For Grades K-4 , week of Aug. 22, 2016

1. The Race for President

The 2016 race for president is under way, and Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton are traveling around the country seeking support. The candidates are trying to convince voters that each is the best leader for the nation. With family, friends or classmates, talk about what qualities make a person a good leader. Write down the qualities on a sheet of paper. Then look through the newspaper and closely read stories about the candidates for president. Write down the leadership qualities each has. Write a sentence or two describing each candidate’s qualities and why they could be important to voters.

Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

2. Heat-Wave Good Deed

It’s been a very hot summer in many parts of the nation, and an 8-year-old boy from the state of Virginia decided to do something about it. Carmine McDaniel was concerned about the extreme heat’s impact on outdoor workers, so he filled a cooler with cold drinks and left it outside his house for the mail carrier. News of Carmine’s good deed spread quickly and even reached the White House in Washington, D.C. During a recent heat wave, President Obama asked the country to follow the Newport News youngster’s lead. The President wrote on Facebook that everyone should “take a page out of Carmine’s book, and find simple ways to protect yourself, your family and your neighbors.” Staying safe in hot weather is important to kids, families and outdoor workers. In the newspaper or online, clip or print out photos of people doing things outdoors in the heat. Read the captions and study the photos. Then use them to create a poster showing ways to “Stay Safe in the Heat.” Under each picture write a safety tip for that activity.

Common Core State Standards: Integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.

3. 100 New Planets Discovered

More than 100 new planets have been found outside our solar system by the Kepler Space Telescope on its K2 mission, according to America’s NASA space agency. This brings to 3,368 the number of “exoplanets” confirmed by Kepler scientists outside the solar system. Launched in 2014, the K2 mission is extending Kepler’s reach to new parts of the sky, as seen from the Earth’s northern and southern hemispheres. It also is pioneering new fields of study, adding to what NASA calls the telescope’s “arc of discovery.” Space missions are helping scientists gain new information about space every day. In the newspaper or on the website www.nasa.gov, find and closely read a story about a space mission. Write a paragraph describing what the mission seeks to learn, what it has learned so far, and why that is important.

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; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

4. Videos Study Corals

Scientists from America and the Middle East nation of Israel have developed a microscope that can study corals on the seafloor — and make videos of them. It is the first device that is powerful enough to show details of living corals, whose polyps can be as small as 1/16th of an inch. In trial runs in the Red Sea in the Middle East, speeded-up videos show the polyps of one species engaging others by extending their innards to digest them, and other species looking as if they are kissing (but probably are just exchanging food). The seafloor microscope being used to study corals is an example of technology being used in a new way to help scientists do research. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another new technology that is helping people do things for work, research or fun. Use what you read to draw a series of comic strips showing how this technology is helping people. The technology can be a character in your strip, if you like.

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.

5. Mother Adopts Friend’s 6 Kids

A Virginia mother of three has made good on a promise to a dying friend by adopting her six children. Single mom Beth Laitkep had asked Stephanie Culley to take care of her children if she didn’t survive her cancer, and after consulting the children in both families, Culley agreed. In April, temporary custody papers were drawn up in Alton, Virginia, and when Laitkep died May 19, the Culleys gained full custody of Laitkep children. Stephanie Culley’s adoption of her friend’s children is an example of someone going out of their way to be kind to someone else. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another person doing something outstanding for someone else. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor of the newspaper, thanking this person for his/her actions and explaining how the person’s actions could inspire others.

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.

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