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For Grades K-4 , week of Feb. 05, 2024

1. BRINGING BACK ANCIENT EGYPT

The pyramids of Giza are one of the most popular destinations in the world. There are three of them: the Great Pyramid, the Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure. They were built around 4,500 years ago as tombs for the pharaohs, or rulers, of Ancient Egypt. Part of the Pyramid of Menkaure was originally covered in granite blocks, but most of them have since come off and the bumpy limestone walls are what the pyramids are known for today. The Egyptian government announced a plan last week to study the granite and put it back on the pyramid, and many people were upset at the idea. Many experts believe the pyramid was left unfinished after King Menkaure died, so adding the granite blocks wouldn’t be restoring the pyramid to its original look, it would be finishing what the Ancient Egyptians started and wouldn’t be true to history. Write a summary of this story, including at least five facts that you learned.

2. DOG YEARS

A new study compared how long dogs of different breeds live on average. The researchers studied almost 600,000 dogs of 150 different breeds. They found that smaller dogs with long snouts live the longest, and female dogs live slightly longer than male ones. The study was done in Britain, so the results might be different in other countries. Differences in behavior, lifestyle, diet, and where they live can all affect how long a dog lives, too. The study is a first step in helping dogs live longer by finding breeds that need the most attention. Do you, someone in your family, or your friends have a dog? Write down five facts about a dog in your life, like what it eats and how it acts, and draw a picture to go with it! (If you don’t know any dogs, pick another animal that you know.)

3. PIGEON PRISONER

After eight months in jail, a pigeon in India was finally released. The pigeon was found in Mumbai, India, in May. It had rings on its legs with symbols that looked like they might be Chinese letters or words. Indian police thought it could be a way of the Chinese government spying on India and put the bird in an animal hospital. They finally learned it was a racing bird from Taiwan, an island off the coast of China. It had made its way to India, and after being under police watch for eight months, it was released last week. Write a short story from the perspective of the pigeon and draw at least one picture to illustrate it.

4. TAKING OUT THE TRASH

For the first time in almost 100 years, garbage collectors in New York City will change the way they do their jobs. In most towns and cities in the United States, people wheel trash bins to the curb for garbage trucks to pick up, sometimes by hand and sometimes with a mechanical arm attached to the truck. But in New York, there are so many people in such a small area, there’s too much trash to collect in bins, so people pile their trash bags on the streets and garbage collectors throw the bags into the back of their trucks by hand. Now, a new garbage truck the city is trying out will use a big arm to empty extra-large trash containers—a size between a regular trash bin and a dumpster. This will keep bags off the street, which is cleaner, less smelly, and better looking for the city. Trash collection isn’t something we think about much, but it’s very important. Without it, garbage would pile up and cause all sorts of problems! Write a thank you letter to the trash collectors in your area, including ways that what they do makes life in your town or city better.

5. RIVER OF RAIN

California has gotten lots of rain recently from an unusual weather system. An atmospheric river has caused flooding and fallen trees in most of the state. Many important roads in the state had to be closed because of the rain and floods. So what is an atmospheric river? It’s a long, narrow area in the sky—similar to a river on the ground—that carries water vapor. They move water vapor from the tropics to land, where it comes down in the form or rain or snow. A well-known atmospheric river is named the “Pineapple Express,” and it carries rain from Hawaii to the west coast of the United States. Atmospheric rivers happen around the world, but in the United States, they mostly affect the west coast. About 30 percent to 50 percent of rain on the west coast comes from just a few atmospheric rivers. Using what you know about rain and what you’ve learned here about atmospheric rivers, write a paragraph explaining what atmospheric rivers are, as if you were explaining them to a friend.