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Grades 5-8
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Past lessons
for Grades K-4

Apr 27, 2015
Apr 20, 2015
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Oct. 27, 2014
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July 28, 2014
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For Grades K-4 , week of Apr 27, 2015

1. Goldfish Take Over Lake

Goldfish have taken over Teller Lake in the state of Colorado. At some point, someone must have dumped a handful of the pets into the lake, and that handful has multiplied to thousands. The reason, according to a Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman, is simply that “they can out-compete the native fish.” Officials say they have two options to deal with the problem. They can drain the lake and start rebuilding the local fish stock from scratch, or they can use a special boat that stuns only the goldfish, causing them to float to the surface. They then could be collected and sent to a rehabilitation center for hawks, eagles and other birds of prey to be used as food. When the population of a species grows too much in an area, it throws the habitat out of balance. In the newspaper or online, find a photo of an outdoor scene and write down different types of wildlife that could live there. Then imagine the population of one species grew quickly. Write a paragraph describing how this would affect the habitat in the picture and other species that live there.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

2. Atlanta Airport Busiest

Frequent flyers won’t be surprised, but latest statistics reveal that America’s busiest airport is Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, Georgia. O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, has slightly more takeoffs and landings, but Atlanta leads in total number of passengers served. Worldwide, the busiest hub for international travel is Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East. Air travel makes it possible to travel great distances in a short period of time. In the newspaper or online, read a story about a place you would like to visit in another part of the world. Use what you read to write a paragraph explaining what appeals to you about this place and why you would want to visit. As a class, use the Internet to find out how long it would take to fly to the places your class chooses. Discuss whether that would make you change your mind about wanting to fly there.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

3. A Greener Ballpark

Boston’s Fenway Park has a left-field wall nicknamed “The Green Monster,” and now the ballpark has gotten even greener. America’s oldest Major League baseball field has added the Majors’ largest organic rooftop garden. Officials at Fenway, home to the Boston Red Sox in Massachusetts, expect the 5,000-square-foot “Fenway Farms” to generate as much as 4,000 pounds of produce and vegetables a year. It is also expected to reduce energy costs at the park by insulating the building below it and to be a “teaching tool” for area children. As a class, discuss vegetables that could be grown that could be used at the ballpark. Then draw a series of comic strips showing people working in a ballpark roof garden. Show how people working in the garden could enjoy the games as well.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

4. Book by a Future Queen

England’s Queen Victoria served for nearly 64 years, and achieved a great many things as England’s longest ruling monarch. But something she did as a child now has gotten attention. When she was just a girl, she wrote a children’s book, and it will be published in June by the Royal Collection Trust. Identifying herself as “Alexandrina Victoria, Aged 10 and ¾,” she wrote the story in a red composition notebook and dedicated it to “my dear Mamma.” The book features the adventures of a 12-year-old girl, and the future queen described it as “my first attempt at composition.” Authors of children’s books often base them on real-life events or people. In the newspaper read about an event or person who could be the subject of a children’s book. Brainstorm a plot for the book and give it a title that would appeal to kids your age. Then use what you have read to write the first scene of your book.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

5. Fewer Hurricanes

The number of Atlantic Ocean hurricanes this season will be “well below average,” forecasters predict. They attribute this to cooler waters in the Caribbean Sea south of Florida and the strong effect of the El Nino weather pattern. Colorado State University meteorologists predict there will be seven named storms this year, with three reaching hurricane status. Only one will be a major hurricane, with winds of more than 111 mph, the experts say. In the summer months, severe weather can cause problems in many areas. In addition to hurricanes, great damage can be caused by thunderstorms and tornadoes. In the newspaper or online, closely read a story about severe weather affecting an area. Use what you read to write a summary of what the effects were, how people responded and steps people could take to stay safe from such weather.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.