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for Grades 5-8

May 30, 2016
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For Grades 5-8 , week of May 30, 2016

1. Workers Find Roman Coins

About 1,300 pounds of Roman coins from more than 1,600 years ago have been unearthed by workers digging ditches in the European nation of Spain. The coins were found in 19 storage containers and show an emperor on one side and images of Roman myths and allegories on the other. The emperors are believed to be Maximian or Constantine, which would date the coins to the third or fourth centuries C.E. The coins are believed to have been intended for paying taxes or supporting Roman armies occupying Spain during the Roman Empire. The discovery was made by workers installing a water line in a park in the Andalusia region. Artifacts from the past help historians re-create how people lived long ago. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about the discovery of artifacts from the past. Use what you read to draw a series of comic strips, showing how people lived in the time the artifacts were used.

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

2. Obama Drinks Flint Water

President Obama traveled to Flint, Michigan, earlier this month to show support for residents who have been dealing with a drinking water crisis. He promised federal support to correct the problem and drank a glass of filtered tap water to demonstrate his belief the situation is getting better “I’ve got your back … we’re paying attention,” he assured a cheering crowd. “[We’re] not going to rest until every drop of water that flows into your house is safe to drink … and to bathe in …” Flint’s water has been found to have a dangerous level of the element lead, and residents have complained that government officials ignored the problem and their concerns. The problem has been blamed primarily on local and state agencies and officials, although some critics say the federal Environmental Protection Agency should have intervened earlier. During his visit, the President met with local officials and residents who had reported the lead contamination. The Flint water crisis has gotten national attention because it put the health of residents at risk. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the problem, what caused it and what is being done to correct it. Use what you read to write a short editorial, giving your opinion on what is the most important step to take next and why. Use facts from your reading to support your opinions.

Common 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.

3. Revolutionary Shipwreck

Captain James Cook was a famous explorer for the European nation of Great Britain, sailing around the world and claiming Australia for the British Crown. Now wreckage of his flagship has been found in the Atlantic Ocean, just outside Newport Harbor in the state of Rhode Island. The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project has discovered the HMS Endeavour among 13 sunken ships scuttled by the British in Newport Harbor during the American Revolution. In 1778, the British Royal Navy deliberately sank the vessel to block the harbor entrance to other ships. Marine archaeologists say the history of Cook’s vessel make it “one of the most important shipwrecks in world history.” The U.S. Navy was founded just before the American Revolution in 1775. The Navy still plays an important role for the U.S. around the world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about Navy operations or ships. Use what you read to create a multi media presentation detailing the variety of skills members of the Navy need to have to carry out its operations.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

4. Danger: Acid Seawater

Because of global warming, seawater is becoming increasingly acidic, and that is bad news for the Florida Keys. Scientists report that seawater is eating away the limestone foundation of the upper Florida Keys, and it is happening faster than expected. Reporting in the journal Biogeochemical Cycles, researchers note that the water is eating away at the limestone formed from natural corals, making it weaker and more porous. The process was first noted years ago, but new data suggest it is speeding up. It is not yet a “crisis,” the scientists note, but there may come a time that “the corals actually crumble.” Global warming is affecting the environment in different ways all over the world. In the newspaper or online, read stories about effects of warming on natural areas and wildlife. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for an Internet website showcasing some of the effects. 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. No Rain? Build a Mountain

In the Middle East, there is a growing water crisis, and a recent report predicts that some parts of the region will be uninhabitable by 2050. To increase rainfall, the nation known as the United Arab Emirates is thinking about building a mountain. If scientists can figure out a way to make it work, it would trap moist air arriving on ocean breezes and force it into the atmosphere, where it would cool, condense into clouds and (hopefully) fall as rain. It’s not a sure thing, however, and even a mountain might not be enough to solve the nation’s water problem. Even if it succeeds, experts say, it is likely to only be a temporary fix. Water shortages are a problem all over the world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about projects or proposals designed to address the problem. Pick one and do additional research to learn more about it. Then design a poster highlighting one proposal you think is a good idea.

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