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For Grades K-4 , week of Oct. 08, 2018

1. Election 2018

This year is an election year, and in one month voters will choose leaders for national, state and local offices. Top races to be decided on November 6 are all the seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, one-third of the U.S. Senate, state governor’s offices and local positions such as mayor or city council. Elected officials make decisions on many issues that affect children and families. As a class, talk about issues that are important to you and your family. Use the newspaper and Internet to read more about one issue. Then write a letter to the editor stating what you would like a national or state leader to do about this issue.

Common Core State Standards: Responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

2. Asteroid Milestone

Space missions help scientists learn more about our solar system, galaxy and even the universe. The latest achievement comes from the space agency of the Asian nation of Japan. The Japanese agency made history this fall by landing movable robot rovers for the first time on the surface of an asteroid orbiting the sun. They have been sending back a stream closeup photos from the asteroid orbiting between the Earth and Mars, the next planet out from the sun. Later this year, the rovers’ “mother ship” will land, blast a hole in the surface and collect samples of materials to bring back to Earth. Those materials could shed light on how our solar system formed and created planets like Earth. The asteroid, named Ryugu, is more than 186 million miles from Earth. Space missions gather information for scientists about planets, the solar system and the universe. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a space mission that interests you. Use what you read to write a paragraph detailing the goals of this mission and what it has achieved.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing.

3. Young Heroes

You’re never too young to do something amazing. Two students in Palm Beach County, Florida proved that this fall when they helped save the life of their dad when he suffered a heart attack. For their quick thinking and rescue actions, Caleb and Madison Taylor were awarded the Palm Beach County Fire Rescue “Life Saving” Award this month. Their father, Andy Taylor, had taken ill with heart problems after exercising in a workout earlier this fall. Madison and Caleb knew something was wrong and immediately took action to save their dad. “Maddie, my daughter, turned me over on my back,” Andy Taylor told a local TV station. “My son, who got certified with CPR in middle school … just went to work and told his mom, “I got this.’” Students of all ages can make a difference in the lives of others. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a student making a difference by something he or she did for others. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, praising the student for his/her actions and telling how the actions could inspire others to step up and make a difference.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

4. Dino Discovery

Dinosaurs were the largest creatures ever to walk the Earth, and scientists continue to make big discoveries about them. In the nation of South Africa, fossil hunters have discovered a new species of plant-eater that probably was the biggest land animal of its time. The dinosaur was a relative of the brontosaurus and lived about 200-million years ago, researchers reported this fall in the science journal Current Biology. It weighed about 26,000 pounds, and because of its size it was given a name that means “giant thunderclap at dawn” in the Sesotho native language of South Africa. Unlike brontosaurus, it had short, muscular front legs that made it look as if it were crouching down. Scientists think this may mean it was a relative of an earlier dinosaur that walked on its hind legs. Dinosaur discoveries give scientists information that helps explain life on Earth millions of years ago. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a dinosaur discovery. Use what you read to create a comic strip that explains why the discovery is important.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

5. Healthier McDonald’s?

Fresh foods and healthy eating are getting more attention across the nation. In response, McDonald’s is making a major change in its menu. The famous fast-food company has announced it will eliminate most artificial ingredients from the foods it sells in an effort to attract more health-conscious customers. All the company’s burgers will be affected by the change, as well as the Special Sauce served on Big Macs. Every part of the sandwiches will be redone by eliminating artificial preservatives, flavors or coloring, the company said. Healthy eating is important to many families in the United States and around the world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a family taking steps to eat healthier meals. Write the word HEALTHY down the side of a sheet of paper. Use each letter of the word to start a phrase or sentence describing one benefit of eating healthier meals.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; organizing data using concrete objects, pictures, tallies, tables, charts, diagrams and graphs.