, week of
Oct. 27, 2014
1. Cop Buys a Booster Seat
Not long ago, a Michigan police officer decided not to ticket a driver for failing to secure her 5-year-old daughter in a booster seat. Instead, he bought a seat for the child with his own money. The public safety officer made the purchase after the driver told him she couldn’t afford a booster seat. “It was the easiest 50 bucks I ever spent,” he said later. People often are in the news for doing nice things for others. As a class or with a partner, find a story or photo in the newspaper involving someone doing something nice for another person. Write a letter to the editor, thanking the person for the good deed and pointing out why it could inspire others.
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.
2. Here Come the Bullfrogs!
An invasion of American bullfrogs that eat just about anything (including each other) is spreading downstream along Montana’s Yellowstone River. This poses a threat to native local breeds, biologists say, because the frogs will “eat anything they can fit in their mouths. It doesn’t matter if it’s another frog or a bird or a mosquito.” Native to the eastern and southern regions of North America, the bullfrogs have been introduced to western areas like Montana by people who brought them to the area as pets or as bait for fishing. Efforts to stop the invasion have been overwhelmed, the U.S. Geology Service reports, and the number of Montana breeding sites is now four times bigger than it was in 2010. Wildlife that are introduced to areas are called “invasive species” because they invade the new habitat. In the newspaper, find a photo of an outdoor scene. Think of a species of wildlife that would have a negative effect on the scene if introduced in large numbers. Draw a series of comic strips for the newspaper showing what that effect would be like.
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.
3. We’re Having an Election
November 4 is Election Day all across the country. In state after state, voters will be choosing people to serve as governors, U.S. senators, U.S. representatives and state legislators. Some communities also will be choosing local leaders. As a class, talk about qualities you think people need to be good leaders. Then look through the newspaper and find three people who are leaders in some way. Write a complete sentence for each, explaining what quality each person has that makes him or her a leader.
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.
4. Iron Age Chariot
Archaeologists in the European nation of Great Britain have discovered the remains of an Iron Age chariot believed to be more than 2,300 years old. The remains were bronze fittings that are believed to be from a chariot buried as part of a religious ceremony or offering. One of the students who made the discovery in a pit in Leicestershire, England, called it “the find of a lifetime,” and an archaeologist with 25 years of experience referred to it as a “once-in-a-career discovery.” Researchers speculate that the fittings had been boxed up and buried with other items important to a person who had died. Chariots were high-speed carriages pulled by horses for war, hunting or transportation. In the ads, photos and stories of the newspaper, find examples of two modern kinds of transportation. Divide a piece of paper in half and compare the two kinds. For each, list the advantages and disadvantages. Discuss as a class.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; organizing data using concrete objects, pictures, tallies, tables, charts, diagrams and graphs; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
5. Parrot Returns, Speaking Spanish
Before disappearing four years ago, an African gray parrot named Nigel spoke English with a British accent. But when he was reunited with his owner, he spoke only Spanish. And when the owner tried to pick him up, Nigel bit him. A veterinarian used a microchip to track Nigel, and return him to Darren Chick, an Englishman who lives in Torrance, California. It’s uncertain where the bird has been during his absence, and he’s not telling — in any language. Tracking chips for pets are a way technology is being used to do new things. In the ads of the newspaper, find a technology device that interests you. Study the device and think about ways it could be improved to do even more. Design an ad for a “new and improved” version of this device. Give your ad an eye-catching headline.
Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.