SPE006 Reading Comprehension

Section 3: Reading Comprehension

Questions 1 – 5: Choose the best multiple-choice answer for each question.

Amazon milk frogs have bumpy skin and large toe pads for tree climbing. They are patterned in darker and lighter shades of brownish-grey. Females grow up to 3 ½ inches in length, while males grow up to 3 inches in length. Their scientific name, “Trachycephalus” refers to their rounded snout, which they use for pushing aside vegetation to hide amongst. They have large vocal sacs and can produce a loud call. Males will vocalize from a water-filled tree cavity on a clear night to better carry the sound of their call. (Excerpt from ‘Amazon milk frog’, sfzoo.org)

Which of the following statements is true?

Amazon milk frogs are known to be very colorful.
They are called Amazon milk frogs because they only drink milk.
Male Amazon milk frogs are smaller than females.
Amazon milk frogs have long sharp noses.

NASA said it resumed full communications with the Voyager 2 on Friday after almost two weeks of silence from the interstellar spacecraft. The agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said a series of ground antennas, part of the Deep Space Network, registered a carrier signal from Voyager 2 on Tuesday. However, the signal was too faint. A Deep Space Network facility in Australia then sent "the equivalent of an interstellar 'shout' " to the Voyager 2 telling it to turn its antenna back toward Earth. The signal was sent more than 12.3 billion miles away and it took 37 hours to get a response from the spacecraft, NASA said. (Excerpt from ‘After a 12.3-billion-mile 'shout,' NASA regains full contact with Voyager 2’, npr.org, 2023)

What caused the need for an "interstellar 'shout” to be sent to Voyager 2?

The spacecraft's antenna was misaligned
The spacecraft had encountered an alien signal
The spacecraft's power source was running low
The signal received was in the wrong language
How this school in the Indian desert stays cool even in extreme heat

In the north Indian desert town of Jaisalmer, also known as “The Golden City” for its array of yellow sandstone architecture, temperatures can reach approximately 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius) at the height of summer.

Here, buildings have long been designed to adapt to the heat, a tradition that New York architect Diana Kellogg has followed with her work on the Rajkumari Ratnavati Girls’ School.

The project, which is meant to empower women and girls through education in a region where the female literacy rate is the lowest in India, was commissioned by CITTA, a US non-profit organization that provides economic and education support to women in remote and marginalized communities. It’s the first step in a three-part architectural project that will also include a women’s cooperative center and an exhibition space.

Named the 2020 “Building of the Year” by Architectural Digest India, the eco-friendly sandstone school opened in November 2021 and 120 girls are currently enrolled in its curriculum, according to Kellogg.

Designing a comfortable learning space can be challenging in the heart of the Thar desert, where climate change is making drought spells longer and more intense. Kellogg, who usually designs high-end residential projects, was motivated by a 2014 trip to Jaisalmer, and wanted the building to symbolize the hope and resilience of the desert by merging aspects of traditional Jaisalmer architecture with a modern design.

“There are methods to cool spaces that have been used for centuries. What I did is I put them together in a combination that worked,” Kellogg said, adding that indoor temperatures at the school are approximately 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit lower than the outdoors.

For the structure, she opted to use locally sourced sandstone – a climate-resilient material that’s been long used for buildings in the area, including the Jaisalmer Fort, a part of the city that hosts one fourth of its population and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

“It’s so abundant in this area. It’s very reasonable (in price) and the extremely talented stonemasons are just magicians with the stone,” Kellogg said. “It actually keeps the heat out and also keeps the coolness out at night.”

Among the traditional techniques Kellogg incorporated into the design is lining the inner walls with lime plaster, a porous and natural cooling material that helps release any trapped moisture resulting from humidity. Inspired by other buildings in the region, she also installed a jali wall — a sandstone grid that enables wind to accelerate in a phenomenon called the venturi effect, cooling the courtyard space while also providing shade from the sun. High ceilings and windows release rising heat in classrooms, while a solar panel canopy provides shade and energy. (Excerpt from ‘How this school in the Indian desert stays cool even in extreme heat’, cnn.com, 2023)

Which organization commissioned the Rajkumari Ratnavati Girls’ School project?

Jaisalmer Fort
Architectural Digest India
What is the significance of the Thar desert's climate on the school's design?
It inspired the use of colorful materials.
It led to the creation of a modern design.
It presented challenges due to drought spells.
It encouraged the construction of high ceilings.
How does the use of lime plaster contribute to the school's design?
It reflects sunlight, keeping the building cool.
It absorbs and traps heat, keeping the building warm.
It helps release trapped moisture, cooling the interior.
It generates energy through solar panels.
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