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for Grades K-4

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For Grades K-4 , week of Oct. 10, 2016

1. Election for President

The U.S. election for president is less than a month away, and the campaign is heating up for Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. As a class, use the newspaper or Internet to read stories about what each candidate is talking about. Then use what you read, and additional reading, to draw a series of comic strips showing what you think each candidate will be doing — or should be doing — between now and Election Day on November 8.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events.

2. Shipwreck Found at Last

Canada has finally located the wreckage of a ship named the Terror that vanished 168 years ago in the Earth’s Arctic Circle with 129 crew members on board. Earlier efforts to locate British explorer John Franklin’s vessel in an area known as Terror Bay had been unsuccessful, but the Arctic Research Foundation reports “We sailed right over a shipwreck and saw it on our sonar.” The sonar images of the ship and the fact that no other 19th century shipwrecks were known to be in the area make it all but certain that the Terror has been found after years of searching. The ship appeared to be remarkably well preserved on the floor of the bay. But if the route of the research vessel had been different by as little as 600 feet, the Terror’s location might still be a mystery, a foundation spokesman said. Shipwrecks give scientists, archaeologists and historians a look at the past, because their contents often are preserved by water. Imagine you are an archaeologist from the future and have found a shipwreck from today. In the ads in the newspaper, pick five items you think would reveal important information about how we live today. For each item, write a sentence explaining why it would be important to a future archaeologist.

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.

3. Elephants Moved from Park

In the African nation of Zimbabwe, Hwange National Park has become too crowded, so the park is moving some of its elephants out. There are about 45,000 in the park now, but it can hold only about 18,000 comfortably, officials said. And drought in the region has made the problem even worse. The elephants are being moved to the more remote Chizarira sanctuary, the country’s third largest park. Hwange is its largest. Elephants are an endangered species and need protection from humans to survive. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another endangered species. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, giving your opinion about what humans could do to help this species. Draw an illustration to go with your letter if you like.

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.

4. Art for New Stadium

Hard Rock Stadium, where the National Football League’s Miami Dolphins play their home games, has just gone through a huge upgrade and renovation. And a dozen giant murals by 12 artists are part of it. The murals, some as wide as 150 feet, were commissioned by Dolphins’ owner Stephen M. Ross and a new company, Goldman Global Arts, as part of the stadium’s $500 million renovation in Miami Gardens, Florida. Nine artists and art groups secretly moved into the stadium to paint the new works for the walls, and five more will add works later this fall. In total, about 30,000 square feet of wall space will be covered by the artworks. Public murals can tell people a lot about a city or neighborhood. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about your city or neighborhood. Think like an artist and use what you read to design a mural that would tell people something about your community. Talk about your ideas as a class.

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; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

5. Bird Uses Sticks as Tools

The Hawaiian crow, which is sometimes called the alala, knows how to use tools. Researchers report the bird uses sticks to dig food out of holes in logs and other locations. Some alalas even modify the sticks to make them more efficient, replacing those they find unacceptable. Some even make their own, using plant materials. Native to Hawaii, the alala is extinct in the wild, but 109 exist in a captive breeding program. Researchers hope to re-establish a population of alalas in the wild and will release about a dozen in November. The alala is a bird with amazing talents. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another wildlife species that has special talents. Use what you read to design a poster to call attention to the bird’s talents. Include text to explain why the talents are important to the species.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.