1. Earth Day 2021
On Thursday, April 22 the United States and other nations will celebrate Earth Day with efforts to fight pollution, slow down global warming and preserve habitats for the world’s wildlife. The theme for this year’s Earth Day is “Restore Our Earth,” and it will involve everyone from elementary students to President Biden and other world leaders. The leaders will gather in a “virtual summit” to address climate change and ways to reduce global warming. Earth Day began in the United States 51 years ago, but it is now celebrated by more than 1-billion people in more than 193 countries. As it was in the beginning, the goal is to get people to “love the Earth” by protecting the environment in large and small ways. Earth Day efforts can range from picking up trash in parks, to raising money for rain forests to educating people about the loss of habitats for animals like polar bears, wolves or great apes. Communities across the United States are making plans to celebrate Earth Day. In the newspaper or online, find and read stories about different activities that are being planned. Then brainstorm an Earth Day activity you could do with family, friends or classmates. Design poster or artwork that would let people know about your activity and why they should get involved. Give your poster an eye-catching headline.
Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them.
2. Speak Up!
If you want to solve a problem, the first step is always to speak up. A first grader in the city of Bentonville, Arkansas recently did that and she got unexpected results. Seven-year-old Kamryn Gardner was upset that her girls’ jeans from Old Navy had sewn-up pockets in the front, while boys’ jeans did not. So she sat down and wrote Old Navy a letter. “Dear Old Navy,” she wrote. “I do not like that the front pockets of the girls’ jeans are fake. I want front pockets because I want to put my hands in them. I also would like to put things in them. Would you consider making girls’ jeans with front pockets that are not fake.” Kamryn decided to write the clothing company about her jeans’ pockets after learning to write persuasive letters in class. She and her family didn’t know if they would get a response, but not long after she got a package from Old Navy, the Washington Post newspaper reported. Inside were two new pairs of Old Navy shorts and two pairs of pants with real pockets, along with a handwritten note from a member of the Old Navy’s kids’ team. “Kamryn, thank you so much for taking the time to write to us about pockets on girl’s jeans,” the Old Navy spokesperson wrote. “… It’s great feedback.” Kamryn Gardner wrote a persuasive letter to call attention to something she wanted done. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a problem or issue you think should be addressed. Write a persuasive letter describing the problem or issue and what you think should be done about it.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them.
3. Robot Pizza
Robots are doing more and more for people and businesses in America and around the world. The latest example comes from Domino’s pizza, which is rolling out a driverless robot car to deliver pizza and other foods the company sells. The robot delivery vehicle is being tested in a neighborhood in Houston, Texas to see how well it works and how people respond to it, CNN News reports. Customers who choose robot delivery get text messages on their smart phones that give updates on where the vehicle is located during deliveries and provide a number code to get deliveries out of the car. The car being used by Domino’s is the first driverless delivery vehicle to be approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Robots are being used by businesses and people to do many new things. In the newspaper or online find and closely read a story about one new use. Write a paragraph telling what the robot is used for, how that is different from the way things were done in the past and why that is an improvement.
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.
4. Beyond Perfect
In baseball or softball, pitching a perfect game is one of the highest achievements a player can have. In a perfect game, a pitcher doesn’t allow a single batter to reach base with a hit, a walk or an error. Hope Trautwein of the University of North Texas threw a perfect game in her softball matchup against the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff this month. And she made it even more perfect than most. Not only did she retire every batter she faced in her team’s 3-0 win — she struck out every one! Trautwein’s achievement is believed to be the first time a pitcher in Division I college softball has pitched a perfect game and struck out every batter in a seven-inning game. Two other pitchers have had 21-strikeout, seven-inning games, but neither was a perfect game, according to NCAA records. The right-handed Trautwein struck out 21 batters in her first game this season but it wasn’t a no-hitter. She has, however, pitched two no-hitters in her college career. Athletes often do amazing things. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one such achievement. Use what you read to write a short sports column, telling what skills, attitude and character traits the athlete needed to achieve this success.
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.
5. Paper Cowboy
In many countries travelers from other nations have to isolate by themselves when arriving to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. But what do you do when you’re stuck in a hotel room for up to two weeks? In the south Pacific nation of Australia, artist David Marriott decided to turn his quarantine into an art project. He created a cowboy costume for himself from the paper bags his meals were delivered in, and with the help of an ironing board and coffee pods he created a paper covered horse he named Russell. Then he used his smart phone to have adventures fighting a villain made of paper and cling-film and posted them online. Soon, he developed a following, while also cheering up the hotel staff in the city of Brisbane. And Russell may live on after Marriott checks out. He told the Associated Press news service that a film center wants to feature Russell in an art show. “He’s a bit of superstar now,” Marriott said. Artists often create unusual artworks — and sometimes they do it with common materials or things they find. Use the newspaper or Internet to find photos or ads of common materials or items that could be turned into artworks. Draw a picture of one artwork that could be created from one or more materials. Give your artwork a title and write a paragraph telling why you chose the materials.
Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.