Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Venn Diagrams_Whale Sharks

Hola, Amigos! We're in the Mexican town of La Paz, near the southern tip of the Baja penninsula. It feels very far away from our home in Seattle, Washington. There are many differences. For example, in Seattle, February is a cold, gray month with rain and snow. In La Paz, February is sunny and warm. In Seattle,people generally speak English. In La Paz, people speak Spanish. In the waters around Seattle,there are salmon and rockfish. In the waters around La Paz, there are rockfish, too, but there are also manta rays and whale sharks!

When I'm comparing two things, I might make a list of the qualities of each:

Seattle  La Paz
cold warm
rainy/snowy sunny
speak English speak Spanish
salmon/rockfish whale sharks/manta rays/rockfish

Venn Diagrams
Sometimes a drawing can help you organize your thoughts. A Venn Diagram is a drawing that helps you visualize how two things are the same and how they are different. It is a drawing of 2 circles that intersect in the middle:

Each circle represents the qualities of one of the objects.  Where they intersect, those qualities are things they have in common, or that are the same for both.

Say you wanted to compare an apple and an orange. Those two things are different in some ways, but they are also the same in other ways.  Here's a Venn Diagram that helps you see at a glance how they compare:

Let's practice more comparing with a Venn Diagram. But first, let me tell you a story of two kids in La Paz who got to see a whale shark! Even though they both got to see the whale shark on the same day, their experiences were quite different.

Manny, Magdalena, and the Amazing, Terrifying Whale Shark

Once upon a time in La Paz, Mexico, there lived 8-year-old twins named Manny and Magdalena.  Manny and Mag,(as she was sometimes called by her brother) were the best of friends.  They did nearly everything together, though they often had completely different experiences.

Manny liked to do everything fast!  He got bored easily and could never wait to get onto the next adventure. He played hard: running, jumping, and yelling.

Sometimes his impulsive, wild behavior was dangerous. Occasionally, he or someone he was with got hurt.

Magdalena was an inquisitive girl.  She loved to explore things deeply and she had the patience to spend hours reading, researching, or practicing something that she was interested in.

One day Manny and Magdalena's parents told them that on the following weekend, the family would be going on a special outing across the bay to see a pod of Whale Sharks!  The twins were so excited!  Manny started jumping up and down on his bed, pretending to dive into the water.  He made a play spear gun out of a broom stick and immediately went on a "hunt" for dangerous whale sharks.

Mag wanted to know more about the whale sharks.  She went right to her computer to look up pictures and facts about these beautiful, exciting creatures. She found out some surprising things:
First, she found out that whale sharks are not whales at all. They are the largest species of shark, measuring up to 60 feet in length and weighing over 27,000 pounds! Whale sharks can be as big as a school bus!

Even though they are part of the shark family, whale sharks don't hunt prey. They don't attack animals or people. They don't even have teeth to bite and chew meat. They are filter feeders, who swim with their wide mouths open to get nutrition from plankton, krill and small squid that float in the sea water.

In fact, whale sharks are docile, friendly animals. They spend most of the day swimming slowly and lazily near the surface of the water. They can be shy or skittish, if there is loud noise or splashing around them. But occasionally, when people swim quietly and gently around the whale sharks, they will allow people to get close enough to touch them!

Manny didn't do any research or reading about the whale sharks. So on the day of the outing, Manny and Magdalena had very different expectations about what they would see: Manny expected to encounter vicious, man-eating killer sharks. He brought along his play spear gun. When the family's skiff pulled into the whale shark anchorage, Manny leaped into the water with a huge "SPLASH!", ready to fight.

But when a whale shark began to swim near, Manny screamed in terror. All this commotion frightened the whale sharks. They swam away from the noisy, splashing boy.

Magdalena knew from her research that the whale sharks were gentle creatures that could be easily frightened. She put on her snorkel gear and quietly slipped into the water.

She barely made a ripple. And after a few minutes, a huge whale shark swam near, curious about her. Wow! She could hardly believe it as the enormous whale shark came closer and closer. He was a magnificent creature! Mag put out her tiny hand and the whale shark let her pet him!

Afterwards, when Manny and Mag compared their experiences with the whale sharks, they were amazed to realize how different the experience was for each of them.

Here's a Venn Diagram showing some comparisons of Manny and Mag's experience with the whale sharks.
Click on Venn Diagram to enlarge image.
This diagram is incomplete.  Can you think of more things you could write in each section of the Venn Diagram?

Busy Brains Challenge:
Print or copy the Venn Diagram above.  Add one or more items to each section of the diagram.  Look back through the story to find differences between Manny and Mag and also, similarities.

Here's how to share your answers with other Busy Brains:
1.  First, click on the title of this post.
2.  Go to the bottom of the post and click on the words "Post a comment". (Hint: It is easiest to sign in as "Annonymous". You can write your first name as part of your comment.)

Come on!  It's easy and fun!  You'll be able to see your answer posted with the other answers on the next Busy Brains posting!

No comments: