SAMPLES

Samples of the stunning AMAZING NATURE images that teachers and parents receive in their inbox every week.

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Amazing Nature #1
BABY OCTOPUS

octopus

Did you ever see a real octopus?

I’ll bet you never saw a baby octopus.

The reason we almost never see them is because when a baby octopus is born in an aquarium it will almost always die within a few days.

Why? They die of starvation.

So why don’t people just feed them?

Believe me – they’ve tried? We humans have tried feeding them the tastiest octopus treats: frozen shrimp bits, wriggling brine shrimp, amphipods, larval crustaceans, crustacean arms and more. But nothing seems to whet their appetite…. and within a few days, most of them die.

It seems as though the natural world is smarter than we are!

Math: A common octopus has about 240 suckers on each limb, and an average sucker can hold about 5 lbs. Estimate how many pounds an octopus could lift with one arm. [240×5 = 1,200 lbs]

Science: Do the same estimate as above, and then estimate how many pounds an octopus could lift in total (remember, it needs to use one or more limbs for leverage). [1,200×6 = 7,200 lbs]

Geography: The octopus can be found in all oceans, in shallow waters down to about three miles (2km) deep. Name five oceans where you could find them.

English: What’s the plural of “octopus”? (Hint: it may not be what you think!) [octopuses or octopodes — but not octopi]

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Amazing Nature #2
THE LIVING CAMERA

humaneye.jpg

Ever heard of a camera that can fix itself?

Each eye is actually a powerful miniature video camera with automatic light-control and focus.

Here’s how it works: Light bounces off an object and enters the eye. The light goes through the clear lens of the cornea, then through the pupil which is a clear circle in the center of the eye. The pupil gets larger in low light and smaller in bright light. The lens focuses the light through a clear liquid onto the retina. The retina, in the back of the eye, is 10-layer light-detector containing about 100-150 million light-sensitive cells. Some are designed to detect shapes, other to detect color. They all connect to 1.2 million nerves fibers which carry the info to the brain. The brain then sorts it all out. The entire system can work at up to 1,000 frames per second.

Now when you use a digital camera, did you ever notice that the pictures often come out too dark or too bright? How come the eye doesn’t have that problem? It’s because the eye’s retina is actually much better than a camera. The retina’s 150 million light-detecting cells can automatically change their sensitivity over a range of ten billion to one! That cool feature means that you can perceive an enormous range of light, from a bright sunny day to when it’s very, very dark. In fact, your eyes are able to detect a single photon.

Besides being the world’s greatest camera, your eyes also have the amazing ability to repair themselves if they get damaged! If the eye gets a cut, in a day or two it will be completely healed.

Can you imagine a camera that could do that? How much would it be worth?

Now, could you live a day without a digital camera? I hope so! What about a day without your eyes? Think of all the things you do every day. Now imagine trying to do all those things without your eyes. Can you imagine? What would be the hardest thing to do? What would be impossible?

Math: Your eyeballs each weigh about 7.5 g (0.25 oz.). What percentage of your body weight is that? [for a 100lb student: 0.25oz/(100lb x 16oz) = 0.01562%]

Science: 8% of boys and 0.5% of girls are color-blind. According to that, how many kids in this room/school are probably color blind?

Geography: In which countries do people have the greatest variety of eye colors? Why do you think that is? [countries with the most immigrants, such as the USA].

English: Write a (rhyming/Haiku/etc.) poem about your eyes.

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