Leucism vs. Albinism

Image Source: Pixabay.com

Leucism VS. Albinism

Image Source: Pixabay.com

The above peacock has all white feathers, a pale pink beak and pink feet , however it is not considered an ‘albino”. Why might you ask? The give-away is in the eyes! 

Albinism is a condition in which there is an absence of melanin. Melanin is what is present in the skin and is what gives skin, feathers, hair and eyes their color. Vertebrates with albinism are not only white (or sometimes pale yellowish) in color but they also have very pale eyes, often pink or red in color as the blood vessels show through. Leucism is only a partial loss of pigmentation, which can make the animal have white or patchily colored skin, hair, or feathers. However, the pigment cells in the eyes are not affected by the condition.

These are two very different conditions. So next time you see an animal you think is albino, look to see if it is mostly white and, importantly, take a look at the eyes!

Check out Omo, the rare white giraffe that is a prime example of leucism, not albinism, here: 


Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day  is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King’s actual birthday of January 15. Martin Luther King Jr. was best known for his leadership during the Civil Rights Movement as well as delivering one of the most famous speeches in American History. The “I Have A Dream” speech was delivered at the March on Washington on August 28, 1963.

Watch the “I Have A Dream” speech here: https://youtu.be/I47Y6VHc3Ms

The best way to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is to take part in the National Day of Service in his name.  The MLK Day of Service challenges Americans to transform into volunteers for a day. This day of service was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on August 23, 1994.

For more information and lesson plans to teach about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. please visit these links from TeacherVision. https://www.teachervision.com/special-offers-for-teachers/martin-luther-king/01-15-2016.html?have_email=1&utm_source=TV_SOT_2016-01-18&utm_medium=e-newsletter&utm_campaign=TV_SOT

Celebrating Louis Braille’s 206th Birthday!

Image Source: Pixabay.com

Louis Braille was born on January 4th, 1809 in a small town near Paris, France. After an accident with a sharp tool in his father’s workshop, Louis injured one of his eyes. Later the wound became infected, resulting in loss of vision in both of his eyes at the age of 3 years old. Louis quickly realized he needed an easier way to learn other than just listening to his professors speak. So he took a military 12 dot code and ironed out the system into 6 dots all by the time he was 15 years old. Braille wasn’t fully taught to blind students until after Louis death in 1852. It finally began to spread worldwide in 1968. 

Louis Braille first discovered a military communication system devised by Captain Charles Barbier of the French Army in 1821. Barbier willingly shared his invention called “night writing” which was a code of dots and dashes impressed into thick paper. These impressions could be interpreted entirely by the fingers, letting soldiers share information on the battlefield without having light or needing to speak. However, the “night writing” turned out to be  too complex to use. But it inspired Braille to develop a system of his own.


So how does Braille work? 

First any students learning to read Braille must start with learning the alphabet, just like any sighted person learning to read.

, via Wikimedia Commons”]According to Amber Pearcy, a proofreader at the National Braille Press in Boston, there are two levels of braille — grade 1 braille or uncontracted braille, which is where every letter is written by itself. Or there is grade 2 braille also known as contracted braille. That’s where there is a series of signs or short forms to help condense braille. So, for example, if you take her name, Amber, you would write A M B and then there’s a sign for ER.

Braille Is Not Stuck In the Past

Despite the ease and convenience that technological advancements afford, braille isn’t going anywhere. Pearcy says that audio “won’t ever replace braille because…you can’t tell anything about grammar by listening, you can’t learn how to spell words.… There’s always going to be a place for braille.”  

However, the blind can still use modern technology. There are devices called Refreshable Braille Displays that pair up with e-readers, iPhones, iPads, and computers. They are made up of a bunch of little pins that pop up and form the different dots.

, via Wikimedia Commons”] 

Sources: https://www.teachervision.com/inventions/printable/39023.html?utm_source=TV_DailyTeach_2016-01-04&utm_medium=e-newsletter&utm_campaign=TV_DailyTeach