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Lessons for

Grades 1-4
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for Grades 9-12

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For Grades 9-12 , week of Mar. 14, 2022

1. Signing Up for War

All over the world, people have been inspired by the courage and determination of Ukrainians who are standing up to the Russian invasion of their country. Some military veterans in the United States have been so inspired they are making plans to ship out to assist the Ukrainians in the fighting. The New York Times newspaper reports that there has been “a surge” of American veterans who say they are preparing to join the fight in Ukraine, after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced he was creating an “international legion” seeking volunteers from around the world to defend his nation. The U.S. government does not endorse such action. American leaders say volunteer fighters could complicate the U.S. response to the war. Russian officials, meanwhile, say fighters from other countries would be considered mercenaries, not soldiers, and would not be covered by international rules governing the treatment of prisoners of war. Ukrainian soldiers and citizens continue to stand up against Russian forces, even though they are greatly outnumbered in manpower and equipment. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the war in Ukraine. Use what you read to write an editorial outlining the best ways the United States and other nations could support the Ukrainian people against the Russian invasion.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

2. Record Gas Prices

Gasoline prices have risen to record levels in the United States. They hit a nationwide average of $4.33 per gallon in the U.S. late last week and spiked to nearly $6 a gallon in California and other states on the West Coast. Experts expect costs to go even higher this week and next, according to the AAA travel service. Prices have gone up because the war in Ukraine has disrupted exports of oil from Russia, and the United States has banned Russian oil as punishment for the invasion. Russia is the world’s largest exporter of oil, which is used to make gasoline, and less Russian oil means higher prices. The United States only imports 8 percent of the oil it uses from Russia, but shortages in other countries affect prices here because oil pricing is done on a worldwide basis. With less Russian oil available, Americans feel pain at the pumps as much as people on the continent of Europe. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the rising price of gasoline. Use what you read to write a consumer column detailing how higher gas prices are affecting people and how they are adjusting their behavior.

Common Core State Standards: Citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions; reading closely what written and visual texts say and making logical inferences from them; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

3. Extinct Animals in Art?

In the South American country of Colombia, an amazing group of artworks in the Amazon jungle has given scientists a revealing look at life from the ancient past. The works drawn in red decorate an eight-mile stretch of cliff and include stick-figure images of prehistoric people, fish, birds, lizards, porcupines, mastodons and giant sloths. They also show creatures that don’t look like anything alive today and may have gone extinct after they were painted. A new study suggests these extinct creatures date back more than 12,000 years to when the Earth was coming out of its last Ice Age. Other scientists aren’t so sure, however, and say the animals could have lived more recently — and the paintings done later. Either way, the paintings show a wide variety of wildlife, the New York Times newspaper reports. “The whole biodiversity of the Amazon is painted there,” said one expedition leader who has studied the art. Artworks can show what people, animals and the world are like in the time they are painted. In the newspaper or online, find a photo of an outdoor or indoor scene that would be a good example of life today. Re-create this scene as an artwork, calling attention to the things in the scene that are most important to today’s life. Ways to call attention include lighting, color and the size that things are shown. Write a paragraph explaining your artwork and share with the class.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

4. Players of the Year

The John R. Wooden Award is an award given each year to the most outstanding men’s and women’s college basketball players. The award is named for the legendary UCLA men’s coach who had enormous success over a 28-year career, and it honors players who have enormous success each season. The finalists for this year’s award have just been announced, and three Division I programs have two finalists each. On the men’s side, top ranked Gonzaga is represented by Junior Drew Timme and freshman star Chet Holmgren. For women, top ranked South Carolina has two finalists — junior Aliyah Boston and senior Destanni Henderson — while Number 2 Stanford is represented by junior Haley Jones and sophomore Cameron Brink. Boston is largely considered the favorite for the women’s Player of the Year honor, while the men’s favorite is Kentucky forward Oscar Tshiebwe. Winners will be announced March 30, just before the men’s and women’s Final Four competition of the NCAA Division I tournaments. The NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments get under way this week and the Naismith finalists will be among the stars showing off their skills. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about top performances in the tournaments. Use what you read to write a sports column comparing two performances — one expected and one unexpected — and what they meant to their teams.

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

5. They Found It!

Just weeks after starting a search, a team of scientists and researchers has found one of the most famous shipwrecks in history. The wreck is the vessel Endurance, which was crushed by ice in Antarctica 106 years ago on a mission by Ernest Shackleton to reach the South Pole. The wreck was found nearly two miles beneath the surface of the Weddell Sea by a team using high-tech undersea drones. The team had been surveying a 150-square-mile area where the ship went down in November 1915. The ship was found about four miles south of the last location recorded by Shackleton’s captain and navigator, news outlets reported. The wooden ship was found “in a brilliant state of preservation” due to the cold water, one team member said. The discovery drone took crystal clear photos of the ship’s name plate and steering wheel, leaving no doubt this was Shackleton’s vessel. The wreck of the Endurance launched one of the great survival stories of all time, as Shackleton eventually led all of his men to safety. Their survival effort included sailing in open boats over rough, icy waters, camping on ice for months at a time and crossing a mountain range. Shipwrecks are one way historians learn more about the past. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another way historians are studying the past. Use what you read to write a paragraph or short paper analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of the approach taken by the historians in the story.

Common Core State Standards: 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.