Z is also for…. zany facts!

ZThere are about 7,000 languages in the world, but only about half of them can be written down. Just think about that for a moment….no written words means no spelling tests!!

English has borrowed lots of words from other languages. This usually happens when there wasn’t already a word for it in English. Some examples of English words that are not really English are: iceberg, algebra, ski and ghoul.

Once upon a time oranges were called noranges. Over time, the ‘n’ sound moved from the beginning of the word ‘orange’ and attached itself to the end of the word ‘a’, so a norange became an orange. The posh word for this happening is metanalysis and the evidence is in the Spanish word for orange (naranja). Other words this has happened to are apron and adder. Sometimes it happens the other way round to with the ‘n’ moving from the end of ‘an’ to the start of the next word. Eg ‘a nickname’ used to be ‘an ekename’.

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Y is also for… yoosless information!

yOk, so I cheated a bit here, but I was a bit stuck for Y!  Did you know….

Six of our solar system’s planets, including Earth, rotate anti-clockwise. The odd ones out are Venus, which rotates clockwise, and Uranus which spins on its side.

Mercury and Venus are the only planets in our solar system to have no moons. While Earth has only one, Jupiter and Saturn have more than 60 each.

If you hate storms, be grateful that we don’t have the worst weather in the solar system. The distinctive red spot that can be seen on Jupiter is actually a huge storm. Although scientist believe it is slowly shrinking, it still covers an area of approximately 20,000 Km x 12,000 Km and has been raging for over 300 years!

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X is also for….. X files

If you want to amaze your teachers or friends, here are some strange but true facts about animals.

1)      If Cockroaches give you the creeps you’ll be delighted to know that they feel exactly the same way about us. After being touched by a human, cockroaches run away and hide and wash themselves thoroughly.

2)      There are fish in the Amazon Rainforest called anableps whose eyes are divided into two parts so that they can see above and below the water at the same time.

3)      Honey bees have to fly around 88,500 Km to make just under ½ Kg of honey.

4)      Swifts sleep in the air. They can shut down just half of their brain so they can sleep without hitting the ground.

5)      The Arctic Tern flies further than any other migrating bird. It travels about 71,000 Km per year which is more than 2 million kilometres in its lifetime.

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W is also for…. Water


One of the biggest reasons why people make mistakes in their work – at school or in a job – is because they are not concentrating properly on what they are doing.  There are a number of reasons why someone might not be concentrating – they could be trying to do more than one thing at the same time, they could be talking to someone, or there might be a lot of noise and other distractions in the place they are working.

Another possibility is that they are dehydrated.  This means they have not been drinking enough water, which our brains need to work properly.  If we get dehydrated, our brains work more slowly, we might get tired more quickly, we might be irritable with other people, and we can easily lose concentration and make mistakes in our work.

Thankfully, it’s quite easy to solve this problem.  All you have to do is make sure you drink plenty of water, not all at once but regularly throughout the day.  This keeps your brain working as it should and helps you concentrate.  So next time you find yourself struggling to concentrate and making silly errors, stop and think whether you’ve been drinking enough water.  Your brain needs it.

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V is also for…Verify

VVerify is quite a technical word but it means simply “check”.  And when you are working – at school, at college, or later when you’re at work – it’s really important to check what you have done.  Even if you are really concentrating on what you are writing, or the maths problem you’re working out, it’s easy to make little mistakes.

Everybody makes mistakes, there’s nothing wrong with that. But because everyone makes mistakes, we all need to check our work before we hand it in.  So after you finish each sentence in a piece of writing, look at it closely. Does it make sense?  Are all the words spelt correctly? Have you used the right punctuation, and made sure you have capital letters where they need to be?  At the end of your piece, read through the whole thing again to check that it makes sense and you’ve said everything you wanted to say.

When you’re doing a maths problem, keep checking that you haven’t misread the question, written the wrong number, put the decimal point in the wrong place, or made a little mistake somewhere in your calculations.

It sounds like a lot of extra work but it really doesn’t take that much more time. And, if you make a habit of checking your work as you go along, and again at the end, you’ll soon get better and quicker at doing it.  It’s amazing the difference that checking your work can make.

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