Topic: Newsela for January

The polar bear

Polar bears are large white bears. They live mostly on the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean. Their fur is thick and covers a layer of fat. Under their fur, their skin is black so as to better absorb the sun's warmth. Even their paws have fur to protect their feet from freezing on the ice. Polar bears are between 7 and 8 feet long and weigh from 900 to 1,600 pounds. They mostly eat seals but also eat carrion, the decaying flesh of dead animals. The Polar bears are at the top of the food chain in the Arctic. Other than humans, they have no natural predators. The bear is a powerful swimmer and they use their back legs to steer them. They can travel as far as 200 miles over a period of about 10 days. Such long swims are sometimes necessary in summer months when sea ice retreats. Female polar bears dig dens in snow drifts. This is where they give birth to cubs in winter. Cubs stay with their mothers for more than two years. Male polar bears do not help raise the cubs and in some cases might even kill them.

The main threat to polar bears is global warming. The Arctic is very sensitive to climate change. Bears rely on sea ice to hunt seals. If more ice melts in summer months because of climate change, bears will not be able to hunt seals during this time. As a result, they might be forced onto land.

This is a topic that I found very interesting because I may not be able to directly help, them but I could always help people understand what is happening.

Re: Newsela for January

Winter Solstice

On December 21 or 22 every year, the winter solstice happens. For the northern part of Earth, the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year. Over a year, the days between June and December slowly grow shorter. The sun rises later and sets at an earlier time. Then, winter is dark. This pattern changes at the Winter Solstice. This is when the northern part of Earth is the furthest away from the sun. The summer solstice is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. That part of Earth receives more sunlight than on any other day. Then shouldn’t that day be the hottest? Actually, the hottest days are usually in July and August. The Northern Hemisphere is absorbing lots of sunlight on the summer solstice. It goes into the air and water. It just takes a few weeks for that energy to release.

I have always wonder what a winter solstice was, and after reading the article, I understand. I hope that you learn something, just from my piece of writing.