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for Grades K-4

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For Grades K-4 , week of Oct. 31, 2016

1. Election Halloween Costume?

Halloween is this week and many people are talking about the most popular costumes. Every year many people dress up as celebrities, and this year the celebrities include the candidates for president, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. As a class, discuss celebrities people like to dress up as, and why people might want to dress as a presidential candidate. Then use the newspaper or Internet as a class to find and closely read stories about celebrity costumes that are popular this Halloween. Pick a celebrity that you would like to dress up as from the newspaper or Internet. Or pick one of the candidates for president. Brainstorm an idea for a costume, draw a picture of it and explain it to the class. For added challenge, try making the costume an animal costume and explain why you chose that animal for the celebrity.

Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; 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.

2. Rosetta’s Crash Ending

After 12 years chasing a comet in space, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta probe ended its mission with a slow-motion crash into the icy object it was sent to study. Before the crash, Rosetta flew alongside the comet known as 67P for two years, while it collected data to learn more how Earth and other objects in the solar system were formed billions of years ago. Just before crashing, Rosetta beamed back detailed pictures and other data of the comet’s surface. “Farewell, Rosetta, you’ve done the job,” the mission manager declared. “That is space science at its best.” Launched in 2004, Rosetta shut down upon impact with the comet. Space missions like the one involving Rosetta study planets, comets and other objects in an effort to learn more about the history of the solar system, stars or galaxies. Use the newspaper or the website www.nasa.gov to find and closely read about another mission gathering information about space objects. Use what you read to write a summary of the mission and how the information it gathers will help scientists better understand the solar system or other galaxies.

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. 7 Bee Species ‘Endangered’

Seven species of yellow-faced bees in the state of Hawaii have been added to the nation’s Endangered Species List — a first for any bees in the United States. The seven species are Hawaii’s only native bees. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the decision to list the bees as endangered after years of study by conservationists. Bees play an important role in ecosystems because they pollinate plants that produce fruits and vegetables eaten by people and animals. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another wildlife species that plays an important role in an ecosystem. Use what you read to draw a series of comic strips showing the role the species plays.

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.

4. Lights Out for ‘Northern Lights’

The Earth’s “Northern Lights” are a spectacular natural light show caused by space electrons hitting the upper atmosphere of the Earth near the North Pole. Also known as the aurora borealis, the “Northern Lights” are particularly spectacular in the nation of Iceland, and people come from all over the world to see them there. To make sure they were not disappointed this year, the capital city of Reykjavik ordered streetlights turned off on some nights to reduce “light pollution” that would compete with the natural light show. Residents were urged to turn off lights in their homes as well. Seeing the phenomenon “requires dark and partly clear skies,” reported the Icelandic Met Office, which offers a daily forecast of the lights’ intensity for visitors and residents. The “Northern Lights” are one of the world’s amazing natural attractions. In the newspaper or online, find stories and photos of another natural attraction. Write the words “AMAZING NATURE” down the side of a sheet of paper. Then use each letter to start a phrase or sentence describing or explaining the natural attraction. Read lists aloud, as if they were poems, and discuss.

Common Core State Standards: Applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

5. How Pigeons Stay on Course

Homing pigeons often travel in flocks, and even when the leader goes off course flocks manage to find their way home. Researchers have discovered that if a leader realizes it doesn’t where it is, it falls back into the flock and gives way to birds that know where they’re going. This unusual behavior was reported in the science journal Biology Letters in an article titled “Misinformed Lose Influence Over Pigeon Flocks.” The leadership changes of homing pigeons are an example of a species adapting to survive. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another species that adapts to survive or live successfully. Use what you read to write a paragraph explaining how the species adapts and how that helps it.

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.