For Grades 5-8 , week of Nov. 28, 2011

1. Locked Out

NBA basketball players aren’t doing much dribbling, passing or shooting due to the lockout by NBA owners. So how are the players spending their time? Guard Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets appeared with his family on the game show “Family Feud.” Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant joined a fraternity flag football team as its quarterback for its championship game. Others like LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Carmelo Anthony are hosting fund-raising games for charities in their home towns. Find a newspaper article about NBA players that play nearest you. Use what you find to write a story about what you would do if you were a professional player and couldn’t play.

Core/National Standard: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to task, purpose and audience.

2. Math

Get in small groups and use the newspaper to complete the following math problem. Show your work.

Core/National Standards: Exploring relationships arising from interesting contexts and using variables and relationships to solve mathematical problems; using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to solve problems.

A. Multiply the number of times President Obama is mentioned on the front page by the number of panels in the comic closest to the upper left corner of the first comics page.
C. Multiply that answer by the number of pages in the sports section.
D. Subtract from that answer the number of different women mentioned on the first page of the business section (including article writers).
E. Subtract the number of show times listed for today for the new “Muppets” movie.
F. Add to that answer the number of horoscope water signs (Pisces, Aquarius or Cancers) represented in your group.
G. Multiply tomorrow's low temperature in Cairo by that answer.

3. Best Bargain Ever

For about \$200 this holiday season, you can get an Xbox 360, a mountain bike or an iPod. For \$100, Nell Benton got a restaurant. The 35-year-old chef was one of 24 applicants vying to buy the National Café and Takeaway in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, recently. The founder, Michael Diedrick, started the café four years ago to help better the neighborhood and introduce diners to sustainable concepts. The restaurant grows some of its food, has a composting program and serves all-organic food. The conditions of the sale were that Benton had to keep the same employees, maintain the café name and keep the food the same for two years. She also has to provide Diedrick and his wife one meal a day for one year. Diedrick said he got higher bids for the restaurant, but felt Benton had the most potential. Search your newspaper classifieds for businesses for sale. Write up a plan describing what you would do if you owned one of the businesses.

Core/National Standard: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts and information.

4. Rosa Rebellion

Rosa Parks was tired and just wanted to sit during her bus ride home on December 1, 1955. The bus driver told her she needed to give up her seat for a white passenger. Parks refused and was arrested for violating the Montgomery, Alabama, city ordinance requiring black passengers to give up their seats to white riders. Her arrest inspired the Montgomery Bus Boycott. African Americans throughout the city car pooled or walked to school and work rather than ride the city buses. At that time, about 70 percent of the city’s bus income came from African Americans, and the system was hit hard financially. About a year later, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Montgomery’s ordinance was unconstitutional, and the buses were desegregated. Find a newspaper article about someone fighting for equal rights. Put together a flier to encourage classmates to get involved in the cause.

Core/National Standards: Writing arguments to support claims with clear reasons.

5. Techno Bullies

Bullying in schools has been happening for decades. Computers brought Internet bullying, and now kids are being tormented with text messages. A study recently showed that harassing or bullying by text message is on the rise, with 20 to 25 percent of the victims saying it was extremely distressing to receive these messages. The author of the study said bullying happens over time between people who have different amounts of power, while harassment happens once or more often between people of equal power. Find a newspaper story about bullying. Discuss as a class what can be done to stop it. Write a short editorial expressing your views.

Core/National Standard: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.