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for Grades 5-8

Mar. 25, 2019
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For Grades 5-8 , week of Mar. 25, 2019

1. A Game Like No Other

Millions of gamers love Nintendo games, and many have played most of them. A game recently acquired by collector in the state of California isn’t one of them, however. The Nintendo game acquired by Stephan Reese had never been played — and never even released! Reese bought the game from a former Nintendo employee, and it appears to be a prototype that was never made available to the public. It has a wrestling theme, and the minute Reese plugged it in, he knew it was something special, UPI news reported. Reese owns every Nintendo game released in North America, and he had never seen this one. In fact, he had never even heard of it, since Nintendo had never announced it was even being developed. “It is no exaggeration to say that this is likely the only copy of the game in the entire world,” said the Video Game History Foundation, a non-profit group that seeks to preserve the history of the video game industry. Rare items often make news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one. Use what you read to write a paragraph explaining why this rare item is significant and to whom. Is it important to a wide audience, or to just a few people? Do you find it important and/or significant?

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. Saved by His Jeans

Blue jeans are both comfortable and fashionable, but did you know they could also save your life? They did just that this month for a German sailor who was knocked overboard in rough seas off the coast of New Zealand in the southern Pacific Ocean. Arne Murke was sailing with his brother when he was knocked into the ocean when the boom that holds the sail in place swung wildly in the rough weather. He was quickly swept away from the sailboat, but used his jeans to stay safe. As he floated in the water, he pulled them off and tied knots in the legs. Then he swung them over his head to fill them with air and pulled them under the water so the air could not escape. The inflated legs of the jeans created a life jacket that kept Murke afloat for more than three hours until he could be rescued. “Without the jeans I wouldn’t be here today,” he said later. “They were really the thing that saved me.” Arne Murke survived when swept into the ocean because he knew how to deal with an emergency. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories offering tips on other ways to stay safe in an emergency. Use what you read to design a poster showcasing things people should know. Give your poster an eye-catching title and share with the class.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

3. Whale Dangers

Whales are the largest creatures in the ocean, but even with enormous size they are sometimes hard to see. As a result, many are being killed in collisions with giant container ships. In the state of California, wildlife officials say 10 whale deaths in 2018 were the result of ship strikes— the highest number on record for one year. Last year’s deaths bring the official number of ship-related fatalities to 60 in the last 10 years on the West Coast, conservation leaders say, and the number could be even higher. That’s because many whales that are struck sink after dying or are swept away by ocean currents. Of particular concern for wildlife officials is the Santa Barbara Channel inside the Channel Islands north of the city of Los Angeles. Blue and humpback whales are drawn to the area to feed, but it is also a shipping route for 1,000-foot container ships. Conservationists have suggested changing the shipping route to an area beyond the Channel Islands but that would conflict with an area the U.S. Navy uses for missile tests and training exercises. Around the world, wildlife face many dangers from human activities. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one wildlife species and the risks it faces. Use what you read to write a short editorial, outlining the risks faced by the species and what people could do to reduce those risks.

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.

4. Art and Warming

Global warming and climate change are affecting people, wildlife and natural habitats all over the world. One of the greatest concerns is the projected rise in sea levels as ice caps melt at the Earth’s North and South Poles. To demonstrate the impact, two artists in the European nation of Scotland have created an art installation that visually shows what it would be like if sea levels rise. At the Taigh Chearsabhagh Arts Centre, artists Pekka Niittyvirta and Timo Aho have marked buildings, landmarks and natural features with bright orange lines that show how high the water could rise if scientific projections about global warming are correct. “Hopefully, through this work, people can better visualize what might be [happening] in a not so distant future,” the artists said. Art can often be used to call attention to important issues. In the newspaper or online find and closely read a story about an issue or problem that you think people be should be more aware of. Use what you read to create an artwork that would call attention to the issue or problem in a creative way. Use your artwork to show the impact of the issue/problem or ways people could address it. Give your artwork an eye-catching title and discuss with the class.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.

5. Teamwork

This week, the NCAA college basketball tournaments are in full swing. Men’s and women’s teams are working together to reach the Elite Eight, Final Four and, of course, the National Championship game. Basketball is not the only activity in which people use teamwork to succeed, however. Look through the newspaper and find an example of a group of people working together as a team to achieve a common goal. Write a short summary of the article, including what the team did that was successful and ways that their methods could be improved. Then think about a time you worked as a team in class, playing a sport or anything else. Write a paragraph analyzing that situation: Did everyone work together well? What could people have done differently?

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.

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