For Grades K-4 , week of Aug. 09, 2021

1. Share and Share Alike

One of the great things about Olympic competition is the sportsmanship displayed between athletes. At this year’s Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan, two athletes displayed both sportsmanship and friendship when they tied for first in the men’s high jump. Rather than have a jump-off after each had failed to clear a height of 7 feet, 10 inches, they agreed to share the gold medal for first place. Mutaz Essa Barshim of the Middle East nation of Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi of the European nation of Italy both had cleared a height of 7 feet, 9 ¼ inches, but failed on three tries at the next height. “Can we have two golds?” Barshim asked an official. Told that was allowed under the rules, Barshim said “I look at him, he looks at me, and we know … that is it, it is done.” According to USA Today, the two first met at a competition in Canada in 2010 and have been friends ever since. "He is one of my best friends, not only on the track, but outside the track,” Barshim said. “ … This is … the true spirit, the sportsman spirit.” Athletes at all levels of competition demonstrate good sportsmanship. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about such an athlete. Use what you read to write a short editorial detailing how this example of good sportsmanship could be a model for others.

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. Giant Comet

Comets are space objects made up of frozen gases, rock, ice and dust. Most go back to the time when the Earth’s solar system was formed but were not included when the solar system took shape. They can travel across the solar system, however, showing off their familiar tails of gases and dust. Those who love comets will be excited to learn that scientists have just discovered a new comet entering the solar system — and they say it is the largest ever observed. It is between 62 and 124 miles wide and will be traveling toward the sun for years, giving scientists a great amount of time to study it. The comet is called Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein after two University of Pennsylvania researchers who discovered it, and it will come closest to the sun in the year 2031, CNN News reported. It is the most distant comet to be discovered on its inbound journey toward the sun, and is about 1.8-billion miles from Earth. That is about the distance from the sun to the planet Uranus. Scientists study comets to learn more about how the solar system was formed. With a partner, use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read a story about another mission to help scientists learn more about how the solar system was formed. Use what you read to prepare a short oral report telling what the mission seeks to learn, what it has already learned and why that is important to scientists.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

3. Ancient Artworks

Artworks can reveal a great deal about the time they were created and the people who created them. In the South American country of Colombia, an amazing collection of artworks in the Amazon jungle has given scientists a revealing look at life more than 12,000 years ago. The works drawn in red decorate an eight-mile stretch of cliff and offer a window on the world as it existed when the Earth was coming out of its last Ice Age. The works, which were featured in the British television special “Jungle Mystery: Lost Kingdoms of the Amazon,” include stick-figure images of prehistoric people, fish, birds, lizards, porcupines, mastodons and giant sloths. Some of the people are shown dancing and holding hands and one wears a mask resembling a bird with a beak. The images were known to local and native peoples for years before the TV show, but got new interest after the show aired and became available online. The show now can be viewed through YouTube, Apple TV and other streaming services. Ancient people used art to tell stories about how they lived, activities they practiced and plants and animals that were important in their lives. Pretend you are an ancient artist like those in Colombia. Use the newspaper and Internet to find items, activities, people and animals that are important in the life of your family. Use what you find to draw a mural in the style of Colombia’s ancient artists showing things that are important in your life. Explain your choices to family and friends and discuss.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

4. Bees, Lots of Bees

Honeybees play a valuable role pollinating the flowers of plants that produce fruits and vegetables. Many people want to protect their hives, but few would want to live in the same house with them. In the state of Pennsylvania, a couple discovered that was just what they would be doing in a house they just purchased. The walls of the 1872 farmhouse they had bought contained three hives containing an estimated 450,000 honeybees! An expert called in to remove the bees estimated they had been living in the walls for almost 35 years, CNN News reported. None were harmed by removal and relocation to a nearby farm. There was damage for the homeowners, however. It cost $12,000 to remove the bees and rebuild the areas that had to be torn apart for the removal. People have both positive and negative encounters with wildlife. In the newspaper or online, find an example of both a positive encounter and a negative encounter. Use what you find to write a paragraph for each, telling what people could learn from the encounter. Share with family and friends.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

5. Record Gem Cluster

The Asian nation of Sri Lanka is famous for mining precious gemstones. But nothing can compare to a star-sapphire cluster whose discovery was announced this summer. The cluster weighed a whopping 1,124 pounds and may be worth as much as $100-MILLION! It is the largest ever found in the island nation located in Indian Ocean and has been named “The Serendipity Sapphire.” First reports indicated the massive, pale-blue cluster had been found by workers digging a well for a gem dealer, but officials later confirmed it had been unearthed in a mine near the city of Ratnapura. The city is known as the gem capital of Sri Lanka, and its name translates to “city of gems” in the Sinhalese language. Star-sapphires reflect light in a star pattern. Precious gemstones are one of many natural resources harvested and used by people. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about another natural resource that people use. Use what you read to write a paper or letter to the editor telling why this natural resource is valuable, how it is harvested or collected and the positive and negative effects of the way it is collected.

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.