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Teacher’s Questions for Neuromagic feature


Before reading:

1. Have you ever fooled someone with a magic trick, or been fooled by one yourself? How do you suppose that happened? Describe what you know about how magicians trick viewers.

During reading:

Teacher’s Questions for Whiskers


Before reading:

1) Describe what you know about whiskers.

2) Have you ever seen an animal use its whiskers? Explain.

During reading:

1)     Are whiskers rare or common in mammals? Can all mammals with whiskers move them?

2)     Name two animals that can whisk their whiskers. Name another animal that can move its whiskers back and forth.

3)     How do scientists know Etruscan shrew uses its whiskers to find crickets? Explain which whiskers the shrews use to find the best place to bite a cricket.

4)     If you trimmed the macrovibrissae and microvibrissae on an Etruscan shrew, and then released it in the wild, what might happen to it?

Weird weather

People living in Texas experienced a miserably hot summer in 2011. In fact, it was the hottest the state had ever recorded. Earlier that spring, much of East Africa was so dry that farmers had trouble growing their crops. With little to eat, many people went hungry.

Bad news for big bird

Thirty years ago, the California condor came dangerously close to extinction. Biologists took action, and their efforts worked. The big, bald birds lived, and their numbers grew — from 22 in 1982 to several hundred today.

Whale-free perfume

Expensive perfumes come in tiny bottles, but many hide a whale-sized secret.

To perfect a particular smell, perfume makers often use an ingredient that comes from sperm whales with upset tummies. The whale waste, called ambergris, is solid and greasy on its own. But in perfume, ambergris holds all the smelly ingredients together for a long time. People describe its smell as “earthy” and “sweet.”

Teacher’s Questions for “Life beyond Earth”


Before Reading:

  1. What does life require to survive? Do you think those conditions exist anywhere beyond Earth?
  2. Do you think life exists on other planets? Explain why or why not.

During Reading:


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