A Merman’s Tale by Anna Wren Daly

I wrote this story to continue the story in the writing prompt picture below.  My dad and I made the merman picture in Photoshop.  Click here to see a larger version of our image!


The map was clear: this is where he would find it. He just hadn’t expected that he’d have to get wet. Reluctantly, he swam out to the giant concrete circle. He looked down into it but couldn’t see the bottom. He sighed, took a deep breath, and dove in.

As he held his breath, he kept swimming deeper and deeper into the water. There was less and less light as he went deeper. His hands hit something hard. He must have reached the bottom of the well. He began to feel around. He kept touching around and then felt something. He picked it up, and all of a sudden, the object began to glow. He dropped it in surprise. The thing he touched looked like a big fork, except, it was gold and it had three pointy ends that were shaped like arrows.

He began to run out of air. He had to go back up to the surface. He started going up, but he realized that he had forgotten the big fork. He needed air badly. The big fork started glowing brighter and brighter like it was telling him to get it. He mustered all of his energy and then swam down to get it. Then, the big fork glowed bright like the sun, blinding his eyes. The water began to get warmer and warmer until the big fork dimmed, and the warm water cooled.

When the fork went dim he was shocked that he didn’t need air anymore. He was surprised that he could see far off into the water. He looked down at his legs because they felt funny. He saw that his legs looked like a green dolphin’s tail. He looked at the fork and realized it was a trident.

The bottom of the well had disappeared. He saw a bunch of lights below. He tried to swim towards them but he didn’t know how to use his tail. He realized he was trying to kick his legs, but he didn’t have them anymore. He thought about how dolphins move. He tried to copy their motion and found he was swimming. As he made his way towards the lights, he could see a lot of people like him. People with dolphin tails. Derik began to swim towards his new life.


The Long Walk to Water Book Review

book salvaThe Long Walk to Water, written by Linda Sue Park, takes place in Sudan. It’s about the problems of living in Southern Sudan. Life in Sudan was very hard because there was a civil war between the South of Sudan and North of Sudan. Another problem is that there is a lack of good drinking water in Sudan.

lost boysIn the civil war, the Sudanese rebels would capture boys and make them be soldiers. Then they would make boys do horrible things as soldiers. A lot of the boys escaped and had to walk all the way across Southern Sudan. These boys are known as The Lost Boys of Sudan. The boys then walked, barefoot, across a desert in Ethiopia to get to a refugee camp. On the walk to the refugee camp, some would die from hunger and exhaustion, and some would get eaten by lions.1280px-Children_queue_for_water_in_the_Jamam_refugee_camp_(7118755769) After living in a refugee camp for several years, the Ethiopian soldiers kicked them out of the camp and made people go across the Gilo river. People were shot by soldiers and killed by Crocodiles as they swam across the Gilo river.  Kids that survived had to walk all the way to Kenya without any adults to look after them. The lucky ones that made it too a refugee camp  lived there for many years. Some kids eventually got to go to America. Many of the Lost Boys of Sudan never got to see their parents again. The ones that did didn’t see their parents until they were adults.

boys fetching waterIn Sudan, many people don’t drink clean water like the people in the United States. People in Sudan have to drink from the same puddles that animals drink from. Water that animals drink from have parasites. People that drink this water get sick from the parasites. Some people even die from the parasites. Many people in Sudan spend their whole lives with parasites in their bodies.

In The Long Walk to Water, the author created two characters. One character ,named Salva, demonstrates the sadness of living through the war. The other character, named Nya, portrays the lack of good drinking water in Sudan.  The book also describes how some people are trying to bring good drinking water to all parts of Sudan.

This book is really good. It taught me about the civil war that lasted for almost thirty years and it taught me about the water problems in Sudan.  It’s a great book to read as a family.

The Big Bang Theory By Bill and Anna Daly

Is the Big Bang Theory really true? No one knows for sure, but there is a lot of evidence to support it. The sign of a good hypothesis is that it predicts things that haven’t been discovered yet. Let’s take a look at a few of the things the Big Bang theory predicted we would discover .

In 1929, Edwin Hubble discovered that the distant stars and galaxies were moving away from us. He, also, discovered that the speed in which the stars and galaxies move away from us is determined by how far they are from us. The stars and galaxies that are farther from us move at a faster speed than the stars that are close to us. In fact, the speed is proportional to their distance from us.
Hubble expansion
Look at the diagram above. Star PINK is two light years from us, Star WHITE is one light year from us, and Star YELLOW is .5 light years from us. After a certain amount of time, Star PINK is four light years from us, Star WHITE is two light years from us, and Star YELLOW is one light year from us. Star PINK moved two light years in the same amount of time that Star WHITE moved one light year and Star YELLOW moved .5 light years. That means that Star PINK is moving twice as fast as Star WHITE because it is twice as far away from us and four times as fast as Star YELLOW because it is four times as far away from us. Their speeds are proportional to their distance. That is how real stars behave.
Hubble expansion un reverse
It is reasonable to assume that if you reverse the direction that these stars are traveling (that is, go backwards in time) they would all join each other at a single point at the same time. If you know how far away the stars are and how fast these stars are traveling, you could calculate how long it would take them to reach that meeting point. In our universe, the meeting time would be reached in 13.7 to 13.8 billion years.

Matter heats up as it is compressed. Scientist figured that if the Big Bang theory was true, the universe would have had to have been incredibly hot in its early phases. So hot that electrons could not interact with protons and, that as the universe cooled, the only atoms that could form would be hydrogen and helium (and a smidge of lithium). This would mean that the universe would be almost all hydrogen and helium. As it turns out, 98% of the universe is made of hydrogen and helium. The 2% of heavier atoms were made in stars after the early formation of the universe. Scientists, also, predicted that energy would be released in a very specific wave length at the moment protons were able to interact with electrons to form hydrogen and helium. They predicted that this energy would come from everywhere in the universe. This energy was discovered, in the 1960s.

If you are interested in learning more about why so many scientists think the Big Bang theory is true, WATCH THIS TED TALK VIDEO AFTER WATCHING OUR VIDEO ABOUT THE FORMATION OF THE UNIVERSE.

An Introduction To Big History

We have begun to study Big History. Most history classes start with our first civilizations or when humans started farming, 11,000 years ago. Big History begins with the Big Bang, 13.8 billions years ago. Our version of Big History looks at what science has to tell us about the evolution of our universe and how we evolved as a species. It then looks at what history tells us about how technologies have changed and how our behaviors have changed with them.

We plan on making a series of videos about the evolution of our universe, the evolution of our species, and the evolution of our behavior as a species. We hope you enjoy the first video which introduces the subject.

A Book Report On One Beetle Too Many

Charles Darwin_One Beetle Too Many, by Kathryn Lasky, is a book about Charles Darwin and how he figured out how evolution works. The book spends most of the time explaining what he thought as he traveled around the world. The things he saw on the voyage helped him think of how evolution works.

Charles Darwin always loved nature. When Darwin was a kid, he loved identifying all different types of beetles. When Darwin was twenty-two years old, he sailed off to South America to explore and find different kinds of animals and plants. He sailed on a ship called “The Beagle”.

Fossils_in_a_beach_wallAt the tip of Argentina, he found large fossils of extinct animals mixed in with clam fossils. Then he wondered why the clams were still existing while the large fossils didn’t . He identified these large fossils and found out they were similar to the species living today. Then Darwin thought that, maybe, the extinct species had turned into the species living today.

Then, Charles Darwin traveled up to the Andes mountains. In those days, people thought god had created the mountains and that the mountains had always existed. When he was up on the Andes, he saw seashell fossils on top of the mountain. Andes_-_punta_arenasHe knew that clams can’t live on top of the mountain. Darwin figured that the land with fossilized seashells had, at one time, been in the ocean. This, to him, proved that the Andes mountains had not always existed as they were.  Darwin stayed at a town near the Andes where he experienced his first earthquake. Darwin saw that the ground had split and that some of the ground moved up. He thought that, also, proved the Andes were made by the land being pushed up.darwinsfinches

He then sailed to the Galapagos Islands. He noticed that the environments on each island were different from each other. He, also, noticed the species looked different from island to island.   For example, the finches beaks were thin on one island and fat on the next. He thought that, perhaps, these species had changed over time to fit their environment. This idea was a big part of his theory of how evolution works.

One Beetle Too Many is interesting. I enjoyed reading it. I would recommend it to anyone.

The Free Range Comma: Series of Words or Phrases by Anna and Bill Daly

Everyone should know how to use commas correctly. Teachers, mathematicians, tennis players, loggers, painters, and musicians should all learn how to use commas correctly. People who use commas correctly tend to have better voices, more interesting lives, higher paid jobs, and more loyal and better-looking friends than those people who do not use commas correctly. People who suffer from forgetting to punctuate the end of sentences, poor comma use, or lack of spelling skills should contact their nearest English teacher immediately.


Notice the sentences above have series of words or phrases that are separated by commas. The free-range-comma-rule number four is use commas to separate a series of three or more words or phrases. If it’s a series of only two words or phrases, you don’t need a comma. For example, the sentence He climbed the tree and shouted with joy does not need a comma. However, the sentence He climbed the tree, looked up, and shouted with joy does need commas.or-or-

Use the words “and” or “or” to let the reader know that they are reading the last word or phrase in the series. Put a comma in front of the words “and” or “or” when you do this. Putting a comma in front these words helps the reader to not confuse an “and” that is part of a phrase with an “and” that shows the end of a series.

lawnmowerThe exception to the series-of-three-or-more-rule is when you have a series of adjectives. Use commas to separate two or more adjectives that describe the same noun. An example of this is in the sentence The fat, brown chicken laid a small, green egg. Be sure not to confuse an adverb for an adjective. An adverb is a word that describes a verb or an adjective. For instance, the sentence He mowed the light green grass does not need a comma because light is describing green, which is an adjective. The thin, green grass does need a comma.   

Click on Comma rule #1Comma rule #2, or Comma rule #3 for more comma rules.