Scientists put on their detective hats in search of giant pandas



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Panda Power! Note: This article was first published in 2009.

Scientists put on their detective hats in search of giant pandas. 

From World Almanac for Kids

Scientists were on the case! They collected clues. The scientists saw paw prints in the mud and fur on the bark of trees. What were they doing? Counting giant pandas!

After four years, the detective work is done. During that time, scientists figured out how many pandas live in China. All wild giant pandas live in that country.

"Pandas are very hard to see in the wild," scientist Colby Loucks told Weekly Reader. "They hide in the thick bamboo forests." That is why scientists used clues to do the count.

The result of the panda count was a surprise to scientists. They learned that hundreds more pandas exist than experts once thought! "We found pandas living in areas we didn't know had any," said Loucks.



Protecting Pandas

Although the news is good, pandas remain endangered. That means they are in danger of dying out.

Panda Fun Facts


  • A panda spends 14 hours a day eating up to 83 pounds of bamboo.

  • A newborn panda weighs 3 to 4 ounces. That is about the weight of a hamster.

  • A panda's front paws have a wrist bone. The bone works like a thumb. The panda uses it to grasp bamboo.

The main threat to pandas is habitat loss. A habitat is a place in nature where an animal lives. Panda habitat is lost when people cut down parts of the forest for wood and farming.

Currently, China has more than 40 giant panda nature centers. People are not allowed to cut down trees there. Scientists want to create more nature centers to give pandas a better chance for survival.

(Copyright © 2009 Weekly Reader Corporation. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Text-Dependent Essay

The passage states even though scientists have found more pandas in places where they did not know that pandas existed, “…pandas remain endangered.” Write about what is causing pandas to be endangered.. Write about this problem. Use evidence from the passage to support your response



Writer’s Checklist

  1. Did I tell what is causing pandas to be endangered and about one of the solutions to the problem in the passage?

  2. Did I include all of the evidence given by the author about this problem and possible solution? Did I show that I understand the passage?

  3. Did I stay on the topic? Did I write about the problem and solution?

  4. Did I restate the question? Did I provide the evidence in the order of the text? Did my writing have a conclusion?

  5. Do I need to take out evidence that does not tell about the problem and solution?

  6. Did I use domain-specific language?

  7. Did I use transition words?



Writer’s Checklist

  1. Did I tell what is causing the problem of disappearing reefs and about one of the solutions to the problem in the passage?

  2. Did I include all of the evidence given by the author about this problem and possible solution? Did I show that I understand the passage? (Problem: Habitat loss—“A habitat is a place in nature where an animal lives. Panda habitat is lost when people cut down parts of the forest for wood and farming.”)

  3. Did I stay on the topic? Did I write about the problem and solution?

  4. Did I restate the question? Did I provide the evidence in the order of the text? Did my writing have a conclusion?

  5. Do I need to take out evidence that does not tell about the problem and solution? (Anything in the first four paragraphs and in the section: Protecting Pandas do not tell about the problem and solution.)

  6. Did I use domain-specific language? (endangered, habitat, giant panda nature center, survival)

  7. Did I use transition words? (But, After four years, Although, Currently)


Close Reading (What did the author say?)

Possible Answer:

  • The passage tells about scientists counting giant pandas. After four years, they found all the giant pandas in China, which is the only place where wild pandas live. Scientists found more pandas than they expected, but giant pandas are still endangered. The passage tells the following panda facts: “A panda spends 14 hours a day eating up to 83 pounds of bamboo. A newborn panda weighs 3 to 4 ounces. A panda's front paws have a wrist bone. The bone works like a thumb. The panda uses it to grasp bamboo.” The main reason that giant pandas are endangered is loss of habitat or a place to live. But China has over 40 giant panda nature centers. Still, scientists want more nature centers to give pandas better protection.

Critical Reading (How does the author say it?)

  1. How does the authors’ choice of words influence how readers think about the topic? (The authors tell that giant pandas are endangered. They give “Panda Fun Facts.” They use words like in danger of dying out, threat, and survival.)

  2. What was the author trying to do? (The authors are trying to convince readers that giant pandas can and should be saved.)

  3. How does the author think about what is being described? (The authors seem to find giant pandas interesting and special and feel that pandas should be saved.)

Abstract Thinking
Alteration promotes Survival
Alteration of providing habitats
Promotes
Survival of the panda
Science/Social Studies

Grade 5; Lexiles: from 720L to 890L; 292 words, Informational


Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.2

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.10


Student Copy
Panda Power! Note: This article was first published in 2009.

Scientists put on their detective hats in search of giant pandas. 

From World Almanac for Kids

Scientists were on the case! They collected clues. The scientists saw paw prints in the mud and fur on the bark of trees. What were they doing? Counting giant pandas!

After four years, the detective work is done. During that time, scientists figured out how many pandas live in China. All wild giant pandas live in that country.

"Pandas are very hard to see in the wild," scientist Colby Loucks told Weekly Reader. "They hide in the thick bamboo forests." That is why scientists used clues to do the count.

The result of the panda count was a surprise to scientists. They learned that hundreds more pandas exist than experts once thought! "We found pandas living in areas we didn't know had any," said Loucks.



Protecting Pandas

Although the news is good, pandas remain endangered. That means they are in danger of dying out.

Panda Fun Facts


  • A panda spends 14 hours a day eating up to 83 pounds of bamboo.

  • A newborn panda weighs 3 to 4 ounces. That is about the weight of a hamster.

  • A panda's front paws have a wrist bone. The bone works like a thumb. The panda uses it to grasp bamboo.

The main threat to pandas is habitat loss. A habitat is a place in nature where an animal lives. Panda habitat is lost when people cut down parts of the forest for wood and farming.

Currently, China has more than 40 giant panda nature centers. People are not allowed to cut down trees there. Scientists want to create more nature centers to give pandas a better chance for survival.

(Copyright © 2009 Weekly Reader Corporation. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Text-Dependent Essay

The passage states that even though scientists have found more giant pandas in places in China where they did not know that giant pandas existed, “…pandas remain endangered.” Write about the problem that is causing pandas to be endangered. Use evidence from the passage to support your response.



Writer’s Checklist

  1. Did I tell what is causing giant pandas to be endangered and about one of the solutions to the problem in the passage?

  2. Did I include all of the evidence given by the author about this problem and possible solution? Did I show that I understand the passage?

  3. Did I stay on the topic? Did I write about the problem and solution?

  4. Did I restate the question? Did I provide the evidence in the order of the text? Did my writing have a conclusion?

  5. Do I need to take out evidence that does not tell about the problem and solution?

  6. Did I use domain-specific language?

  7. Did I use transition words?


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