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For Grades K-4 , week of June 21, 2021

1. Unsold Cookies

One of the most popular activities for Girl Scouts is selling cookies to raise money for their troops. In most years the scouts sell around 200-million boxes at $5 apiece for a whopping $1-BILLION total nationwide. This year, with the coronavirus epidemic, the Girl Scouts have an unusual problem: They have 15-million boxes of unsold cookies, the New York Times newspaper reports. The boxes went unsold because the coronavirus reduced face-to-face selling and caused a drop in troop membership, officials said. To sell the remaining boxes, the Girl Scouts are offering them online through their website and also through the Grubhub food delivery service. If the scouts are successful selling the 15-million boxes, they will earn $75-million to support scouting activities. Like the Girl Scouts, many organizations do special things to raise money for their activities. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one such effort. Use what you read to create a newspaper or Internet ad calling attention to the activity and why people should support it. Give your ad an eye-catching headline.

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.

2. Herding Dog

Border collies are herding dogs with great abilities to round up and move sheep and other livestock. When one went missing after a car crash in the state of Idaho, he was found three days later doing what he loved to do best. Tilly, a 2 ½-year-old family pet, was herding sheep at a nearby farm. Tilly had gone missing after being thrown from his family’s car during an accident on Idaho State Highway 41, UPI News reported. Tilly’s owners posted information about him on the Internet, and searchers looked for Tilly for days before finding him at the farm. His owners weren’t surprised he was herding sheep. “He’ll herd anything,” owner Linda Oswald said. “When I go to the dog park, he tries to herd the people into one group.” Dogs and other animals can be trained to help humans in many ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an animal that has been trained this way. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend, telling what the animal has been trained to do, how that helps people and how the training takes advantage of the animal’s special skills and abilities.

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. Spider Music

Everyone knows what spider webs look like, but what do they SOUND like? A team of researchers at a university in the state of Massachusetts has developed a way to “hear” spider webs by recording the vibrations they give off. The scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say that all spider webs give off vibrations due to the tension of the tightly strung strands in their structure. With computers and artificial intelligence, they were able to turn the vibrations into sound. And what did they sound like? Researchers and others say the sound vibrates and repeats itself, like the creepy music you might hear in a horror movie. It varies depending on the different tasks spiders perform, and helps spiders communicate with each other. If humans could learn this “language” of spiders, they might be able to communicate with them some day. “We can begin to feel a little bit like a spider,” one scientist said. To hear what a spider web sounds like, click here. Scientists are using computers and artificial intelligence to learn more about wildlife and the natural world. With a partner, find and closely read a story about computers being used this way. Use the newspaper and Internet to research other ways that computers are making new kinds of research possible. Report your findings to friends, family or 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.

4. Doll on a Beach

A woman looking for shells, pottery and sea glass worn smooth by the ocean found a treasure she wasn’t expecting on a beach in the European nation of Scotland. Nikki Halkerston, 45, discovered a one-inch, white porcelain doll known as a Frozen Charlotte. Her doll, which looks like a woman sleeping, was in excellent condition despite being at least 100 years old, experts said. It had no chips, cracks or missing limbs. Frozen Charlotte dolls got their name from a grim American folk tale, in which a woman refuses to dress warmly for a New Year’s Eve ball and freezes to death making a 20-mile trip to the ballroom. Halkerston considered selling her rare find at first, but she decided to keep it since it had “lived through that amount of time in such good condition.” People often find interesting things when exploring public places like parks and beaches. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone who has made an interesting surprise discovery. Write the word SURPRISE down the side of a sheet of paper. Use each letter to start a word or phrase describing the discovery or how the person might have felt about it.

Common Core State Standards: Identifying multiple language conventions and using them; recognizing nouns, verbs and modifiers; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.

5. Stop! Thief!

It’s not often that someone announces that there is a thief in their family. But this summer Kate Felmet of Beaverton, Oregon did just that. Felmet put up a sign to alert her neighbors that “MY CAT IS A THIEF.” Felmet took the unusual action after her black cat named Esme started bringing home items she had picked up in the yards of other people in the neighborhood. Most of the items were gloves, though Esme also brought home a face mask or two. To get the items back to their owners, Felmet hung them on a small clothes line set up next to her sign. What most people have taken, however, are photos, which have made Esme something of an Internet sensation. The sign has gone viral on social media, with many users sharing tales of their own cats bringing home things from other places. Kate Felmet’s humorous display about her cat has caused a lot smiles on the Internet. In the newspaper or online find and study another animal story or photo that people find humorous. Use what you find to write a humorous limerick poem about the animal’s actions. Limericks are five-line poems in which the first, second and last lines rhyme and the third and fourth lines rhyme in a different way. Look up “Limericks” on the Internet to see how they are set up. Read your limericks aloud for friends and family — with feeling!

Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts; reading prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate and expression on successive readings.