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for Grades K-4

July 25, 2016
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For Grades K-4 , week of July 25, 2016

1. Aquarium to Free Dolphins

Eight dolphins that live at the National Aquarium are being removed from public display, and eventually will be moved to a sanctuary in Florida or the Caribbean Sea. Animal rights supporters have been arguing that it is not right to keep large animals in captivity as part of entertainment in zoos and aquariums. The affected dolphins are Atlantic bottlenose dolphins ranging in age from 4 to 44. They cannot be freed into the wild because seven were born at the aquarium located in Baltimore, Maryland, and the other is from a facility that was closing. The new sanctuary is not yet built and until it is, the dolphins will not l be displayed at the aquarium, which attracts more than 1 million visitors a year. Dolphins are very intelligent creatures and have been the subject of many scientific studies. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about dolphin intelligence. Then use what you read to draw a series of comic strips showing dolphins demonstrating their intelligence in different ways.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.

2. A Disney Resort in China

Disney theme parks attract visitors from all over the world, and now the entertainment company has opened a new one — in the Asian nation of China. The Shanghai Disney Resort is a $5.5 billion theme park and hotel complex — and it is a “dream come true,” a Disney executive said at opening ceremonies. Disney owns 43 percent of the resort, and a Chinese state-controlled business group holds the rest. President Obama has hailed the resort for capturing “the promise of our [two-way] relationship.” China’s president Xi Jinping has called it a sign of China’s “commitment to cross-cultural cooperation.” China is often in the news because it is growing rapidly and becoming a more modern nation. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about China. Use what you read to write a paragraph explaining why China is in the news, and why that is important to other nations.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

3. Slaves Reburied

The long-forgotten remains of 14 American slaves have been reburied in upstate New York, more than 10 years after they were discovered. Archaeologists found the remains in 2005 after a backhoe operator uncovered a skull during sewer construction north of the city of Albany. The Schuyler Flats Burial Ground Project was launched after the discovery to make sure the seven adults, two children and five infants were never forgotten again. About 300 people attended the burial, at which prayers were delivered by a princess from the West African nation of Ghana and by a Muslim imam, among others. In every community, local history makes news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about local history, a historical event or a person who played an important role in your community’s past. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, giving your views on why people should pay attention to local history and what they can learn. Support your opinions with facts from your reading.

Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

4. Sculptures Online

The Internet makes information and images available in new ways every day. The latest example comes from the Uffizi Art Gallery in Florence, Italy, which is digitizing its collection of ancient sculpture, so it will be available for viewing on the Internet. Students in Indiana University’s new Ph.D. program in “virtual heritage” will work with Italian students in Florence to photograph the collection of about 1,250 pieces of Greek and Roman statuary and use the images to create high-resolution 3-D models. These models will be “freely available online,” the university’s president announced. Indiana University will foot the $600,000 cost of the project. Internet websites make information and resources available to anyone with access to a computer. With a partner, scan the newspaper for a topic you think should have its own website. Design the home page to show categories of information you want to highlight. Pick an image or video to illustrate each category. Then write headlines and text blocks to briefly explain each category. Finish by creating a “site map” showing additional categories you want your website to have.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

5. Climate Change a ‘Reality’

“Climate change is no longer just a threat,” President Obama said during a visit to Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park this summer. “It’s already a reality.” He was referring specifically to the damage to national parks like Yosemite, where rising temperatures are drying out meadows and changing the natural environment. Obama warned that one day there could be “no more glaciers at Glacier National Park” and wetland ecosystems in the Everglades National Park could be destroyed. Even landmarks such as Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty could be threatened by rising sea waters, said the President, who was touring Yosemite with First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters, Sasha and Malia. National parks preserve natural areas so that they can be enjoyed by visitors now and in the future. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another natural area people feel should be preserved. Use what you read to write a short editorial for the newspaper, outlining reasons the area should be preserved and ways people could help achieve that.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.