ups and downs
1. Skydiving: The Sky Is Falling! 8

4. Bungee Jumping: The Thrill Is in the Bounce! 31

2. BASE Jumping: Leaping Tall Buildings in a Single Bound! 15

End-of-Unit Activities 40 Words-Per-Minute Chart 42

3. Climbing: To the Top of the World! 23


sports with a kick
5. Aggressive Skating: Grinding and Alley-ooping! 46

8. Motocross: Watch the Mud Fly!

6. Barefoot Waterskiing: Tiptoe Through the Wake! 54

End-of-Unit Activities 77 Words-Per-Minute Chart 79

7. Adventure Racing: Go Team! 61


are you “board”?
9. Snowboarding: Sledding with Pizzazz! 82

12.Wakeboarding: Who Needs Waves?

10. Street Luge: Look, Ma, No Brakes! 91

End-of-Unit Activities 117 Words-Per-Minute Chart 119

11. Skateboarding: A Career? 100

Over the Edge



BASE Jumping
Leaping Tall Buildings in a Single Bound!
bout 500 years ago, a famous inventor and artist tried out a new invention. It was a 187-pound parachute that was made from canvas and wood. Leonardo da Vinci’s invention successfully lowered a man to the ground from a hot air balloon. In more recent times, another inventor built and tested a parachute. In 1914, Stefan Banic jumped from a 41-story building in Washington, D.C., near the U.S. Patent Office. Banic’s device was successful, so he patented his new invention. Then Banic began testing the parachute by jumping from airplanes. During World War I, the parachute became standard equipment for U.S. pilots who were fighting in the war. And the parachute has become a valuable aid in getting troops where they need to be during other wars. But parachutes aren’t just for military use. Many people use parachutes because they enjoy the
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BASE jumping from the tallest building in Bangkok, Thailand

sports of skydiving and BASE jumping. Skydiving is a sport where participants jump from airplanes and float to the ground using a parachute. But BASE jumping is a much more dangerous sport. In BASE jumping, participants jump at a lower altitude than skydiving and from stationary objects like bridges and cliffs. In fact, BASE stands for the stationary objects that jumpers leap from: Buildings, Antennae, Span (bridges), and Earth (cliffs). BASE jumping is an extreme sport that requires participants who crave excitement and danger. In fact, not all sky divers are even interested in BASE jumping. Many people throughout the years have tried jumping from
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stationary objects. But it wasn’t until the 1970s that the sport really took off. In 1975, Don Boyles jumped safely from the Royal Gorge Bridge. And in 1976, Owen Quinn was the first to jump from the World Trade Center. In the beginning, the problem with BASE jumping was that it wasn’t legal to jump from public or private land and buildings. The first legal jump was in 1978 from the El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. It is, however, still illegal to jump from many places today. BASE jumping is a very dangerous sport. Jumpers have just one parachute, and there is no backup chute. In fact, there really isn’t time to even open a backup chute. The jumper only has three seconds after the launch point to open the handheld chute. So the main chute has to work! The jumpers leap from natural and man-made structures that range from 600 feet to 6000 feet high. Television towers are the highest man-made structures. The KDUH tower in Nebraska is 1965 feet high! Jumpers also leap from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and the Eiffel Tower in France. Some jumpers like to jump from buildings that are under
12 11 10 9

construction. This is because there are many ways into the building. And there are no windows they have to climb through. At many tall buildings, security guards roam the insides and the bases of the structures to prevent people from BASE jumping. But this doesn’t keep some jumpers away. They find ways around the security to jump anyway. There are many naturally occurring structures that BASE jumpers enjoy also. They are usually very scenic and very high. And they are not patrolled like buildings, bridges, and towers. Some earth jumps include 3212-foot-high Angel Falls in Venezuela and a 6000-foothigh cliff at Baffin Bay in Canada. As well as experiencing the rush of free-falling, some experienced BASE jumpers like to track. Tracking is gaining horizontal speed and distance while falling. To successfully track, jumpers keep their arms alongside their body and their legs together. They also position their body at a 45-degree angle to the ground. Hundreds of jumpers attend the annual event called Bridge Day in Fayetteville, West Virginia. This legal jumping event has been held on the third Saturday in October since 1977.
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One side of the New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville is closed to traffic during a six-hour period of the day. The bridge is 876 feet high and 3030 feet long. It holds the title of the World’s Longest Single Span Steel Arch Bridge. From 9:00 in the morning until 3:00 in the afternoon, people jump. More than 300 jumpers attend this annual event. More than 300,000 non-jumpers also attend this event. They are allowed to freely walk the bridge. They enjoy seeing the fall scenery and watching the professional and amateur BASE jumpers. There is no organization that oversees BASE jumping. So the veteran jumpers will often work with the first-time jumpers. Veteran jumpers also hold seminars for firsttimers to help with exit body position and other important information.
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Two BASE jumpers take part in Bridge Day.

jumper will need help from someone else. After 150 jumps from an airplane, many who are ready to try BASE jumping ask experienced jumpers for help. Skydiving helps a jumper learn about controlling a parachute and positioning the body. It also lets a person experience what falling feels like before popping open a chute. And skydiving teaches jumpers how to land. But that’s really where the similarities between skydiving and BASE jumping end. Skydiving is for people who like to feel the wind and descend rather slowly and
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Jumping at Bridge Day is

probably the safest jump anyone could ever make. Many experienced people are there to help. In the water below, rescue boats are ready to pull the jumpers from the water. And there are rescue workers to help in case of accidents. Since there are no organizations for BASE jumping, a first-time

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safely. BASE jumping is much more dangerous. It requires lower jumping heights and quicker response times to make corrections. Jumpers also must land in much smaller and more confined areas. Those who have BASE jumped know that there are certain safety considerations to follow. Although nothing is required for jumping except a parachute and a pack, the smart jumpers will jump safely. They want to live to jump another day! Jumpers should always wear a helmet during a jump. As in any extreme sport, such as skateboarding and street luge, a helmet can mean the difference between life and death! A helmet may not save the life of a jumper traveling toward the ground at speeds of up to 100 miles an hour. But it is a safe bet that wearing a helmet is much safer than not wearing one. Especially when landing among rocks or trees! If a parachute works the way it should, then a jumper’s feet are first
27 26 25 24

to the ground. Sturdy high-top boots provide protection to the feet and ankles during a landing. Wearing them doesn’t mean that one is guaranteed an injury-free landing. But wearing sturdy boots increases the chances of one. It is very important that jumpers make their jumps high enough so that their chutes will deploy in time. An altitude detection device is a handy tool to make sure jumpers can land safely. BASE jumping certainly isn’t a sport for everyone. Because of the danger involved, many people choose to stick with other thrillinduced sports that are safer, like skydiving. And many more people choose sports that don’t involve hurtling to the earth at all! But for those who choose to experience the adrenaline rush of BASE jumping, they say the risk is worth the excitement and thrill. There’s simply nothing like it in the world!
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If you have been timing your reading speed for this story, record your time below. ____________ : ____________ Minutes Seconds


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The following questions will demonstrate your understanding of what the story is about, or the main idea. Choose the best answer for each question. 1. This story is mainly about A a sport where people jump from planes. b a fear of heights. c a sport where people jump from boats. d a sport where people jump from tall structures. 2. This story could have been titled A “BASE Jumping: Who Needs Buildings?” b “BASE Jumping: Who Needs Parachutes?” c “BASE Jumping: Who Needs Bridges?” d “BASE Jumping: Who Needs Planes?” 3. Which detail best supports the main idea of this story? A Leonardo da Vinci invented the parachute 300 years ago. b Parachutes have been valuable to soldiers during wars. c BASE jumping isn’t for everyone. d The jumpers leap from natural and manmade structures. 4. Find another detail that supports the main idea of this story. Write it on the lines below.

The following questions will test how well you remember the facts in the story you just read. Choose the best answer for each question. 1. Leonardo da Vinci made the first parachute from A canvas and wood. b nylon and string. c leather and plastic. d silk and thread. 2. In 1975, don Boyles jumped safely from A the Royal Gorge Bridge. b a high-flying plane. c a tall cliff. d his mother’s roof. 3. The New River Gorge Bridge holds the record for the world’s A heaviest double-wide wood bridge. b tallest triple stone bridge. c shortest BASE jumping bridge. d longest single span steel arch bridge. 4. one of the words that “BASE” stands for is A Antennae. b Skydiving. c Elevation. d Bye-bye.

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An inference is a conclusion drawn from facts. A generalization is a general statement, idea, or rule that is supported by facts. Analyze the story by choosing the best answer to each question below. 1. What conclusion can you draw from paragraphs 5–6? A Sky divers never try BASE jumping. b BASE jumpers never try skydiving. c BASE jumping is more dangerous than skydiving because jumpers don’t use a parachute. d BASE jumping is more dangerous than skydiving because it’s done from lower heights. 2. What conclusion can you draw from paragraph 9? A No BASE jumping was done before 1978. b All BASE jumpers enjoy breaking the law. c BASE jumping is considered too dangerous to be legal everywhere. d Before 1978, all BASE jumpers were breaking the law. 3. What generalization can you make from this story? A More people like watching BASE jumping than actually jumping. b BASE jumping is never safe to do. c Skydiving is more fun than BASE jumping. d All BASE jumping is now legal. 4. It can be inferred from the story that A BASE jumpers are all criminals. b BASE jumpers are never scared. c all BASE jumpers make legal jumps today. d if not done right, BASE jumping can cause serious injuries or death.


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Choose the best answer for the following questions to show the relationship between what happened in the story (effects) and why those things happened (causes). 1. Because Stefan Banic landed safely near the U.S. Patent office, he A was easy to catch. b patented the parachute. c was able to avoid traffic. d took a taxi home. 2. What happens because BASE jumpers jump from low heights? A They have to carry a backup parachute. b They have longer to open their parachutes than sky divers. c They only have three seconds to open their parachutes. d BASE jumping is less dangerous than skydiving. 3. Why do first-time jumpers find veteran jumpers? A It’s the only way to learn correctly how to BASE jump. b They need to borrow equipment. c It’s illegal to jump for the first time alone. d They want to follow BASE jumping tradition. 4. Why do many people choose sports like skydiving instead of BASE jumping? A They feel BASE jumping is too expensive. b They don’t like to participate in legal activities. c They feel BASE jumping is too dangerous. d They feel BASE jumping is too popular.

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Skilled readers can often find the meaning of unfamiliar words by using context clues. This means they study the way the words are used in the text. Use the context clues in the excerpts below to determine the meaning of the bold-faced words. Then choose the answer that best matches the meaning of the word. 1. “And the parachute has become a valuable aid in getting troops where they need to be during wars.” CLUE: “During World War I, the parachute became standard equipment for U.S. pilots who were fighting in the war.” A helper b destroyer c defender d agent 2. “At many tall buildings, security guards roam the insides and the bases of the structures to prevent people from BASE jumping.” CLUE: “But this doesn’t keep some jumpers away. They find ways around the security to jump anyway.” A police b prepare c allow d stop 3. “As well as experiencing the rush of freefalling, some experienced BASE jumpers like to track.” CLUE: “Tracking is gaining horizontal speed and distance while falling.” A hurry b reach c boredom d excitement 4. “Skydiving is for people who like to feel the wind and descend rather slowly and safely.” (paragraph 23) Write what you think the bold-faced word means. Then record the context clues that led you to this definition. Meaning:

Context Clues:


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End-of-Unit Activities
1. Each of the sports in this unit, “Ups and downs,” is dangerous to some degree. For each sport, record what makes it dangerous. Then rank the sports from most dangerous to least dangerous. dangers Involved Skydiving

BASE Jumping


Bungee Jumping

Most Dangerous

__________________________________ __________________________________ __________________________________

Least Dangerous


Would you try any or all of these sports? Why or why not? _____________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


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End-of-Unit Activities
2. Rank each of the stories in this unit, from the one you liked the most to the one you liked the least. For each story, write one interesting fact you learned. Then write a paragraph describing why you liked the story you ranked 1 the best. LESSoN 1 Ranking

LESSoN 2 Ranking

LESSoN 3 Ranking

LESSoN 4 Ranking

Why did you like the story you ranked 1 the best?

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Words-Per-Minute Chart

directions: Use the chart to find your words-per-minute reading speed. Refer to the reading time you recorded at the end of each story. Find your reading time in seconds along the left-hand side of the chart or minutes and seconds along the right-hand side of the chart. Your words-per-minute score will be listed next to the time in the column below the appropriate lesson number.
No. of Words

Lesson 1

Lesson 2

Lesson 3

Lesson 4

80 100 120 140 160 180 200 220 240 260 280 300 320 340 360 380 400 420 440 460 480 500 520 540 560 580 600 620 640 660 680 700 720 740 760 780 800 820 840

833 625 500 417 357 312 278 250 227 208 192 179 167 156 147 139 132 125 119 114 109 104 100 96 93 89 86 83 81 78 76 74 71 69 68 66 64 62 61 60

1,210 908 726 605 519 454 403 363 330 303 279 259 242 227 214 202 191 182 173 165 158 151 145 140 134 130 125 121 117 113 110 107 104 101 98 96 93 91 89 86

1,141 856 685 571 489 428 380 342 311 285 263 245 228 214 201 190 180 171 163 156 149 143 137 132 127 122 118 114 110 107 104 101 98 95 93 90 88 86 83 82

1,529 1,147 917 765 655 573 510 459 417 382 353 328 306 287 270 255 241 229 218 209 199 191 183 176 170 164 158 153 148 143 139 135 131 127 124 121 118 115 112 109

1:20 1:40 2:00 2:20 2:40 3:00 3:20 3:40 4:00 4:20 4:40 5:00 5:20 5:40 6:00 6:20 6:40 7:00 7:20 7:40 8:00 8:20 8:40 9:00 9:20 9:40 10:00 10:20 10:40 11:00 11:20 11:40 12:00 12:20 12:40 13:00 13:20 13:40 14:00

Minutes and Seconds



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