Activities & Lesson Plans - 5th & 6th Grade Newsletter 1/15/10 - The Secret Sounds Of Elephants

Grade: 5th-6th

January 15, 2010 | Grades 5 & 6

In This Issue: An Elephant Dictionary; Cars of the Future

ElephantMy, What Big Ears They Have

You may have heard of elephants that can paint, but have you heard that they can talk? A scientist working in Central Africa for nearly 20 years spends long days observing forest elephants—counting their numbers, monitoring their health and listening to what they have to say. Researchers at Cornell University's Elephant Listening Project are using this information to create an elephant dictionary. Most of what they say cannot be heard by humans, as the pitch is too low. Among other things, the dictionary will help conservationists monitor and protect the population of this threatened species. 

Watch an artistic elephant

Activity Ideas
Language Arts
Discuss with your child the ways that punctuation can change how a sentence is spoken. Also, talk about how gestures, facial expressions and cues can help get your point across. Then, have your child read the following sentences aloud:

We are having chicken livers and brussels sprouts for dinner!
We are having chicken livers and brussels sprouts for dinner?

  • ASK: How does your voice change to indicate you are asking a question? What does an exclamation point indicate? (excitement, surprise)
  • How would someone who likes chicken livers and brussels sprouts ask the question? Encourage your child to exaggerate. (with a smile, eyebrows raised, while clapping hands together, giving a thumbs up)
  • What gestures or expressions might someone use to emphasize how much they dislike sprouts and liver? (wrinkling nose, grimacing, shaking head, rolling eyes)
Learning Tips: Speaker's Word Choice, Pitch, Tone and Gesture 

Prius 2010A Smaller, Cleaner, Greener Drive

The recession and rising fuel costs are driving the latest trends in the auto world. Hybrid, electric and fuel-efficient cars replaced the gas-guzzling giants of old at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show. The new models, including the Tango—a slim electric car where the passenger rides behind the driver—and Toyota's tiny FT-TV (Future Toyota electric vehicle) are quite a departure for Americans who are accustomed to ruling the road. 

Activity Ideas

Miles Per Gallon (mpg) Per Car 

Honda Insight EX:  
City driving - 29 mpg
Highway driving - 45 mpg

Mini Cooper:
City driving - 24 mpg
Highway driving - 41 mpg

Toyota Prius IV:
City driving - 32 mpg
Highway driving - 55 mpg

Honda Odyssey EX:
City driving - 12 mpg
Highway driving - 28 mpg

Calculate the average miles per gallon for the cars above using both city and highway mileage. Write the equation you would use.
City mpg (c) + HWY mpg (h) = x; (c + h = x)
÷ 2 = average mpg (a);  (c + h = x; x ÷ 2 = a) 

  • Honda Insight EX: 37 mpg (29mpg + 45mpg =74); (74 ÷ 2 = 37 mpg)
  • Mini Cooper: 33 mpg (24 mpg + 41 mpg = 65); (65 ÷ 2 = 32.5 mpg)
  • Toyota Prius IV: 44 mpg (32 mpg + 55mpg = 87); (87 ÷ 2 = 43.5 mpg)
  • Honda Odyssey EX: 20 mpg (12 mpg + 28 mpg = 40); (40 ÷ 2 = 20 mpg)

Refer to "Miles Per Gallon Per Car" to solve the following problems.

  1. Henry has 10 gallons of gas in his Mini Cooper. How many more miles can he drive on the highway before stopping for gas? About 400 miles (41mpg x 10g = 410 miles)
  2.  Allie is trying to decide which car to get: a Toyota Prius IV or a Honda Odyssey. She needs a car to drive to and from her job in the city. Which car should she get if she wants to use less fuel? (Toyota Prius) Why? Prius gets 20 more miles per gallon.
  3. The Hoffmans have a Toyota Prius. They drove about 200 miles on Friday. Most of the trip was on the highway; the last 60 miles was through the city. They began their highway trip with 8 gallons of gas.

-How many highway miles did they travel? 140 miles (200 miles - 60 miles)

-How many gallons of gas did they use the first 140 miles? 3 gallons (140 miles ÷ 55 mpg = 2.6 gallons)

-How many gallons of gas did they use the last 60 miles? 2 gallons (60 miles ÷ 32 mpg =  1.9 gallons)

-How many gallons of gas did they use for the whole trip? 5 gallons (3 gallons + 2 gallons = 5 gallons)



Learning Tips: Rates


Game of the week:
Noun Dunk Game
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