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Lessons for

Grades 5-8
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for Grades K-4

Sep. 28, 2020
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For Grades K-4 , week of Sep. 09, 2019

1. Asteroid!

In films with names like “Deep Impact,” asteroids have gotten a lot of attention in the movies. In most of them these rock formations in space are threatening to crash into the Earth, an event that is unlikely to happen in real life. That’s because all of the nearly 800,000 asteroids in our solar system have their own orbits around the sun. Most of these asteroids can be found orbiting in the “asteroid belt” between the planets of Mars and Jupiter. Some, however, come fairly close to the Earth and are known as Near Earth Objects, or NEOs. This month, scientists will get a chance to observe one of these NEOs up close when an asteroid as big as the world’s tallest buildings passes Earth on September 14. The asteroid known as 2000 QW7 will zoom by at a distance of about 3.3-million miles while traveling more than 14,000 miles per hour. It is of modest size — between 1,000 and 2,000 feet wide. The biggest asteroids can be hundreds of miles wide. Asteroids are rock formations that date back to the beginning of our solar system. Scientists study them to learn more about how the system and its planets formed. In teams or as a class, find and closely read a story about scientists studying asteroids, planets or other objects in space. Use what you read to write a sentence or two telling what scientists have learned and why that is important.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing.

2. Bison Round-Up

One of the hardest jobs for America’s national parks is managing the wildlife that live in them. In every location park officials want to maintain a healthy population of animals that people like to see. They also need to make sure no species grows so large in number that it threatens the environment or its chances for survival. This month officials at Grand Canyon National Park in the state of Arizona will attempt to deal with a problem that has been growing for several years. They will try to round up bison that live in the park to reduce the size of the herds to a healthy level. Hundreds of bison now live in the park, putting a strain on water resources and the environment. Park officials want to corral the bison and give them to Native American tribes across the United States that request them, according to the Associated Press news service. The goal is to reduce the size of the bison herd to about 200 within five years. The bison round-up at Grand Canyon National Park is an example of people trying to help preserve a wildlife species. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another way people are trying to help wildlife. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor telling why this help is needed, and how people could support it.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; citing textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

3. Surfing Encounter

Surfing is a sport that can provide many thrills. But a 40-year-old surfer in the state of Florida got more than he bargained for while surfing near the town of New Smyrna Beach on Florida’s eastern shore. When Donald Walsh tried to put some air under his surfboard with a jump move, he landed on a shark more than six feet long! The shark wasn’t happy about it and bit four of Walsh’s fingers on his left hand as well as his left calf and shin near his foot. He told the News-Journal newspaper in Daytona Beach that he “never did see the shark as I was coming down. I did see it after the bite happened.” Walsh pushed the shark away and was able to paddle to shore with his surfboard without being injured further. Though the attack “felt like a freight train hit me,” he says he’s not done with surfing. He’ll be back in the water, he said, “as soon as the wounds close up.” When he landed on a shark, Donald Walsh had to deal with an unexpected challenge. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone else dealing with an unexpected challenge or event. Use what you read to prepare a short oral report explaining how the person’s response to the challenge could inspire others. Then describe a time you had to respond to an unexpected challenge — and what you did. Present your report to the class.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; citing textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

4. Food Fight

If you ever wanted to be in a food fight, the European town of Buñol is a place you want to visit. Every summer in this Spanish community, thousands of people gather in the center of town to wildly throw tomatoes at each other. The La Tomatina Festival has been going on for years, and this August it drew 22,000 people. They threw 145 tons of ripe tomatoes, and after an hour the whole town was covered in red. The La Tomatina Festival dates back to 1945, when people attending a parade got into a fight and started throwing tomatoes at each other. Instead of forgetting the incident, the town decided to make it a yearly event. Many communities have odd or unusual festivals or traditions. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one. Then brainstorm an idea for a cartoon movie showing what people would see and do if they attended the event. Write an outline for your movie. Then draw the first scene.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.

5. Senior Dive

All over the world older adults are living more active lives than in the past. Ray Woolley is a perfect example. Woolley turned 96 on August 28 and celebrated by going scuba diving for nearly an hour. With a group of other divers, he dived to a depth of 42.4 meters — nearly half the length of a football field — to explore a shipwreck off the shore of the European nation of Cyprus. His dive topped his previous best for both depth and length of time under water. Woolley, who lives in Cyprus, has been diving for 59 years and has no plans to stop. “If I can still dive and my buddies are willing to dive with me, I hope I can do it again next year,” he told Reuters news service. “I refuse to accept the fact that I’m getting old.” Older adults are staying active longer and longer in their lives. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an older adult doing something active or remarkable. Write a personal letter to the older adult, telling how his/her activity could encourage others to keep active. In your letter, include questions asking why the older adult chose to do that activity.

Common Core State Standards: Citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.