, week of
June 29, 2015
1. Netflix Kids’ Programming
Netflix is adding four new animated children’s series to its lineup of original TV shows, as part of a broader effort to appeal to children with commercial-free programming. Netflix is also searching in other countries for children’s shows to add. One of the new animated series is “Puffin Rock,” which is about sister and brother puffin birds exploring an island off the coast of the European nation of Ireland. It will first be seen in September, with the other animated shows available next year. Animated TV shows and movies are popular with young viewers. In the ads and movie listings in the newspaper, find an animated show or movie you like. Think like a movie reviewer and write a short movie review, telling why you like it. Be sure to use details and facts 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.
2. What Next After Triple Crown?
It had been 37 years since a horse had won racing’s Triple Crown. But this year American Pharoah easily won the Belmont Stakes to become the 12th thoroughbred in the sport’s history to achieve the honor. American Pharoah already had won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness — the other two races that make up the Triple Crown. Now the question is how long American Pharoah will continue racing, since the horse’s owners think they “owe it to the sport” to let as many fans as possible see the history-making 3-year-old in action. In the Belmont, which is the longest race in the United States at a mile and a half, American Pharoah’s time was 2 minutes, 26.65 seconds, second lowest of any of the 12 Triple Crown winners since 1919. American Pharoah’s win gave great excitement to the world of sports. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a stories about American Pharoah. Write the word “Pharoah” down the side of a piece of paper. Then think of adjectives that describe American Pharoah that begin with the letters of “Pharoah.” Share your words with the class and use three in complete sentences.
Common Core State Standards: Identifying multiple language conventions and using them; recognizing nouns, verbs and modifiers; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
3. Spacecraft Solar Sail
After a series of setbacks, a small, experimental spacecraft has succeeded in unfurling a large, shiny sail made of Mylar to capture solar energy in space. The LightSail craft hopes to use the energy from sunlight to power it. The nonprofit Planetary Society built and launched the craft and rejoiced when its sail unfurled successfully. The Planetary Society is led by “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” whose real name is William Sanford Nye. As a class, discuss how using solar power could change the way people explore space. Then closely read an article about a mission exploring space in the newspaper or on the website www.nasa.gov. Use points from your discussion and what you read in the article to write a paragraph explaining how solar power could benefit the mission.
Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
4. No More Holes in Cheese
The holes in Swiss cheese have been disappearing, and a Swiss institute thinks it has learned why: Milk today is too clean. Tiny specks of hay are responsible for the holes in traditional Swiss cheeses, but there are many fewer today because old milking methods in barns have been replaced by fully automated industrial milking systems. It used to be that as milk matured into cheese, the microscopically small hay particles helped create holes. The study by the Agroscope Institute was funded by the government of Switzerland. The ways foods are grown or produced have changed in recent years. As a class, use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read a story about a new way of growing or producing food. Use what you read to write a summary of the new approach, and how it is an improvement over past approaches.
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
5. Gandhi Statue
Mohandas K. Gandhi is known around the world for teaching that people should work peacefully and without violence when seeking change or protesting over issues. He was a leader in the Asian nation of India and his approach helped India win independence 68 years ago from the European nation of Great Britain and the British Empire. British leaders at the time opposed the independence movement, but now Gandhi is being honored in the heart of the former empire. A nine-foot-tall bronze statue of Gandhi has been erected in Parliament Square in the British capital city of London. Though British leaders criticized Gandhi at the time of India’s independence, present Prime Minister David Cameron hailed him as one of the towering figures in history. Gandhi was called “mahatma” (“great soul”) for his efforts to get people to find solutions to problems peacefully and without violence. Alone or as a class, find and read a story in the newspaper or online about someone working peacefully to find a solution to a problem. Think of a way this person might be honored for his/her effort. Write a paragraph describing how the person could be honored and draw a picture showing the honor.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; 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; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.