1. Moon Landing Targets
America’s NASA space agency is making plans to land astronauts on the Earth’s moon, possibly as soon as three years from now. This month, NASA took a big step toward a moon landing by announcing where astronauts could touch down. NASA officials said they had selected 13 possible regions near the moon’s South Pole that would be good targets for a landing. The locations were chosen because they would be excellent places for a moonwalk and for collecting scientific samples of water-based ice, the Washington Post newspaper reported. The South Pole locations are “a long way” from the places near the moon’s equator where American astronauts landed 50 years ago as part of the Apollo program. The new program is called Artemis, and its first flight will launch August 29 when NASA sends a capsule without astronauts on board into orbit around the moon. In ancient Greek mythology Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo. Sending astronauts to the moon requires a great deal of planning. With a partner, use the newspaper and Internet to find and read stories about NASA’s first Artemis flight. Prepare an oral report on something NASA had to plan for and what plans it made. Use photos from the newspaper or Internet to illustrate your report.
Common Core State Standards: Citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
2. New Dino Discovery
From the United States to countries on the continent of Europe, severe heat and lack of rain have caused lakes, rivers and other waterways to shrink or dry up this summer. In many places the receding waters have revealed secrets that have long been hidden. At a park in the U.S. state of Texas, scientists were thrilled to discover that the hidden secrets included dinosaur tracks made 113-million years ago! The tracks at the Dinosaur Valley State Park were discovered in a riverbed that had dried out due to intense heat this summer. They were made by two species: a meat-eater called Acrocanthosaurus (AK-ro-KAN-tho-SOR-us) and a plant eater known as Sauroposeidon (SOR-o-po-SY-don). Acrocanthosaurus was a fierce predator that walked on two legs like T. rex and grew 15 feet high, nearly 40 feet long and weighed 7 tons. It had sharp teeth, strong back legs and a “sail” along its spine that could expand to make it look larger. Sauroposeidon was a huge plant-eater, growing up to 60 feet tall and 100 feet long and weighing 44 tons as an adult. The footprints of the Sauroposeidon measure more than two feet across. Discoveries of dinosaur footprints and fossils give scientists information about where and how dinosaurs lived. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a dinosaur discovery. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend, telling what new information this discovery gave scientists about this species or other dinosaurs.
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.
3. Royal Students
Every year when school starts, students gain new classmates when children transfer from other schools. New students come from all kinds of families and backgrounds, but what if they included two princes and a princess? That is what is happening this fall at the Lambrook School in the European nation of England 25 miles from the city of London. The new students are the children of England’s Prince William and his wife Catherine, the duchess of Cambridge. William and Catherine have announced they are moving their children — Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis — out of London to the private Lambrook School to give them a more “normal” family life, CNN News reported. The children of England’s royal family had been attending a London school near their parents’ home at Kensington Palace. They will now live in Adelaide Cottage, a four-bedroom house on the grounds of Windsor Castle, the main home to England’s Queen Elizabeth II. Catherine’s family live in the same county. Prince George is 9, Princess Charlotte is 7 and Prince Louis is 4. In America and around the world, students are going back to school. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about something new that students will experience at their school this fall. Write a paragraph describing that new experience and how it will affect students’ lives. Write a second paragraph describing something new that you will experience at school this fall. Share with family and friends.
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing.
4. Swish, It’s Good!
Basketball coaches are always urging players to “practice your free throws” because making foul shots can be the difference between winning and losing. Coaches would love to have had Tom Steury on their team. Steury, who is 82 and lives in Washington State on the West Coast, has been practicing free throws for more than 20 years — and he’s gotten really good at it. On his 82nd, birthday Stuery made his one-millionth free throw, completing a 17-year quest to top that milestone, UPI News reports. Steury, who lives in the city of Eastside, says he spent about 2,500 hours in the gym to log all those free throws, and made about 94 percent of his shots. He shot about 100 free throws every day he spent in the gym, and at one point he made 222 shots in a row, according to records he kept. Athletes practice many things to get better at their sports. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an athlete you like. Use what you read to write a short sports story outlining something the athlete is practicing — or needs to practice — to get better. Be sure to include details showing how the athlete is practicing to improve.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
5. Fishy Name Change
Invasive species create problems in many places, because they invade waterways and natural areas and threaten native plants and animals. Invasive fish are especially damaging, because they upset the balance of nature in lakes and rivers. In the state of Illinois, wildlife officials are trying a new approach in their battle against an invasive fish species. They are changing its name. The officials have announced that the species known as “Asian carp” will now be known as “copi” in an effort to make them more attractive to people who might want to catch and eat them, Reuters News reports. The state of Illinois has even launched a new website, choosecopi.com, where people can get facts, nutritional information and recipes for the fish. Name changes have made fish more attractive to home and restaurant cooks in the past. A fish once called a “slimehead” became very popular when its name was changed to “orange roughy,” and the “Patagonian toothfish” became a restaurant favorite when it was renamed “Chilean sea bass.” Restaurants often give special names to foods they offer to make people want to try them. In the newspaper or online, closely read stories and ads involving foods with special names. Pick one and write a paragraph telling why its name makes people want to try it. Then pick a food you think could use a more interesting name. Write a paragraph suggesting a new name and why that name would be better.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.