30 April 2008

Where in the world? continues.....

This week our news stories happened not only on six out of seven continents (with a tenuous link to the seventh) but also out in space; surely world news worthy of the BBC!

Tanmay gave his story the headline 'Robot Space Truck Docks With ISS' before going on to explain that a huge new space truck has just docked with the International Space Station, delivering supplies of food, water, air, fuel and equipment. He added that when it is empty it would be used as a giant rubbish bin. Azri was intrigued by the idea. 'Why do they need a giant rubbish bin?' he asked. Before we knew what had happened, we were onto the thorny question of bodily functions in space. I don't feel I should go into any more detail here!

Still out there in space, Michelle gave us some background information about Mars and then told us that Scientists in America sent spacecraft to Mars to see if there is water or life. They are still there after four years (even though they were only supposed to work for three months!) She told us that the spacecraft can take photos and send them back to Earth. Joe wondered when the spacecraft left Earth.

Let's begin our earthly travels in Asia, where we learned from Naoya that the Olympic torch relay arrived in Japan on the 26th April and that the person carrying it was the woman who won the marathon at the last Olympics.

Per wanted to pay him a compliment; 'You read it really well,' he said.

We'll stay in Asia for now, but travel a little to the west; to India and the Indian Express newspaper, which reported the following story that Maya interpreted for us. In your body you have a 'body clock'

(an intriguing idea for some; Swati wondered, 'Is it invisible or not?') which tells you when to go to sleep and when to wake up. It doesn't really work properly at this time of year, because at bedtime, even though you are supposed to be asleep, if it is still light you stay awake. In fact, the article explained that scientists have discovered it is actually light which makes you wake up (and so dark that tells you when to go to sleep). Matthew exclaimed, 'So that's why I find it hard to get to sleep!'

Let's head south with Fiona, to the Wilkin's Ice Shelf in Antarctica

(our second continent). She told us that it is breaking up; a piece if ice the size on Connecticut is falling off. That, she went on to say, is about three quarters the size of Switzerland.....'It's so important,' she continued, 'because we are spraying out bad things and we made a hole in the ozone layer and that makes it become hotter and the ice melts and that makes the water rise.' Justin looked worried. 'How are the penguins going to survive?' he wondered.

Which is interesting.....

Joe's story began with a joke. 'What's black and white and warm all over?' Answer: A penguin in a wetsuit. Eh? A wetsuit is what divers wear to keep them warm in the water ('wet' because it lets in a layer of water which your body warms up; that then keeps you warm). Anyway, Pierre the penguin is 25 years old who lives in California (North America, continent number three). He is losing his feathers which means he can't swim - it's too cold. So they made him a wetsuit.

Rekik wondered why he could swim in cold water without feathers, but that a penguin couldn't. Joe explained that penguins feathers are waterproof; that's what keeps the cold water out and so keeps them warm. They don't have fat like we do.

To South America (number 4) now, specifically Brazil. Giulia updated us on the story of the priest who had been trying to break the record for staying up in the air using party balloons.

He had disappeared and now they have found balloons floating in the sea - but so far, no priest.

Matthew W thinks he has probably drowned.....

To Europe (continent number 5) for the next batch of stories. Matthew W and Isabella, coincidentally, had chosen the same story; that of the giant football that is to be seen above the jet d'eau in Geneva.

As Matthew said, 'There is a football balanced on the jet d'eau. It's really cool - it glows in the dark!' Patricia told Matthew, 'I like the picture you found. It looks like the ball is really balanced there'. 'How,' wondered Fiona, 'did that happen?' We discovered, that if you look closely at the photograph, you can just about see the strings (cables) that hold the football-shaped balloon up. We found out that 12 people in the class have already seen it. Isabella told us that they have put the football-balloon there because of the European Cup. She said that when she went to her friends' house (twins!) the balloon was in the lake....

.....which brings me to today's 'breaking news'.....Hot off this morning's press (Geneva's '20 minutes', cutting below) we have the headline, 'Un ballon qui n'aime pas le vent' with a photo of the jet d'eau surrounded by spray - and the balloon having been blown down by the wind!

Staying in this part of the world (Europe) let's now head south to Lyon where Lyon football team have played against Caen.

Justin told us that even though the score was a draw, it isn't bad news for Lyon because they have 72 points and the other ones only have 68. He told Swati that Lyon is in France.

Evie's story is an interesting one. In an article all about plastic (the Materials unit again raises its ugly head!) she discovered that in Notting Hill (which is in London, which is in the UK, which is in Europe.....) there is a Christmas tree made out of recycled plastic. Justin was puzzled. 'Did they just do it to get in the newspaper?' he asked. We think they might have done!

Actually the FT article, 'Plastic: The elephant in the room' looked at the usefulness of plastic compared with its environmental impact and concluded that not having plastic would be potentially more environmentally damaging.....

Still in the UK, and a bit of 'royal' controversy from Chris. He told us that the King of England (we corrected him here; he was talking about a future king) borrowed an army helicopter to go somewhere and landed in his girlfriend's garden. Isabella saw this on the news; she said Prince William (for that is who we are talking about) wanted to surprise his girlfriend. Chris went on to say that people are cross with him because he took the helicopter and he didn't even pay!

According to the Newsround article he brought in, the Ministry of Defence said his trip was part of a training exercise. But some people are angry because they think it is a waste of money and not a proper way to use military equipment. What do you think?

Azri's news was of a further increase in the price of oil; this led to some interesting thoughts being shared. Joe wondered if it would lead to fewer people driving their cars and Max concurred; he said that not as lot of people would go to the gas station.

We agreed that we would ask our parents what they thought would be some of the effects of the price of oil going up.

And finally, a story with a family connection. Per told us that his cousins live on a farm in Queensland, Australia (our 6th continent). They saw a huge python wrap itself round a kangaroo to strangle it and then the python swallowed it. All. Up. Of course this announcement caused a near uproar as everyone spoke at once (Was it a kangaroo or a wallaby? What colour was the python, How on earth did it do it?) Per explained that he had forgotten to bring the photos but that he would show them to us the next day.

Now, please do not scroll down if you are of a nervous disposition. Because, possibly for the first time, we are about to broadcast these very disturbing photographs. Of a python squeezing and then swallowing a whole kangaroo. All. Up.

You have been warned.....

PS Did you notice which continent was 'missing'? The tenuous link is to Africa . Pierre the Penguin is an African penguin (even though his home is in North America).

1 comment:

K. E. said...

Dear Class 2i,
I have decided to stop reading the newspaper, and to count on your Tuesday Newsday reports instead. I think your news is much more interesting than what I find in my paper, and I like having your questions to help me think about it.

I enjoyed being able to see the video clip, too, because I don't have a TV, so I didn't see it on TSR.

Keep up the good news reporting! Your readers depend on you!