Name _____________________________ # _________Date _______________
5th Grade ELA Homework for October 10, 2017
“Can Anything Live Forever?”
Adapted from Wonderopolis
Do you look forward to getting older? If you're like most kids, you probably do. After all, the big kids get to do all the fun stuff, right? At some point, though, we all reach a point where we don't necessarily look forward to getting older. As our bodies age, we can't always do the things we used to do or want to do.
But what if you could live forever? If you could find the fountain of youth, would you dive into it? Do you think it would be cool to be immortal like a superhero? If so, you might want to learn the secrets of a tiny sea creature known as the immortal jellyfish.
The immortal jellyfish, known by scientists as Turritopsis dohrnii (just TRY to pronounce it), is a species of jellyfish native to, or naturally from, the Mediterranean Sea. It has also been found in the waters surrounding Japan, as well as an increasing number of places around the world.
It is in the shape of a bell and only about the width of the fingernail on your pinky finge. The immortal jellyfish is barely visible. It is like a tiny floating blob. Unless you were surrounded by them in the sea, you'd hardly even notice they were there. What they lack in stature, though, they make up for with an incredible ability that amazes scientists.
As its nickname suggests, the immortal jellyfish can boast about the fact that it has developed over time into a creature that scientists consider biologically immortal. Immortality in the case of the immortal jellyfish, however, doesn't necessarily work the way you think it might.
Instead of continuing to age for hundreds and thousands of years, the immortal jellyfish instead reaches maturity or adulthood and then at some point, often in response to an injury or environmental threat, reverts back to its infant state as a polyp (pronounced POL-UP). At that point, it can grow to full maturity again. Rather than continuing to age, it can revert back to a polyp and grow yet again. Theoretically, this cycle can repeat over and over again without end, rendering this unique jellyfish biologically immortal.
The immortal jellyfish accomplishes this amazing feat through a process known as transdifferentiation. During this process, the immortal jellyfish is able to transform its body cells from mature cells of one type to immature cells of a completely different type. Scientists are currently studying the immortal jellyfish and this process. They hope to be able to harness the power of this process to make advances in medicine. Of course, there is still the threat of predators and disease for these little guys.
1. Look at the sentence from the text:
Unless you were surrounded by them in the sea, you'd hardly even notice they were there. What they lack in stature, though, they make up for with an incredible ability that amazes scientists.
Based on the clues around it, what is an synonym of the word stature?
2. Which sentence from paragraph 2 demonstrates a simile used to describe the jellyfish’s size?
3. What is a benefit of studying theses jellyfish according to the passage?
4. Imagine that you are immortal and could live forever. Would this be a positive or a negative thing? What are some of the pros or cons that go along with immortality? Why do you think this?