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Man Imitates Birds



Man Imitates Birds
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.27

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    reborn, self-inflating, aviation, popularity, greek, flights, daring, non-flexible, parachute, rockets, beeswax, avid, possible, possibly, pioneer, invaluable
     content words:    Otto Lilienthal, Wilber Wright, Wright Brothers, Francis Rogallo, Soviet Union, United States, National Aeronautics, Space Administration, Don Mitchell, World War II


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Man Imitates Birds
By Jane Runyon
  

1     It is possible that man has wanted to fly since the first time he watched birds soar through the skies. Greek mythology tells of a man named Daedalus and his son, Icarus. Daedalus and his son were imprisoned in a tower on the island of Crete. They wanted to escape their prison. Daedalus knew that he could not escape by sailing across the sea. The king watched each ship carefully. He finally decided that the only way they could make their escape was through the sky. He watched the birds as they flew over his tower. He decided to make wings for himself and Icarus. He gathered beeswax and feathers. He used the beeswax to glue the smaller feathers together. He attached the larger feathers by sewing them on with needle and thread.
 
2     Daedalus carefully shaped his creations until they looked like the wings of birds. He attached the larger pair to his body using straps across his shoulders. He flapped his arms and was able to lift himself off the earth. After he learned to control his movements, he taught his son how to fly. The day finally came when Daedalus felt that they were ready for their escape.
 
3     On the designated day, Daedalus gave his son some last minute instructions. He warned Icarus that he must stay at a safe height. If he were to fly too low, the wings would pick up moisture from the sea. They would then become too heavy to carry his body. If he were to fly too high, the sun would melt the wax and the feathers would fall from the wings. Daedalus finally took flight and called for his son to follow.

Paragraphs 4 to 9:
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