, week of
May 01, 2011
1. Helpful Dogs
Training dogs to help the blind began in the United States in 1928. However, the European nation of Germany was the first to train dogs, helping soldiers blinded after World War I. An American woman named Dorothy Eustis heard about the program and trained a dog for Morris Frank of Nashville, Tennessee. This was the first guide dog trained in the U.S. In 1942, Guide Dogs for the Blind was started in Los Gatos, California, to help soldiers blinded in World War II. The school now has two campuses - one in California and one in Oregon -- and has graduated 10,000 teams of blind people and guide dogs. Search your newspaper for animals or people helping make lives better for disabled people, or others with needs. Or find an example online. Write a short summary of the article and present it to the class.
Learning Standard: Writing summaries of reading materials, including the main ideas and most significant details.
On May 2, 1933, the Loch Ness Monster was spotted by a couple in Scotland, and the next day the sighting was reported in the Inverness Courier newspaper. While accounts and drawings of "Nessie" date as far back as 500 A.D., the news story reignited public imagination. Scientists, scholars and thrill-seekers have been looking for the monster ever since. Read a short article in today's newspaper. Notice how the writer tells the story using facts such as who, what, why, where, when and how, along with details that elaborate the facts and quotations from witnesses. Using your imagination and the article as an example, write a short news story about people who say they have seen something out of the ordinary.
Learning Standard: Writing fluently for multiple purposes to produce compositions, such as personal narratives, persuasive essays, lab reports or poetry.
3. Awesome Inventors
April was a good month for inventors. Back in 1684, a patent was granted for the sewing thimble. The electromagnetic telegraph, one of the first forms of national communication, was patented in 1791 by Samuel F.B. Morse. The first electric hearing aids were patented in 1880. Gideon Sundback received a patent for his invention of the zipper in 1913. And mothers across the country can thank R.C. Duncan for his patent on Pampers diapers in 1965. Search the newspaper for any kind of new invention or upgraded technology that will help make your life easier. Get together with a partner and see if you two can come up with your own scientific invention to solve a problem in your life, your city, your school, your state, your country or the world. Construct a model or drawing of your invention.
Learning Standards: Constructing scale models, maps and appropriately labeled diagrams to communicate scientific knowledge; representing creatively.
4. Mideast Problems
The Middle East and its surrounding areas have been a political and religious hotbed since ancient times. The region is home to three of the world's major religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), and political skirmishes and wars have repeatedly erupted over beliefs and differing views of life. Currently, Egypt, Syria, Libya and Yemen are in turmoil. Find a newspaper article about unrest in a Middle Eastern country, or a country in northern Africa. Do some research on the positions of different groups in the country. Form teams to debate the merits of the positions of the two sides.
Learning Standard: Delivering persuasive presentations that differentiate fact from opinion and supporting arguments with detailed evidence; analyzing the geographic, political, economic, religious and social structures of early civilizations.
5. The Food Pyramid
A pyramid with food groupings starting with the largest at the bottom and the smallest at the top was introduced to the nation in the spring of 1992. The idea behind the pyramid was to show people how much they should eat of different foods in the different groups. The bottom of the pyramid represented whole grains, the foods you should eat most. The next level up was fruits and vegetables, followed by dairy and meats. On top was fats and sweets, of which people should eat only a small amount each day. Search the newspaper for healthy nutrition information. Use what you find to create a healthy menu for a day.
Learning Standards: Understanding ways good health can be maintained.