had to land in the sea. Once it landed in the sea, this kind of spacecraft could not be used again. In 1981, a reusable spacecraft, called a space shuttle, was built. It was able to fly up into space and then zoom back down to Earth. When it returned to Earth, the pilot was able to land the spacecraft on a runway almost like an airplane. It glided down from space and landed on a runway, but it had to be a very long runway.

The space shuttle was flown back into space again and again. It shuttled back and forth between Earth and space. That is why it was called the space shuttle. The image on the previous page shows the launch of a space shuttle. The space shuttle itself is the white part that looks like a jet plane. The other parts are booster rockets. The booster rockets helped the space shuttle get off the ground. They helped the space shuttle overcome Earth’s gravity. Once the space shuttle was up into space, it dropped the booster rockets because it no longer needed them.


In the thirty years between 1981 and 2011, different space shuttles carried astronauts up into space on many missions. The space shuttle was also used to bring research equipment and tools into space. The astronauts did many experiments to find out more about space. Scientists were especially interested in learning about what effect the lack of gravity would have on humans and other living things. The space shuttle was also used to help build an amazing space station. Astronauts could live at the space station for months at a time.

Often, the space shuttle carried supplies back and forth from Earth to the space station. It also provided a ride home to Earth when it was time for the astronauts to return. The last space shuttle mission took place in July 2011. NASA scientists and Americans were proud of everything that the astronauts had accomplished in thirty years. With the end of the space shuttle missions, NASA is planning other ways to explore space. Those plans include launching unmanned probes and satellites. NASA scientists hope to learn more about the moon’s gravity and are even talking about trying to explore asteroids!


Chapter Twelve: The International Space Station
Would you like to have a bedroom in outer space? Some astronauts do! The United States and other countries use the space shuttle to send astronauts to an international space station. The space station orbits Earth. Three astronauts can live there at one time. They stay for six months at a time. This image shows the space station.

The space station orbits far above Earth. So, the astronauts in the space station don’t feel the effects of gravity like we do on Earth. When we lift our arms and legs here on Earth, we have to work against gravity. That is good for us. It helps us stay in shape. But astronauts in space don’t have the effects of gravity to work against. They do not get much of a workout from drifting around. They have to run at least once a day to stay in good shape. In this image, you can see an astronaut jogging in space.

These two men are sleeping in space. They don’t feel the effects of gravity, so they are moving freely within the spaceship. This means that they can sleep right side up or upside down. It is all the same. Do you think you would like sleeping this way?


Taking a shower in space is tricky. On Earth, the water comes out of the spout. It falls down and splashes on your body. Then, it runs off. But this is not what happens in space! In space, you have to rub the water on your skin. Also, it does not just drip off. You have to scrape it off. You have to shower in a little pod. The pod keeps the water that you scrape off of your skin from drifting off into the air. If it drifted off, it might cause problems. It might mess up the computers and equipment inside the space station. You can see that lots of things are different when you live in space. That is why leaving the space station and coming back to Earth can be hard. It takes time for the astronauts to get used to Earth again. After months in space, they struggle with the gravity on Earth. Their arms and legs feel heavy. They find it hard to stand up. They feel off balance. But in a few weeks, they begin to feel normal again. Sometimes when they look up at the sky, they even feel a little homesick for their home in outer space.


Chapter Thirteen: Dr. Mae Jemison
Do you know what a role model is? A role model is someone who sets an example for others by the way that he or she lives. Many students admire people who are famous athletes, movie stars, or singers – and use them as role models. They see them on TV, in newspapers and in magazines, and decide they want to be like them. But some of the best role models are people that you probably would not see on TV or in newspapers. They have jobs such as doctors, teachers, or policemen. Some are scientists and astronauts. One such person is Mae Jemison.

Mae Jemison was born October 17, 1956, in Decatur, Alabama. Her family moved to Chicago, Illinois when she was young. Mae always took great pride in her schoolwork. She was interested in science, but she was also interested in the arts. She finished high school early at age 16! From there, she went to Stanford University in California. Most college students focus on only one topic of study, because college is so challenging. Mae focused and excelled in two topics of study, chemical engineering and African-American studies! After Stanford, Mae entered medical school to become a doctor. She wanted to use her medical training to help people in Africa and countries where people were poor. So, she joined the Peace Corps as a volunteer. Health care in Africa was often not very good. Mae treated patients and also helped train other health care workers. She worked hard to help improve health care in the countries where she worked.


After the Peace Corps, Mae came back to the United States. She set her sights on a different goal. Her greatest dream was to become an astronaut and travel into space. She decided to apply to NASA to become an astronaut. But the first time she applied, she was not accepted. Instead of giving up, she tried again, and NASA accepted her the second time! She was one of only 15 people chosen from a group of 2,000 people who wanted to become astronauts! Her training to become an astronaut was hard. She had to get into great shape and train to get used to being free of the effects of gravity in space. She also had to study and pass many tests about space travel. Mae Jemison succeeded in both.

In 1992, Mae was chosen for a mission on the Endeavour space shuttle. A rocket launched the Endeavour into orbit around Earth. Mae became the first African-American female astronaut in space! The mission was to study the effects of weightlessness on plants and animals. Mae conducted experiments during the mission with fellow astronaut Jan Davis. They collected information that the scientists at NASA could study. The mission was a great success. After her successful mission, Mae retired from NASA. She became a professor at Dartmouth College, sharing her love of science and space with other students. She also started her own company called The Jemison Group, Inc. Mae’s company continues to work with people in poor countries, searching for ways that science can help improve these people’s lives. Mae Jemison is truly a role model that we can all admire!


Chapter Fourteen: Nicolaus Copernicus
Do you remember in the very first chapter of this reader you learned that, long ago, people believed that the sun moved around Earth? This seemed to make sense. Each morning at the start of the day, the sun rose in the east. At the end of the day, the sun set in the west, exactly opposite from where it had come up. To explain this change, people said that the sun moved around Earth. This is what the Greeks and other ancient people believed. But you also learned in the first chapter that this was not true. About the same time that Christopher Columbus arrived in America, a man named Nicolaus Copernicus was studying math and astronomy at a university in Poland. He later moved to Italy where he also studied medicine and law.

But Copernicus’ real love was astronomy. He knew that since ancient times, people believed that the sun moved around Earth. Copernicus began to carefully observe and record the movement of the sun, planets, and stars. After much research, Copernicus decided that the belief that the sun moved around Earth could not be true. Copernicus’ observations led him to believe just the opposite! He realized that instead, Earth was moving around the sun! He also believed that as Earth orbited the sun, it also completed a full rotation each day.


All of Copernicus’ ideas came from viewing space without the help of a telescope. He wrote down what he observed from a cathedral bell tower. He also used math to help him prove his point. Finally, Copernicus wrote a book explaining his new ideas about how the universe worked. His fellow scientists went to work trying to prove him wrong, but they couldn’t. Most were amazed by his discovery!

However, Copernicus’ ideas were different from what people had believed for thousands of years. They believed that Earth and humans were the center of the universe. Many of the teachings of the church at that time were also based on this belief. Copernicus had dared to suggest that Earth was not the center of the universe. Instead, he said, the sun was at the center! Many in the church disagreed with Copernicus’ ideas and spoke out against them. So, his beliefs were not widely accepted while he was alive. In fact, even after Copernicus died, the church continued to argue against the view that the sun was at the center of the universe. Some scientists agreed with Copernicus’ ideas. Galileo agreed with Copernicus and was punished and put in jail for a long time. Today we know, of course, that Copernicus was right. It took great courage to speak up and suggest an idea that was so different from what people had always believed. But that is how science works. Even today, scientists continue to learn new things about the universe, so our knowledge is always changing and growing.


Chapter Fifteen: The Big Bang
Have you ever wondered how the universe and our solar system came to be? Astronomers have studied the universe for thousands of years. During that time, people suggested many different explanations of how our solar system began. With the help of telescopes, modern astronomers noticed that all of the distant galaxies in the universe seem to be moving outward. The more distant the galaxies, the faster they are moving outward. Stars are moving away from Earth and so are whole galaxies. In 1929, a scientist named Edwin Hubble discovered this distance versus speed that is now called “Hubble’s Law.” (This is the same “Hubble” after whom the Hubble Telescope is named!)

Hubble’s observation led scientists to offer explanations of how the solar system started. There are many explanations, or theories, about how the universe came to be. One recent theory or idea is known as the Big Bang Theory. A theory in science tries to explain how something happened or how something works. Three astrophysicists proposed the Big Bang Theory in the 1960s. Astrophysicists are scientists who use math to study the universe. George Lemaitre, Alexander Friedmann, and Edwin Hubble studied the theories of another scientist by the name of Albert Einstein. They used his ideas to develop their explanation of how the universe first started.


They suggested that long ago, the universe and everything in it was once a tiny ball. All of the stuff that makes the universe (called matter) was squeezed together into one tiny space. Imagine if all the planets and all the stars were squeezed together to fit in your hand. That is how tight and tiny the ball was! Scientists think that everything began expanding outward about 14 billion years ago. All the matter in the universe exploded out at once! That is why the event is called the Big Bang. When all the matter in the ball began moving out, it was very hot. It was hotter than even the hottest star. Everything was moving so fast as it expanded that nothing could stick together. It was too hot and fast for anything to be like what it is today. There were no galaxies, no stars, no planets, and no people. But over time, the matter began to cool. As the matter cooled and stopped moving so fast, gravity was able to hold little bits of matter together in spheres. These little spheres, with the help of gravity, came together and became the first stars and galaxies. Over billions of years of matter moving and growing, the universe became the way it looks today. The sun and planets in our solar system formed about four billion years ago.

Scientists are continuing to look into space for more clues about the Big Bang. There is still a lot to learn about the early universe. Scientists sometimes make minor changes to the Big Bang Theory to match what they have learned. It is amazing to think how old our solar system is and that scientists are still trying to find out how it all started!


African-American studies—the study of the history, culture, and politics of African-Americans, Americans who have ancestors from Africa.
Andromeda Galaxy—the spiral galaxy that is closest to the Milky Way Galaxy.
Apollo 11—a rocket ship that took three American astronauts to the moon in 1969.
Asteroid—a space rock, smaller than a planet, that orbits the sun (asteroids).
Asteroid belt—an area between Mars and Jupiter where thousands of asteroids orbit around the sun in a shape like a belt.
Astronaut—a person who travels into outer space.
Astronomer—a scientist who studies stars, planets, and outer space (astronomers).
Astrophysicist—a scientist who studies the physical characteristics of heavenly bodies (astrophysicists).
Atmosphere—an invisible, protective blanket of air around Earth and other heavenly bodies.
Attraction—when things are drawn to move closer together.
Axis—an imaginary straight line through the middle of an object, around which that object spins.

Big Bang Theory—a scientific explanation of how the universe began.
Billion—a very large number (billions).
Booster rocket—one of two parts of a space shuttle that helps launch it into space by overcoming gravity (booster rockets).

Chemical engineering—a field of study in which scientists use their knowledge of chemistry and how things in the natural world are made and interact.
Comet—a frozen ball of dust and ice that travels through outer space (comets).
Constellation—stars that form a pattern or shape that looks like such things as a person, an object, or an animal as seen from Earth (constellations).

Eclipse—the blocking of the light from the sun by another heavenly body (eclipses).
Endeavour—a NASA space shuttle.
Especially—very much, particularly.
Exploration—the study of unknown places or things.

Galaxy—a very large cluster of billions of stars, dust, and gas held together by gravity and separated from other star systems by a large amount of space (galaxies).
Gas giant—one of the large outer planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, that is composed of mainly hydrogen gas (gas giants).
Gravity—a force that pulls things toward one another.

Halley’s Comet—a famous comet named for British scientist Edmund Halley that is visible from Earth with the naked eye every 76 years.
Health care—the prevention or treatment of illnesses by trained medical specialists.
Hubble Telescope—a large telescope that collects information in space; it was carried into space in 1990 and may be operational into the 2030s.
Hydrogen—the most common gas in the universe, which is lighter than air and easily catches fire.

Imagine—to pretend.
International—involving more than one country.

Launch—to send a rocket into outer space (launched).

Manned—carrying and operated by people.
Matter—the stuff everything in the universe is made of; anything that takes up space.
Meteor—a piece of rock that burns very brightly when it enters Earth’s atmosphere from space, also called a shooting star (meteors).
Meteorite—a meteor that does not fully burn up in Earth’s atmosphere and falls to Earth.
Meteoroid—a space rock, smaller than an asteroid, that orbits the sun (meteoroids).
Milky Way Galaxy—the galaxy that contains Earth and the solar system in which it lies.

Naked eye—your eye.
NASA—National Aeronautics and Space Administration; an organization in the United States that directs space travel and research.

Observatory—a place used to observe the sun, moon, stars, and outer space (observatories).
Orbit—the curved path that something in space takes around another object in space; planets move in an orbit around the sun (orbiting).

Peace Corps—a group of American volunteers who carry out projects in other countries to help improve the lives of people living there.
Planet—a round object in space that orbits a star (planets).
Polaris—the North Star; the brightest star at the end of the handle of the Ursa Minor / Little Dipper that stays in the same place in the night sky all year long.
Probe—a tool used to explore something, such as outer space (probes).

Research—the kind of equipment used to collect information through experiments.
Reusable—when something can be used more than once.
Rotate—to turn about an axis or a center (rotating, rotates, rotation).

Satellite—a natural or man-made object that orbits a planet or smaller object (satellites).
Shuttle—to go back and forth from one place to the next (shuttled).
Solar system—the sun, other bodies like asteroids and meteors, and the planets that orbit the sun.
Space shuttle—a manned spacecraft used for exploration.
Space station—a manned satellite that is made to be in outer space for a long period of time.
Sphere—an object shaped like a ball (spheres).

Theory—a suggested explanation for why something happens (theories).
Tilted—slanted or tipped to one side.

Unmanned—not carrying people.
Ursa Major—the constellation named by Ptolemy that is also called Big Bear; it includes the Big Dipper.
Ursa Minor—the constellation made of seven stars, named by Ptolemy, that is also called Little Bear; it is the Little Dipper.

Volunteer—a person who willingly performs a service without getting paid.

Weightlessness—to have little or no weight.
Subtitles to Illustrations
The sun gives us light and heat energy. A close-up of the sun. Planets orbiting the sun. Earth spins on its axis. On the side of Earth facing the sun, it is daytime. On the side facing away from the sun, it is nighttime. When Earth is tilted on its axis towards the sun, it is spring and summer. When Earth is tilted on its axis away from the sun, it is fall and winter. Our moon is easily visible on most clear nights. This chart shows the phases of the moon. It shows what you might see if you looked at the moon each night for a month. You can read the chart just like you would read a book. Start at the top and go from left to right. When you finish reading the first row, go on to the next one. You can see how the moon seems to change during the month. During an eclipse of the sun, the moon moves between Earth and sun and blocks out the sun. The moon during a lunar eclipse. A telescope. The sun and planets. Mercury (top) and Venus. Mars. Our solar system. The sun and eight planets. Jupiter and some of its moons. Saturn and its rings. This is Neptune as it might look if seen from one of its moons. The shadow of another moon makes a dark spot on the planet’s surface. Top. An artist’s image of an asteroid belt around a star. Bottom. An up-close image of an asteroid from our solar system. A comet in the night sky. Meteor Crater in Arizona formed when a meteorite hit Earth. Notice the road and buildings to the left of the crater. This crater is very big! An artist’s drawing of a meteor shower at night. Stars in the night sky. All stars are made of gases, but they can differ in size, color, and brightness. The Milky Way as it appears in the night sky. Andromeda Galaxy. On a clear night away from city lights, you can see the stars that fill the night sky. Ursa Major. Ursa Minor, The Big Dipper. The “pointer” stars of the Big Dipper pointing to Polaris, the North Star. A portrait of Galileo holding a telescope. Building an observatory on top of a mountain helps to get a better view of the sky. The Hubble Telescope orbits Earth above its atmosphere. Top image. Ham, one of the first apes launched into space. Bottom image. Alan Shepard was the first American astronaut in space. Apollo 11 fires its rockets during lift-off. Apollo 11 shooting up into space. The Apollo 11 astronauts. Here is one of the Apollo 11 astronauts walking on the moon. Can you see his footprints? Buzz Aldrin plants the U.S. flag on the moon. Splashdown of Apollo 11. Want to jump high? You will have to fight against gravity. This astronaut is inside a spaceship in space, where the force of gravity is less. When you are free of the effects of gravity, it is easier to do flips and cartwheels. Look, no hands! These astronauts’ lunches appear to be floating! This is what Earth looks like from the moon. Can you name some ways that being in space is different from being on Earth? A space shuttle lifts off. A space shuttle in orbit above Earth. A space shuttle comes in for a landing. The space station orbits Earth. Astronauts have to jog in space to stay in shape. These two astronauts are taking a nap in space. An astronaut taking a space shower. Mae Jemison. Stanford University, where Mae went to college. An experiment studying the effects of weightlessness. Mae Jemison achieves her goal of becoming an astronaut. Young Copernicus studied math, astronomy, medicine, and law. Copernicus spent hours observing the movement of the stars, planets, and sun. Copernicus argued that the sun, not Earth, was at the center of the universe. Edwin Hubble discovered that all the distant galaxies in the universe seem to be moving outward. Many astrophysicists contributed to the development of the Big Bang Theory. All matter in the universe expanded out from one tiny point. This satellite helped scientists learn more about the early universe.

Lesson 24 – “Text Project” Vocab-Builder

NEW WORDS: Adam, Andy, Athens, Belgium, Daniel, EPA, Edward, Gatorade, Ginsburg, Harriet, Negroes, Ralph, Sarah, accuracy, advertisements, agricultural, ankle, applies, associations, asterisk, barbed, blacks, brainstorm, chromosomes, columns, conclusions, contracts, cookware, couples, cubicles, debut, destroyer, developments, dividing, eliminated, employers, equator, forbidden, formerly, frontier, fuels, genes, glider, guidelines, hotline, improving, managers, manufacture, manufacturers, merchandise, mumbo, offices, peninsula, phish, pictured, preceding, ranges, refers, relationships, renewed, responses, ridge, severely, skyrocketed, spa, specified, strep, suggests, supplied, suspected, texting, twisted, undoubtedly, usage, vertical, vocabulary, wildlife

That asterisk refers to a footnote.

Edward loves his pet sugar glider.

Climb to that mountain ridge.

This repair calls for a maintenance man.

They set up cubicles in our offices.

We hoped for a vote of unity in Congress.

What’s your conclusion, based on your observations?

Ralph is my uncle.

This soil’s composition is limestone.

I’ll be at a trade conference this week.

I’ll be dividing the class into groups of four.

Andy waved bye.

Humans have 23 chromosomes and 20,000 to 25,000 genes.

Look for advertisements on cookware.

We supplied the team with Gatorade.

I’ll take ownership for this project.

Aunt Harriet lives in Belgium.

I can’t distinguish what he’s saying.

The Supreme Court is a key institution in the U.S.

Fossil fuels all contain carbon.

The drought has caused an agricultural nightmare.

We suspected he’d back down.


I’m pumped up about our win!

Mom’s joined two trade associations.

My cold is improving.

Let’s hope the experimental drug works.

These contracts need to be renewed.

Our conclusions are that we must offer more features.

Daniel, it’s time for lunch.

Florida’s a large peninsula.

She’s a well-known judge among the legal establishment.

We manufacture barbed wire.

The chef suggests this special.

Martin Luther King wrote, “Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts.”

I twisted my ankle.

The temp here ranges from 62 to 84 degrees in June.

Athens is the capital of Greece.

Judge Ginsburg wrote the minority opinion for the case.

This rule applies to ALL of us!

I’ll compromise and drop my price from $20 to $15.

The dress code for their party is informal.

I’ll fix you a protein shake.

That kid has a huge vocabulary!


Texting in class is forbidden.

Coach likes your enthusiasm!

Our spa has mineral springs.

Those couples have good relationships.

Emphasize safety in your speech.

This forest is full of wildlife.

Adam roots for the Reds.

What’s the definition of “phish?”

Employers don’t like this tax.

I brought home the paint samples.

They left for the frontier of the wild west!

He was severely stung by wasps.

The aircraft is ready to take off.

Literary critics liked her debut novel.

My employer gave us all a bonus.

What were his responses to your questions?

Call the emergency hotline!

Put this old merchandise on sale.

She made a good first impression.

They’ve predicted snow for tonight.

Our school bought us computer devices.

The State budget is tight.


Undoubtedly, he’s the stronger player.

Sarah was formerly our town’s mayor.

The destroyer crossed the equator at noon.

I made a wrong assumption about his morals.

Use these numbers for the vertical axis.

I’ve got ten pounds of excess fat on my tummy.

It’s Batman to the rescue!

Chop these veggies in preparation for cooking.

I’d pictured him as being taller.

He specified concerns about my actions.

There was much consumption of chips at the party.

Server usage has skyrocketed!

Manufacturers are upset at new EPA guidelines.

Certain bacteria cause strep throat.

I want perfect accuracy on your math test.

Based on new developments, go to “red alert!”

All the managers are in a brainstorm session.

That’s too much intellectual mumbo-jumbo!

You’ll be preceding me walking up to the stage.

We eliminated $1 million in costs.

She contributed greatly to the team.

Stack the blocks into columns.

Your blacks are too shadowy in this photo.

Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading
(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view.)
The Age Of Exploration

Lesson 25 – Part One 

NEW WORDS: Augustine, Cabot, Canariae, Caribbean, Castillo, Cathay, Champlain, Cibola, Cippangu, Coronado, Coronado’s, El, Francisco, Hudson, Ireland, Irlanda, Lisbon, Lisbona, Mangi, Marco, Marcos, Paolo, Querechos, Quivira, Richland, Spaniard, Toscanelli, Toscanelli’s, Vasquez, astrolabe, barbarous, bastions, cannonball, conquistador, conquistadors, continuously, coquina, cowhide, drawbridge, dukes, edited, explorations, forerunner, geniture, grandsons, hull, imported, kernel, knotted, landmarks, landowner, leagues, lure, majesty’s, mapmaker, mini, moat, mulberries, navigation, overrun, overwhelm, peppercorn, peppercorns, primo, primogeniture, producing, prunes, quadrant, ravelin, reckoning, shatter, spicier, stews, unharvested, vassal, viceroy

In 1491, most Europeans did not know that North and South America existed. The people of the Americas did not know that Europe existed. Although other explorers had visited the Americas before, Europeans did not know that.

In 1492, that changed. In that year, Christopher Columbus sailed across the Atlantic Ocean and accidentally landed on islands off the coast of the Americas. His explorations marked the start of the Age of Exploration.

As news spread about what Columbus had found, men from all over Spain raced to find treasure. Spanish conquistadors, such as Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, set out in search of silver and gold. They slashed their way through swamps. They marched across deserts. They explored and conquered many lands.

A few years later, other European countries got involved. John Cabot went exploring for England. Henry Hudson explored for England and for the Netherlands. Samuel de Champlain explored for France. These explorers changed the world. They connected Europe with the Americas. You will read about some of their journeys here.


Chapter One: The Lure of Spices
Many European explorers were hoping to find gold and other precious metals. You can probably understand why explorers were eager to find gold. Gold is a valuable metal even today. However, you may be surprised to learn that many explorers were also excited about finding spices. You might be saying, “Spices? Really? Why were they so eager to find spices?” Here’s the answer. Things that are scarce, or hard to find, tend to be expensive. That’s why gold is expensive today. That’s also why spices were expensive five hundred years ago. Back then, spices were scarce in Europe. They were hard to find. So they cost a lot. Some spices were almost worth their weight in gold.

The red balls in the center of this image are red peppercorns. A cook can add a few whole peppercorns to soup. He can use a spice grinder to grind the peppercorns into tiny bits. Either way, the pepper will add flavor to the soup. It will make the soup spicier and tastier. To the left of the red peppercorns, you can see white peppercorns. These come from the same plants as red peppercorns, but they are prepared in a different way. White peppercorns start out as red peppercorns, but the outer hull of the red peppercorn is removed to reveal the inner kernel, which is white. They can be used in the same way as red peppercorns.

The black bowl in the upper right of this image is filled with cloves. Cloves are dried flower buds. They are used to add flavor to meats and stews, some teas, and pumpkin pie. Cloves are very strong. Cooks who use them must be careful, because adding too many of them may overwhelm other flavors in the dish.


Peppercorns can’t be grown in Europe. They can only be grown in warm, wet places, like India. The image shows unharvested peppercorns. Today, we can get peppercorns from India pretty easily. An airplane or a ship can transport large amounts of them. You can go to a grocery store and get almost any spice you want. A little jar of cloves might cost a dollar or two. A can of peppercorns might cost five or six dollars. Five hundred years ago, Europeans were not so lucky. The world was not as well connected as it is today. Spices were hard to get and transport. They cost a lot of money. A Spaniard who wanted pepper would have to pay for a lot more than just the pepper. He would have to pay the cost of shipping the pepper over land all the way from India, using donkeys, mules, and camels.

It was the same with cloves and cinnamon. These plants could not be grown in Europe. They had to be imported, or brought in, to Europe from faraway places, like the Indies. Many of the spices that we use are the flowers, the fruits, or the seeds of the plant. Cinnamon is different. In this case, the part of the plant that we use is the bark. Strips of bark are cut off of the tree. The outer bark is cut away. The inner bark is kept and rolled up like little scrolls. These are called cinnamon sticks. Cinnamon can also be ground up, like pepper. Do you like the taste of cinnamon? Do you like cinnamon on toast? How much do you like it? Would you be willing to sail across an ocean to get some cinnamon for your toast? In a sense, that is what European explorers were trying to do.


Chapter Two: Second Sons
Did you know that many explorers had older brothers? Very few of them were the oldest sons in their families. Can you guess why that might be? It’s not because firstborn children didn’t want to go out and explore the world. It has to do with the laws in Europe at the time. Most countries in Europe had laws about who could inherit an estate. These laws stated that the oldest son in a family would inherit all of his father’s land, goods, and money. This was true for kings. When a king died, he would be replaced on the throne by his eldest son. A daughter could only become queen if a king had no sons.

This was also true for nobles. For example, if the Duke of Richland died, his eldest son would become the new Duke of Richland. This eldest son would inherit everything that his father owned. What did the younger sons and daughters get? Nothing. This system is known as “primogeniture.” Primo means “first.” “Geniture” means born. Primogeniture is a system in which the firstborn son inherits everything when his father dies. This way of doing things seems very strange to us today. It also seems unfair. Most parents today would not leave all their money and property to their oldest son. They would split the money and property up among all their children. Why, then, did Europeans do things differently back in the 1400s and 1500s?


There is actually a good reason. Let’s go back to the Duke of Richland. Imagine that he is a wealthy landowner living in a land with no law of primogeniture. Let’s say that he owns 1,000 acres of good farmland. But, alas, he dies. His land is split between his two sons. So now we have two men, each of whom has 500 acres of land. Now, suppose each of these two men has four sons. When the fathers die, their lands are split again. So now we have eight men with 125 acres each. Do you see what is happening? The estate of Richland is being split up. It is no longer big and impressive. It is becoming small and unimportant. The men of Richland are probably also becoming less powerful because they each have less land. Also, who is the Duke of Richland now? Are all eight of his grandsons now dukes? Will their grandsons also be dukes? At this rate, the land will be overrun by dukes!

The nobles did not want this to happen. They wanted to keep their lands together, so that their families would remain powerful. They wanted there to be one Duke of Richland, and they wanted him to remain one of the most powerful men in the country. That is why they passed laws of primogeniture. This was good news for the oldest son in each family. It was bad news for the other sons and for all the daughters. They had to find other ways to make money and gain power. One way to do this was to be an explorer. If you could not inherit anything in your homeland, why not sail off and discover some other way to make your fortune? This is, in fact, what many second sons did in the late 1400s and 1500s. They went in search of ways to make money that they would never have inherited if they had stayed in Europe.


Chapter Three: Toscanelli’s Map
An Italian man named Paolo Toscanelli may have been responsible for the Europeans landing in the Americas. Toscanelli was a math whiz, an astronomer, and a mapmaker. In 1474, he made a map of the world, which he sent with a letter to the King of Portugal telling how to reach the Indies by sailing west. The King was very interested, but Toscanelli was not correct. On the right side of Toscanelli’s map, you can see some parts of Europe in orange. You may know some of them. Ireland, labeled “Irlanda.” London, England. And Lisbon, Portugal, labeled “Lisbona.” To the south of Europe, you can see part of Africa. The part Europeans called “Guinea” is labeled. The Canary Islands, just off the coast of Africa, are labeled “Canariae.”

Look at the left side of the map. This side shows parts of Asia, or, rather, it shows parts of Asia where Toscanelli thought they might be. Do you see the big island labeled “Cippangu?” That was what Toscanelli and other Europeans called Japan. They had heard about Japan. They knew it was somewhere in Asia. But they did not know exactly where. Toscanelli put it on his map where he thought it might be. Do you see the land labeled “Cathay Mangi?” That was what Toscanelli and others of his day called China. They had read about China in a book called “The Travels of Marco Polo.” But they did not know exactly where it was. Again, the map shows where Toscanelli thought China was, not where it really is. Do you see the islands just south of Cathay Mangi? Those are parts of the Indies. They are the “spice islands” that Europeans were so eager to reach.


Notice that Asia does not seem to be too far from Europe. That was one of Toscanelli’s big ideas. He thought that Earth was not that big. He thought that Asia was probably not too far from Europe. So that’s how he drew it on his map. Now, imagine you are Christopher Columbus. You want to find a way to get to the Indies. You look at Toscanelli’s map. “Wow!” you say. “Look at that! Asia is right there. It’s not so far from Europe. There’s nothing in between but a little water! It would not be hard to get to Asia! Why, I could get there in a few weeks. All I would need to do is sail west!” We can never be sure what was in Christopher Columbus’s mind when he first looked at Toscanelli’s map. We do know that he made a plan to travel to the Indies based on Toscanelli’s map. Then, he set out to find someone who would pay for his voyage. In the end, he convinced King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain to pay for it.

Now, here is the same map with something added. The light blue shows what is really there, not what Toscanelli thought was there. You can see the outline of North America and part of South America. The orange parts of the map show the Asian lands that Columbus expected to reach. The light blue outline shows the lands where he actually accidentally landed. Toscanelli’s map explains a lot. It helps us to see where Columbus got the idea of sailing west to reach the Indies. It also helps us to see why he ran into the islands of the Caribbean and why he thought he was close to China.


Chapter Four: Navigation in the Age of Exploration
Do you ever go on trips with your family? How do the adults in your family find the places that they want to visit? Do they write down directions? Do they use maps? Do they look for landmarks along the way? Do they have an electronic device that tells them where to turn? Early European explorers didn’t have most of those things. Most sailors in those days stayed close to land and looked for familiar landmarks. However, this would not work for explorers. They could not look for familiar landmarks because they were sailing into unknown waters. Early explorers did have some maps, but they were not always accurate. So, how did the explorers keep track of where they were?

They had several tools that they might have used. One of them was a compass. A compass is a very simple device. It is just a little magnet that sits on a pin so that it can spin. The pointer on the magnet points north. Back then, nobody knew why. Now, we know it’s because Earth has a magnetic field, which is strongest at the poles. Magnets are attracted to the magnetic field of the North Pole. Using a compass, a sailor could figure out which direction was north. Plus, if he knew which direction was north, he could figure out south, east, and west. That was a big help.


Explorers also used the stars to keep track of their position. Sailors in this day used two gadgets. One was called a quadrant. The other one was called an astrolabe. The details of how these gadgets work are complicated, but the basic idea is not. The idea is that you can keep track of your position on Earth by keeping track of where certain stars appear to be in the night sky. If you can tell where the sun, the North Star, and other key stars are, you should be able to figure out where you are on Earth.

Others may have kept track of how far they had traveled using a method called dead reckoning. Here’s how dead reckoning worked. A sailor had a piece of wood that was tied to a rope. The rope was knotted at regular intervals. There might be a knot every five feet. The sailor would toss the piece of wood overboard while the ship was sailing. When the wood hit the water, the sailor would turn over an hourglass. The sailor or the captain of the ship would then watch to see how much rope was pulled out of the ship and into the sea. If the ship was going fast, it would quickly leave the piece of wood behind. It would pull many yards of rope out of the ship before the hourglass ran out. If the ship was going slower, it would not pull as much rope out. Then, the person would count how many knots of rope got pulled out of the ship before the hourglass emptied out. If you have ever heard of a ship’s speed referred to as knots, this is a forerunner of that measurement of speed.

A ship’s captain could use dead reckoning to make an estimate of how fast the ship was moving. Then, he could estimate how far the ship would travel in an hour or a day. He could use a compass to know which way he was heading. He could put all this together to make an estimate of where he was.


Chapter Five: El Castillo de San Marcos
The building on the right is a fort in St. Augustine, Florida, where the Spanish established a settlement in 1565. It is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the United States. You can visit there today and still see the old buildings standing. This fort was built by the Spanish in the 1600s. It is called El Castillo de San Marcos. That is its Spanish name. Its English name is the Castle (or Fort) of Saint Mark. El Castillo de San Marcos was not the first fort that the Spanish built in St. Augustine. The Spanish built seven or eight forts before they built this one. But these earlier forts were made of wood and were not very strong. Some of them were destroyed in wars. Others were wrecked by hurricanes. In 1672, the Spanish decided to build a new fort. This time, they decided that they would use stone to make it strong.

The inside of the fort is shaped like a square. On each corner, there is a bastion shaped like an arrow. A “bastion” is a raised gun platform. The bastions stick out from the fort. They let the Spanish fire out of the fort in just about any direction.


This is what a bastion looks like from the ground. Imagine that you are a soldier. Would you like to attack a bastion like this? How would you do it? If you tried to get close, Spaniards on top of the bastion would open fire. They would shoot at you with guns and cannons. If you got close enough to set up a ladder, the men in the fort would tip it over. They might drop hot oil on you. Ouch! You could try to attack with cannons. But the walls of the fort are thick and strong. A few cannonballs would not harm them. But don’t forget, the Spanish had cannons of their own. They would fire back at you, and you would not have thick stone walls to hide behind!

Can you guess what the walls of El Castillo de San Marcos are made of? Believe it or not, they are made of seashells! The Spanish used a kind of rock called coquina. Coquina is a mixture of fossils and seashells. Look at the stone on the right. It is coquina. Can you see the seashells? Those shells are the remains of tiny animals that lived in the sea long, long ago. The Spanish found coquina along the Florida seashore. They used it to build the fort. Coquina turned out to be a good stone for building forts. It is softer than other rocks. That means that it does not crack or shatter when cannonballs hit it. A cannonball might make a dent in a coquina wall, or it might be absorbed into the wall. But, in most cases, it would not crack the wall.


The fort was surrounded by a moat. It is no longer filled with water. It is now a dry moat. There was only one way into the fort. You had to enter a mini-fort that stood just in front of the main fort. This mini-fort was called the “ravelin.” A bridge led from the ravelin across the moat and into the main fort. The last part of this bridge was a drawbridge. It could be lifted up to keep people from getting in. It was not easy to open the drawbridge. It took five men fifteen minutes to open it. In this image, you can see the bridge that leads into the fort. It is on the left. El Castillo de San Marcos was a strong fortress. It was attacked many times, but it was never captured.


Chapter Six: Coronado Reports to the King
Francisco Vasquez de Coronado was a Spanish conquistador. He explored what is now the American Southwest in search of the Seven Cities of Cibola, which were said to have streets paved with gold. During the trip, Coronado wrote letters to the King of Spain. In his second letter, written in October of 1541, he described his march across the Great Plains to Quivira, in modern-day Kansas. He told the king about the native people who he and his men had met. He also described the buffalo that they saw, which he called “cows.” On the pages that follow is an edited version of Coronado’s letter.

Your Majesty,
After I sent my last letter, I met some native people from a distant land. They boasted of their land, which is called Quivira. They said that the men there lived in large houses. They said that their chiefs dined on dishes made of gold. I did not know whether to believe these reports. I made up my mind to go and see Quivira. We set off last spring and reached the plains.
These plains were vast — so vast that we could not see the end of them. They were flat and open with grasses that blow in the breeze. We traveled over them for more than 300 leagues. The plains were full of cows. There were too many of them to count. There was not a single day when we did not see some of them.


After 17 days, we met some native people. They are called Querechos. They do not plant crops. They travel around with the cows. They eat the flesh of the cows that they kill. They tan the skins of the cows and make clothes from them. They have little tents made of cowhide. They live in these tents while they travel around with the cows. They have dogs that carry their tents and poles from place to place. We traveled 42 days more. At times, it was hard to find the way. On the plains, there are few landmarks. There are no hills. There are no stones, trees, or shrubs. All we could see was a sea of grass. We lived on the flesh of the cows that we killed. We went many days without water. Sometimes, what we drank was more mud than water. There are no trees on the plains except by the rivers. So, we could rarely find firewood.


After 77 days, we arrived in Quivira. This was the place that our guides had described. They had told us of stone houses that were many stories tall. But we found only little grass huts. There were only a few people in the place, and they were as barbarous as the others who we have met. They swore to obey Your Majesty and placed themselves under your royal lordship. The natives gave me a piece of copper. I have sent this back to the viceroy of New Spain. I have not seen any other metal in these parts except for this and some little copper bells. We stayed in Quivira for 25 days. I searched the nearby lands to see if there is anything which could be of service to Your Majesty. Besides the land itself and people who live on it, I have not found or heard of anything. I am sure that there is no gold here.

The land in Quivira is the best that I have seen for producing crops. The soil is black. The land is well-watered by springs and rivers. I found some prunes like those in Spain. There are some nuts. There are also very good sweet grapes and mulberries. I have treated the natives as well as was possible, as Your Majesty commanded. They have received no harm in any way from me or from those who went in my company. This is my report. I have done all that I possibly could to serve Your Majesty. I remain Your Majesty’s humble servant and vassal, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado.

Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading
(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view.)
The Age Of Exploration

Lesson 26 – Part Two 

NEW WORDS: Algonquin, Cabot’s, Caboto, Carib, Champlain’s, Chesapeake, England’s, Englishman, Eriksson, Frenchmen, Huron, L’anse, Newfoundland, Richland’s, Scandinavia, Viking, Vinland, adaptation, anise, archaeologists, archeological, attracts, aux, barbeque, barbricot, batata, bilge, businessmen, charter, charters, clockwise, deserving, desirable, disagreement, exchanging, expeditions, fawns, gadget, hardtack, hata, icebergs, landmark, maize, manna, mopped, northeast, patata, pumps, raiding, rebel, rebelled, reconstructed, rectangles, reddish, restaurants, sailor’s, salted, shortage, smoky, soften, substantially, swirl, thinly, treaties

Chapter Seven: John Cabot
John Cabot (known as Giovanni Caboto in his native Italy) had the same dream as Columbus: to reach Asia by sailing west. However, unlike Columbus, Cabot thought the best chance of reaching Asia would be to sail around the northern part of Earth, where the distance around would be substantially shorter than the distance at the equator. Cabot, like other explorers, wanted to find the Northwest Passage, which was thought to be a shorter route west from Europe to Asia. Finding a shorter route to Asia meant finding a shorter route to spices.

Many details of Cabot’s life and voyages are unknown. He did not keep records during his voyages, nor was much written about his life. However, it is known that he was Italian and had support from King Henry VII of England for his voyages. King Henry VII gave Cabot a charter to explore and claim land for England.


Cabot made his first attempt to find the Northwest Passage in 1496. This attempt was a failure. He had a disagreement with some members of his crew. There was also a shortage of food, and he ran into bad weather. Cabot decided to turn back for England. Cabot tried again in 1497, with a single ship and a crew of 18. This time, he reached land, which he thought was Asia. However, this land turned out to be the coast of North America. It is not known exactly where he first sighted land, though. It may have been the coast of Newfoundland. Cabot spent a short time exploring the coast, and it is possible that he sailed as far south as the Chesapeake Bay. During this voyage, Cabot found a large area of shallow water that was abundant with fish. This area, known as the Grand Banks, is still one of the best fishing areas in the world today. At any rate, Cabot and his men became one of the first European expeditions to see the landmass now known as North America.

Cabot sailed back to England with his news. Certain that he had found a new, shorter route to Asia, Cabot gained support for another, much larger expedition. This expedition left England in 1498, but it never returned. Nobody knows for certain what happened to Cabot and his men. In time, it became clear that Cabot had not, in fact, located the Northwest Passage. However, England based its later claims to North American territory on Cabot’s explorations. When Cabot had first sighted land, he had gone ashore and claimed it for England. Cabot’s exploration began England’s desire to explore and create settlements in North America.


Do you think that you could be a sailor on Cabot’s ship? Here is a description of what it might be like to be a young sailor. On a ship, young boys served as pages. On land, a page worked for a knight. At sea, he worked for a captain. Pages did all sorts of odd jobs. They carried messages, mopped the deck, helped pass out food, and cleaned up after meals. Older boys might be asked to work the bilge pumps. Even the best ships sometimes sprang a leak. If a ship leaked too much, it might sink. To keep that from happening, sailors had to pump water out of the ship using a bilge pump. This was a terrible job. The bilge water was disgusting. It smelled bad and it made the sailors sick. After pumping bilge water all day, it would have been great to sit down to a nice, warm meal. Unfortunately, sailors did not get many warm meals. For most meals, they got hardtack.


Hardtack was a kind of bread that was baked over and over. Hardtack was so hard that it was tough to eat. Sailors had to soak it in a drink to soften it up. The good thing about hardtack, though, was that it would not spoil on a long voyage. It was so hard that bugs had trouble getting into it — unless it got wet. Once it got wet, weevils and other bugs could and did get into it. But you could usually see them and brush them off with your fingers. If a voyage was going well, sailors might get other kinds of food. They might get a little salted meat now and then. They might get some fish or a few beans. But if supplies were running low, they might get nothing but hardtack. The diet on sailing ships was so bad that many sailors got sick. Lots of them got a disease called scurvy. Today, we know now that scurvy is caused by a lack of vitamin C, found in fresh fruits and vegetables. In the Age of Exploration, people did not know this. So, many sailors died.

After a long day of work, sailors were ready to fall into bed and rest their aching bones. They were ready — but there were no beds for them to fall into. The captain had a bed to sleep in, but the sailors did not. They slept on the deck. As the ship rolled back and forth with the waves, the sailors rolled with it. Most sailors had to stand watch for part of the night. When that was done, they could sleep for a few hours. In the morning, they would get up and do it all over again. A sailor’s day started bright and early. So, what do you think? Does a sailor’s life sound good to you?


Chapter Eight: Henry Hudson
An Englishman named Henry Hudson tried four times to find the Northwest Passage. He died trying. First, in 1607, he tried sailing north from England. If you look at a globe, you can see what he was trying to do. He understood that Earth was round, and he thought that he could sail across the North Pole. He didn’t understand that solid ice always covers the Arctic Ocean. “I hoped to have a clear sea,” Hudson wrote of his first journey. “But that proved impossible due to the ice surrounding us.” Hudson tried again in 1608. He sailed northeast and again found icebergs and freezing weather. He turned his boat around and tried sailing northwest. When his crew realized that they weren’t heading home, they rebelled against Hudson, saying that they wouldn’t work unless they sailed to England. So, home they went.

In 1609, Henry Hudson sailed west. This time, he was working for a group of businessmen called the Dutch East India Company. On this trip, he reached North America and claimed land for Holland. Hudson saw many native people. One man who sailed with him wrote in his journal, “They are well-dressed in loose deer skins and brought green tobacco which they gave us in exchange for knives and beads.” The native people also gave the sailors bread made of maize. Hudson sailed past “a very good piece of ground and a cliff close by of white-green color … on the side of the river called Mannahata.” It was the island that we now call Manhattan (the center of New York City today). Next, Hudson sailed up a river that still bears his name. You’ll find the Hudson River on a map of the state of New York.


In 1610, Hudson tried once more to find a shortcut from Europe to Asia. He sailed a ship called Discovery into a wide expanse of water in the northern part of Canada. Today, it is named after him: the Hudson Bay. On the map, the Hudson Bay looks like a big, open body of water. But in many places, the water gets too shallow for sailing. In many other places, it is frozen solid almost all year long. Once again, Henry Hudson had sailed into icy waters, just as winter was coming.

Hudson and his crew went ashore during the winter. They ran short of food and water. Some of the crew got sick. Some died. The sailors blamed Hudson for caring more about finding the Northwest Passage than about keeping his crew safe and healthy. When the ice began to melt, the crew rebelled. They forced Hudson, his son, and a few crew members loyal to Hudson to get into a small boat with no oars. Then, they left them behind and sailed the Discovery back to England. No one ever heard from Henry Hudson again.


Chapter Nine: The Fur Trade and Samuel de Champlain

Many of the Frenchmen who came to North America in the 1600s and 1700s were fur traders. These traders traded with the native people. They gave them European goods in exchange for animal skins and furs. The traders collected many kinds of fur, but they were most interested in beaver pelts. Beaver hats were popular in Europe. You could sell beaver hats in England, France, Germany, and Russia. Why were beaver hats so popular? For one thing, beaver fur is thick. It is thick enough to keep your head warm in a cold Russian winter, and it is waterproof. Rain runs off a beaver hat. Your head stays dry. Some hat makers used the beaver fur as it was. They made soft, puffy hats. Others processed the beaver fur to make felt. The smooth, waterproof felt was then formed into hats. Felt hats did not look like they were made of beaver fur. But they were.

In many parts of Europe, there were no beavers left. Hunters had killed too many of them. The beaver had almost gone extinct. Europeans could not get beaver pelts at home. So, they were willing to pay for beaver pelts imported from North America. Samuel de Champlain and other Frenchmen took the lead in the fur trade. They set up trading posts in North America. There were trading posts along the Atlantic Coast. There were trading posts in Quebec and along the St. Lawrence River. There were even trading posts farther west, along the shores of the Great Lakes. On the page that follows is an adaptation of Champlain’s journey down the River of the Iroquois to the lake that came to bear his name: Lake Champlain.


July, 1609. We continued on our journey until we came to an island. The island was about three leagues long and had the finest pine trees that I had ever seen. We went hunting here and captured some wild animals. The next day, we started out again, floating down the river as far as the entrance to a large lake. There were many pretty islands there. They all contained many fine forests and lush meadows. There were too many birds to count. Also, we saw all kinds of wild animals such as deer with their young fawns, bears, and many animals that move from the mainland over to the islands and back again. We captured many of these animals, as well. There were many rivers that emptied into the lake, as well as dense forests of fine trees. I found chestnut trees on the border of the lake. I had never seen trees like this before. There were great numbers of fish in the lake. I noticed that many of the mountains in the distance to the north had snow on top of them. I was told that the Iroquois lived there and that there were many beautiful valleys with fruit and grain there.


Many different native groups lived in these lands. The French made treaties with some of them, including the Algonquin people and the Huron people. The French agreed to trade with these people and not fight with them. The native people would bring beaver pelts to trade. In some cases, they would bring pelts that they had gathered themselves. In other cases, they would bring pelts that they had obtained by trading with other native people. The French would barter with the native people. They would give the native people things that they wanted in exchange for the beaver pelts.

Many of the things that the native people wanted were made of metal. Most native people did not make their own metal products. They had to trade for these items. Many native people traded furs for knives and ax blades. Others traded for kettles and fish hooks. Still others traded for glass beads from Europe, which were highly desirable. The French would gather up lots of beaver pelts. Then, they would ship the pelts back to France and sell them. They made a lot of money doing this, so they did it again and again. As time went on, the French learned what the native people liked. They learned that many native people would trade beaver pelts for wool blankets. Some would trade for tobacco. Others would trade for guns and gunpowder.

In 2011, the people of Canada put an image of a beaver on the back of their nickel. They did not put the beaver on their nickel because he is cute. They put the beaver there because the fur trade is an important part of the history of Canada. For two hundred years, the fur trade was a source of income for the French and the native people alike.


Chapter Ten: A History of People in North America
Lots of people think that Columbus was the first to arrive in America. But that’s not right. There are at least two other groups of people who settled in North America, and both of them got there many years before Christopher Columbus.

One group was the Vikings. The Vikings lived in Northern Europe, in Scandinavia. They sailed around a lot, raiding and robbing as they went. The image on the next page shows you some of the places that they explored and some of the Vikings who were explorers. In 982, some Vikings left Iceland and settled in Greenland, which is part of North America. They arrived there about 500 years before Columbus sailed. The Viking settlements on Greenland grew for a while. Archaeologists estimate there were probably 3,000 to 5,000 Viking settlers there at one point. Eventually, however, the Vikings left. Viking settlements in Greenland seem to have been abandoned in the 1400s, not long before the voyage of Columbus.


The Vikings also explored lands west of Greenland. Around the year 1000, the famous Viking explorer Leif Eriksson visited a land that he and other Vikings called Vinland. Most experts believe that Vinland was somewhere along the coast of Newfoundland, in modern-day Canada. There is evidence that some Vikings settled in Newfoundland. In 1960, the ruins of a Viking village were found there. This village may have been part of Vinland. The Vikings definitely got to America before Columbus. So maybe we should say that the Vikings were the first Europeans to settle in North America. But before we decide, we need to look at another group that settled in North America.


Another group to settle in North America was the Native Americans. Although we call these people “Native” Americans, they did not always live in the Americas. They came to America from Asia. When and how this happened are subjects of much debate. Some historians think that the first settlers made their way to North America a little more than 15,000 years ago. Others think that the first people came to America many years earlier — perhaps even 40,000 years ago. Some experts think that these people came by land, at a time when Alaska and Asia were connected by land. Others think that they may have traveled along the coast in boats.

The map on the next page shows how we think human beings spread around the Earth. Experts think that the first humans lived in Africa. About 100,000 years ago, some humans moved out of Africa and into the Middle East. About 70,000 years ago, a group of humans moved into southeast Asia. About 15,000 years ago — or possibly earlier — some of these people crossed from Asia to the Americas. It is believed that many people also came to North America by various ship routes. New archeological discoveries continue to be made every day about early settlers in North America. These discoveries change our understanding of who lived in North America in the past.


Chapter Eleven: Caribbean Words
Did you know that some words we use every day come from the Caribbean, an area of islands between North and South America? These are words that were used by native people before Columbus and the conquistadors came. Later, they were picked up by Europeans who came to the New World, including English speakers.

For each of the following words, there are clues that will help you try to guess it.

Clues for Word Number One.

This word describes a big storm.

The winds in this storm swirl around in a big circle. This kind of storm is sort of like a tornado, but it’s much bigger. However, unlike a tornado, this kind of storm usually travels over water. It gets weaker when it travels over land.

People who live on the east coast of the U.S. have to worry about this kind of storm. The winds that it brings can damage houses near the beach and can even knock houses to the ground.

The name of this storm sort of rhymes with window pane.

What is the word? Scroll to the end of Chapter Eleven to see all of the word answers.


Clues for Word Number Two.

This word is a kind of boat.

This is a small boat that seats two or three people.

The people in the boat face forward and use paddles to make it go. The person in front usually pulls straight back using a paddle. The person in back uses a paddle to steer.

It’s best not to stand up in this kind of boat. If you do, it might tip over.

This word sort of rhymes with bamboo.

Clues for Word Number Three.

This word names a kind of food and also a kind of cooking.

If your dad cooks outside over a smoky fire, he probably likes this kind of cooking.

Some people like to cook pork this way. Other people like to cook beef or chicken.

Another way to say this word is BBQ.


Clues for Word Number Four.

This is a vegetable that was unknown in Europe before the Spanish arrived in the New World, but then it quickly spread around the world.

Some people like to eat this vegetable baked. They might put butter on top, or maybe sour cream.

Other people like to thinly slice this vegetable and cook it in hot oil. This makes chips that crunch in your mouth.

Still other people like to cut this vegetable into long, skinny rectangles and fry it. If you’ve ever had French fries, you have tasted this vegetable.

Answer to word number one: hurricane. The word, hurricane, comes from the Carib language. The people of the Caribbean know all about hurricanes, because several of these big storms sweep through the Caribbean every year. Most of the storms occur in the summer and the fall.


Answer to word number two: canoe. The people of the Caribbean used canoes to paddle from island to island. They cut down a tree. Using tools and fire, they dug out a canoe from the tree trunk. People in other places also used this kind of boat. But the word, canoe, comes from the Caribbean.

Answer to word number three: barbecue. The people of the Caribbean cooked food over an open fire and called it barbricot. This is where the word “barbecue” – sometimes spelled as “barbeque” – came from.

Answer to word number four: potato. The potato is a New World crop. This root vegetable was grown in what is now Peru, in South America. It was also grown elsewhere in the Americas. The people of Peru called it the papa. The Caribbean people called it the batata. The Spanish called it the patata. We call it the potato.

The potato was eventually carried back to Europe. People discovered that it was cheap and grew well in many countries. By the late 1700s, lots of farmers in Europe were growing potatoes. The potato became an important crop. French fries seem to have been invented a little later, probably in France. Thomas Jefferson mentioned fried potatoes around 1805, probably learning about them from a French cook. Today, French fries are very popular. You can order them in tons of restaurants all around the world.



Abandon—to leave somewhere, never to return (abandoned).
Ashore—on land.
Attempt—an act of trying.

Barbarous—wild, sometimes violent.
Barter—to trade by exchanging goods and services instead of paying or accepting money for them.
Bastion—a raised gun platform in a fort.
Bilge pump—a device used to remove water from the bottom part of a ship.
Boast—to brag (boasted).

Charter—a formal document that gives rights to a person or group of people; kings often issued charters to explorers, so explorers would search for land and treasure on behalf of the king.
Cheap—does not cost much.
Claim—to say something belongs to you (claims, claimed).
Compass—a tool used for finding directions with a magnetic pointer that always points north.
Conquistador—a former warrior, usually from Spain, who took control of something by force (conquistadors).
Continuously—without stopping.
Convince—to talk someone into something by giving good reasons (convinced).
Copper—a reddish-brown mineral found in the Earth.

Dead reckoning—a way to measure speed when traveling through water by throwing a knotted rope with a piece of wood on the end overboard and observing how much of and how fast the rope is pulled into the water.
Destroy—to completely ruin so that it no longer exists (destroyed).
Device—a piece of equipment that does a specific job.
Distant—far away.

Equator—an imaginary line around the middle of the Earth that is equally far from both the North Pole and South Pole.
Establish—to start something that is meant to last a long time (established).
Estate—everything a person owns.
Estimate—(verb) to make a guess based on information that you have; (noun) a guess made based on information that you have.
Evidence—information that helps show if something is either true or not true.
Expanse—a large, open area.
Expect—to think something will probably happen (expected).
Expedition—a long trip made for a specific purpose (expeditions).
Expensive—costs a lot of money.
Explorer—a person who sets out to find new things (exploration, explorations, explorers, explored, exploring).

Felt—thick cloth made from wool, fur, or other fibers.
Fine—excellent (finest).
Flavor—taste (flavors).
Forerunner—something that came before.
Fort—a large building constructed to survive enemy attacks.
Fortress—a strong fort.
Fossil—a bone, shell, or other remains of a plant or animal from millions of years ago that has formed rock (fossils).
Funding—money provided for a special purpose.

Gadget—a small tool (gadgets).
Grind—to crush something into small pieces or powder (ground).

Hardtack—hard bread that has been baked many times.
Hourglass—a tool for measuring time; it is a glass container with an upper part and lower part connected in the middle by a narrow tube, and sand falls from the upper part into the lower part in a fixed amount of time, usually an hour.
Hull—the outer covering of a seed or fruit.
Humble—respectful, not thinking that you are better than others.

Iceberg—a large mass of ice floating in the ocean (icebergs).
Import—to bring in from somewhere else (imported).
Impressive—deserving attention or respect.
In exchange—the act of giving something and receiving something of similar value in return.
Income—money earned, mostly from working.
Inherit—when someone dies, you receive money, property, and other things from them that they had owned while alive (inherits, inherited).

Keep track—to continue to be aware of (keeping track, kept track).

Landmark—an object on land that is easy to see and recognize (landmarks).
Landmass—a large, continuous area of land, such as a continent.
League—a distance between 2.4 and 4.6 miles.
Lordship—authority and power of a lord or high-ranking person.
Lush—covered with healthy, green plants.

Magnet—a piece of metal that attracts iron or steel and has a north and south pole; Earth is a magnet (magnets).
Magnetic field—the area around each pole of a magnet that has the power to attract other metals.
Method—a way of doing things.
Moat—a deep ditch, usually filled with water, dug around a fort or castle to prevent enemy attacks.
Mulberry—a dark purple berry (mulberries).

Noble—a person from a family of high social rank, similar to patricians in ancient Rome (nobles).

Obtain—to get (obtained).
Occupied—lived and worked in.
Overrun—to exist in large numbers.
Overwhelm—to take over completely.

Page—a boy servant (pages).
Pelt—an animal skin with fur still on it (pelts).
Peppercorn—a dried berry from a plant that is used to make pepper (peppercorns).
Plain—a large, flat area of land with no trees (plains).
Popular—liked by many people.
Precious—very valuable.
Property—buildings, land, and livestock that someone owns.
Prune—a dried plum (prunes).

Raid—to attack by surprise (raiding).
Ravelin—a small building that you must pass through first in order to enter a fort or castle.
Rebel—to fight against the person or people in charge (rebelled).
Royal—relating to a king or queen.

Scarce—hard to find.
Scroll—a paper rolled up into a tube (scrolls).
Scurvy—a disease caused by not eating enough fruits or vegetables with vitamin C, leading to spongy gums, loose teeth, skin spots, and sometimes death.
Shallow—not deep.
Shatter—to suddenly break into many small pieces.
Shortage—when there is not enough.
Slash—to make a path by cutting plants (slashed).
Solid—firm and hard.
Spice—a substance from a plant that has a specific smell or taste and is used to add flavor to food (spices).
Spoil—to become rotten and not able to be eaten.
Steer—to control the direction of.
Substantially—great in size, value, or importance.

Tan—to turn animal skin into leather using a specific process.
Territory—a large area of land with defined boundaries.
Throne—the power and authority of a king or queen.
Trade—(verb) to exchange something you have for something that someone else has; (noun) the act of exchanging goods (traders, traded, trading).
Trading post—a place far away from towns where people buy, sell, and trade things (trading posts).
Treaty—a formal agreement between groups of people, often to stop fighting (treaties).

Vassal—a person who is loyal and serves a lord or king.
Vast—very great in size or amount.
Viceroy—a person sent by the king to rule a colony.
Voyage—a long journey, usually by water.

Watch—the time that someone is on duty to guard or protect something.
Weevil—a small beetle (weevils).
Whiz—a person who is extremely skilled at something.
Wreck—to destroy, ruin (wrecked).


Illustration Subtitles

An artist’s illustration of Columbus landing in the New World. Some European Explorers. Explorers Names’ Sources of Funding: Christopher Columbus, Spain. Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, Spain. John Cabot, England. Henry Hudson, England, Dutch East India Company (Netherlands). Samuel de Champlain, France. Gold. Spices displayed in a spice market. Unharvested peppercorns. Star anise, cinnamon, and cloves (clockwise from star anise). Charles V (an oldest son) became King of Spain after his father died. According to the system of primogeniture, the oldest son, Son 1, would inherit everything that his father owned. Duke of Richland, Son 1, Son 2, Daughter, Son 3. Duke of Richland’s property 1,000 acres. Duke of Richland’s sons’ property, 500 acres, 500 acres. Duke of Richland’s grandsons’ property 125 acres each. This image shows how the Duke of Richland’s property would be split. Many second sons sailed off to find their own riches. The right side of this map is mostly correct. The left side of the map is what Toscanelli thought was there. The route Columbus planned to take. The route Columbus actually took. Things that we use today to find places where we want to visit. A compass. An astrolabe (top) and quadrant. Dead reckoning helped sailors keep track of how fast and how far they had traveled. Explorers used many tools to help them navigate. The inside of the fort is shaped like a square. On each corner, there is a bastion shaped like an arrow. A bastion is a raised gun platform. The bastions stick out from the fort. They let the Spanish fire out of the fort in just about any direction. A bastion. Coquina. The drawbridge leading from the ravelin to the main fort drawbridge. Coronado. A buffalo, which Coronado called a “cow.” Tents made of “cowhide.” Copper. The plains with buffalo, called “cows” by Coronado. John Cabot. The circled area is the Grand Banks. The route Cabot intended to take to find the Northwest Passage. A bilge pump used in Cabot’s time. Hardtack. Sailors stood watch on the platform high up on the mast. Hudson encountered icebergs and freezing weather. Manhattan is the center of New York City today. Hudson and others were left in a boat with no oars. A beaver hat. A trading post. Lake Champlain in the fall. A beaver has thick fur that was used to make hats. Items like tobacco, kettles, and fish hooks were traded for pelts. A beaver. Map of North America. This image shows some of the places the Vikings explored and some of the Vikings who explored. A reconstructed Viking structure at L’Anse aux Meadows in Canada. When the first settlers came to North America is a subject of much debate. 15,000 years ago, 4,500 years ago. This map shows how people today think human beings spread around the Earth. The numbers represent “years ago.” The area inside the gray line on the map is part of the Caribbean. A tornado. The effects of a hurricane. A dugout canoe. Barbecue cooking on a grill. Potatoes and French fries.


Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading

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

Lesson 27 – Important People In U.S. History

NEW WORDS: Hussein, Lincoln’s, Malia, Obama’s, Sasha, Sonia, Sonia’s, Sotomayor, acclimate, adroit, assiduously, bailiff, bilingual, birthdate, boroughs, borrowing, celebrates, commemorate, competent, concurrently, constructive, cornucopia, court’s, courtroom, desiderated, dialogue, dons, earnestly, emigrate, esteem, explicate, festivity, fraught, harvesting, iconic, indefatigable, mandates, memorialized, meritorious, notable, piloted, praiseworthy, restrictions, reverend, rituals, rocketing, ruffled, sedulously, tractors, trailblazing, transshaped, trusted, venerable, voracious, zealously

Introduction: Family Letter
Dear Student,

In school, you’ll learn about trailblazing people in American history. They’ll be men and women like scientists, presidents, religious leaders, or astronauts. They transshaped the way we live today. As you learn about them, you’ll also learn of things that happened long ago. And you can compare those times with today’s times.

Below are some suggestions for some things that you might do at home. This can help you to learn about meritorious people. This can help you to learn about the past and the present.

1.    Talk About the Past and the Present.

Here’s a challenge that you’ll face in school. You’ll want to learn how some things were different long ago. But other things were similar. Learn to talk about things that happened long ago. Talk about old family photos or family stories. Realize that these things happened “a long, long time ago.” They were in the past, and they may have happened before your birthdate. Learn to talk about things that are happening today. Talk about very recent family photos or events. Realize that these things happened “today,” “recently,” or “not very long ago.”


2. Read Out Loud Each Day.

Bring home stories about the praiseworthy people who you’re learning about in school. Read these stories with your parents before bed. Talk about whether the important person lived a long time ago, or are they still living today?

3. Talk About Your Heroes.

Talk about someone who you hold in high esteem. They could have lived long ago, or they may be alive today. Learn a true story about what this person did. Tell why this person is important to you.

4. Identify Today’s Important People.

Learn about venerable people in America today. They could be important to your family. Point to and name important people who are on TV. Or you might see them on magazine covers. Be sure to explicate why these living people are important.


Chapter One: The Native Americans
Dear Student,

You might be learning about Native Americans in school, when you are nearing the Thanksgiving holiday. Read the story below to help remember what you learned about them in school. You might also have some dialogue about how Native Americans dressed differently long ago. Compare that with how people dress today, by pointing to some of the pictures as you read.

We live in the United States of America. In this country today, there are many, many people, cars, and buildings. People like to talk on the phone. They shop in the grocery store. They play on computers. They watch television. Some people live in big cities with tall buildings and lots of traffic. Some people live in the country, where there is lots of green grass. Lots of those people drive tractors. But things in the U.S. weren’t always the way that they are now.

We’ll go back long before your parents and grandparents were born. The U.S. looked very different. There were no phones or computers, or tall buildings. There were no cars or tractors, or grocery stores. And far fewer people lived here.


We’re going back four hundred years! There were trees, rivers, rocks, and mountains. There were wild animals, like deer and birds. And the only people who lived here way back then were the Native Americans.

The Native Americans knew many things about how to live here back then. They knew how to plant seeds in the ground. They grew corn, pumpkins, and beans to eat. They knew how to catch fish to eat. They knew how to make clothes from the skins and furs of the animals that they hunted. They knew how to use fires to cook their food. The Native Americans back then did not live the way that we live today.


Chapter Two: The Pilgrims
Dear Student,

You might learn about Pilgrims around the Thanksgiving holiday. Read the story below to help remember what you learned about the Pilgrims in school. You might also talk about the way that your family celebrates Thanksgiving today. Talk about something special that you do each year at Thanksgiving. Does your family have any annual Thanksgiving rituals?

Long ago, there were people living in England who were ruffled by their monarchs. In England, the king made all the rules. The king and his rules made some people furious. So, they decided to go live somewhere else. The people who decided to move away from England were called the Pilgrims. The Pilgrims decided that they would emigrate to America. So, they would no longer have to follow the king’s mandates and restrictions. To get to America from England, they had to sail a long time, all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. They sailed on a boat named the “Mayflower.” Their journey was fraught with danger and difficulty.


The Pilgrims arrived in America. They met a Native American man named Squanto. He was already living there. Squanto became a notable friend of the Pilgrims. He taught them many things about how to live in America. He showed them how to use wood from the forest to build houses. He gave them seeds to plant. That way, they could grow food to eat. The Pilgrims were grateful to Squanto for helping them to acclimate to their new home.

Squanto told the Pilgrims about a Native American celebration. They had this festivity every year at crop-harvesting time. After the harvest that year, the Pilgrims and the Native Americans celebrated together. They roasted turkey, fish, and deer meat. They cooked corn, pumpkins, and beans. When they took notice of the cornucopia of good food that they had, they all gave thanks together.

Today, we still celebrate the holiday called Thanksgiving! We have memorialized the celebration that the Pilgrims and Native Americans had long ago. Lots of families eat a special meal of roast turkey, corn, and beans. This is just like what the Pilgrims and the Native Americans ate. Americans commemorate Thanksgiving to remember all that we have to be thankful for. Think about the beautiful country that we live in. Think about the food that keeps us healthy and strong. Think about the friends that help us to feel safe and comfortable in our homes.


Chapter Three: Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King
“I have a dream that one day …”

Long ago, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. gave an iconic speech where he said, “I have a dream.”

His dream was that all children would “walk together as sisters and brothers,” and could be friends and go to school together.

Today, we celebrate his life as a National Holiday each January, and we remember his birthday.


Chapter Four: Barack Obama
Dear Student,

You might be learning about Barack Obama during African-American history month. Read the story below to help remember what you learned about Barack Obama in school. You might also talk about the important things the president does as the leader of our country.

Our country, the United States of America, has had many presidents. The forty-fourth president of the United States was Barack Hussein Obama. When President Obama became president, he and his family moved into the White House in Washington, D.C. The White House is different from most houses, because it is not only a place to live, but it is also a place to work. In one part of the White House, there are rooms where the Obama family sleeps, gets dressed, and eats their meals, just like you do in your own house.

But another part of the White House is an office building where lots of indefatigable people come to do hard work every day. President Obama has an office, with a big desk, where he can read and sign important papers. It’s called “The Oval Office.” He also has a special phone so that he can talk to important people from all around the world. Since President Obama’s office is in the White House where his family lives, his daughters, Malia and Sasha, can visit him when they get home from school.


President Obama once told Malia and Sasha that he knew their lives were wonderful in many ways. He also told them that he wanted every child in the United States of America to have a wonderful life, just like theirs. Barack Obama said that he was going to work long and hard to make the United States a better place to live, so that all children would have the chance to “learn and dream and grow.”

President Obama talked to the people of the United States and told them the same thing that he told his daughters. He said that he wanted everyone in the United States to have a chance to go to a good school, to learn how to read and write, and to have a good life in the United States.


Chapter Five: Abraham Lincoln
Dear Student,

You might be learning about Abraham Lincoln when it is around Presidents’ Day. Read the story below to help remember what you learned about Abraham Lincoln in school. Using the illustrations on this page, retell the story about Abraham Lincoln borrowing his neighbor’s book. You might also talk about what it means to be honest. Be reminded that Abraham Lincoln’s nickname was “Honest Abe.”

Abraham Lincoln grew up in the U.S. in the early 1800s. People called him by his nickname, “Abe.” When Abe was a young boy, he lived with his family far out in the country, in a log cabin. Abe’s family had to work hard all day long. Abe had so many chores to do that he did not have time to go to school.

But Abe wanted to learn all kinds of things. So, every night, he would read many books. He was a voracious reader! In those days, no one had electric lights that you could turn on after dark. So, after dark, in order to read, Abe Lincoln sat next to the fireplace. The light from the fire helped him to see the words on the pages of the books that he was reading.


Abe wanted to read more, so he borrowed a book from a man who lived nearby. One night, a big thunderstorm came by, and rain leaked in through the roof of Abe’s cabin. The book he had borrowed from his neighbor got soaking wet! The pages were stuck together, and it was hard to read the words. The book was ruined.

Abe felt terrible. He bravely carried the ruined book back and showed it to the man from whom he had borrowed it. Abe knew that the book was very important to the man, and he felt badly that it was ruined. He agreed to work on his neighbor’s farm for three days in order to pay for the book that had been ruined. Abe proved that he was, concurrently, both an honest boy and a hard worker.

As Abraham Lincoln grew up, more and more people saw how honest and hard-working he was. They called him “Honest Abe.” They trusted him so much that they elected him to be president of the United States of America. He was our sixteenth president, and some historians consider him to have been our best president ever.


Chapter Six: Sally Ride
Dear Student,

You might be learning about Sally Ride, when it is around Women’s History Month. Read the story below to help remember what you learned in school. You might also watch the night sky. Go outside and look at the stars and moon concomitantly, and talk about what you see.

This is a true story about Sally Ride, who became famous as the first American woman to travel into space. She was both a scientist and an astronaut.

Sally Ride loved playing sports, like tennis and football. She enjoyed doing her schoolwork, and she studied zealously to learn as much as she could about science. When she was a little girl, she watched rockets launch into space on TV. She thought it was really exciting to see astronauts go into space. Those lucky people got to fly higher into the sky than anyone had ever been before!

Sally Ride worked sedulously in school. She learned about how machines like cars and rockets work. She desiderated to be an astronaut and to fly into space. People said to her, “Sally, it’s really hard to get to be an astronaut.” And she answered, “Just you see. I AM going to be an astronaut.”


When she was finished going to school, Sally got a job as an American astronaut. Sally Ride became a member of a team of astronauts. These astronauts all worked together to fly a big space ship, called the “space shuttle,” high up into the sky, higher than any airplane could fly.

On launch day, Sally and the other astronauts put on their space suits and got ready to go into space. They heard the countdown. “Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, blast off!” The space shuttle went rocketing into space.

Sally learned that life is different for astronauts living in a space ship high up in the sky. She wore a special space suit. She ate special food. Her body floated in the air, even inside the space ship! When their work was done, Sally Ride and the astronauts piloted the space shuttle carefully down out of the sky and landed safely back on Earth again.

Many years later, Sally Ride still remembered her first trip into space. She remembered when the rocket blasted off. “There is so much power; there is so much thunder,” she said. She remembered looking out the window. “I saw the blackness of space, and then the bright blue Earth,” she said.

Every chance she could, she shared the excitement of science and space with kids. She wanted everyone, girls and boys, to know that they could become scientists and astronauts if they wanted to be.


Chapter Seven: Sonia Sotomayor
Dear Student,

You might be learning about Sonia Sotomayor, when it is around Women’s History Month. Read the story below to help remember what you learned in school. You might also talk about what languages people in your family can speak, since Sonia was bilingual, and speaks both English and Spanish.

When Sonia Sotomayor was a little girl, she lived in the Bronx, which is one of the boroughs of New York City. Everyone in her family spoke Spanish, but everyone in her school spoke English! She had to learn quickly to speak English, even though she still spoke Spanish at home every day. Sonia Sotomayor was proud to be a bilingual student.

As a child, Sonia’s mother told her that if she worked assiduously in school, she could be anything that she wanted to be. “I don’t care what work you do when you grow up,” her mother said. “Just do it well.”

Sonia Sotomayor went to school for many years, so that she could become a judge. After many years of studying and working earnestly, Sonia Sotomayor finally became a judge. When Judge Sotomayor would come into the courtroom, the court’s bailiff would call out, “Order in the court! All Rise! Judge Sotomayor is here.” Everyone would stand up and listen to what Judge Sotomayor had to say.


Sonia Sotomayor was an adroit and constructive judge. She was so competent at her job as a judge that President Obama asked her to become a justice on the Supreme Court of the United States of America. Now Sonia Sotomayor goes to work every day at the Supreme Court.

She dons her black robe, and everyone calls her Justice Sotomayor. She knows all about the laws, or rules, that people in the United States have to follow. Her job is to think about the best way to help people to obey those laws. A judge in the Supreme Court is called a “justice,” so she is called Justice Sotomayor.


Lesson 28 – “BNC-COCA” Lists Vocab-Builder

NEW WORDS: Choate, DNA, Darth, Democrat, Juliet, Mt., Principal’s, Republican, Rhoda, Rodney, Romeo, Vader, abbreviation, abort, accelerate, accountable, addict, administrator, affirm, archaeology, artworks, authorize, bacterium, bikers, bishop, bruise, chanoyu, circulate, civilize, client’s, clinic, coalition, collaborate, condemn, contract’s, convict, correspondent, curriculum, defendant, delegate, deliberate, deputy, designate, devastate, dictate, discourse, discreet, disrupt, donate, elevate, elite, emit, endorse, etc., etcetera, exclusive, execute, faculty, fantasy, feminist, gradual, grievance, hazard, heritage, hostile, immune, imperial, infect, inflate, inhabit, innocence, instinct, interstate, legitimate, liberate, likeness, lobby, manifest, memo, merge, merits, narrate, nominate, oblige, offend, oriented, overlook, parish, prep, profound, prosper, protesters, provoke, psychiatry, radiate, rally, recession, remedy, render, respective, resume, revive, ritual, sculpt, simultaneous, sophisticated, south’s, sprained, statute, subtle, suburb, summit, supervise, thrill, tragedy, transact

They found his DNA at the crime scene.

Coach will rally the team with a good speech!

Elevate your sprained ankle on a pillow.

The deputy sheriff fired his gun.

My Gran has profound wisdom.

The oil spill is a hazard for fish and birds.

We can transact our business on Monday.

A psychiatry degree lets you help people who are depressed.

Riding that roller coaster was a thrill!

Execute the plan starting next month.

He has a likeness to Abe Lincoln.

Our Catholic church has a new Bishop.

Merge into traffic safely.

People used to inhabit those cliff dwellings.

Be careful to not offend the Queen!

Supervise the kids while I go shopping.

I’ll endorse her in the Senate race.

We heard two simultaneous explosions.

I’ll dictate some notes for you to write down.

She’s a charter member of our club.

Sculpt that clay into a funny face.

I’ll donate $20.00 to her campaign.


She’ll emit a shriek when the doc gives her a shot.

The news correspondent asked the Mayor tough questions.

I’ll narrate this story to you.

The administrator thinks that the books have been cooked.

The defendant was found “not guilty.”

It’s hard to civilize a primitive tribe.

He’s not discreet at keeping secrets.

The singer gave a competent performance.

Don’t overlook the contract’s fine print!

We must render aid to the hurricane victims.

We must devastate their team in the Super Bowl.

Our school’s new science curriculum is interesting.

Pain will radiate around your bruise.

Times were tight for our family in the Recession.

Cover your mouth when you cough, so you don’t infect me!

Protesters came to disrupt his speech.

Having a weak immune system means that you get sick a lot.

Oblige him to apologize to you in public!

In the Civil War, the South’s troops were called the Rebel Army.

It’s a tough life being a drug addict.

My mom’s a nurse at a medical clinic.

I like fantasy and science fiction books.


Etc.” is the abbreviation for “etcetera.”

If you provoke the dog, it will bite at you.

Mom’s a feminist who fights for women’s rights.

The troops crossed the river into hostile territory.

The play “Romeo and Juliet” is a tragedy.

Who will they nominate to run for president?

The city has to condemn this dangerous building.

We moved from downtown to a suburb.

I found some arrowheads on an archaeology dig!

The Principal’s called a faculty meeting.

I designate Rhoda to cast my vote in my absence.

The bikers were glad to come to a more gradual slope.

Their discourse started calmly, but it ended in shouting.

The author will collaborate with his son to write a new novel.

I’ve oriented the camera to face away from the sun.

Congress overturned a statute that doesn’t fit modern times.

Mr. Spock said, “Live long and prosper.”

I think you have a legitimate grievance.

We’ll try to convict him of murder.

The gun lobby has lots of sway in Congress.

I need to inflate my back-left tire.

Her new wardrobe makes her look more sophisticated.

What are the respective merits of the candidates?

The defense will affirm our client’s innocence.

Abort the launch countdown!


I’m holding you accountable for any mistakes on this!

Resume the launch countdown!

Accelerate the car when you merge onto the interstate.

Do your parents vote Democrat or Republican?

Overwhelm your mom with kindness on her birthday.

I authorize you to spend this money as you see fit.

In Louisiana, they call a county a “parish.”

We must liberate the prisoners of war.

Rodney, I’m going to delegate this project to you.

They gave Paramount Pictures exclusive rights to film the novel.

The Japanese “chanoyu” tea ceremony is a calming ritual.

The Prime Minister pulled together a coalition in Parliament.

The ghost will manifest itself with an eerie glow.

Choate Rosemary Hall is an elite college prep school.

Circulate this memo among the Staff.

This medicine is a good cold remedy.

We’ve reached the summit of Mt. Everest!

Her subtle insult cut deep, nonetheless!

We must revive this patient from his coma.

Darth Vader led the Imperial Army in Star Wars.

That was a deliberate act against my orders!

She honors her Native American heritage with her artworks.

You can see this bacterium under a microscope.

My instinct tells me that this dog might bite.

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


Lesson 29 – Needs Of Plants And Animals

NEW WORDS: Carson, Carson’s, Frederick, Google, Hixon, Hixon’s, Olmsted, Patagonian, Patel, Patel’s, architects, babirusa, banned, blueprint, botanical, brainstorming, cacti, chili, commune, compliance, concepts, conceptual, conduits, contractors, decommissioned, defunct, demolish, disembark, dismantle, duckweeds, ecologist, ecologists, emanating, ensures, followup, humanoid, innovative, interfaces, jerboa, lawmakers, learner, lifeforms, location’s, mara, materialize, nutrition, organizes, pangolin, peculiarities, pipelines, probabilities, purified, rad, reopens, rummages, searches, serval, shelters, sincerely, squatter’s, statistical, users, viable, visibly, volunteering

Chapter One: What to Do with a Defunct School
It’s the first day of fourth grade. As students wave goodbye to their families, they’re excited to go to school. Greenville School is all new. The building, the playground, and the parking lot are all new.

“What will happen to the old school that Greenville school has replaced?” one child asks.

Mrs. Patel answers, “Our city will raze the abandoned school building. They’ll dismantle the playground. And they’ll demolish the old parking lot.”

“What will go in that humongous empty place?” another student asks.

A number of potential ideas come cascading out, with assertive shouts emanating from some of the students.

“Wouldn’t it be rad if a development project put an Olympic-sized swimming pool there?”

“We could challenge the city to build the tallest skyscraper in the world!”


“No, how about we encourage the city to construct a new toy store there? We’d ask them to guarantee that they’d stock all of the best-known video games!”

“Those are all well-thought-out and intriguing possibilities,” Mrs. Patel says. “So keep brainstorming tonight. Then tomorrow, let’s examine the possibilities of coming up with something really innovative!”

The next day, Mrs. Patel reopens the topic of what to do with the decommissioned school’s grounds. One student speaks up. “Let’s make it a place for wild things to live. It could be like a nature preserve or a botanical garden,” the child says. “Then the townspeople can go on excursions there to see flowers, butterflies, and birds.”

There’s hearty debate amongst the students. But the majority in the class agree that this is a superior idea. It will be good for tourism, and a positive for the local economy. And it will visibly demonstrate environmental consciousness. Mrs. Patel says, “You can introduce your idea to our city leaders, but first, you’ll need to build awareness about what living things need. Are you ready to enhance your knowledge about that?”


Chapter Two: Plants and Their Needs
Mrs. Patel’s class takes a field trip to the city’s largest park, which has a number of pretty gardens scattered throughout. Many decades ago, it had been designed by the famous Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted was a journalist, a social critic, and a public administrator. But he was best known for being a landscape architect. You can find his influences in many places across the U.S.

In this particular landscape design, there are many varieties of plants. When this park was in its conceptual stages, they found this area to be a good, sunny place. So, when they broke ground on the project, they prepared the soil, they planted lots of seeds, and they provided plenty of water to the plants as they grew. Why do gardens need so much care?


Plants are living things, and thus, they need certain things to live and grow. Plants need light, and they get light from the sun. Plants also need water to live and grow. They get their water from rain, and they can’t live if there’s a scarcity of water. Plants need air and soil, too. Their leaves take in air, while their roots take in water from the soil.

A massive variety of plants live in nature. Gigantic trees are plants, and lots of them live where there’s plenty of rain. These round cacti are plants, and they have adapted to live where there is very little rain. Tiny duckweeds are plants, but they need to live ON water, so they float on the water’s surface.

Mrs. Patel asks, “What kinds of plants can meet their needs in our old school lot?” The children think about patterns in their city’s weather. How much sunshine is there, and how often does it rain? The class searches online, and it rummages through some useful botany books. They find out what kinds of plants have high probabilities of thriving in the old school lot.


Chapter Three: Animals and Their Needs
Now Mrs. Patel’s class wants to become more knowledgeable about what animals need. They take a followup field trip, and this time, they ride a bus to the city zoo. The animals at the zoo came from many locations around the globe. The children are mesmerized watching the zookeepers work. They’re particularly interested in their interfaces with the more dangerous animals! The animals get food from the workers, but there are different kinds of food. And all the animals get water, but some get more than others. Why is this so?

Animals are living creatures, and it’s necessary for them to have certain things to live and to grow. Animals need to eat food. At a zoo, zookeepers provide to the animals the kinds of nutrition that they need. They differentiate what they feed them based on what the animals eat in their original habitats.


In nature, animals obviously get food from the places where they live. Some kinds of animals eat plants for food (“herbivores”), some eat other animals (“carnivores”), and some eat both plants and animals (“omnivores”).

Animals also require water to live and to grow, so at a zoo, zookeepers give them water. Of course, in nature, animals live where they can locate the water that they need. But here at the zoo, this camel drinks from a hose. This lion drinks from a rain puddle.

Animals need air, too, and they get air from the places they live. Fish get air that is in the water. Worms get air that is in the soil. Birds get air above the land.

Animals also need shelter, so they discover or make shelters in the places where they live. A mother bear dug this underground den. This mother bird used tall grasses to make a nest. This crab found a shell on the beach and moved right in! “Squatter’s rights!” This cheetah finds shelter from the hot sun under a tree.

Mrs. Patel asks, “What kinds of animals can meet their needs in our old school lot?” The children think about that location’s peculiarities. How much water is nearby, and what plants or animals must they eat? How can animals make robust shelters there?


Chapter Four: People and What They Need
Mrs. Patel says, “Today we’ll engage in a field trip to City Hall!” The students and some volunteering parents ride a big tour bus, and they disembark at a stone building with a colorful flag in front.

“We will investigate the needs of one more kind of animal here,” says Mrs. Patel. The children try to guess what that animal is.

“A serval?”

“A babirusa?”

“A Patagonian mara?”

“A Gobi jerboa?”

“A pangolin?”

“Good heavens, kids” says Mrs. Patel. “What in heaven’s name are those animals?” (Mrs. Patel didn’t know that in third grade the kids had done a big project learning about rarely known and unusual animals.) “Remember those so that I can write them down later and Google images of them! I consider myself a lifelong learner, and I’ll gleefully add those to my ‘known-animal inventory’!”


“But no, certainly none of them. It’s us! We are going to learn about the needs that PEOPLE have. Another word for ‘people’ is ‘humans.’ Or in sci-fi and outer space movies, we might be described as ‘humanoid lifeforms‘ or ‘carbon-based units!’. Humans are a kind of animal. We need water, food, air, and shelter to live and grow. Workers at City Hall help to meet human needs in a city.”

First, the children have a session at the water office. Water comes from nearby lakes. The city ensures that the water is fresh and potable. The lake water flows through pipes to the city Waterworks. There, a complete system of reservoirs, pipelines, and conduits are utilized. The water is collected, purified, stored, and then pumped to urban users.

Next, the children visit the food office. In a metropolitan area, humans get food at markets of all types. The food originates on regional farms, so the food office makes sure that the food in the markets is safe to eat. Of course, humans eat foods from plants and other animals. Tomatoes, rice, chili peppers, and beans are parts of plants. Cheese, eggs, milk, and fish come from animals.


Humans build shelters using “materials” from nature. Many homes are made from wood, which comes from trees that grow in forests. Some schools are made of brick, which is made from bits of rock and clay. A city’s building office makes sure that shelters for humans are safe. There are lots of building codes that must be followed. The city wants to make sure that architects, general contractors, and builders are all in compliance with these imperative safety measures.

Mrs. Patel’s students are almost ready to present their ideas about what to do with the old school property. She has asked them constantly, “How could we also make the old school lot a nice place for people to visit?” People enjoy places to commune with nature. So, the class thinks of various ways to welcome humans. Finally, they talk to the city’s parks office.

Mrs. Patel’s students have gleaned lots of knowledge about what plants, animals, and people need. They have a lot of information to share, but they now know that making the old school lot into a nature area will take some significant work.

If animals are to thrive there, the natural area must have new plants so that the animals can get what they need. The plants must be the kinds that can get enough of the water and light that they need to grow in the place where the school used to be. Mrs. Patel’s students have completed their preparations for going to the city leaders to proceed with their presentation. They aim to share their concepts on how to make the nature project materialize!


Chapter Five: Science in Action. Meeting an Ecologist
Mrs. Patel is proud of her class. The students worked diligently on their presentation for the Greenville City Council. They’ve laid out a viable blueprint for a new natural home for plants and animals. Mrs. Patel’s students had learned a lot about what plants and animals need to survive. The students know that plants and animals get what they need from the places where they live.

How do people find out about what living things need? Mrs. Patel knows someone who can help explain more about this topic. She invites her friend Mr. Hixon to visit the class at school. “I am an ecologist,” Mr. Hixon says. “An ecologist is a type of scientist. We ecologists study living things, and we learn how living things relate to each other, and to the places they inhabit.”


Mr. Hixon explains that one important thing he does is collect data. He tells the class that he counts the types of living things in an area. He organizes groups of volunteers to help. It isn’t possible to count every living thing in a whole forest. But the volunteers list and count what they find in a small space. The small space is a sample of the bigger area, and ecologists can use statistical samples to form ideas about the bigger area.

Ecologists sometimes count the living things in one area at different times. This lets them see how the numbers and types of living things are changing. For example, if a place once had a lot of rabbits, but later had no rabbits, something must have changed. Scientists can investigate further to find out what caused the change.

Places can change, and when a place changes, the plants and animals that live there might not be able to get what they need anymore. That makes it important to protect the places from unwanted changes.

Mr. Hixon tells the students that he became an ecologist to learn about wildlife areas so that he can help to protect them.


He learned that this was important because of another scientist named Rachel Carson. A wildlife area in Maine was named after her. Rachel Carson was a scientist who studied how certain chemicals affect plants and animals. She observed certain areas for a long time, and she collected data about the living things there. She wrote a book called “Silent Spring.” She wondered, “what would spring be like if no birds were singing?” Rachel Carson’s data provided evidence that the chemicals were harmful to living things. She explained the evidence to lawmakers, and because of Rachel Carson’s work, some dangerous chemicals were banned. Living things and their environments were protected from future harm.

When Mr. Hixon’s time ended with the class, he took the opportunity to put a plug in for his field of work. “Class, thanks so much for your rapt attention today! You were wonderfully inquisitive and extremely polite. Maybe one or two of you might decide to get an environmental science degree in college when you are older. I sincerely hope so!”

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


Lesson 30 – Plant And Animal Survival

NEW WORDS: Airedale, Anna’s, Burmese, Cousteau, Croft, Jacques, Joshua, Lauren, Lauren’s, Moreno, Sonoran, adulthood, affecting, akin, altering, assimilate, astoundingly, attributes, barren, cactuses, ceases, circulating, conversely, cricket’s, dedicates, droopy, employing, enablers, encircle, energized, enfeebled, enormity, ensnare, espies, evade, exhaustive, farrago, fennec, filters, fleeting, flytrap, gilded, hairlike, hiking, horned, imbibe, inspecting, intermingled, jackrabbit, kneels, lightspeed, marigold, maturate, matured, misconstrue, mitigate, mobility, mosquitoes, motors, naturalist, naturalists, navigating, negatively, nonpareil, orphaned, outlandish, plushlike, positively, propagate, puppet, reassuring, recounts, reinforcing, reintroduce, reliably, reliance, relocate, resemblant, roving, sac, safeguarding, saguaro, scallop, scant, scavenge, speculates, speedily, stubby, submits, subsist, succor, surviving, suspects, tactile, tarantula, threats, tubular, twittering, unconditionally, versed, veterinarian, volunteered, watchful, wilting, womb

Chapter One: Lauren Saves an Owl
Lauren lives in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. It’s a hot, arid, barren place. She hikes there with her family every Saturday.

One spring day, Lauren finds a small owl sitting on the ground. It has plushlike, white feathers, with brown and gray ones intermingled.

As Lauren kneels down to look at the owl, it raises its wings and bobs its head. But it does not fly away. Lauren is watchful, and she suspects that it might be enfeebled.

Lauren’s mother submits that they should take the owl to a veterinarian. Dr. Moreno is the animal doctor who cares for Lauren’s Airedale terrier puppy and Burmese cat. As Dr. Moreno is inspecting the owl’s legs and wings, she smiles. With a tone that’s reassuring, she tells Lauren, “This little owl is not hurt. It is just too young to fly. It is a baby great horned owl, and it probably just fell from its nest.”

Lauren thinks about where she found the owl. She saw a large saguaro cactus with a hole in it. A gilded flicker woodpecker flew out of the hole. Lauren speculates that owls may make their nests in saguaro cactuses.


“What do we do now?” Lauren asks. “Should we take it back to the desert?”

“No” says Dr. Moreno. “We can’t reliably know where its home is. Other animals might hurt an owl this small. We’ll take it to a place where humans can care for it. We’ll relocate it there until it learns to fly and to hunt for food. Then we can reintroduce it to the desert to make its new home, but not until it can take care of itself.”

Dr. Moreno takes the owl to a place called the Desert Wildlife Center. Lauren and her mother go to see where the owl will be cared for. There are other animals there. Lauren sees a desert tortoise, a gray fox, and she even sees a tarantula!

Most of the animals there have been rescued. Some of them had been hurt. People now care for them while they heal. Some young animals were separated from their parents. People are taking the place of their parents until these animals have matured enough to subsist on their own.

The workers demonstrate to Lauren how they will care for the owl. They show her another owl that is almost old enough to be released back into the desert! It will practice flying in the big yard. It must also learn to eat food that it will scavenge for in the desert.

They ask Lauren if she would like to become a volunteer at the center. She will learn how to help take care of the animals there. Lauren says “yes.” She is excited to help!


Chapter Two: What Parts Do Animals Have?
Let’s think about workers at a wildlife center like the one caring for the owl that Lauren found. These workers must be well-versed in “all things animals.” Some creatures that need succor can’t take care of themselves. They may be hurt. They may be too young.

Wildlife caregivers must know what animals need to live. They must know what the animals eat. They must know how the animals move around. The workers are good at employing what they know to care for the animals. In this picture, a wildlife caregiver feeds a baby sloth.

All animals have parts. These parts have different purposes. Some parts help an animal to find and to catch food. Some parts help an animal to move from place to place. Some parts help an animal to breathe. All of an animal’s parts help it to maturate and to survive.

Wings, legs, and eyes are some owl parts. This is an adult great horned owl. What do its parts help it do?


Most animals must be capable of roving about. Some animals run. Some animals swim. Some animals hop from place to place. Animals have parts that help their mobility. The owl that Lauren found has wings. Wings are enablers for flying. Fish have parts that help them to swim. A jackrabbit has parts that help it to hop quickly. A cheetah has parts that help it to run at lightspeed.

Animals must eat to stay alive. They have parts that help them get and eat food. Some animals have bills that help them eat berries, nuts, and seeds. Some animals have sharp teeth that help them to tear and to eat meat. Some animals have long tongues. These help them to catch insects. A bird’s beak helps it gather seeds and berries. A frog catches insects with its tongue.

Animals must get oxygen to stay alive. Some animals have parts that help them live and breathe on land. Some animals have parts that help them get oxygen that’s in water. Some animals can live and breathe both on land AND in the water! Sharks have parts that help them get oxygen underwater. Salamanders can breathe in oxygen on land. AND they can get oxygen from the water!

What parts do these elephants have? What do those parts do that helps the elephants survive? Think about your favorite animal. How does it move? How does it eat? How does it breathe?


Chapter Three: What Parts Do Plants Have?
Animals have parts that help them grow and survive. Plants have parts that help them grow and survive, too. Plants can’t move like animals can. But plants can still get water and sunlight. Plants can get air. Plants have seeds. Astoundingly, some plants can even “eat” other living things! The desert marigold has parts that help it get what it needs.

Plants must get water to stay alive. They have parts called roots that take in water. A plant’s roots grow under the ground. Roots can be long or short, and they can be thick or thin. They can grow deep into the soil, or they can stay close to the surface. But they all help a plant get the water it needs to survive. This prickly pear cactus lives in the Sonoran Desert. Its roots are stubby and close to the surface. They can take in water right after a fleeting rainfall.

You can see the roots of this fallen tree, which grew deep into the soil. When roots take in water, where does it go? It moves through a part called a stem. A stem helps get water to the plant’s other parts. It also helps hold a plant upright. Stems can be thick or thin. They can be hard or soft. A tree trunk is a kind of stem. It is thick and rough. This desert plant has many stems.


Plants need sunlight to stay alive. Leaves are the part of a plant that imbibe sunlight. They use sunlight and water to make food for the plant. Leaves come in a farrago of shapes and sizes. Plants in shady places often have larger leaves so that they can take in more of the scant sunlight.

Colorful flowers are probably the first thing you notice about a plant. Insects notice flowers, too! They land on the flowers, picking up pollen with their legs and wings. Then they carry it to other plants. This pollen is necessary for plants to make seeds. Seeds grow new plants. Can you see the yellow pollen on the bee’s body?

Plants can’t bite or chew like animals can. But did you know that some plants can still “eat” other living things? An insect lands on the plant. It smells something sweet and crawls inside. Then the plant snaps shut! The Venus flytrap closes itself to trap insects. The plant then gets some of the nutrients it needs to survive. A pitcher plant traps bugs in a leaf that is tubular. These outlandish plants are quite unconventional. Most plants do not consume animals in this way.


Chapter Four: How Do Animals Use Their Senses?
Animals need to move, eat, and breathe to stay alive. Animals also need to stay safe. Animals use their senses to assimilate information about their environments. An environment is where a plant or animal lives. Animals also use their senses to find food. Here’s a weird one for you! Did you know that a snake uses its tongue to smell?

Most animals use their eyes to see their environments. But some animals don’t have eyes, or cannot see well. They must use other parts to detect what is around them. Bats send out sound waves. They sense how the waves bounce off of things around them. This is how they find food. It also helps them detect threats. An eagle has large eyes and nonpareil sight. It can see food from almost two miles away! A star-nosed mole’s eyes do not see well. But it has an amazing tactile sense, and it uses its nose to feel its surroundings. It can touch twelve objects in one second, to get an exhaustive feel for what is surrounding it! Here’s another odd example. A drum fish has a sac filled with air inside its body. The sac shakes when other animals swim nearby.


Animals use hearing to stay safe and to find food. Some animals have ears of great enormity. They can hear things that are far away. Other animals do not have ears at all. They can feel when things move. They sense the air and the ground as it vibrates around them. Here are a couple of examples. A fennec fox’s large ears can hear food moving underground.

Have you ever been bitten by a mosquito? Mosquitoes can find you because they smell your sweat or breath. Then, as they get closer, they can feel the heat from your body, too. Many animals rely on their senses of touch and smell to survive. A snake smells with its tongue. It also has a part on its head that can feel heat. A grasshopper has tiny hairlike parts all over its body. It can feel when the air around it moves.

Animals respond to what they feel, hear, and smell around them. What does an animal do when it senses danger? What does it do when it senses food? An eagle espies a fish from the sky. It swoops down speedily to catch it. An octopus squirts ink to escape from a threat. An iguana feels that the sand in its nest is finally warm enough. Then it lays its eggs inside. A scallop has many tiny eyes. It closes its shell and swims away when it sees a threat. A cricket rubs its legs together to make a chirping sound. The cricket’s body has the most energy when it is warm. That is why you hear the most cricket twittering in the summer.


Chapter Five: How Do Plants Respond to the Environment?
You read about how animals use their senses. Plants cannot see, hear, or smell like animals can. But they do sense and respond to what happens around them. Plants sense and respond to light. They sense and respond to temperature. They sense and respond to water. Some even sense and respond to touch.

Plants need sunlight to grow and survive. Some plants need more light than others. Plants respond to light in many ways. All plants use sunlight to propagate the food that they need to grow. Some plants turn themselves toward sunlight. Some plants bloom based on the altering length of daylight. Plants respond to how hot or cold it is outside. Many trees lose their leaves when it becomes cold in the fall, when days have less sunlight. Some plants wilt when it is too hot. Wilting makes a plant’s leaves droop away from sunlight.


You sweat when you’re hot. Plants release water through their leaves to cool off. Plants need water to grow and survive. The plant here is standing up straight. It has enough water circulating through its stems and leaves. The plant here is wilting. Its stems and leaves have become soft and droopy. It needs more water.

Do you remember the Venus flytrap plant from Chapter Three? It has spiky hairs on the surface of its leaves. When something touches the hairs, the leaves snap shut. Plants respond to touch in other ways, too. Some plants grow toward things that they touch. They can wrap around or climb objects that are nearby. Conversely, a plant’s roots can grow AWAY from rocks and other objects under the ground.

What are some plants around your home? You can observe them. You can see how they respond to sunlight. You can see how they respond to temperature. You can see how they respond to water. You can see how they respond to touch.


Chapter Six: Plants Are Alike and Different
Remember the desert where Lauren was hiking when she found the little owl? One type of plant that she saw there was a saguaro cactus. A saguaro cactus is green, prickly, and tall, and it has branches that look like arms. These are some of the traits of a saguaro cactus. Traits are how a plant or animal looks and acts.

You can tell types of plants by these attributes. For example, trees are larger than most plants. They have trunks, and they grow leaves from their branches. They spread out to capture sunlight. How are these trees alike? Trees are resemblant in some ways, but they are different in other ways. Some trees are tall and thin, some are wide, some are extremely tall. How are these trees different?

Offspring of living things get traits from their parents. They will look and act mostly the same. A young plant looks similar to its parent, but it looks different in some ways, too. How are these young plants like their parents? How are they different?


Chapter Seven: Animals Are Alike and Different
The Desert Wildlife Center caring for the owl that Lauren found has a new bird! It is a cactus wren. The wren is brown, white, and gray like the great horned owl. It also builds its nest in a cactus. But this bird is not big like the great horned owl. It is so small that it fits in a person’s hand.

How are birds similar and different? Animals of the same type can have many of the same traits. For example, most birds fly. All birds have feathers, wings, and beaks, and all birds lay eggs. Sometimes it can be hard to tell birds apart. How are these birds akin?

But birds can be different too. Some birds are very small, while others are large. Some birds eat meat, while others eat seeds and berries, or drink nectar from flowers. Some birds make nests in the ground, while others make nests in trees and cacti. Different birds have parts that differ to help them survive in different places. How are these birds alike and different?


Animals get traits from their parents. They look and act mostly the same. Baby animals become more and more like their parents as they grow. Some types of baby animals look like their parents as soon as they come out of the womb. Other types of baby animals look different, at first. They change as they grow, and they start to look more like their parents. Which of these baby animals look like their parents?


Chapter Eight: How Do Adult Animals Care for Their Young?
Each time that she dedicates a few hours at the Desert Wildlife Center, Lauren finds it to be positively reinforcing. She’s really glad that she volunteered to help there. She is always energized to see the baby owl that she rescued. Sometimes the owl is eating when she arrives. The workers at the center feed it with an owl puppet!

A wildlife caregiver explains to Lauren that the young owl needs food to grow. The little owl is more likely to take food from a puppet that looks like its mother or father. It is used to getting its food from a parent. Its parents cared for it while it was in the nest. The workers do not want to teach the owl that it gets food from humans. Adult owls catch food to feed to their young. Living things can produce young, and many baby animals need help from their parents to survive. They are too young to find and catch their own food. Their parents help feed them. A red fox mother’s body makes milk for her young. An adult penguin catches fish for its chick. An Anna’s hummingbird gets nectar from plants. It returns to the nest to feed the nectar to its offspring.


Adult animals also help their babies stay clean. An adult monkey picks bugs and dirt from its baby’s fur. A mother cheetah licks its cub to help it stay clean. Many baby animals are too young and too small to stay safe on their own. Their mothers and fathers will be safeguarding them until they get bigger, stronger, and self-sufficient. Adult crocodiles carry their babies in their mouths to keep them safe. A mother kangaroo keeps her baby safe in a pouch on her belly. A group of adult elephants will encircle a calf to keep it safe.

You were a baby once, too! Human babies need a lot of special care. Human babies cannot do anything for themselves when they are born. They cannot talk when they are born. They cannot move on their own. They rely unconditionally on their parents for food and safety. Unlike most animals, humans stay with their parents for a long time.


Chapter Nine: Surviving Young
One day, Lauren is at the Desert Wildlife Center. The owl has changed so much! It is bigger, and it is learning to find and catch food. The best part is that it can fly. So, soon it will be able to return to its natural environment.

As baby animals grow, they learn to care for themselves. They can find food, and they can evade danger. They do not need their parents as much. Many baby animals can survive on their own after a few months. Some animals stay with their parents for many years. A young white-tailed deer ceases to drink milk from its mother after two months. Baby monkeys begin to climb trees when they are very young.

Some baby animals don’t need their parents at all! They are able to survive on their own from birth. Most snake babies slither away to scavenge for food as soon as they leave the egg. A baby brush turkey digs its own way out of the nest. It can walk, run, and fly right away. Baby sea turtles are good at navigating straight to the ocean as soon as they hatch.


People in a wildlife center take care of animals in the hope that the animals can one day take care of themselves. Some animals that live with people will always need human care. Pets are different from wild animals. Both baby and adult pets depend on humans for food, water, and shelter. They might not survive on their own, even when they have reached their animal adulthood. Pets rely on humans for food, and some pets even have a reliance on humans to stay clean. And when pets are sick, humans often give them medicine.


Chapter Ten: Science in Action: Meeting an Ocean Naturalist
Lauren has been volunteering at the Desert Wildlife Center for many months now. Her owl friend has grown bigger and stronger. The naturalists at the center believe it is now ready to survive on its own!

At school, Lauren recounts her story about the owl. She tells her teacher and classmates about the people who helped her at the wildlife center. Lauren’s teacher, Mrs. Croft, tells the class that the people who work at the Desert Wildlife Center can help desert animals because they know a lot about how desert animals survive.

Mrs. Croft tells her students, “We have been studying the desert. There are rescue centers where naturalists help hurt or orphaned animals in all kinds of habitats. I know an ocean naturalist who can talk with us about what he does to help marine wildlife. He helps ocean wildlife just like Lauren’s friends help desert animals.”

Today, Lauren’s class has a virtual visitor. Mrs. Croft has set up a video call with an ocean naturalist named Joshua. Joshua works at a sea turtle rescue center, where he helps sea turtles that have been injured.

Sometimes fishing nets ensnare the turtles, or they get hit by boat motors. Sometimes turtles misconstrue plastic garbage in the ocean for food, and they eat the plastic and get sick. If the turtles are hurt or sick, people take care of them in tanks at the rescue center until the turtles can survive on their own again.


Naturalists at the sea turtle rescue center mitigate some problems to help the turtles survive. They design and build tanks to hold the turtles in water. The water in the tanks must run through pumps and filters to keep it clean.

Joshua learns a lot about sea turtles. One way he studies them is by observing them where they naturally live. But the sea turtles live in the ocean. How can Joshua stay underwater to study the turtles? People need to breathe air to survive. Well, Joshua is a trained diver. He uses scuba gear to breathe underwater. He tells the class that he uses breathing equipment invented by an iconic ocean scientist named Jacques Cousteau.

“In fact,” Joshua says, “Jacques Cousteau inspired me to work to save sea turtles! He was a French scientist. He designed a breathing tool that allowed people to spend long periods of time underwater. Scientists used his invention to collect information from below the ocean’s surface. Cousteau made underwater films about the ocean, too. He wanted to show people how human activities were negatively affecting living things there. He inspired people around the world to care about the ocean and Earth’s other environments, too.”

Click on this link to move forward to Module E, Lessons 31 – 40


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