Sunday, May 29, 2016

End of Year Math Scavenger Hunt: The Gigantic Giraffe

I had fun putting together another math scavenger hunt. I have geared this one more to the fourth grade common core standards, but my fifth graders not only enjoyed it, but were challenged by it. I have been to Kenya three times since 2011 to help teach in the Mathare Valley slum of Nairobi. On each trip, I have gone on a weekend safari to the either Masai Mara or the Amboseli National Parks. There I was privileged to see the beautiful African wildlife in all its natural glory. I will be making a few more math scavenger hunts using these African animals as my inspiration to write interesting articles with embedded math problems. You can find my giraffe scavenger hunt here: End of Year Math Review Scavenger Hunt Grades 4-5 Gigantic Giraffes.

Last summer, while I was in Nairobi I visited a baby elephant sanctuary and a giraffe sanctuary where I took the time to get kissed by a giraffe. One thing that I learned before letting the giraffe get his lips close to mine is that the giraffe's mouth has no germs as it is anti-septic. It still didn't make the experience a bit weird.

I also learned how heavy a giraffe's lower leg bones are. The fibula and tibia are fused together and the bones are solid. They can kick in any direction, which keeps all but the hungriest lion away as they can kill a lion with one kick!

Here you go!

I learned plenty of other interesting facts putting this scavenger hunt together. I found what a giraffe can do with its long tongue pretty fascinating. Those facts are included in the scavenger hunt. Here are a couple of facts that I did not include.

The first fact reminds me of the compression socks that many kids wear today. They think they are being trendy and don't realize that the purpose is to not let blood pool in their legs. The giraffe has high blood pressure because the blood circulation has to go 2 meters  higher than the heart to reach the brain. The skin on the legs below the knee of the giraffe is tight, otherwise that high blood pressure would cause a giraffe’s ankles to swell. It has natural compression socks!

The other fact that I found bizarre and probably unsuitable for elementary kids has to do with their mating habits.  A female giraffe will pee into a male giraffe's mouth so the male can check and see if she is ready for mating. Then the male giraffes will go into their "necking" behavior as the battle over the female. The necking more often than not turns into the two males having a bit of romance together.

Now I feel just a little weird for letting a giraffe kiss me! Here is a short video I took in 2011 on the Masai Mara showing some giraffes running. They are quite the majestic animal!

You can find my giraffe scavenger hunt here.
You can find my Teachers Pay Teachers store here.