For Grades K-4 , week of Aug. 03, 2015

1. World Hunger Dropping

Around the world, about one person of every nine is hungry, the United Nations has reported. That’s about 795 million people, and while that is too many, it is down sharply from the one billion people reported to be hungry 25 years ago. That is the key finding of the U.N.’s annual hunger report. Of the 129 nations monitored by the Food and Agriculture Organization, 72 have cut in half the percentage of hungry people in their populations. That improvement has been achieved despite a huge increase in population around the world. There are many ways to help people who are hungry or poor. With family or friends, discuss things that people in your community could do to help hungry or poor people in the United States or other countries. Use the newspaper or Internet and read about ways people are helping. Then write a short letter to the editor of the newspaper, outlining one idea to help.

Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

2. See a National Park!

Fourth graders and their families will be able to get free admission to national parks, federal lands and water areas during the next school year, as part of the new, national “Every Kid in a Park” program. Run by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, the program is designed “to introduce kids to outdoor recreation” by putting national parks “on their radar,” U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said. Students can sign up online for a voucher that grants the student and one carload of passengers entrance to federal recreation areas like national parks in 2015-2016. “There’s a difference between seeing a grizzly bear and her cubs on TV … and seeing them [in the wild],” said a Park Foundation official. With family or friends, use the website www.nps.gov to research what national parks are nearest to your home. Read about them and pick one you would like to visit. Draw a series of comic strips for the newspaper showing why you would like to visit this national park, and what you would like to see there.

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. A-Rod’s 3,000th Hit

New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez hit a home run for the 3,000th hit of his Major League Baseball career — but it took a while for him to get the ball back. The fan who caught the record-setting ball at Yankee Stadium said at first that he was going to keep it for his own collection, rather than give it to Rodriguez. Later, fan Zack Hample changed his mind when the Yankees said they would donate $150,000 to Pitch in for Baseball, a charity Hample supports that donates baseball equipment to kids in need. Getting 3,000 hits in a career is a milestone achievement in baseball because it takes years to accomplish. Rodriguez has played 21 years in the Major Leagues and is just the 29th player to get 3,000 hits. He is just the third to hit a home run for his 3,000th hit. In the newspaper or online, read about an achievement that takes a long time to complete. Use what you read to write a short paragraph describing character traits and personal qualities that it took to reach this achievement.

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

4. Warm Oceans Threaten Coral

Unusually warm ocean temperatures are creating conditions that threaten to kill coral reefs across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, according to a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A condition called “bleaching” has been “real bad” for corals in the western Pacific, the statement declares, and may be spreading to the western Atlantic and into Hawaii. Bleaching is caused by changes to the coral’s environment such as warmer water temperature. Bleaching makes the coral more likely to be damaged by disease. In severe cases, it may die, permanently changing the habitat for fish and shellfish. Coral reefs are formed by tiny sea creatures that connect to each other in ocean waters. Warmer ocean temperatures are just one effect of global warming. With family or friends, use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read a story about another effect of global warming. Use what you read to write a shore poem or song about this effect of global warming.

Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.

5. Mars Test Fails

A test run of a Mars landing system by America’s NASA space agency failed when the saucer-shaped vehicle’s parachute tore away after unfurling high over the Pacific Ocean. The 100-foot-wide parachute was the second part of a braking system NASA has been developing for a Mars landing for the last five years. So far about $230 million has been spent on the project, but after the setback NASA says more work will be needed before the system is ready to land heavy loads on the planet Mars. Mars, sometimes called the Red Planet, is the next planet out from Earth in our solar system. Space missions help scientists understand the solar system. They also gather information for future space trips to explore the solar system. With the newspaper or the website www.nasa.gov, join with family or friends to closely read a story about another NASA space mission. Write a paragraph summarizing the most important or most interesting facts about the mission. Draw an illustration to go with your paragraph, if you like.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.

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