, week of
Sep. 29, 2014
1. Tour Ship Gets Stuck
The Clipper City is a 158-foot-long sightseeing boat that takes people on tours around New York Harbor. Recently, 121 tourists got more of an adventure than they had counted on when the boat got stuck in shallow waters near the Statue of Liberty. The tourists had to be evacuated in small boats by emergency teams, and ferried back to a marina located a mile away in lower Manhattan. No injuries were reported, and the 120-foot-tall ship was not damaged, according to Manhattan by Sail, the company that operates it. It apparently ran aground after hitting mud or a shoal when the tide was low, and was returned to port by a tugboat at high tide. Emergency teams rescue or assist people in communities all over the country. As a class, find a story in the newspaper or online about a rescue or assist by an emergency team. Write the word “EMERGENCY” down the side of a sheet of paper. Then use each letter of the word to start a line of a poem or rhyme describing the event. Use colorful language!
Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.
2. Blue Whales Surviving
Scientists are calling it “a great conservation success story.” As many blue whales are now living off the California coast as there were before humans started hunting them to near extinction 110 years ago. Researchers report in the journal Marine Mammal Science that about 2,200 blue whales are now swimming in the Pacific Ocean in waters stretching from Mexico, past California and up into Alaska. That is 97 percent of the estimated number that existed in 1905 — in spite of 11 or so being struck by ships each year. “We caught way too many” when they were hunted, the report concedes, “but when we left them alone, they recovered.” All over the world, wildlife experts and scientists are trying to protect rare or beautiful animals. In the newspaper or online, find a wild animal you think deserves to be protected (don’t forget the mascots of sports teams!). Draw a series of comic strips showing two nature experts discussing why this animal deserves protection.
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; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
3. Fence Blamed for Wildfire
A two-foot-tall sheet metal fence that was installed to keep rodents out of a homeowner’s vegetable garden is being blamed for a 1.5-square-mile wildfire that prompted evacuations in Cleveland National Forest in the state of California. The Orange County Fire Authority said that sun reflecting off the sheet metal ignited a wooden border and grass dried out by lack of rain. The fire, spread into Silverado Canyon before being contained. This is wildfire season over much of the American west and conditions are dangerous because there has been a long drought and lack of rain. With a partner, search the newspaper and Internet to find a story about wildfires in western U.S. states. Use what you read to design a public service TV ad, offering tips to residents about what to do to prevent or deal with wildfires.
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.
4. Ancient Tomb Discovered
Archaeologists excavating an ancient mound in the European country of Greece have discovered what appears to be the entrance to a tomb from the end of the reign of Alexander the Great. The tomb in the northern city of Amphibolos is more than 2,300 years old and dates from 325-300 BCE, experts estimate. That would put it during the reign of Alexander, who created one of the largest empires of the ancient world. No one knows who was buried in the tomb, but it is believed to be the largest ever found in Greece. The tomb is filled with statues and artifacts, and Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras called the discovery “extremely important.” Scientists can learn a lot about ancient life by studying what people put inside tombs, homes or other buildings. In the newspaper, find a photo of an inside room. Study the photo closely. Then write a paragraph describing what future scientists could learn about people today by studying the room. For added fun, write a second paragraph describing what future scientists could learn by studying your home, bedroom or school.
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.
5. Meteorite in Nicaragua?
What caused a mysterious boom heard one recent night in the Central American nation of Nicaragua? First reports said that it was caused when a small meteorite crashed to earth and created a crater near the airport outside the city of Managua. Nicaraguan investigators said they believed the meteorite came from an asteroid passing close to Earth. America’s NASA space agency later questioned that, noting that the timing of the boom didn’t seem to fit the time the asteroid was passing over the Earth. Whatever caused the blast, officials are relieved that it didn’t occur in densely-populated Managua, which has about 1 million residents. The hole is about 16 feet deep, with a radius of 39 feet. Space events often are in the news. With the newspaper or the Internet, find a story about a space event or discovery. Read the story closely and write three complete sentences summarizing three key points.
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.