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For Grades K-4 , week of Feb. 13, 2012

1. Living All Alone

About 100 groups of people around the world live so far apart that they have had virtually no contact with other humans. Recently, though, a group called the Mashco-Piro Indians has been seen along the banks of a river in the South American nation of Peru. An Associated Press article said the group began appearing last year. The tribe is believed to number in the hundreds and live in the Manu National Park. The group has had some contact with other people, who have given them tools and cooking pots, but their increased appearances are a puzzle to scientists. Some said it might be because loggers are moving in on their land, because there has been oil exploration in the area or because planes have been flying low over their homes. Find a newspaper article about modern society affecting people or environments. Discuss as a class what this means for those people or environments.

Core/National Standard: Analyzing how population growth, urbanization, industrialization, warfare and the global market economy have contributed to environmental alterations.

2. Seeing Red

Tuesday is Valentine's Day. In honor of the holiday, find pictures of red objects and designs in today's newspaper and cut them out. Paste the pictures into an art collage until you've completely covered a sheet of paper. After the paste dries, follow your teacher's instructions and cut your collage into the shape of a heart. As a class, hang up your hearts to create a colorful classroom.

Core/National Standard: Classifying common objects and substances according to their color, size, shape, smell, texture, toughness, flexibility, length or weight; using visual displays to add meaning.

3. Green Acres

If you like plants and animals, you might have a future as a farmer. Many people who live in cities or suburbs are moving to the country and starting their own farms. Dan and Laura Pugh left city life to move to Hallsville, Missouri. According to a Reuters article, they were looking for a better quality of life and organic food, which they hope to grow on their new farm. The federal government is also hoping more people will go the way of the country. It’s even investing money to help people start family farms and buy land and equipment. According to the U.S. Census, the average age of farmers has gone up from 52 to 55 and not many young people are making a career of farming. Search your newspaper for articles about farms, farmers or foods grown on farms. Draw a picture of a farm that might grow or raise crops or animals featured in one article.

Core/National Standard: Understanding that human populations use resources in the environment in order to maintain and improve their existence.

4. A Healthy Ocean

Is it an invasion of floating blobs or just hype? For the past few years, the number of jellyfish in the oceans of the world has become quite the topic of conversation. A Yahoo! News report said people claim there are massive blooms of jellyfish popping up due to over-fishing, climate change and pollution, but scientists say there is no proof that jellyfish are taking over the ocean. There are areas, like Japan, where the number of jellyfish is growing, but there also are areas like California where the number is decreasing. A group of scientists put together a global database to track jellyfish populations. As a class, find a newspaper article about the ocean and its health. Or find one online. Read the article as a class. Then write a paragraph summarizing the article and draw a picture to go with it.

Core/National Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to the task; adding visual displays to presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.

5. I Want My Teddy Bear

When you cuddle up with your Teddy Bear at night, think of a great man named Teddy Roosevelt. On February 15, 1903, a toy-store owner named Morris Michtom put two stuffed bears in the window of his shop. He wrote then-President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt to ask him if he could use his nickname for a stuffed animal. Roosevelt said yes, and history was made. Hundreds of toymakers followed Michtom, and now Teddy Bears are one of the most popular toys. Find a newspaper article about someone you admire. Read the article, and design your own toy that would honor that person.

Core/National Standard: Using art or drawings to convey a point.