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For Grades K-4 , week of July 24, 2023

1. DEVASTATING DELAY

Effects from the current heatwave have been felt all over the world. Passengers of a flight that was scheduled to go from Las Vegas, Nevada, to Atlanta, Georgia, felt the heat when their plane was delayed for more than three hours waiting for takeoff. The temperature inside the plane reached over 100 degrees as it sat in the 114-degree Las Vegas heat. Three people fell ill from the extreme heat inside the plane and had to be taken off for medical treatment and the flight was eventually cancelled. Write a letter as if you are the president of Delta responding to the news coverage about the flight delay and how the extreme heat affected passengers.

2. TORNADO TROUBLE

A tornado in North Carolina could lead to medication shortages at hospitals across the United States. The tornado touched down near Rocky Mount, North Carolina, where it ripped the roof off a factory owned by Pfizer, a company that makes medicines. The factory makes drugs used in surgeries and to treat infections; while Pfizer does make the Covid-19 vaccine, it isn’t made at the North Carolina factory. While Pfizer works to fix the building, there will likely be shortages of the medications in hospitals across the US who depend on the company. Write a short news article about the incident that informs people about the effect of the tornado and what could happen in the future as a result.

3. DOG DAY AFTERNOON

More than 500 golden retrievers and their owners met in the Scottish Highlands to celebrate anniversary of the first litter of golden retriever puppies, which were born in 1868. The event was part of the Guisachan Gathering, a five-day festival hosted by the Golden Retriever Club of Scotland every five years and held on the grounds where the first litter was born. Golden retrievers are the third most popular dog in the United States (can you guess the first two?) and were a cross between the flat-coated retriever and the now-extinct tweed water spaniel. If you were a journalist, write an article about this event, write down who you would talk to (like attendees, event organizers, etc.) and what questions you would ask them in order to get both important facts and personal anecdotes to put your story together. Think about outside sources that you could also look to for information.

4. A PLANET PAIR

Astronomers recently reported new evidence of two planets sharing the same orbit around their star. They discovered a cloud of debris following the same orbit of a planet in the constellation Centaurus, which is 370 light-years away from Earth. It’s believed that the cloud of debris is either a planet being formed or the remains of a planet that has broken apart. While scientists have seen a planet sharing its orbit with asteroids, this is the first possible evidence of two planets paired together. Think about how our position in relation to the sun affects the planet—whether it’s day or night, what season it is, how hot or cold it gets. If a planet were circling in the same orbit as Earth but was always on the opposite side of the sun, how might life on that planet be different? Write down some ideas and share with your classmates.

5. NO SHADE

As the actors’ and writers’ strikes continue in Hollywood, NBCUniversal is being investigated for their landscaping choices. A row of Ficus trees that stood over the writers’ picket line, providing shade from the California sun, were cut back and left with only branches and a few leaves. A spokesperson for NBCUniversal said the trees were trimmed for safety before the start of “high-wind season,” but the city of Los Angeles is investigating whether the trees were trimmed without a permit. The writers’ guild and actors’ union called it a tactic meant to make picketing more difficult in the extreme heat. Write a short paragraph about the perspectives of both sides in this story: Why do you think picketing, or a group standing together and protesting with signs, chants, etc., is important for people who are on strike? Why do you think a company might want to stop their workers from picketing?