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for Grades 5-8

June 07, 2021
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For Grades 5-8 , week of June 29, 2020

1. ‘Diversity and Inclusion’

The Black Lives Matter movement is attracting support from businesses, corporations, celebrities, sports stars and thousands of protesters across the country. It also is sparking rapid change on issues as wide ranging as how police departments are run to the renaming of familiar products. This month, one of the nation’s oldest youth organizations announced it was making a change in direct response to the movement’s goals of racial justice and equality under the law. The Boy Scouts of America announced it would create a “diversity and inclusion” merit badge for scouts and make earning it a requirement of becoming an Eagle Scout, the highest scouting rank. “We believe that Black Lives Matter,” the organization declared in a statement announcing the badge. “This is not a political issue; it is a human rights issue and one we all have a duty to address.” The Boy Scouts organization, which was formed in 1910, has more than 2.2-million youth members. Last year, more than 61,000 became Eagle Scouts. Many organizations are making changes this summer in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about some changes that are being made. Use what you read to write a short editorial examining these changes, why they are being made and whether you think the changes are necessary or overdue.

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. ‘Gamer Grandma’

All over the world teens and pre-teens love to play video games. But not all gamers are kids. In the Asian nation of Japan, one of the biggest fans is a 90-year-old grandmother who plays three or four hours a day and sometimes plays until 2 o’clock in the morning if she gets really involved. Hamako Mori, who lives southeast of the city of Tokyo, is known as the “Gamer Grandma” and has been recognized by the Guinness World Records organization as the world’s oldest gamer on YouTube. She has played some 200 titles since she took up the hobby when her children were fans years ago. And what are her favorites? “Grand Theft Auto,” “Super Mario Brothers,” “Dragon Quest,” “Final Fantasy” and “Call of Duty,” plus the fantasy role-playing game “Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.” Many senior adults are doing surprising things to stay sharp and active as they get older. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one senior doing this. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor telling how this senior’s activities could inspire others. Share with seniors in your family or neighborhood.

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.

3. Bandages of Color

Anyone who has ever had a cut or scrape has used BAND-AIDS to keep the injury clean. And while there were always different sizes and shapes, the color was always a single pinkish shade. That has now changed. Johnson & Johnson, the company that makes BAND-AIDS has announced it will offer a range of colors to better reflect the diversity of people in America. The five new skin tones were created in response to the Black Lives Matter movement and range from light to medium to deep shades of brown and black. “We hear you. We see you. We’re listening to you,” a BAND-AIDS spokesperson said when announcing the new colors. “We stand in solidarity with our black colleagues, collaborators and community in the fight against racism, violence, and injustice. We are committed to taking actions to create tangible change for the black community.?” Companies often offer new products in response to changes in public attitudes or demand. In the newspaper or online, find and closely study stories and ads involving such new products. Use what you find to write a consumer column analyzing which products you think will be the most successful — and which seem odd or unusual choices for a company to make.

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.

4. Great Dust Plume

The Sahara Desert in Northern Africa is the largest hot-climate desert in the world. It has enormous amounts of sand and when windstorms sweep across it, they suck up sand and dust as “dust plumes” in the atmosphere. The plumes don’t just stay over the desert, however. With a boost from the east-to-west trade winds in the upper atmosphere, they can travel thousands of miles. This month one of the largest dust plumes in recent years traveled all the way across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa to the southern United States and the region of the Caribbean Sea. The dust did not pose a major health threat, but it turned blue skies a milky-blue color and made sunrises and sunsets more spectacular because the dust made colors more intense. Dry air from the plume also reduced the chances of thunderstorms and hurricane activity. Weather and natural events often make news during the summer months. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one of these events. Use what you read to prepare a two-minute TV news report on the event. Write out a script for your report, including images you would use. Read it aloud to make sure it does not run longer than two minutes. Present your report to family or friends.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusion; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.

5. A Blind-Folded Mile

It is no easy feat to run a mile, but a man from the European nation of England made it even harder on himself. Ashley Winter, 37, ran a mile blind-folded and set a new world record. Winter ran the mile in 10 minutes, 11 seconds while wearing a blind-fold to set a new Guinness World Record, UPI News reported. Winter has a vision-impairing eye disease and said he set out to break the record to inspire others with eye diseases. He also raised money for the Fight for Sight vision support group. “I want[ed] to prove to myself and to others with an eye condition what can be done if you put your mind to it," Winter told the Hereford Times newspaper. “By raising money for Fight for Sight I hope to help find the next breakthrough in treating sight loss conditions.” Many people challenge themselves to do unusual things to raise money for charity or special causes. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a charity or cause you would like to support. Use what you read to write a proposal outlining something you and your friends could do to raise money for this cause. Share and discuss with your friends.

Common Core State Standards: Citing textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions; reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them.