1. New Football Season
The National Football League has completed the first week of its 2020 season, and it was a start like no other in the league’s 101-year history. Due to the coronavirus emergency, fans were allowed in the stands in just five of the NFL’s 32 stadiums, and even in those only a fraction of seats could be occupied. Instead of live cheers, artificial fan noise was piped into other stadiums and used on television. And of course those in attendance had to wear masks. Still, there was a lot of action on the field, making the start of the season seem almost normal from a sports point of view. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the opening weekend of the NFL season. Pretend you are a TV sports announcer and prepare a short report on the top achievements of players and teams. Present your report to family, friends and classmates.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
2. ‘Loneliest Elephant’
An elephant held in a run-down zoo in the Asian nation of Pakistan for the last 35 years is about to get a new life. Thanks to a push from celebrities and animal rights groups, Kaavan the elephant will be moved soon to an elephant sanctuary from the Marghazar Zoo in the Pakistan city of Islamabad. No date has been set for the male elephant’s move, but his new home is likely to be an elephant sanctuary in the Southeast Asian nation of Cambodia, said officials of the animal rights group Four Paws International. Kaavan was given to Pakistan as a gift in 1985, and lived with a female partner named Seheli from 1990 until she died in 2010. Since then he has lived alone, prompting animal rights groups to nickname him the “world’s loneliest elephant.” In May, Pakistan’s highest court ruled that the Marghazar Zoo had to close due to neglect and unsafe conditions for its animals. Animal sanctuaries get their name from the word “sanctuary,” which means “a safe place.” Around the world they provide new homes for animals ranging from elephants to tigers to aging horses. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an animal sanctuary. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend describing the sanctuary, what animals it serves and why it provides a better home than the animals had before.
Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
3. Big Chunks of Gold
People who dig for gold are always looking to strike it rich. In the southern Pacific nation of Australia this summer, two men did just that. Brent Shannon and Ethan West discovered two large gold nuggets that weighed a combined 7.7. pounds and are estimated to be worth more than $250,000. Shannon and West found the nuggets on the same day near the gold mining town of Tarnagulla in the southeast region of Australia, UPI News reported. They were searching in an area that had not been explored for gold before, they said on a Discovery Channel show called “Aussie Gold Hunters.” “These are definitely one of the most significant finds,” West said on the program. “To have two large chunks in one day is quite amazing.” What would you do if you found gold nuggets worth $250,000? In the newspaper or online, find ads, photos or stories showing things you might buy or do with the money. Write a personal opinion column telling why would want to buy or do some of these things.
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. Robot Cleaners
Robot technology is getting better and better in the United States and around the world. And that means robots are doing more and more things to help people. The latest uses are designed to make people safer from the coronavirus. Hospitals, airports, stores, hotels, nursing homes and warehouses are turning to robots to keep public spaces clean and protect workers and the public from the virus, the Washington Post newspaper reports. Many of the new robots use ultraviolet light to kill germs and disinfect spaces where the virus could spread. Some can even be programmed to “learn” the layout of rooms and clean every nook and cranny. Because they use light to zap virus germs, the robots can clean spaces more quickly than human workers can. Every day new ways are being invented to use robots. In the newspaper or online, find closely read stories about tasks done by people that could be done by robots in the future. Write a paragraph explaining what kind of robot would be needed to perform one task. Draw a picture of your robot.
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.
5. Wild Weather
In the summer months, there can be some wild changes in weather across the United States. But none may be wilder than what happened in Colorado and other Rocky Mountain states last week. In less than a day, the states went from record-setting summer temperatures to temperatures below freezing, winter storm warnings and snow. The Colorado city of Denver tied a record for number of 90-degree days in a year on Labor Day and 18 hours later had to deal with snow and freezing rain after a strong cold front moved in. Other areas experienced temperature drops of up to 60 degrees, and snowfalls of up to six inches. Traffic was snarled on highways, communities lost power from downed wires and farmers feared widespread damage to crops that had not yet been harvested. Severe or unusual weather is often in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an unusual or severe weather event. Use what you read to write a paragraph explaining how the weather event affected people and how they responded after it was over.
Common Core State Standards: Citing specIfic textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions, reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.