What Is Critical Thinking English Language Essay

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Traditionally, schools have always focused on teacher- centred classrooms that place teachers in the forefront and students in the background, learning through memorization. In this system, students are like sponges, absorbing information and regurgitating it for exams. They are therefore passive in their learning, taking things at face value and having difficulty to reflect and think beyond what is given to them. In other words, traditional teaching methods have made it difficult for students to think critically.

But what exactly does it mean to "think critically"? According to the Centre for Critical Thinking (1996), "Critical thinking is thinking that assesses itself." It involves the questioning of everything, including one's own thoughts and the very questions that one is asking. In this system, students should not only be able to understand and apply what they have learned, but will also be able to analyse situations, make logical predictions, and identify as well as solve problems. Teaching critical thinking is therefore teaching students how to think rather than what to think.

The rapid rise of technology in the world today has resulted in children being bombarded with information from sources such as the internet and television. This information, however, is not always factual but sometimes bias, invalid and fictional. It is therefore important for schools to teach students to question the data they are receiving so that they can obtain accurate, objective information. Critical thinking is thus an important life skill that will help our students function effectively in the world. According to Wilson and Harris, "the ability to read a complex document, to glean significant facts from it, and to detect and analyze any inherent biases and misstatements is a competency clearly needed (iv)." While learning new things is important, critical thinking is essential for manipulating this data to make it useful for daily lives.

Teaching critical thinking

Reading comprehension is one important tool for teaching students to filter, question and manipulate information. The primary goal for any reading passage is comprehension, which is one of the earliest levels of critical thinking. Comprehension is vital for learners to reach the higher levels of critical thinking which involve being able to recognize the same information when put differently, creating meaning, applying them and making predictions. The comprehension passages offered in this book therefore seek to probe students' minds into thinking critically. They are informational like those that are introduced to students from technological sources. Thus, students will have practice thinking critically about the information they receive. The questions accompanying each passage all test the different levels of critical thinking, according to Bloom's Taxonomy of learning objectives.

Bloom's Taxonomy

Bloom's Taxonomy is a way of categorizing the different level of thinking skills required in the classroom. It was proposed by Benjamin Bloom in 1956 and consists of 6 levels of learning domains. This taxonomy was proposed as learning objectives that educators were to follow in order to encourage their students to think critically. The following is a list of the domains arranged from the lowest order to the highest. The "key words" provided are words that educators use when they are testing that particular domain.

1) Knowledge

The lowest level of thinking is recalling, recognizing and locating information. In reading comprehensions, knowledge questions require students to retrieve such things as facts, concepts, events and main ideas.

Example: What is the name of …?

This question requires students to locate a factual piece of information from a passage and is therefore a knowledge question.

Key words: who, what, where, when, how, which, list, name, locate, state, define, identify, label, match, outline, select, tell, show.

2) Comprehension

This domain requires more thinking than the knowledge domain. It refers to not only being able to recall facts and concepts, but to demonstrate an understanding of them i.e. the characteristics, the significance or the cause. Questions from this domain often ask students to restate the information in a different way or understand when a point is being said differently.

Example: Give 2 examples of….

In this question, the student is not just asked to recall information from a passage, but to show they understand it enough to give examples that demonstrate the information being given on symbiotic relationships.

Key words : distinguish, describe, discuss, restate, rephrase, compare, give examples, demonstrate, classify, summarise, explain.

3) Application

After showing that one has recognised and understood the facts and concepts given, the next higher order of thinking is manipulating that information in different ways or in different situations. In comprehension passages, students may be asked to apply information in different situations or apply solutions to different problems.

Example: After reading this passage on pollution, what is one way you can help clean your environment?

This question asks the learner to apply what they learned about pollution in

Key words: apply, relate, construct, demonstrate, examine, illustrate, show, dramatise.

4) Analysis

The fourth level of thinking is analysis, which refers to examining information by breaking it down into parts and studying each part to determine its significance to the whole. Here, students pay attention to details, interpret and create meanings and find associations between things.

Example: Why did…happened?

The learner is thus required to look beyond the actual changes that have occurred, and required to question why these changes occurred.

Key words: analyse, compare, contrast, investigate, categorise, examine, differentiate, relate, break down, illustrate

5) Synthesis

The next order of thinking is "synthesis" which is the process of putting parts together to create a new whole. Learners at this level are able to generalize, form conclusions, predict and

Question: Compose a poem that demonstrates the process of…

Write a new ending to the story.

Key words: create, construct, imagine, predict, rearrange, combine, compile, design, formulate, compose, elaborate, organise

6) Evaluation

The highest order in Bloom's Taxonomy is evaluation. This skill refers to learners being able to use all of the skills in order to examine and judge the value of something. This means that the reader must have the knowledge and understanding of information, able to manipulate that information inside and outside before they can evaluate it.

Example: What are the criteria you would use to judge…?

Key words: determine, evaluate, judge, explain, recommend,

Introduction to this book

Objectives

The objectives of the passages in this book are as follows.

Students will:

• Recall and locate specific information in a passage

• Answer the questions, who, what, where, when and how in a passage

• Define words using their own words

• Find the synonyms and antonyms for words

• Identify the main idea of a passage

• Support their answers with evidence from the passage

• Use prior knowledge and facts to make inferences

• Form conclusions based on information found in a passage

• Use the knowledge learned to create something new

• Use complete sentences to answer questions

The passages presented in this book are for Standard 1 students. They are fun and educational, with topics ranging from Caribbean culture, animal life, historical events and more. Each passage is accompanied by 5-7 questions. These questions vary from multiple choice questions, true/ false questions, fill in the blanks, and open ended questions requesting factual information, or requiring students to make inferences. The questions are arranged in order of Bloom's Taxonomy, from the lowest thinking skills to the highest.

Suggestions for teachers

In the beginning of the book, there are 2 example passages that teachers can refer to in order to understand what is required and why. Teachers can introduce a passage by first reading the title only, then pausing to ask students to discuss their prior knowledge on the topic. In this way, the teacher builds up expectations and curiosity in the students. The teacher can continue pausing at intervals throughout the passage and ask students to make predictions. For passages based on topics that the teacher feel students are not familiar with, he/ she can introduce the unfamiliar concepts first so that students will have a better sense of what is going on.

Reading the passage can take place by having students take turns to orally read it. This will help their oral reading skills, as well as stimulate auditory learners who learn better from listening. The students can do the activities, either in pairs, groups or by themselves. If you feel it necessary, you may want to go through the questions first and explain what they are asking. You may also want to do a few questions with your students, so that they will better understand what is required of them. You can begin by giving your students a few questions to work with at first, so the pressure on them is lessened.

The Puppy

Roger wanted a puppy more than anything in the world. For months, he had dreamed of the day that he and his parents would go to the pound and adopt his brand new pet. But Roger's mother insisted they wait until Roger's birthday, which was still three months away. Roger thought of puppies all day. He hoped his would have brown eyes, fluffy fur, and a playful bark that Roger would feel through his shirt when the puppy curled up on his lap.

Walking home from school one day, he passed a neighbour's house and noticed a big cardboard box on the porch. Curious, he ventured closer and saw his neighbour, Mr. Singh, lifting a fluffy puppy from the box! The words "Free Puppies" were written across the side of the box in big, red letters.

Mr. Singh saw Roger eyeing the box and waved to him to come closer. "Your name is Roger, isn't it? You live down the block." Roger nodded and held his arms out for the puppy. Mr. Singh was handing him to hold. It had brown eyes and its fur was as soft as Roger had dreamed it would be.

"Would you like to adopt that puppy?" asked Mr. Singh, smiling kindly. Before he knew what he was saying, Roger blurted out, "Yes!"C:\Users\CREATIVE BOOKS\Desktop\john\G6_Comp_Txt\clipart\clipart0020.jpg

"Is it alright with your parents?"

"It's fine. We've been planning to get a puppy for months."

Though it wasn't the whole truth, Roger couldn't help himself. He let Mr. Singh put the puppy into a little box, hand him a can of food, and send him on his way.

Answer the following questions.

How many months away was Roger's birthday?

Why did Roger have to wait for this birthday to get a puppy?

Explain why Roger did not tell Mr. Singh the whole truth.

Why did Roger accept the puppy? Discuss your answer with evidence from the passage.

Consider the two options presented to Roger when offered the puppy. Discuss the consequences of each action.

What is your opinion on Roger's decision to accept the puppy even though Roger's mother insisted that he wait until his birthday? Do you think he should have told the whole truth? State why. Tell what you would have done if you were in Roger's position and Mr. Singh offered you a puppy you wanted more than anything else.

Making the TeamC:\Users\CREATIVE BOOKS\Downloads\clipart\cricket1.gif

It has been my lifelong dream to play on the standard five cricket team. I began playing cricket when I was in standard one. My older brother taught me to play. He is four years older than I am. He practices with me every afternoon and always attends my games with my parents.

This year, I started standard five. The standard five cricket team try-outs were announced last month. Every day since the announcement, my brother has helped me prepare for the team try-outs. The try-outs were held last Saturday morning. Twenty-five students from my year group tried out for the team. The team only has spaces for eleven students. I know I worked as hard as I could to prepare for the try-outs. I felt like I had done a good job at the try-outs, but I was still nervous on Saturday night and Sunday morning, waiting for the team list to be posted. On Sunday afternoon, my parents took me to the school to see who had made the team. I was so happy when I saw my name on the list. It is so exciting to be a part of the team.

When we left the school, my parents said we should go out for pizza. It would just be a little family celebration in my honour. They called my brother, and he met us at the restaurant. He walked in with a big smile on his face. He was really proud of me. My parents were very proud too, although they warned me about keeping my grades up and making sure I did all my homework every day. They do not need to worry about those things. I'll work very hard to stay on the team.

What standard is the student in?

Summarise what the first paragraph discusses.

What is the student's goal and what does he do to achieve it?

How does perseverance relate to the student achieving his lifelong dream?

Think of a dream of your own. Select a quality of the student that you think would help you be successful like him. Describe the process it would take for you to achieve your goal.

Evaluate the final paragraph. How is it significant? Compare and contrast the differences between the three paragraphs and explain the sequencing of events.

Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are home to more than twenty-five percent of all marine life, yet they only cover a very small fraction of the ocean floor -- less than 0.2%, to be exact! The degree of biodiversity we observe in coral reefs is not unique. On land, at least fifty percent of all the plant and animal species can be found in an ecosystem that represents merely about seven percent of Earth's surface area. That ecosystem is called a rain forest. It's no wonder that we often nickname coral reefs "rainforests of the sea." C:\Users\CREATIVE BOOKS\Desktop\john\G6_Comp_Txt\clipart\coral.jpg

Coral reefs are made of corals (also called polyps). And, contrary to our intuition, corals are animals, not plants. There are microscopic plants that live within the animal tissues (a symbiotic relationship). The animals benefit from the energy that the plants provide through photosynthesis. The plants are protected within the coral tissues and gain nutrients from animal wastes. These tiny plants are called zooxanthellae and are responsible for much of the colour seen in reef corals.

There are two types of corals -- hard corals and soft corals. Hard corals secrete calcium carbonate that later becomes limestone. When they die, they leave their chalky, horny skeletons behind to form the framework of coral reefs. Over time, as living polyps grow on top of dead ones, coral reefs get bigger and taller. They expand at a rate of 0.16-7.8 inches a year.

What percentage of marine life depends on coral reefs?

Give an example of a system that is similar to coral reefs in terms of biodiversity.

State and describe the relationship between plants and animals in a coral reef.

Compare and contrast two ecosystems in terms of biodiversity. Suggest ways in which you can protect these ecosystems.

Why are coral reefs important and how are they at risk? Support you answer with details.

Design a flyer illustrating the importance of coral reefs. Argue for the preservation of them. Give as much supporting detail as possible to persuade your audience.

Divali and the Epic Tale of Rama

Divali is a Hindu holiday that takes place once a year around October and November. During the five-day celebration, people wear new clothes. They exchange sweets. They set off firecrackers. And most importantly, they light up oil lamps ("diyas" in Hindi) and place them all around their homes. The reason for doing this is obvious, for Divali is the Festival of Lights!C:\Users\CREATIVE BOOKS\Desktop\john\G6_Comp_Txt\clipart\divali.jpg

Interestingly, though Divali is a very popular holiday in India, there is no unified account about its origin. Among the various versions, the epic tale of Rama is perhaps the most famous. Prince Rama was the eldest son of the king of Ayodhya. He was supposed to be the next king when his father retired from ruling. As the transition of power was about to take place, Rama's stepmother intervened. She wanted her own son, Bharata, to be the next king. To get what she wanted, she went to see the king and reminded him that he had once granted her two wishes. She demanded Rama be banished from the kingdom for fourteen years and Bharata be the crowned prince. The king was torn. On one hand, he adored Rama and did not want to let him go. On the other hand, he was the king, and he must honour his words. Difficult as it was, the king ordered Rama to leave the kingdom. Rama knew his father's struggle. He accepted the command in good spirit. He departed with his wife, Sita, and younger brother, Lakshmana. Shortly after the trio left Ayodhya, the king died and Bharata ascended the throne.

When Bharata finally learned what his mother had done, he sought out Rama in a forest. He begged him to return, but Rama refused. Realising that he could not change his brother's mind, Bharata took his brother's sandals and said, "I will place these sandals on the throne as symbols of your authority, and I will rule the kingdom as regent. When the fourteen years of banishment are over, I will happily deliver the kingdom back to you."

What kind of holiday is Divali?

List at least two things that people do during Divali celebrations.

Explain the significance behind Divali being named the Festival of Lights.

Analyse the second paragraph and explain the reasoning for the king's internal conflict.

Identify an important quality in the king and show how it is connected to his internal conflict. Use evidence from the passage to support your answer.

Evaluate the final paragraph. Describe the relationship between Bharata and Rama. Why did Bharata offer Rama the throne and explain the reason for Rama's refusal to return to the kingdom before his exile?

DiffusionC:\Users\CREATIVE BOOKS\Desktop\john\G6_Comp_Txt\clipart\diffusion.jpg

Have you ever wondered why we smell bread baking throughout the house? The answer is diffusion. A good way to describe diffusion is the moving of molecules from a place where they are concentrated close together to a place where they are less concentrated or farther apart. When molecules are spread out evenly, diffusion seems to stop.

Smells travel in the air by diffusion. Because molecules are always moving, some molecules leave the bread as it is baking. They are vented with the excess heat from the oven. These tiny molecules of bread travel through the air throughout the house to our noses.

Have you ever passed by a bakery and noticed the delicious smells down the street from it? If the wind is blowing, there will be more mixing of the molecules in the air. That can either make the smell reach you sooner, or it can spread the molecules out so that you don't notice the smell as much. Since our brains are used to the smell of air, we don't smell the oxygen, nitrogen, or carbon dioxide. Instead, we smell the other molecules mixed with our air. This is why we smell the bread baking, smoke, perfume, or other smells.

What process is involved when we smell bread baking?

Describe the process involved in question one.

Provide an example of diffusion other than the one stated in the passage.

Examine the scents in your area. Do you smell anything? Explain why you do or don't smell anything.

Identify and state the most important part of the diffusion process.

Imagine that there is a foul smell in your area. Describe a process by which you would attempt to rid yourself of it. Give a detailed account of how you would go about this task.

Global Warming

You know that the sun is the source of all energy on Earth. But sometimes we get a double dose of that energy. Solar radiation reaches the earth. The earth soaks up some of it and reflects some back to the atmosphere. The reflected radiation is absorbed by the gases in the atmosphere. The gases act like the glass walls of a greenhouse. They trap the warm air in and reflect it back to earth again. Scientists call this the greenhouse effect.C:\Users\CREATIVE BOOKS\Desktop\john\G6_Comp_Txt\clipart\glacier.jpg

You may have heard that the greenhouse effect is a bad thing. But the truth is life could not exist on earth without it. Our planet would be cold. However, an increase in the greenhouse effect would make earth too hot. Many scientists think that this is happening now. There is an increase in carbon dioxide. This is causing an increase in the greenhouse effect. The earth is warming up.

Temperatures around the earth have steadily gone up over the past two hundred years. The past twenty years have seen the biggest increase. If this continues, it could have a shocking effect on the earth. People's lives could be changed in a negative way.

What is the source of all energy on Earth?

Describe the process involved in the greenhouse effect.

What is one way you can help reduce global warming?

Compare and contrast the pros and cons of the greenhouse effect on our planet.

The final paragraph suggests that people's lives may be changed if temperature rises continue. Predict at least two negative impacts that global warming may have on the earth. At least one of those impacts should include its effects in your community.

Based on you answer for the previous question, recommend preventive strategies that can be implemented to avoid disaster.

Polar Bears and Global Warming

Polar bears have a scientific name. It is Ursus maritimus. That's Latin for sea bear. Some cultures refer to polar bears as the great white bear, ice bear, or nanook. Polar bears are the largest kind of bear on Earth. They live in the Arctic. They are used to winters where temperatures dip to 22 below zero Fahrenheit and summers reach no higher than 50 degrees.C:\Users\CREATIVE BOOKS\Desktop\john\G6_Comp_Txt\clipart\pbear.jpg

Polar bears spend most of their time around water. Zook is one such polar bear. He hunts, travels, and mates on the sea ice. He is a phenomenal swimmer. He has a coat that conserves heat. He has a layer of fat for warmth. Zook weighs 1,000 pounds. In general, fully grown males weigh between 880 and 1300 pounds. Fully grown females are approximately half that size. They have sharp, jagged teeth. They like to swallow their prey in large chunks. They have enormous paws that act like snowshoes on the ice.

Polar bears are the largest predator in the Arctic water ecosystem. They need to eat around four pounds of fat a day. They primarily hunt ringed seals. They like to catch seals by waiting for them by their breathing holes even if they have to stay still for hours. When they can't find ringed seals, they will hunt bearded seals, harp seals, walruses, beluga whales, and seabirds. They eat the most from late April to mid-July. When the ice is gone, which is supposed to be only three to four months, polar bears usually fast. Some, though, move north in the summer to hunt.

Which is the largest kind of bear on Earth and where does it live?

Give at least two examples of why polar bears spend most of their time around water.

Name one thing that can affect the habitat of the polar bear.

Explore at least two possible consequences of global warming on polar bears.

Design a campaign flyer to save polar bears. Support your campaign by providing important details about the harmful effects of global warming on polar bears and ways in which people can help save them.

Evaluate the effectiveness of your plan and suggest ways that it may be improved.

How a Thermometer WorksC:\Users\CREATIVE BOOKS\Desktop\john\G6_Comp_Txt\clipart\thermom.jpg

How hot is it outside? How cool will it be tonight? Do you have a fever? The way we answer these questions is by using a thermometer. People are always interested in measuring things, so it is not surprising that a device was invented to measure temperature. It is called a thermometer. "Therm" means heat, and "ometer" means a measuring device. Some of the things we measure are the temperature of the air, the temperature of our bodies, and the temperature of food when we cook. Temperature is a measure of the hotness or coldness of an object.

Did you ever wonder how a thermometer works? A thermometer has a glass tube sealed at both ends and is partly filled with a liquid like mercury or alcohol. As the temperature around the thermometer's bulb heats up, the liquid rises in the glass tube. The glass tube is mounted on a backboard that is marked in units called degrees. When it is hot, the liquid inside the thermometer will expand and rise in the tube. The opposite happens when it is cold. The temperature on a thermometer is read by finding the level of the liquid in the tube and the number on the temperature scale across from it. The temperature is written in numbers with the (degree) sign. For example, 70 F is read: 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Alcohol is a good liquid to use in a thermometer because it remains a liquid over most of the normal temperatures found on the Earth's surface. You will sometimes use alcohol thermometers in school. The alcohol is often coloured red or green so that the liquid can be seen more easily. However, alcohol is not much use at hot temperatures because it boils at about 80Celsius (176F), which is too a low temperature for many things to be measured with an alcohol thermometer. For higher temperatures a different liquid is needed so mercury is used.

What is a thermometer used for?

Name three uses for a thermometer.

Give an example of an appropriate use for an alcohol thermometer and a mercury thermometer.

Compare and contrast the differences between alcohol and mercury thermometers.

Why would it be inappropriate to try to use an alcohol thermometer to measure the temperature of boiling water? Suggest an alternate type of thermometer that may be used and explain your choice.

Evaluate the pros and cons of the thermometers in the passage and recommend a thermometer for you classroom. Give supporting details.

What Are Hurricanes?

Hurricanes form over warm ocean water. Most of them form in the South Atlantic Ocean. They only form in the summer and early autumn months. Without the heat of the warm ocean during the summer months, hurricanes could not form. No one knows exactly what causes hurricanes.C:\Users\CREATIVE BOOKS\Desktop\john\G6_Comp_Txt\clipart\hurricane.jpg

We do know that during the months of May to November, large areas of very low pressure form over the surface of the ocean. Warm, moist air rises, creating low pressure areas. Cooler air pushing down from the north begins to take its place. The moving air begins to swirl, and a tropical cyclone begins.

A tropical cyclone can be seen on radar. The rain clouds that form a tropical cyclone make a spiral. The spiral swirls counter clockwise. It looks like a giant doughnut. The hole in the middle is called the eye of the storm. The eye is an area of very low pressure. It is an area of calm while the storm swirls around it.

These storms can be hundreds of miles wide. Warm damp air from the warm ocean water rises up inside the eye several miles high. As the air rises, it cools. Rain falls. Cooler air falls, too. This puts pressure on the warm sea air. The pressure pumps the warm sea air back up into the eye of the storm. The storm grows.

When and where are hurricanes formed?

Give an example of a key element in the creation of hurricanes.

Describe the process that occurs in the formation of a hurricane.

Analyse the months of the year and select one which you think is least likely to have a hurricane. Explain why.

Imagine that you are a weather reporter. You are responsible for choosing the months, in a disaster preparedness plan, during which people are most at risk from hurricanes. Which months do you choose and why?

Determine which islands in the Caribbean are most at risk from hurricane damage. Explain why.

Lightning

People used to believe that lighting was a weapon of the gods. The god Zeus threw lightning bolts from his chariot in the sky whenever he got angry. Today, many people still visualize lightning bolts as being hurled from the sky, but in reality, lightning is more like a flip of an electric switch.C:\Users\CREATIVE BOOKS\Desktop\john\G6_Comp_Txt\clipart\lightning.jpg

To start at the beginning, lightning starts with the water cycle. As water evaporates, it absorbs heat, changes to water vapour, and begins to rise. When it reaches the colder atmosphere in the sky, it returns to a liquid state and forms drops of water or crystals of ice. These bits of liquid or frozen water build up in a huge anvil-shaped thundercloud.

In the thundercloud, the movement of the water particles and the changing temperatures cause areas of positive charge and areas of negative charge to form. In these clouds five miles above the earth, electric sparks begin to occur.

The sparks cause a surge of electrons that can shoot out from the cloud. This forms an electrical path known as a step leader. Several times on their way down toward the earth, step leaders stop for a fraction of a second, gather strength, and then shoot off again in another direction producing a jagged path. This path is not yet a lightning bolt, but it is preparing the way for one.

What did people believe lightning was?

Provide an analogy for what lightning is similar to.

Derive from the passage the most likely time for a lightning strike to occur.

Why is it dangerous to be outdoors during a thunderstorm?

Compare and contrast how we think about lightning now with how we used to think of lightning. Give reasons for your answer.

Evaluate and determine the threat of lightning strikes in your community. Who is at higher risk and why?

Plato

When it comes to philosophers, ancient Greece had many big names. Among them, Plato was perhaps the most influential.C:\Users\CREATIVE BOOKS\Desktop\john\G6_Comp_Txt\clipart\plato.jpg

Originally named Aristocles, Plato was born to a rich family in 427 B.C. or 428 B.C. (Plato means "broad" in Greek. It was a nickname that Aristocles acquired during his schooldays. The name probably stemmed from his physical appearance -- broad shoulders.) When he was in his twenties, he met Socrates and became his student. (Some sources said that Plato and Socrates were actually friends.) At the time, Socrates was a leading thinker in Athens. He liked to hold dialogues with people and encourage them to question everything around them. His unique approach (called the Socratic method) did not sit well with many people. It especially made the authorities very nervous. In 399 B.C., the officials in Athens arrested Socrates. They accused him of corrupting the youth. At the trial, a panel of jurors found him guilty. They sentenced him to death. As a staunch supporter of Socrates, Plato felt that the Athenians treated his teacher most unfairly. Out of disgust, he left Athens and stayed abroad for several years.

In probably around 387 B.C., Plato returned to Athens. He opened up a school called the Academy. The school was long considered the first university in Europe. It taught many subjects, such as biology, mathematics, astronomy, and, of course, philosophy. Plato ran the Academy himself from the very beginning to the day he died. After he passed away in 348 B.C. or 347 B.C., the school remained open for nearly another 900 years. It was eventually closed down by Justinian I of the Byzantine Empire in 529 A.D.

Pokémon

Satoshi Tajiri grew up in Japan. As a child he liked to collect insects. As an adult, he decided to create something new for children to collect. He created the Pokémon characters around 1995. The name Pokémon comes from a contraction. Tajiri took the name Pocket Monsters and combined them to form the new name.C:\Users\CREATIVE BOOKS\Desktop\john\G6_Comp_Txt\clipart\pikachu.jpg

The game was originally created for the Game Boy. Players of the game used the hand held video set-up for role playing. The player became a trainer of Pokémon species. The first set of characters included Charmander, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle. In a special Yellow version of the game, the character Pikachu was added. Pikachu was an electric-type mouse that became the mascot for all Pokémon merchandise.

Each Pokémon takes on characteristics that would be found in a certain region. The player will choose a water-type, a fire-type, or a grass-type for training. The player will choose from these characters at the beginning of each game.

Fun at the Junkanoo festival

"Badam badam badam!" It is the festival of Junkanoo in the Bahamas and the sound of the Goombay drums can be heard echoing down the streets, along with the sounds of bugles, whistles, horns and cowbells. Dancers dressed in colourful vibrant costumes, jump up and down and stamp their feet to the rhythm, while spectators scream and shout in excitement. The drums sometimes go faster, then slower and no one can remain still! But what was all this excitement about?

One popular story claims that it all began during the days of slavery in the 17th century, when the British ruled the island. A West African prince, the legendary John Canoe, outsmarted his British capturers and became a hero among the slaves. The slaves were given two days of rest around Christmas each year, and chose to use these days to celebrate their hero.

Nowadays, the people still take time to celebrate John Canoe. Firstly, they begin preparation for the festival during the year. Musicians practise playing their instruments, especially the Goombay drum. This drum is made from goatskin and is played using either hands or sticks, to produce the Bahamian music known as Goombay music. Dancers will also practice their moves so that they will dance to the rhythms as one unit. Decorators are in the action too as the place is strewn with brightly colored paper and cardboard.

The festival takes places on Boxing Day and New Year's Day, beginning early in the morning, from around 2:00 a.m. Musicians, dancers and spectators would be in the streets of Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, enjoying the festivities and moving to the beat of the drums. At the end of the festival, judges award prizes to the best group presentations, best music and the best dancers. The reward of sweet music and company, however, is for everyone until the celebrations finally finish at dawn.

Who was John Canoe?

What is the name of the Bahamian music played during the Junkanoo Festival?

Put the sequence of events in the order that they occur.

Judges reward people with prizes.

The festival begins at 2:00 a.m.

The Bahamian people practice their music and dance.

Celebrations end at dawn.

3)

4)

From the passage, what did you learn about the history of the Bahamas?

Describe one other Caribbean festival you know of, that can be compared to the Junkanoo Festival.

Why do you think it is important for the people to celebrate this festival each year?

Imagine you are a judge in the Junkanoo Festival. What criteria would you use to judge the people on costuming?

Your friend is visiting the Bahamas but does not care to see the festival. What would you say to encourage him/her to go?

Vocabulary

Match the following words to their synonyms.

Spectators Renowned

Legendary Festivity

Outsmart Sprinkled

Celebration Audience

Strewn Bewilder

State one antonym for each of the words in the left column.

The Keeper of the Forest

Keron is going camping in the forest today with his father and uncle. They set out with food, drinks, clothes and emergency supplies to keep them up for the three days. The group walked along a path and Keron took pictures of birds flitting from tree to tree, bees hovering over flowers and the sunlight dancing between the tree leaves.

As he was kneeled down trying to capture a picture of a flower, Keron saw a possum agitatedly sniffing the ground. The creature looked so much like a rat that Keron picked up a stone and threw it at the animal. "Keron, no!" his uncle shouted. His father looked at him in shock. Keron became scared and regretted what he did. The possum's hind leg was bleeding and it limped into the bushes.

A strange looking old man emerged out of the bushes. He had hooves instead of feet, a beard of leaves, and his arms were solid with muscles. He approached Keron and told him sternly, "Come." Keron looked at his uncle and father and they nodded. He went with the old man by the possum. The old man took a bandage from the emergency kit and began wrapping the broken leg of the possum. He then gestured for Keron to finish wrapping it.

The old man told Keron, "This is your friend," and smiled. Keron smiled back shakily and returned to his uncle and father. They explained that according to folklore, the old man was Papa Bois, Keeper of the Forest. He blew a horn to warn animals when hunters were approaching and he cared for the animals and plants. From then on, Keron was kind and gentle to all animals he encountered, hoping that Papa Bois will never have to visit him again.

What animal did Keron throw a stone at?

Why did Papa Bois approach Keron?

What kind of person do you think Keron is? Why? Give evidence from the passage.

Some hunters are hunting for deer in the forest. Based on what you learned about Papa Bois, what would he do?

The moral of a story is a lesson that a story teaches. What is the moral of this story?

Do you think Papa Bois is needed for the environment? Why?

What is your understanding of the term "folklore"? Why are folklores important to people?

Do you know of any other folklore characters besides Papa Bois? Describe one.

Vocabulary Practice

Based on their use in the passage, what do you think are the meanings of these words? Explain them in your own words.

Regretted

Emerged

Encountered

Gestured

Agitatedly

Can you use each of the words in sentences that make sense?

Regretted

Emerged

Encountered

Gestured

Agitatedly

A Wave of Terror

The waves roar as they head speedily towards the shore. A tsunami is approaching! A tsunami is a series of waves that are far higher and longer than normal waves. They can be caused by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that occur under water. Normally, water moves in circles. But when the earth shakes, it disturbs the water and the waves move straight instead, right into the land. A tsunami can travel over 970 kph in open waters- as fast as a jet plane! They begin as shallow waves in the ocean, but as they approach the coast, their speed decreases. The top of the wave travels faster than the bottom and this causes the wave to rise. This is why tsunamis are so high when they reach inland.

On Sunday, 26th December 2004, a massive tsunami formed in the Indian Ocean. Little Tilly Smith was 10 years old and at the beach with her parents. She realized that the water was bubbling and retreating to the sea. She remembered that her Geography teacher taught her that these were signs that a tsunami was approaching. Together, she and her parents warned others and Tilly saved hundreds of people that day as they left the beach to reach safer grounds. Unfortunately, in other places the tsunami killed almost 230,000 people.

What are two causes of tsunamis?

In your own words, describe how a tsunami occurs.

A tsunami is approaching a beach. What signs should one look out for?

What do you think are three causes of death when a tsunami occurs?

Compare a tsunami to another natural disaster. What are 1 similarity and 1 difference between them?

What do you think would have happened if Tilly Smith did not warn those people?

How do you think one should prepare one's self when a tsunami is approaching?

Do you think that tsunamis and other natural disasters are unfair occurrences to humans? Discuss your thoughts and feelings.

Vocabulary

Approaching Erupt Surged Warned Exploded Fill in the following sentences with the correct words.

The car was quickly _______________________ the young boy, when the man grabbed him and carried him safely on the street.

The father ___________________ his son of the potential dangers of the Internet.

The waters ____________________ as the storm neared the coast.

The villagers were told to evacuate the area as the volcano was due to __________________ soon.

The soldiers ran away in fright as the bomb ______________________.

Pok- A- Tok

A group of Indians are running around a court. There are two teams and each team has 11 players. The players are hitting a hard, rubber ball with their hips, thighs and forearms. They try not to hit it with their hands or feet. The aim of the game is to get the ball through a hoop that is twenty feet above the ground, but the ball must never touch the ground! Sounds hard doesn't it?

These people are the Mayans and the name of the game is called "Pok-A-Tok". The Mayans lived around 4,000 years ago! They lived in Central America, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. This civilization was at its height around c. 250 to 900 A.D. until the Spaniards came and killed off most of the people. Although they lived so long ago, some Mayan descendants are still alive today, but the game is no longer played.

Pok-A-Tok was a mixture of basketball, volleyball and football. Believe it or not, it was actually a very serious game. Religious and government leaders attended the game and religious songs were sung. Mayans believed that human sacrifice was needed for the success of the peoples' agriculture, trade and health. Their game was really a game of life and death. The punishment for the losing side was harsh- death of the leader. Ouch! Doesn't sound like a game anymore does it?

What are the rules of "Pok- A- Tok"?

According to the passage, why was this Mayan game played?

Why do you think the game is no longer played by the Mayan descendants?

Describe what the writer means by the phrase, "the civilization was at its height".

Compare the Mayan game to one other game you are familiar with. What are 1 similarity and 1 difference between them?

Why are games and sports important activities? State 3 benefits of participating in these activities.

Think about the Mayan's beliefs. Do you think death is too harsh a consequence for losing a game or do you think the Mayans accepted it due to their beliefs?

Even now people take games very seriously, although not to the extent that the Mayans did. Do you think that games should be taken seriously or should they only be light-hearted fun? Discuss your thoughts.

Vocabulary

Give one synonym for each of the following words:

Punishment

Religion

Necessary

Aim

Civilization

Write one word that is opposite in meaning to the word underlined in each sentence. Rewrite the sentences so the sentences will make sense.

The father punished his son

Granny Nanny

Nanny of the Maroons, or "Granny Nanny" as she is affectionately called, was a Jamaican slave who resisted her British masters and freed numerous slaves. During that time, the British ruled Jamaica and most of the Caribbean islands. Africans were held as their slaves to work on plantations and do household tasks.

Nanny was born in 1686 in Ghana, Western Africa, when her village was captured by another African tribe. These Africans sold her and her family to be slaves, carrying them across the ocean to Jamaica. Meanwhile in Jamaica, slaves called "Maroons" were not taking to slavery lightly. They ran away from plantations and formed communities in the mountains. Nanny and her brothers ran away and became Maroons too. She settled with her husband, Quao, in Nanny Town. From there, she and other Maroons tricked the British with surprise attacks by camouflaging themselves in the bushes.

In all, Nanny saved over 800 Africans from slavery, giving them homes in her town. She is known as one of the first leaders of slave resistance and one of the few leaders who are women. The Jamaican people have celebrated her achievements by placing a picture of her on the Jamaican $500 dollar bill, which is why Jamaicans call it a "Nanny." There is also a statue and a garden named after her. What a heroine!

What 3 things did the people of Jamaica do to honour Nanny?

Why is Nanny important to the Jamaican people?

What do you think the writer meant by, "Maroons were not taking to slavery lightly"? Why weren't they taking to slavery lightly?

In your own words, describe Nanny of the Maroons in 4 lines. Give details of her life and describe what type of person you think she was.

Toussaint Louverture was another slave who resisted his British masters. He lived in St. Domingue and joined the French to fight his British masters.

What are 3 differences between Nanny and him?

Do you have any heroes? Why are they heroes to you? Describe them in 4 lines, giving details about their heroic qualities.

Imagine you were a slave trying to escape from your masters. How would you go about escaping?

We often hear that "violence is not the answer." What does this mean? Do you think it was necessary for the slaves to take such action?

Vocabulary

What is the meaning of "treacherous" as used in the passage?

Give one synonym and one antonym for the following words. If you are not sure about their meanings, use a dictionary.

Resistance Captured

Treacherous Camouflage

Achievement

The Dangers that Fin Faces

Fin glides through the water, catching sight of a jellyfish floating in the water. He begins devouring the soft jelly, closing his eyes to avoid them getting stung by the venomous threads. Fin is a 5 year old leatherback turtle. These turtles are called "leatherbacks" because their backs are soft like rubber and they look like leather. They are the largest turtles on earth and spend their time travelling long distances in the open ocean. They can be found in almost all of the world's oceans.

Leatherback turtles, however, are in trouble. It is turtle season again and Fin's mother and all her friends need to go on land to lay their eggs. This is dangerous, however, as people raid their nests to steal their eggs and kill the mothers for food. Sadly, only about one in a thousand hatchlings live to reach adulthood. Furthermore, littering is also causing the rapid decline of this species. A lot of plastic debris blow into the sea and are carried through the waters by the tide. Many turtles mistake these clear objects for jellyfish and try to eat them. This damages turtles' stomachs and many are killed. Turtles are also caught in stray fishing lines and nets and die from drowning.

Leatherback turtles are now an endangered species. Thankfully, there are organizations trying to save them. Tracking devices are attached to turtles so that these organizations can keep track of turtles' movements and make sure they are well. There are also patrols on the beaches to ensure that there are no poachers trying to disturb nesting turtles. However, a few groups alone cannot save an entire species. Everyone needs to make an effort or leatherback turtles will soon die out!

What are 3 facts you learned about leatherback turtles from this passage?

What does it mean when a species is "endangered"?

Why is the leatherback turtle endangered? Give 3 causes for their endangerment.

Explain the effect of littering on the lives of leatherback turtles.

Do you know of any other endangered species? Why are they endangered?

What are the roles of organizations in the conservation of leatherback turtles? Describe their efforts to conserve this species.

Describe 2 ways you and others can help conserve leatherback turtles.

Do you believe that we have a responsibility to save these and other endangered species? Why?

Vocabulary

Explain what is meant by "rapid decline" in the passage.

Write a word or phrase that is similar in meaning to each word underlined.

Leatherback turtles are an endangered species. They are killed by poachers who steal their eggs and kill the mothers. These turtles also die due to strangulation by stray nets and fishing lines. Many organizations are doing their best to conserve this species. They patrol beaches to ensure that no one tries to disturb the turtles as they lay their eggs.

The Darkness behind Dark Chocolate

We all love chocolate- dark chocolate, white chocolate, milk chocolate or chocolate mixed with nuts. But do we all know where our chocolate comes from? Chocolate is made from cocoa beans. It takes about 400 cocoa beans to make 1 pound of chocolate. This means that we must grow a lot of cocoa to make the amount of chocolate the world consumes!

Two thirds of the world's cocoa comes from the Ivory Coast, in West Africa. It is averaged that about 1.8 million children in West Africa work on cocoa plantations to grow cocoa. These children range from 12 to 16 years of age and come from poor families. They are sold to cocoa farmers for a few dollars, whilst some of them are kidnapped to work on the cocoa plantations.

Parents sell their children to cocoa famers as they are told that the children would earn money to send to their parents. However, most of these children never receive pay and live almost like slaves, starved and exhausted from overwork. They are forced to work in difficult conditions, operating dangerous tools, carrying heavy loads and working long hours with little rest. Any of them caught trying to escape are beaten.

The light in this dark situation is that many chocolate factories have acknowledged the problem. These companies along with other organizations have created a project called "The International Cocoa Initiative" which aims to send these children to school, rather than work.

What plant is used to make chocolate?

What are 3 risks for children working on sugar plantations?

Why are children chosen to work on cocoa plantations? Discuss the benefits for parents and cocoa farmers.

What does the phrase, "the light in this dark situation" means?

Describe what organizations are doing to help children who work on cocoa plantations.

What do you think will be the effects on poor families when their children are sent to school?

Explain the title of the passage, "The Darkness behind Dark Chocolate." What does the "darkness" refer to?

Do you think parents are cruel for selling their children to farmers, or do you think it is understandable, considering that they are poor?

Vocabulary

Match the following words to their meanings.

Consume To

Kidnap

Acknowledge

Operate

Range

Aim

Replace the underlined words with the words in the block.

Consumed Range Earns Exhausted Acknowledge

The boy greedily ate the entire cake for his birthday.

The workers were tired after a long day of repairing and painting the building.

My mother receives a sufficient amount of money to care for her children.

The parents refused to recognise the self- destructive behaviour of their children.

The variety of goods that were available at the market was unbelievable.

Louis Braille

How do the blind learn to read and write? Thanks to Louis Braille, there is an easy way to teach these important skills. Louis is the inventor of "Braille," a system for teaching reading and writing to the blind or visually impaired.

Louis Braille was born in France in 1809. He lived with 3 elder siblings and his parents in the countryside. When he was three years old, Louis was playing in his father's workshop, trying to make holes in a piece of leather. The tool he was using hit him in one of his eyes and damaged it. The eye became infected and the infection spread to his other eye. By the age of 5, Louis Braille was blind.

Louis started attending the National Institute for Blind Youth in Paris. He refused to have people feel sorry for him and was determined to make a system where the blind can communicate with the sighted. His system consisted of raised dots that represented letters. When the raised dots are touched, one can instantly recognize it as a letter. Louis finished the Braille system when he was only 15 years old!

Louis' writing system, however, was not taught until 2 years after he died. It eventually became the main writing system worldwide for the blind. His childhood home is now the Louis Braille Museum and a monument of him was placed in the town square. The square itself was renamed, "Braille Square."

How did Louis Braille become blind?

Why is Louis Braille so important to the visually impaired community?

Describe in your own words how the Braille system works.

In 2 lines, describe what kind of person you think Louis Braille was. Give evidence from the passage.

What 3 challenges do you think the visually impaired are faced with every day?

How do you think things would be different for the blind if the Braille system was never created?

Reading and writing are referred to as "important skills" in the passage. Do you think it is important for the blind to learn to read and write? Why?

Do you think it matters that Braille was honoured after he died? Discuss your thoughts and feelings.

Vocabulary

Explain the meaning of the following in your own words.

Impaired

Monument

Communicate

Inventor

Infection

Use each word in a sentence that makes sense.

The Battle between Man and Sea

Imagine living in a country where you and the sea are in a constant battle for land. This is how the Netherlands people live. About 27% of the lands in the Netherlands are actually below sea level and these lands are home to about 60% of the Netherland's population. Land reclamation is the process whereby land is created from the sea or riverbeds.

For centuries the Dutch, which are what the natives of the Netherlands are called, have tried to hold back the North Sea from flooding their land. They use structures called "dikes" or levees" to hold back the water. Dikes are walls built to protect land from flooding. They are wide at the base and rise to a flat top, so that sandbags can be placed there if the water level rises. The Delta Works was a huge project done in the southwest of the Netherlands to protect a huge area of land from the sea.

Dikes, however, do not always work. They can erode and eventually break, causing water to flood through the openings. This called a "levee breach." The water level can also rise higher than the dike and flood the land the dike is protecting.

The disastrous results of a dike breach were seen in The St. Elizabeth's Flood in 1421. This was one of the worst floods in history. It occurred when a huge storm in the North Sea caused the dikes to break. Around 72 villages were flooded and 2,000 people died. Up to this day, most of the land still remains flooded.

What is the name of the project done to protect the land in the southwest of the Netherlands?

Why is it important to build dikes in the Netherlands?

Explain the term, "land reclamation" in your own words.

Describe 2 ways that dikes can fail to protect the land.

Why do you think dikes have a wide base?

What are 2 other causes of flooding, other than dike breaching?

Why do you think sandbags are not effective ways of controlling water leakage?

Do you think reclaimed land is safe? Why?

Vocabulary

Put the following words in sentences that make sense:

Process

Disastrous

Structure

Constant

Erode

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