By Erika K. & Jia C.
Scientific Name: Vicugna vicugna
Order: Even-toed ungulates
Life Span: 20 years
Meet the vicuna. It is an animal that looks similar to a llama. Vicunas are usually about 4.8 to 5.2 feet tall although they can be 2.5 to 2.8 feet tall. They usually weigh from 77 to 140 pounds. A vicuna has a slender body with a long neck and limbs. Their ears are long, pointed, and narrow. Vicunas inhabit grasslands and plains located in the Andes Mountains of southern Peru, northwest Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile. These animals are grazers with a diet that consists of short grasses.
by Sabrina B., Erika K., Jia C.
Bottlenose dolphins are marine animals, but are mammals. That is because they have lungs and breathe air, not gills. They're scientific name is Turnips truncatus. They are usually 10 to 14 feet long and weigh 1,100 pounds. Bottlenose dolphins live an average of 45 to 50 years in the wild.
Bottlenose dolphins are found in both shallow and deep warm water and tropical oceans all around the world. They are carnivores and mainly feed on fish, squid, and shrimp. To get their food, a group of bottlenose dolphins will cooperate and make a mud ring to trap the fish. Some of the dolphins will stay outside of the mud ring to catch the fish in their mouths and eat them.
These animals squeak, squawk, and use body language such as leaping into the air as high as 20 feet, snapping their jaws, slapping their tails on the surface of the water, blowing bubbles, and even butting heads. Each dolphin makes a special whistle soon after it is born. This whistle is used for identification; it's just like a human’s name. Bottlenose dolphins are really friendly and social.
Dolphins also produce high clicks, which act like a sonar system which is called echolocation. When the clicking sounds hit an object in the water, they bounce off and come back as echoes. Echolocation tells the shape, size, speed, distance, and location of the object. Bottlenose dolphins have a sharp sense of hearing. Scientists believe that the sound travels through the dolphins lower jaw to its inner ear and they are transmitted to the brain for analysis.
Bottlenose dolphins are fascinating animals. They shed their outermost layer of skin every 2 hours. They are also very fast swimmers, swimming up to 22 miles per hour. Dolphins can hold their breath underwater for eight to ten minutes. They have 72-104 teeth, but they only use them to catch their food. They swallow their food whole!
by Michelle L., Samyra M., Victoria S., and Gabby S.
Starting from January 25, millions of people celebrate the Lunar New Year (which follows the lunar calendar) by dressing in red, hanging lanterns, gathering with family, and giving out red envelopes filled with money. This year, we celebrate the year of the Rat.
The New Year was started out as a myth about a horrendous beast. Every 365 days, the monster would terrorize the land, eating and destroying things along the way. Citizens came together and prepared a grand feast. Children in the village decided to use firecrackers to scare away the villain. Even today, these celebrations are performed annually. Wearing the color red is a symbol of prosperity and luck.
Those who celebrate may hang up certain Chinese characters for luck, the most common word being fú (fortune). Tangerines typically bring prosperity and protection from evil spirits. A family gathering, followed by a feast is customary. Cuisine like dumplings and hot pots can be found during the feast. The celebration spans a total of 15 days, ending with the lantern festival. Lanterns can come in a variety of shapes from the simplicity of a sphere to the complexity of a dragon. People write their wishes on the sides of the lantern before sending them off towards the heavens, hoping their wishes come true.
A popular aspect of the Lunar New Year celebration is the cycle of animals representing various years. The animals include a dragon, horse, and other symbolic creatures. The rat is the first animal in the cycle. A legend says that the rat tricked the ox into giving it a ride, in which it reached the party (the emperor was hosting a party, the order in which they arrived would become the cycle) first.
by Mahdi K.
The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to America. It was intended to commemorate the lasting friendship between the two nations. The French sculptor, Frederick-Auguste-Bartholdi, created the statue out of sheets of hammered copper, while Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, the man who made the Eiffel Tower, made the statue’s framework. The Statue of Liberty was then given to the United States and erected atop an American-designed pedestal on a small island in upper New York Bay, now known as Liberty Island. It was dedicated by President Grover Cleveland in 1886. Over the years, the statue stood tall as millions of immigrants arrived in America via nearby Ellis Island. In 1986 it underwent an extensive renovation in honor of the centennial of its dedication. Today, the Statue of Liberty remains an enduring symbol of freedom and democracy, as well as one of the world’s most recognizable landmarks.
One of the questions a lot of people ask is this: Why is the Statue of Liberty green? Well originally it was a copper color like a penny, but gradually it turned green due to a process called oxidation, where copper reacts with oxygen in the air that turns the copper green. By 1906 the statue was fully green. The change in color does not take away from the beauty of this monument.