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for Grades K-4

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For Grades K-4 , week of May 10, 2021

1. Giving Back

It’s often said that people who become rich and famous “forget” where they came from. That is not the case for Najee Harris, a running back from Richmond, California, who has just been drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League. Just before Harris was drafted in first round, he hosted a party at the homeless shelter in Richmond where he and his family used to live. “I wanted to make sure that I could give back to the community and show them if y’all still need anything — I'm never too big or too whatever to help you guys out,” the 23-year-old told the TV station CBS San Francisco. “I’m always going to be the helping hand.” In 2010, Harris lived with his mother and four siblings in a tiny room at the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program shelter, the center’s director told CBS. While in college Harris helped the University of Alabama win two National Championships and won the Doak Walker Award, which honors college football’s best running back. Many people give back to their communities when they have good fortune. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone doing this. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend, telling what the person did, how he or she benefited and how their actions helped other people or the community.

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.

2. ‘Queen’s Beasts’ Gold

When people think of royal treasure they often think of gold, silver, jewels and other riches. In the European nation of England, Queen Elizabeth II has been honored with a piece of treasure unlike any in the world. The nation’s Royal Mint has created the largest gold coin in its 1,100-year history to pay tribute to the “Queen’s Beasts” — 10 mythical beasts that represent different aspects of the Queen’s background and history. The commemorative coin weighs a massive 22 pounds, took 400 hours to create and is valued at $13,950 (or £10,000 pounds in English money). The Beasts featured on the coin are based on 10 statues created as a “guard of honor” for the Queen when she took the English throne in 1953. They include a white lion, a bull, a falcon, a unicorn and a dragon, among others. The Queen’s Beasts symbolize different aspects of Queen Elizabeth’s family and life. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another famous person’s life. Think like a coin maker and pick real or mythical animals to represent this person’s life or achievements. Draw a coin showing these animals and explain your design to friends or classmates. For added fun, pick animals to represent different aspects of your life and family and share with others.

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.

3. ‘River Monster’

A rare “monster’ fish that dates back to the time of the dinosaurs was caught recently in Michigan’s Detroit River — and wildlife experts are amazed by its age and size. The lake sturgeon was 6 feet, 10 inches long and weighed 240 pounds, officials said, making it about the size of a power forward in the National Basketball Association. Fish and wildlife experts estimated it was more than 100 years old and had been swimming in local waters since around 1920. Sturgeons are prehistoric fish that have existed for more than 120 million years. With bony plates on their sides and back, they look like dinosaurs — and were on Earth at the same time as the dinosaurs, experts said. Sturgeon are considered a threatened species in Michigan, and this female specimen was caught by a wildlife team doing a survey of the sturgeon population. It is believed to be the largest ever caught in the state. Notable or unusual wildlife are often in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one example of such wildlife. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor telling what is unusual about it and any challenges it faces to survive, breed or succeed in its habitat.

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. Walk It if You Dare

If you don’t like heights, the newest attraction in the European nation of Portugal may not be for you. The world’s longest suspension footbridge has just opened inside the Arouca Geopark, and officials are betting the bridge will draw adventure tourists to the area. The bridge is 1,693-feet long — nearly the length of six football fields — and hangs between two towers 570 feet above the fast-flowing Paiva River. With mountains, rapids, beaches, fossil sites and a variety of plants and wildlife, the park is already a world famous destination for nature tourism, but officials hope the $2.8-million bridge will attract even more visitors. “It is a breath of fresh air for our land because it will attract … more people,” a local tour guide said. Walking the new Arouca Bridge in Portugal would be an adventure for many people. What kind of adventure would you like to have? In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an adventure you would like to experience. Use what you read to design a travel ad, telling people about this adventure, where it would take place and what “thrills” it would provide.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

5. Horse Fossil

Fossils come in all shapes and sizes, and they get discovered in all sorts of ways. In the city of Las Vegas, Nevada, the fossil of an ancient horse that roamed up to 14,000 years ago was discovered by a homeowner looking to install a swimming pool. Workers at the home of Matthew Perkins found the horse’s fossil bones when digging into the soil of his back yard to install a new pool. The discovery included a jawbone with teeth still attached, a shoulder blade and part of a front leg. The fossils were identified as bones from a horse by a paleontologist from the Nevada Science Center. From rock surrounding the them, the scientist estimated the fossils to be 6,000 to 14,000 years old, the New York Times newspaper reported. That would place them in the Ice Age, a period of natural history that began 2.6-million years ago and lasted until about 11,700 years ago. Fossil discoveries teach scientists new things about creatures that lived long ago. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a fossil discovery. Use what you read to write a paragraph describing how the discovery was made and what it teaches scientists about the ancient species.

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.