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1.Endangered Species

A species whose population is so small that it is under the threat of becoming extinct is called an endangered species. There are several animals in Asia that are under the danger of being wiped out completely from the face of the earth. Such a situation arises when human activities destroy their habitats and disrupt their food chains. Some animals are even killed for their skin, horns and other body parts. Some such species are: the birdwing butterfly, found in the forests of Papua New Guinea; the giant panda, found in bamboo forests located in the mountains of south western China; the Indian rhinoceros, found in India and Nepal; the orangutan, found in the forests of Borneo, and Sumatra; the Asian elephant, found in countries of South-East Asia; and the Asian tiger, found in India, Bangladesh, Sumatra, China and the Russian Far East.

Five species of Asian tigers that can still be found are (i) the Royal Bengal tiger (ii) the Indo-Chinese tiger (iii) the Siberian tiger (iv) the South China tiger and (v) the Sumatran tiger. The status of existence of these species is declared to be critically endangered. There were three more species of Asian tigers that are now extinct. These are the Caspian tiger, the Javan tiger and the Bali tiger.

Tigers are being killed for their skin, bones and other body parts. The bones of tigers are used to make traditional Asian medicine for the treatment of diseases like rheumatism, joint and back pain, paralysis and leprosy. The bones of a single tiger cost around US $30,000 in Asia alone. The skin of a tiger is also in high demand for decoration and to make rugs.

A.Answer the following questions briefly.

  1. What is an endangered species?
  2. Why are animals becoming endangered?
  3. iii. What types of Asian tigers can still be found?
  4. Write the names of two types of Asian tigers that are now extinct.
  5. What are the tigers killed for?

B.Match the names of animals with the places they are found in.

A                                        B

Indian rhinoceros

India, Bangladesh, Sumatra, China and Far East Russia

Birdwing butterfly

South-west China

Orangutan

South Asia

Giant panda

Papua New Guinea

Asian tiger

Borneo and Sumatra

Asian elephant

India and Nepal


C.Write whether the following statements are true (T) or false (F).

  1. Asian tigers are a critically endangered species.  …………..
  2. Some animals in Asia alone are endangered.       …………..
  3. iii. Asian elephants can be found in Sri Lanka.         ……………
  4. Tiger skin is very expensive.                                  …………….

D.Complete the following statements:

  1. Species of animals become endangered due to…………………………………..
  2. An extinct species is………………………………………………………………………..
  3. iii. The price of the bones of a single tiger is………………………………………….
  4. These bones are used to…………………………………………………………………

E.Select words from the above passage that mean the following:

  1. peril
  2. destroyed
  3. iii. ailments
  4. beautification

2.How Pleasant To Know Mr Lear

How pleasant to know Mr Lear, 
Who has written such volumes of stuff. 
Some think him ill-tempered and queer, 
But a few find him pleasant enough.
 
His mind is concrete and fastidious, 
His nose is remarkably big; 
His visage is more or less hideous, 
His beard it resembles a wig.
 
He has ears, and two eyes, and ten fingers, 
(Leastways if you reckon two thumbs); 
He used to be one of the singers, 
But now he is one of the dumbs.
 
He has many friends, laymen and clerical, 
Old Foss is the name of his cat; 
His body is perfectly spherical, 
He weareth a runcible hat.
 
When he walks in waterproof white, 
The children run after him so! 
Calling out, “He’s gone out in his night 
gown, that crazy old Englishman, oh!”
 
He weeps by the side of the ocean, 
He weeps on the top of the hill; 
He purchases pancakes and lotion, 
And chocolate shrimps from the mill.
 
He reads, but he does not speak, Spanish, 
He cannot abide ginger beer; 
Ere the days of his pilgrimage vanish, 
How pleasant to know Mr Lear!
Edward Lear
 

A.State whether the following statements are true (T) or false (F).

  1. This poem is about the poet himself.        ………………
  2. Mr Lear is an Irishman.                              ……………….
  3.  Mr Lear used to be an actor.                   ……………….
  4. Mr Lear likes animals.                 ……………..

B.Answer the following questions.

  1. Describe Mr Lear’s appearance.  
  2. What is Mr Lear’s profession?
  3.  Write four things Mr Lear likes to do. 
  4. Make a list of five pairs of rhyming words.
  5. The word ‘runcible’ was made up by Lear himself. What do you think it means? 

C.Choose the correct meaning of the following words.

i. queer:

mad ( )

strange ( )

solemn ( )

ii.fastidious:

careful ( )

untidy ( )

carefree ( )

iii. visage:

face ( )

nose ( )

beard ( )

D.Make sentences with the following words.

  1. concrete
  2. resembles
  3. hideous
  4. abide
  5. spherical
  6. vanish 
  1. The Indus Valley Civilization

The greater Indus region is considered to be home to the four major ancient urban civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, South Asia and China. This was discovered only in the 1920s.

Archaeologists discovered two cities that were located four hundred miles apart along the banks of the River Indus, in the Sindh Region of undivided India. The major part of the site is now in Pakistan. The cities are thought to be four thousand years old. They were built with an expertise that indicates the existence of a very advanced civilization, comparable to ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations. Archaeologists called these cities Mohenjodaro and Harappa. Mohenjodaro means ‘hill of the dead’ and Harappa is named after a nearby village.

The people of Mohenjodaro and Harappa lived in sturdy brick houses that had as many as three floors. The houses had well-constructed bathrooms with a connection to the sewage system of the town. Their elaborate drainage system was centuries ahead of their time. Archaeologists have found the remains of fine jewellery, including stones, from faraway places. This shows that the people of the Indus Valley civilization valued art and had trade relations with other civilizations.

Nobody yet knows what caused the extinction of this advanced civilization. It appears to have been abandoned in about 1700 B.C.E. However, there have been innumerable speculations about the cause of the extinction of the Indus valley civilization. Some archaeologists argue that a great flood may possibly have weakened the civilization. Another group argues that the moving tectonic plates that created the Himalayas may have caused a devastating earthquake resulting in the extinction of the civilization. Yet others propose that perhaps the Indus Valley people were defeated by those of another culture.

A.Answer the following questions.

  1. What are the names of the four great civilizations of the ancient world? 
  2. What is thought to be the site for these civilizations?
  3. iii. How old is the Indus Valley civilization?
  4. What is the meaning of ‘Mohenjodaro’? 
  5. Do you think the claim of the Indus Valley civilization being very advanced is correct? Why?
  6. Did the people of the Indus Valley have an active connection with other cultures? If yes, what tells you so?
  7. vii. What are the different causes that are supposed to have put an end to this great civilization?

B.Fill in the blanks by selecting the correct alternative.

  1. The Indus Valley civilization is thought to have been abandoned in about………………….

1500 B.C.E

1700 B.C.E

4000 B.C.E

  1. The site of the civilization is now in………………………..

India

Pakistan

Nepal

 

2. The citizens lived in multi-storeyed brick houses

cottages

multistoreyed brick houses

tents

3.Archaeologists found………………………………..there.

 jewellery and stones from faraway places

some jewellery but no stones

stones but no jewellery

C.Find out words from the above passage that mean the following:

i. very old

ii. sophisticated

iii. skill

iv. Disappearance  

v. forsaken

D.Write antonyms of the following words. 

i. greater

ii. major

iii. Advanced

iv. Weaken

v. defeat

  1. Edmond Halley

Newton, having explained the movements of the planets, naturally turned his attention to comets. He perceived that their travels could be completely accounted for as consequences of the attraction of the sun. He surmised the principles by which the orbit of a comet could be determined, provided that observations of its positions were obtained at three different dates. The importance of these principles was quickly recognised by Halley, who saw at once that it provided the means of detecting something like order in the movements of these strange wanderers. Applying these principles, Halley thought it would be instructive to study the movements of certain bright comets, concerning which reliable observations could be obtained. At the cost of many hours and tireless work, he laid down the paths pursued by twenty-four of these bodies, which had appeared between the years 1337 and 1698. Amongst them he noticed three. These three comets followed paths so closely resembling each other, that he concluded that the three could only have been three different appearances of the same body. The first of these occurred in 1531, the second in 1607, and the third was seen by Halley himself in 1682. These dates suggested that the comet returned after intervals of 75 or 76 years. On the further examination of ancient records, Halley found that a comet had been seen in the year 1456, a date, it will be observed, 75 years before 1531. As Halley thus found that a comet had been recorded on several occasions at intervals of 75 or 76 years, he was led to the conclusion that these several apparitions related to one and the same object. To realize the importance of this discovery, it should be remembered that before Halley’s time, a comet, if not regarded merely as a sign of divine displeasure, or as an omen of impending disaster, had at least been regarded as a chance visitor to the solar system.

A supreme test remained to be applied to Halley’s theory. The question arose as to the date at which this comet would be seen again. At the time when Halley lived, no means existed of calculating with precision the effect of the disturbance a comet might experience from the action of the different planets. Halley exhibited his usual astronomical sagacity in deciding that, for the date of its reappearance, the comet would choose either the end of 1758 or the beginning of 1759. Halley knew that he could not himself live to witness the fulfilment of his prediction, but he says: “If it should return, according to our predictions, about the year 1758, impartial posterity will not refuse to acknowledge that this was first discovered by an Englishman.” The illustrious astronomer had no hope of being himself a witness of the event, for it could not happen till many years after his death. This did not, however, diminish his anxiety to impress upon those who would then be alive, the importance of the occurrence, nor did it lead him to neglect anything which might contribute to the success of the observations.

This was, indeed, a remarkable prediction of an event to occur 53 years after it had been uttered. The way in which it was fulfilled forms one of the most striking episodes in the history of astronomy. The comet was next seen on Christmas Day, 1758, and passed through its nearest point to the sun on 13 March 1759. The comet paid a subsequent visit in 1835, 1910 and was last seen in 1986.

(Adapted)

Great Astronomers: Edmond Halley by

Robert Stawell Ball

A.Write the meanings of the following words.

i. surmised              ii. astronomical                    iii. Omen            iv. Apparitions              v. divine

vi. sagacity

B.Make sentences with the following words. Remember to keep the usage as it is in the passage.

i. principles                    ii. Perceived                             iii. Precision                     iv. chance

v. posterity             vi. illustrious

C.Answer the following questions:

  1. What did Newton surmise?
  2. What did Halley conclude after hours of hard work? 
  3. iii. When was the last time Halley’s Comet appeared and when will we see it again?

D.State whether the following statements are true (T) or (F). 

  1. Halley’s Comet appears every 75 or 76 years.              …………………
  2. Comets were seen to be signs of good fortune.         ………………….
  3. iii. Halley’s Comet appeared twice in his lifetime.          …………………
  4. Edmond Halley was an astrologer.                               …………………

  1. Doctor Dolittle and the Crocodile

And another time, when the circus came to Puddleby, the crocodile who had a bad toothache escaped at night and came into the Doctor’s garden. The Doctor talked to him in crocodile language and took him into the house and made his tooth better. But when the crocodile saw what a nice house it was-with all the different places for the different kinds of animals-he too wanted to live with the Doctor. He asked couldn’t he sleep in the fish-pond at the bottom of the garden, if he promised not to eat the fish. When the circus-men came to take him back, he got so wild and savage that he frightened them away. But to everyone in the house he was always as gentle as a kitten. But now the old ladies grew afraid to send their lap-dogs to Doctor Dolittle because of the crocodile; and the farmers wouldn’t believe that he would not eat the lambs and sick calves they brought to be cured. So the Doctor went to the crocodile and told him he must go back to his circus. But he wept such big tears, and begged so hard to be allowed to stay, that the Doctor hadn’t the heart to turn him out.

So then the Doctor’s sister came to him and said, “John, you must send that creature away. Now the farmers and the old ladies are afraid to send their animals to you-just as we were beginning to be well off again. Now we shall be ruined entirely. This is the last straw. I will no longer be housekeeper for you if you don’t send away that alligator “It isn’t an alligator,” said the Doctor-“it’s a crocodile.”

“I don’t care what you call it,” said his sister. “It’s a nasty thing to find under the bed. I won’t have it in the house.” “But he has promised me,” the Doctor answered, “that he will not bite any one. He doesn’t like the circus; and I haven’t the money to send him back to Africa where he comes from. He minds his own business and on the whole is very well behaved. Don’t be so fussy.” So Sarah Dolittle packed up her things and went off; and the Doctor was left all alone with his animal family.

And very soon he was poorer than he had ever been before. With all these ths to fill, and the house to look after, and no one to do the mending, and no money coming in to pay the butcher’s bill, things began to look very difficult. But the Doctor didn’t worry at all.

“Money is a nuisance,” he used to say. “We’d all be much better off if it had never been invented. What does money matter, so long as we are happy?”

(Extracted and adapted) 

The Story of Doctor Dolittle by 

Hugh Lofting

A.Write the meanings of the following words.

i. savage

ii. Fussy

iii. nuisance

iv. invented


B.Answer the following questions.
  1. Who is Doctor Dolittle? Who lives in his house?
  2. How did the crocodile end up being a guest at his house? 
  3. iii. Why did Sarah Dolittle leave?
  4. What does Doctor Dolittle say about money?
C,Fill in the blanks.
  1. The circus came to……………………………………………………………………………….
  2. The crocodile paid the doctor a visit because…………………………………………
  3. iii. John could not send the crocodile back to……………………………………………. because………………………………………………………………………………………………..
D.Make sentences with the following words:
  1. wild…………………………………………………………………………………………………….
  2. cured………………………………………………………………………………………………….
  3. iii. ruined………………………………………………………………………………………………..
  4. business…………………………………………………………………………………………….
  5. worry…………………………………………………………………………………………………

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