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for Grades 5-8

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Oct. 12, 2020

For Grades 5-8 , week of Aug. 12, 2019

1. Speaking Out

After two gunmen killed more than 30 people in separate attacks this month, people all over the nation grappled with how to respond. Major League Soccer player Alejandro Bedoya chose an unusual — and very public – way to call attention to the problem of gun violence and mass shootings. After scoring a goal against rival D.C. United, the Philadelphia Union midfielder grabbed a field microphone and shouted to a national television audience: “Congress, do something now. End gun violence. Let’s go.” Bedoya, who is the Union’s captain, made his public remarks the night after gunmen in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio killed 31 people at a Walmart and a nightlife district. After the game Bedoya explained his decision to speak out. “I’m not going to sit idly and watch this stuff happen and not say something,” he said. “Before I’m an athlete [and] a soccer player, I’m a human being first.” Many people are speaking out about what steps the nation could take to reduce gun violence and mass shootings. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about suggestions that are being made. Use what you read to write an editorial for the newspaper offering your opinion on steps that could be taken. Share and discuss with family or friends.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.

2. A Huge Melt-Off

A heat wave that set new records across the continent of Europe has moved on to the Arctic nation of Greenland. And the damage it is doing there could be felt in the future by the rest of the world. The extreme heat has caused a massive melt-off of Greenland’s permanent ice sheet, sending billions of tons of water into the ocean. That could affect sea levels for coastal areas around the world, endangering communities built right on the water. Even before this summer’s melt-off, Greenland was the biggest contributor to rising sea levels, because its ice is melting due to global warming. The Arctic area near the Earth’s North Pole is warming twice as fast as the rest of the Earth. If all of Greenland’s ice sheet were to melt, it would raise sea levels around the world by 23 feet. Global warming is having huge effects around the world this summer, but especially in the polar regions near the Earth’s North and South Poles. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about different ways global warming is affecting polar regions. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend or teacher discussing some of these effects, and which you think are the most serious.

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.

3. No Metal Fan

Since it became popular in the 1970s, heavy metal music has driven away a lot of fans who like quieter music styles. A hiker in Canada discovered this month that metal still has the power. Dee Gallant was hiking on Vancouver Island earlier this month when she came face to face with a cougar. It started advancing on her and didn’t go away when she yelled and waved her arms. Facing a bad situation, she turned to her smart phone for help. The 45-year-old Gallant queued up the heavy metal band Metallica and cranked up the song “Don’t Tread on Me” as loud as it would go. At the sound of the menacing drum and guitar opening, the cougar responded like many music fans of the past. It turned and took off to escape. When people have close encounters with wildlife, they need to know what to do to stay safe. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories telling how people should behave if they have close encounters with wildlife. Use what you read to create a series of comic strips illustrating different safety tips. Share with family and friends.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.

4. Game Builder

All over the world, kids like to play electronic games on their computers or mobile devices. In the African nation of Nigeria, a 9-year-old boy is not only playing games — he’s inventing them! Outside the city of Lagos, Basil Okpara Jr. has created more than 30 mobile games using just his laptop computer and a free programming application he downloaded from the Internet, CNN News reports. Basil learned to create games at a programming “boot camp” his father signed him up for. This month he will mark a milestone when a game he created called “Frog Attack” will become available to the public through the Google play store. Basil, who wants to be a scientist as an adult, has grown matter-of-fact about his game-building skills. “I learned how to build games at a boot camp.” he told CNN. “Now, I build to keep me busy when I am bored.” Technology skills are becoming more and more important to careers. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about different ways technology is important in different career fields. Use what you read to write a consumer column offering advice to students about what technology skills will be most important in the future.

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

5. A Change at the Top

Since the beginning of recorded history, the Asian nation of China has had the most people of any country in the world. With a population of 1.4-billion people, China is still the world’s most populous nation. But in less than 10 years, China will be overtaken by its Asian neighbor India as the population champion, according to a new report from the United Nations organization. India, which now has 1.3-billion people, will grow to more than 1.5-billion people, while China’s population is projected to decline to about 1.1-billion, according to the U.N.’s 2019 World Population Prospects report. By 2050, the gap between the two nations will be even greater, the report states. That year will also mark another significant change in world population, according to the report. By 2050 the African nation of Nigeria will overtake the United States as the third most populous country. Nigeria is projected to have a population of 733-million people then, compared to 434-million for the United States. India is growing in population but also in influence as a business, science and technology power. In the newspaper or online find and closely read stories about India’s growing influence in these fields. Use what you read to create a poster showing different ways India is becoming more influential in the world.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.