Resources for Teachers and Students
, week of
Feb. 03, 2020
1. ‘Cold-Stunned’ Turtles
Cold winter weather can be hard on wildlife, especially if it hits areas that are not usually cold. Iguanas in the state of Florida made news last week when they started falling out of trees after frigid weather left them “cold-stunned.” Now a rescue center in the state of North Carolina is dealing with a record number of sea turtles affected by temperatures below freezing. More than 100 sea turtles have been brought in for care at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, including 47 on one day alone. The turtles, which are cold blooded, cannot reheat their bodies when they get really cold. At the center they will be given a chance to warm up from “being zapped by the cold” and get the fluids they need to recover. Most will be released back into the sea this spring or summer. Cold winter weather presents many challenges for wild and tame animals. In the newspaper or online, find and study a photo of a wild or tame animal. Write a paragraph telling what challenges or risks this animal faces in winter. Write a second paragraph telling what people could do to help it.
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.
2. Clean-Air Buses
In cities all over the world, air pollution is a problem that gets worse every year. Now a new approach is being tried to reduce it in cities and towns in the European nation of England. In partnership with a transportation company, the communities will soon roll out buses that remove pollution from the air. The buses developed by a company called the Go-Ahead Group will suck dirt and harmful particles from the air as they travel their routes, CNN News reported. The air will then be cleaned by a three-filter system installed on the buses’ roofs. People are always looking for ways to fight pollution or help the environment. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a problem facing your state or community that involves pollution or the environment. Use what your read to write a letter to the editor suggesting a way to deal with this problem.
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.
3. Grammy for Michelle
Since leaving the White House three years ago, former first lady Michelle Obama has been throwing herself into new projects and developing new skills. This month she launched a video series on Instagram that takes a look at the experiences of students in their first year of college. Last week she won a Grammy Award for her performance on an album she recorded. Obama was honored for the Best Spoken Word album for her audiobook recording of her best-selling book “Becoming.” The book tells the story of her life growing up in Chicago, Illinois and her experiences as the wife and partner of President Barack Obama. Audiobooks are a special experience because they let listeners hear the WAY a reader tells a story as well as the words. With a partner, find stories that interest you in the newspaper or online. Take turns reading them aloud to each other. Read with expression by emphasizing important verbs and adjectives.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; identifying multiple language conventions and using them.
4. Sail On, Students
When planning a student project, it can pay to think big. It certainly does for the students enrolled in the mini-boat program run by the Columbia River Maritime Museum in the city of Astoria, Oregon. The students not only design and build mini-sailboats, they are trying to sail them across the Pacific Ocean to the Asian nation of Japan. The three latest boats built by students from local schools were launched earlier this month and are being tracked by students through solar-powered GPS devices installed on board. The boats are about five feet long and are made out of wood and fiberglass. They have a small sail and weigh about 40 pounds each. Each carries information about the students who built it, and the Maritime Museum program. Student projects are a way to learn skills other than those taught in classrooms. In the newspaper or online find and closely read stories about skills you would like to learn. Brainstorm an idea for a student project that would give you a chance to learn these skills. Write a paragraph stating what you would hope to learn, and whom you could learn it from. Share ideas and discuss as a class.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
5. Pizza for a Cause
In the nation of Australia, wildfires have burned millions of acres, destroyed thousands of homes and endangered both humans and wildlife. People all over the world have reached out to help Australia’s firefighters, but one of the most unusual efforts occurred right at home in the southern Pacific nation. An Italian restaurant outside the city of Sydney cooked a pizza longer than an American football field and sold pieces at a charity event to raise money for firefighting. It took Pellegrini’s Italian restaurant more than six hours to create the pizza, which was cut into 4,000 pieces. When completed, the pizza was 338 feet long, 16 inches wide and weighed more than 880 pounds. Pellegrini’s Italian restaurant came up with an unusual way to raise money for a cause. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a cause or group that you think deserves money and support. Use what you read to write a short editorial, offering ideas on how the community could raise money and support this cause or group in an unusual or fun way. Common Core State Standards: Citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions; writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
Lessons & Classroom Activities
Resources by grade level