Current Events

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sample Current Events Report

Here is my sample current events report, written in a question and answer format.

Current Events Report

What is the URL of the original article?

https://newsforkids.net/articles/2020/07/15/

andean-condors-fly-with-almost-no-flapping/

What is the headline?

Andean Condors Fly with Almost No Flapping

Summarize the article in one (and only one) sentence.

Scientists have discovered that condors can fly for hours without flapping their wings.

Who is the author of the article?

NFK Editors

What is the name of the website where you found the article?

News for Kids

What is the date of the article?

15 July 2020

Who is involved? Who was affected?

The article is mostly about condors.

It's also about a team of scientists trying to understand more about the way that condors fly. These researches are from Swansea University in Wales and the National University of Comahue in Argentina.

What happened?

Scientists attached special devices on some condors to record the number of times they flapped their wings during flight. They were suprised to learn that condors can fly for hours without flapping their wings.

Where did it happen?

Condors are found "in the Andes mountains along the Pacific coast of South America." The dateline of the article indicates that the writers gathered most of their information in Bariloche, Argentina.

When did it happen?

The dateline of the article indicates that the article was submitted on July 15, 2020. The first line of the article states, "Scientist have recently discovered . . . " Therefore, we can reasonably conclude that the scientists finished their research sometime in early 2020.

Why did it happen?

The scientists have been studying the flight patterns of condors because "they wanted to learn how much effort the birds use when flying."

How did it happen?

The scientists attached special devices to the condors. These devices were designed to fall off after about a week. According to the article, "Getting the devices back was challenging."

What background information (or context) can help us understand this event?

Much of the article is devoted to explaining some basic facts about condors, such as:

  • Condors fly by "soaring", which means that they ride air currents.
  • Condors eat the carcasses of dead animals. According to the article, "Soaring high in the sky allows the condors to easily spot possible meals on the ground."

What is your personal response to this news?

I chose this article because I love condors. Condors are cool. And yes, I know that their faces are kind of ugly, but if you've ever watched a condor fly, you know that these birds are absolutely majestic.

My love for condors began when I was young, when my family lived in Chile, South America. Down there, we used to see condors all the time. I have very fond memories of hiking through the Andes with my family, watching the condors that soared above us or swept across the faces of the cliffs. Even today, I sometimes look at YouTubes of condors flying. It relaxes me, and I love to imagine what it would be like, soaring high above the Andes.

The article explained a lot of basic facts about condors that I already knew, but I did learn a few new things. For example, just like the scientists, I was surprised to learn how seldom condors actually flap their wings. One of the condors that the scientists studied flew for five hours—covering nearly 172 miles—without flapping its wings even once! That's astonishing.

I also had not considered the reasons that scientists do this kind of research. According to article, the scientists are trying to learn how much energy condors use while flying.

Why is this important? The article doesn't say. I suppose if you're a condor researcher, this kind of information is valuable, in and of itself. But I also imagine that this kind of information might be useful to people who design new kinds of aircraft.

Condors are large birds—some weigh as much as 33 pounds—and the article stresses the fact that it takes a lot of energy for these birds to flap their wings. It makes sense, therefore, that they try to conserve their energy as much as possible, making use of the rising air currents wherever possible. Also, they try to avoid landing unecessarily, because condors have to expend a lot of energy each time they land or take off.

One of the funniest things about the article was almost buried in the last paragraph. The authors had explained that the research was done by attaching "special devices" to the condors, and that these devices were designed to drop off in about a week. But that leaves the problem of retrieving them—which, according to the article, can be "a challenge". The article then quotes one of the rerearchers, Sergio Lambertucci, who said, “Sometimes the devices dropped off into nests on huge cliffs in the middle of the Andes mountains, and we needed three days just to get there.”

Picturing that, I had to laugh. Do you any idea how vast and rugged the Andes are? How steep and formidible the cliffs? To say that retrieving these devices was "a challenge" seems like a bit of an understatement.

That line made me realize that these scientists need a wide range of skills. Not only do they have to understand science and computers, but they also have to be expert rock climbers.

What a life! If I were younger, I'd love to have a job hiking through the Andes and climbing steep cliffs in order to retrieve "special devices" from the nests of a condors.

And that thought led me to another: What if the nest has some baby condors in it? And what if mama condor or papa condor comes home to find a human intruder in its nest? Have you ever seen a condor's beak and claws?

Just now, I did a search for "condor claws" and I learned that condors can kill "medium-sized sheep and young alpacas" when they can't find food. That's kind of scary! I'm quite sure that I wouldn't want to be in a condor's nest when mama or papa comes home.

The article doesn't mention such dangers, but it's fun to think about. In my head I'm picturing these scientists like the movie character Indiana Jones, living lives of exciting adventures, all for the sake of science.

What new vocabulary words did you learn? (Also provide the definitions)

I knew all of the words in the article, but it was nice to be reminded of the word "thermal". A thermal is a current of warm air that moves upward. The article includes a nice graphic showing a current of warm air rising in a spiral. Condors can ride these thermals for hours.

According to the article: "The condors hitch a ride on these thermals. The tricky part is finding thermals, and moving between them."

What questions do you still have?

The article mentions that all the condors they studied were "young", but it doesn't say exactly how many condors were studied. Considering the difficulty of attaching and retrieving the devices, I'm guessing that no more than a handful of condors were actually studied in this way. It would be nice to know the exact number.

Also, the article did not describe these "special devices", other than to say that they can "record every turn the condors made in the air, as well as every beat of their wings."

In my imagination, I'm picturing a little GoPro camera attached to the back of a condor. In fact, you can see such videos online. On Youtube I have watched videos taken by tiny cameras attached to the backs of hawks. It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, "a bird's eye view."

Did these "special devices" include a video camera? I'm guessing, probably not. The device must have some computer chip, but I'm guessing it doesn't have enough memory to record a week's worth of a condor's life. More likely, these devices are more like pedometers that record the number of steps you take in a day. Most pedometers work by detecting the motion in your hips, I think. Likewise, I imagine these devices have a way of detecting the motion of the condor's wings, without actually taking a video.

 

Instructions for the Quiz

Answer the questions.

Quiz