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Did You Know? Oklahoma Elements: Helium & Iodine

DYK balloons2

By Jan Barrick, CEO, Alpha Plus.
Featuring a passage about Oklahoma history from the Success with OAS series.

In Oklahoma history, a favorite source of fun for children and an important nutrient have been produced right here in our state. In this selection, learn more about two essential elements still supplied to the world by Oklahoma today.

Oklahoma Elements: Helium and Iodine

Children love balloons when they magically float through the air. Have you ever wondered what makes a balloon float? Helium makes balloons float. It is an element, or a pure substance, and a colorless gas like oxygen.

The United States is one of the world’s leading suppliers of helium. One of the biggest helium plants is in Keyes, Oklahoma. Crossing the Oklahoma panhandle, the helium-gas field stretches from the Texas panhandle into Kansas.

Oklahoma is also the nation’s only producer of an element called iodine. Oklahoma’s iodine comes from salt deposits more than a mile beneath the surface. Iodine has many uses but is added to table salt because it is an important nutrient.

A Woodward company began extracting iodine from natural brines (salt water) in 1977. Northwestern Oklahoma produces more iodine than any countries except Chile and Japan.

Hold on to your balloon while salting your fries and thank Oklahoma for these essential elements.

This passage is from our Success with OAS English language arts series. If students can answer the following questions, they are learning to read and comprehend as specified in Standard 2 of the Oklahoma Academic Standards (OAS).

1. What is the main idea of the selection?

     A. Oklahoma is home to helium and iodine production.

     B. Oklahoma balloons and fries are the best.

     C. A mile is a long way down.

     D. Balloons are popular among children.

2. Why did the author write this story?

     A. to provide information about helium and iodine

     B. to entertain with a story about balloons

     C. to persuade people to use iodized salt

     D. to highlight the location of Keyes, Oklahoma

Stay tuned for more selections about Oklahoma’s past and present and opportunities for student success with OAS!
- Jan Barrick, CEO, Alpha Plus Educational Systems

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