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Grades 5-8
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for Grades K-4

July 21, 2014
July 14, 2014
July 07, 2014
June 23, 2014
June 16, 2014
June 09, 2014
June 02, 2014
May 26, 2014
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Apr 28, 2014
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Jan. 27, 2014
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Dec. 16, 2013
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Oct. 28, 2013
Oct. 21, 2013
Oct. 14, 2013
Oct. 07, 2013
Sep. 30, 2013

For Grades K-4 , week of July 21, 2014

1. Cat Rescuer Gets Stuck

A 21-year-old woman rescued a cat stuck in a tree in Erie, Pennsylvania — and then found herself also stuck in the tree. To get to the cat, she had scaled a fence, hopped onto a roof and climbed 40 feet up the tree. She then tucked the cat into her shirt — and realized she didn’t know how to get down. After a neighbor called 911, firefighters used a 28-foot ladder to bring down the cat and its rescuer. She and the cat were doing fine, firefighters report, adding that had she not intervened, the cat probably would have come down on his own. More and more, firefighters are not responding to cat-in-tree calls because, they say, the cats really are not stuck. Firefighters do many different things to help people. In the newspaper or online, find an example. Then draw a comic strip series showing ways that firefighters help people in the community.

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.

2. New Underwater Record

Jacques Cousteau was one of the most famous ocean explorers in the world, and his grandson Fabien is following in his footsteps. In fact, Fabien Cousteau recently broke a record set by his grandfather by spending 31 days under water this summer in a research sea lab off Key Largo, Florida. Fifty years ago, Jacques Cousteau spent 30 days under water in the Red Sea in the Middle East when he filmed the Oscar winning movie “World Without Sun.” Fabien Cousteau studied the health of coral reefs while on his mission. Scientists are always looking for ways to learn more about ocean or land habitats. In the newspaper or online, find a photo or story about a habitat you think would be interesting to study. Write a paragraph describing what you would like to study about the habitat and why your research would be valuable.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

3. More ‘Sesame Street’

For nearly 45 years, “Sesame Street” has been an hour long, but this fall, the PBS network will add a half-hour version to its afternoon lineup. The traditional hour-long version will continue to be broadcast in the morning, so the net effect will be 50 percent more “Sesame Street” each day. The half-hour version was developed to serve the changing viewing habits of viewers, who like shorter shows and often watch them on mobile devices or the Internet. Chosen half-hour episodes will be streamed on the PBS website, its mobile app and the PBS Roku channel. “Sesame Street” often explains issues to kids through the actions of its characters. With a partner, find a story in the newspaper that deals with an issue that kids and families should know about. Pick two “Sesame Street” characters and write out a way they could explain the issue with their words or actions.

Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

4. Coffee Breaks in Space

A coffee machine has been invented that can function in space. The ISSpresso machine is a joint invention of the Italian coffee company Lavazza, the space engineering company Argotec and the Italian Space Agency. It will be delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) later this year by Italy’s first female astronaut, Samantha Cristoforetti. The machine can function in zero gravity and is made of steel components that can withstand huge pressures. It can also make tea and broths that can be used to rehydrate dried space meals. Many inventions contribute to space missions. Find a story about a space mission in the newspaper or on the website www.nasa.gov. Read the story and make a list of inventions needed for the mission to succeed. Write a paragraph describing the one invention that you think was most important to the mission.

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.

5. 3 More ‘Avatars’

Three new movies are being planned as follow-ups to the highly successful “Avatar.” Producer James Cameron is completing preliminary work on the films with the 20th Century Fox company, which reported about $2.8 billion in ticket sales for the original “Avatar” movie five years ago. The films are set to come out in three straight Decembers beginning in 2016. Cost of the movies hasn’t been announced, but Cameron estimates they will cost $41 billion combined. In summer, many movies come out that kids and families want to see. In the newspaper, find an ad for a movie you would like to see. Write a friendly letter to a friend or family member, explaining why you want to see the movie.

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.