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Gail S Hennessey's picture
Gail Skroback Hennessey taught for over 33 years, teaching sixth grade in all but two years. She earned a BA in early secondary education with a concentration in social studies and an MST in social...
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Using the News in the Classroom: Baby Giraffe born without SPOTS

A baby giraffe was born at the Tennessee Zoo that is quite unusual. It has NO spots. The baby spotless giraffe was born tan with no patches at all. The zoo said that the unnamed baby giraffe may be the only living solid colored giraffe in the world. There is a vote where people can help select the calf's name. One of the four possibilities is Kipekee (Swahili for unique). 
Photograph from USAToday
NOTE: Click here for the free download of this Interactive Notebook Activity: 
In less than 30 years, the number of giraffe have drastically decreased by almost 40 percent. That makes giraffe in more danger of extinction than the elephant. In 2016, the conservation group, The International Union for Conservation of Nature, listed the giraffe on its Red List of species which are endangered.  Specifically, the giraffe has been moved from “least concern” to “vulnerable”.The main cause for their dwindling population is destruction of their habitat.  Additionally the group says that illegal hunting of giraffe and civil unrest in the areas where giraffes roam are also causes for their declining numbers.  Learn about the giraffe with this web quest!
Did you Know?
1. There are nine subspecies of giraffe.  One is stable, three are actually increasing in number and 5 have dwindling numbers.
2. Did you know that the okapi is the only close relative of the giraffe?
3. The tallest land animals, the giraffe’s legs are about six feet long!
4. Each giraffe’s spots are different. They are like a human fingerprint.
5. People once called the giraffe a “camel-leopard” because of its small hump and leopard spots. That is how it got its the species name of camelopardalis.
6. Hisses, grunts, snorts roars and even moos are some of the sounds made by a giraffe.
7. Giraffes sleep less than 30 minutes a day.
8. Did you know a giraffe can reach speeds of about 35 miles per hour(56 K)?
9. Giraffes don’t drink much water, just a few drinks every few days. In fact they drink less water than a camel! Drinking isn’t easy as their necks can’t reach the ground. A giraffe must spread its front legs when it wants to take a drink of water.
10. Although Giraffes can lie down, they tend to spend most of their lives standing.
11. Did you know that a giraffe can clean its ears with its tongue! That’s an amazing feat that humans can’t do!
12. Weighing up to 24 pounds, a giraffe’s heart is about 2 ft. long.
13. Did you know a giraffe’s tail can be up to 8 feet long? The tail of the giraffe is the longest of any land mammal.
14. You can tell the age of a giraffe from its spots. They get darker as a giraffe ages.
15. You can find giraffes living in the grasslands, woodlands and
savannas of Africa.
16. With bristly hair, the purple-bluish tongue of a giraffe is tough enabling
them to eat thorny Acadia trees(one of their favorite foods).
Your Turn:
  1. Pretend you are a giraffe. Write a day in your life. What did you do? What did you see? What did you hear? Include 3 facts learned about the giraffe in your diary entry.
  2. Illustrate one of the fun facts about the giraffe.
  3. Use each letter of the word, GIRAFFE, and write a poem.
  4. Write a persuasive paragraph and explain why you think that humans should try and save the giraffe from extinction.  Give 2 reasons in your persuasive paragraph. 
5.  Write a story on how a giraffe got its long neck, long tail or long legs. 
6. Read the online story, How Giraffes Got Long Necks. Write a summary of the story. 
Check out my webquest on the Giraffe it includes these fun facts as well as extension activities and links for the teacher: 
The Giraffe Possible Interactive Notebook Activity
Gail Skroback Hennessey