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Teaching Kids News is a website developed by Toronto educators Jonathan Tilly and Kathleen Tilly and freelance journalist Joyce Grant. Each article has authoritative links and lesson ideas. I’ve included one article by Monique Conrod and curriculum connections by Kathleen Tilly below so that you can see the format:

DNA Reveals Clues About “Ötzi The Iceman”

MARCH 20, 2012 10:00 PM

Reconstruction of the Iceman by Kennis © South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, Photo Ochsenreiter

A reconstruction of what Ötzi might have looked like. The reconstruction is by Kennis © South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, Photo Ochsenreiter

Scientists studying a 5,000-year-old mummy have learned that the man had brown eyes and hair and that he couldn’t digest milk. They also think he may have relatives alive today.

The mummy is nicknamed “Ötzi the Iceman.” He was discovered in 1991 by two people hiking in the Alps in Italy.

By examining the body, scientists found that Ötzi (pronounced “`oetsi”) died from an arrow wound about 5,300 years ago. His body was preserved by ice and snow.

They discovered that he about 45 years old when he died, 1.6 metres tall and weighed 50 kilograms. He wore a goatskin coat, had shoes made from grass and deerskin, and he carried a bow, an arrow and some tools.

Recently scientists have learned even more about the Iceman, by studying his DNA. DNA is a collection of molecules that contains information about the characteristics of an individual plant or animal. This information is stored in the cells that make up each individual.

To study the Iceman’s DNA, scientists took a small sample of spongy tissue from his hip. They ground the tissue into a powder and soaked it in a mixture of salts and alcohol to get the DNA they needed.

Reconstruction of Ötzi by Kennis © South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, Heike Engel 21Lux

The reconstruction of Ötzi’s face by Kennis © South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, Heike Engel 21Lux

Then the scientists used a computer program to match bits of the Iceman’s DNA to information they already know about humans.

It was a tricky job, because even someone’s breath could contaminate the Iceman’s DNA. The scientists spent more than six months studying the mummy’s DNA.

The Iceman’s DNA shows that he had Type O blood, that he could not digest milk, and that he had symptoms of heart disease.

It also suggests that his ancestors probably came to Europe from the Middle East, and that he may be related to people now living on Sardinia and Corsica, two islands near Italy.

Related Links
Ötzi’s well-preserved remains are at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Italy. Here’s a link to themuseum’s website about Ötzi.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Scientists discovered that Ötzi – and his relatives – had heart disease. It’s the oldest example of what has been thought of as a “modern disease,” caused by stress. How could this information be useful to today’s doctors and scientists?

What other information uncovered from the discovery of Ötzi could be useful to doctors and scientists today?

Reading Prompt: Text Features
Non-fiction texts often include headings. Headings are titles and subtitles that are written in a text. They divide the text into sections and help the reader to read easily and quickly.

Read the article and decide where headings could go. Now it is your turn to create headings for the article. Make sure your headings are short. They must also clearly identify what each sections is about.

Primary
Identify a variety of text features and explain how they help readers understand texts (OME, Reading: 2.3).

Junior
Identify a variety of text features and explain how they help readers understand texts (OME, Reading: 2.3).

Intermediate
Identify a variety of text features and explain how they help communicate meaning (OME, Reading: 2.3).

Grammar Feature: The Umlaut
The O in Ötzi’s name has two dots over it; that’s called an umlaut. An umlaut changes the way the O sounds when you pronounce it.

Umlauts are used in many German words; in this case, Ötzi’s name comes from the Ötztal Alps, where Ötzi was found. (The Ötztal Alps run through Italy and Austria.)

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