Activities  Home  K-4  5-8  9-12   Geo Quiz   Vocabulary Quiz   NewsVideo   Cartoons   Talking Points  Science Webcast 



Additional Resources for Your Classroom



Find over 300 resources that include teacher guides, student supplements, teacher training modules and so much more.

Click here to access instructional material


For Grades 5-8 , week of Oct. 31, 2016

1. Election Push

Election Day is a week away and the candidates for president are making their final push to win support from voters on November 8. Where candidates campaign in the last week often reveals what states they think are most important to their prospects. In the newspaper or online, follow where Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump are campaigning this week. Closely read stories about their appearances and use what you read to write an analysis of why each candidate chose to campaign where he/she did in the last week. Share your views with the class and discuss.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

2. World’s Largest Telescope

The world’s largest radio telescope has been built in the Asian nation of China, and it has already begun gathering information about space. Located in a mountainous region of southwest China, the new telescope recently received high-quality signals from about 1,351 light years away. The l,640-foot Aperture Spherical Telescope was proposed 17 years ago by Chinese scientists and built over the last five years at a cost of $180 million. Radio telescopes study the activities of stars, planets and galaxies by analyzing the electromagnetic radio waves they give off. Activities can include the births and deaths of stars and the spin and movements of galaxies. New technology is helping scientists learn more and more about space. In the newspaper or online, closely read a story about a way technology is helping scientists learn about outer space. Use what you read to design a poster, showing how this technology works to help scientists learn more. Discuss posters as a class.

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; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

3. Soap Ingredients Banned

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned 19 chemicals used in antibacterial soaps, saying there’s “no scientific evidence” they make the specially marketed soaps “any better than plain soap and water.” Their manufacturers have failed to show that these products are safe and actually kill germs, the FDA declared. Two of the banned chemicals contain ingredients that may interfere with people’s hormone levels and spur drug-resistant bacteria, the FDA warns, creating “superbugs” that cannot be killed by antibiotics. The ban does not apply to hand sanitizers, most of which use alcohol rather than chemicals to kill germs. The Food and Drug Administration reviews foods and drugs to make sure they are safe for the public and do what they claim to do. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about the FDA reviewing another food or drug. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, detailing what points of the review are most important for the public, and why.

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.

4. Women in Film & Theater

In New York City, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment is creating a $5 million fund for female filmmakers, theater producers and directors to help them complete projects that are “by, for or about women.” The fund also will help female directors connect with financial supporters and refine their “pitch” presentations seeking support. “We’re simply not seeing as many women get to the top of their field as men,” the office’s commissioner said, “and … it is our duty to address that.” One goal of New York’s female film project is to help women create movies and plays about women or women’s achievement. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about women achieving success, doing something unusual or breaking barriers. Pick one that you think would make a good story for a movie or play. Use what you read to write a “pitch” letter seeking support for this story as a movie or play. Detail why it would be a valuable production and who would likely want to go see it.

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. Anti-Poaching Bill Approved

The U.S. Congress has approved a bill boosting efforts to combat illegal wildlife poaching and trafficking, a growing problem worldwide. The bill is intended to help protect animals ranging from lions, elephants and rhinos to exotic birds and sharks. It has passed both houses of Congress and awaits the president’s signature. Illegal poaching of endangered species is a problem all over the world, especially on the continents of Africa and Asia. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one nation taking steps to stop or reduce the killing of endangered species by poachers. Use what you read to write an editorial giving your opinion on the steps being taken, whether they will be effective and what else could be done.

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.