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for Grades K-4

Mar. 30, 2015
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For Grades K-4 , week of Mar. 30, 2015

1. In Every County

When they took a ferry to Nantucket Island off the coast of Massachusetts, a Michigan couple achieved their goal of visiting all 3,108 counties in the Lower 48 states of the United States. Now, Jennifer and Jonathan Riehl are planning to finish visiting Alaska’s boroughs, and start on Hawaii. They’ve done it all in a green 1999 Dodge Intrepid passenger car, which now has traveled more than 540,000 miles. Since they began their travels in 2006, they’ve encountered bears, an avalanche, a landslide and blizzards. When people travel, they see and visit natural and man-made attractions in the places they go. In the newspaper, find a story or photo that involves an attraction people would like to visit. Read the story closely or read more about it online. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend describing why people want to see this attraction and whether you would like to see it yourself.

Common Core State Standards: 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.

2. First Lady: Educate Girls

First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to the Asian nations of Japan and Cambodia this month to kick off an American-inspired effort to promote the education of the world’s girls. Her trip was part of the international Let Girls Learn initiative, which seeks to make it possible for millions of girls to attend — and stay in — school. She promoted ways to help get more girls into classrooms in nations where fewer girls go to school and ways to train school leaders to deal with issues connected to admitting girls. Unlike the United States, many parts of the world have active — often hostile — opposition to educating girls. As a class, discuss ways these nations would benefit by making education available to girls. Based on the discussion, draw a series of comic strips for the newspaper, showing the benefits of letting girls go to school, particularly in developing nations.

Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.

3. Measuring Space Collisions

America’s NASA space agency has launched a group of unmanned spacecraft to make the first detailed measurements of magnetic fields that collide with each other about 38,000 miles above the Earth. The power outbursts from magnetic field collisions have the potential to disrupt satellites and power grids on Earth. The goal of the mission is “to figure out what the heck is going on,” a space scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has said. In the two-year, $1.1 billion mission, four octagonal spacecraft, flying in a pyramid formation, will obtain three-dimensional pictures of the magnetic fields as they collide. The data could help scientists predict the timing and effects of solar storms. Space missions seek to give scientists information with which to better understand the Earth’s solar system. In the newspaper or on the website www.nasa.gov, read a story about a space mission as a class. After reading the story together, write three complete sentences describing three different goals of the mission.

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.

4. When Crocodiles Ruled

About 13 million years ago, up to seven species of crocodiles co-existed in the Amazon River swamps in what is now northeastern Peru on the continent of South America. Today, the most croc species in the same area at the same time total three, but fossil discoveries in the Amazon indicate there once were many more. The findings are significant, scientists say, because they may help explain how the Amazon became as diverse an ecosystem as it is today. The researchers report that before the Amazon River was formed 10.5 million years ago, the area was a massive wetland system with swamps, rivers, bays and lakes draining toward the Caribbean Sea to the northeast. Fossils help scientists learn about species that lived in the past and what their habitats may have been like. In the newspaper or online, find a photo and story about a wildlife species from today that interests you. Read the story and study the photo. Then write a short paragraph detailing what a fossil of this species might tell future scientists.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; 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.

5. Art by Michelangelo

A group of experts has agreed that two bronze sculptures of figures mounted on panthers are by the famous artist Michelangelo. Other experts, however, aren’t so sure. Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England, is displaying the works, and researchers hope to add to the evidence about who created them at a conference in July. The experts — Cambridge art historians, researchers at the Rijkmuseum in Amsterdam and a professor of clinical anatomy — say the conclusion that the sculptures were by Michelangelo is just one step in an ongoing scholarly process. If the finding is confirmed, these could be the only surviving bronzes by Michelangelo, who worked in the European nation of Italy from the year 1475 to 1564. Sculptures, paintings, statues and other artworks are a part of every community. As a class, discuss some you have seen. Then browse the stories and photos of the newspaper and create your own artwork showing someone or something that is special to the community.

Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; 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. .