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For Grades K-4 , week of Apr 24, 2023

1. Poetry Sharing

April is National Poetry Month, and this week the nation will wrap up its celebrations for 2023. The celebrations can be big events or small, planned events or informal gatherings, events in schools or events in the community. In the tiny town of Harrisville, New Hampshire, poetry lovers simply put up a sign on the bulletin board of the local general store, inviting residents to a “Poetry Sharing” at the town library. The hand-written invitation on the sign was a kind of poem itself. “O words so dear, / Come here! / Come near! … ‘Tis time to gather with words! / Yes! ‘Tis daring / A poetry sharing!” The sign concluded with a Who and Why that could apply to all of Poetry Month — “Who: You and Friends. Why: Good for the Heart.” As a class, discuss poems you have read and liked and what things inspire people to write poetry (or raps, or rhymes, or songs). Then use the newspaper or Internet to find a story or photo that could inspire you to write a poem. Write a short poem based on what you find and read it at a “Poetry Sharing” with your classmates.

Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.

2. An Eagle Dad

It’s often said that some people have a natural instinct for being a parent. So, apparently, do some eagles. Meet Murphy, a 31-year-old male bald eagle living at a bird sanctuary in Valley Park, Missouri. For weeks, Murphy had been trying to hatch an egg in a nest he had built in his pen — not realizing the “egg” was actually a rock. Male eagles help females hatch eggs in the wild, so it was not surprising Murphy was trying. Except he never had done it before. Then fate gave Murphy a real chance to be a dad. A baby eaglet was brought to the sanctuary after falling from a nest, the New York Times newspaper reported. At first handlers kept the eaglet in a cage in Murphy’s pen so they could get to know each other. Then they let the eaglet out, and Murphy took to fatherhood almost immediately. When given a large fish, Murphy tore it apart and started feeding the eaglet, just as he would in a natural nest. Eventually, the gray, fuzzy eaglet will be released into the wild, but for now it’s getting great care from Dad. Spring and summer are the times of year wild animals and birds have babies and start raising their families. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a wild animal or bird that is doing this. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend, telling what challenges the wildlife parents face to successfully raise their babies.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

3. ‘Super Bloom’

It’s often said that “April showers bring May flowers,” but they have had to change the words this spring in the state of California. In that state WINTER showers — and snowstorms and blizzards — have brought an amazing display of APRIL flowers. Unusually heavy rain and snow this winter have produced a “Super Bloom” of wildflowers in hills and valleys and deserts from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. The bloom has “painted” thousands of acres with reds and purples and yellows and blues and attracted thousands and thousands of visitors. “Super Blooms” don’t happen every year, and there is no telling when the next will occur. In the meantime, “This is how we feed our souls,” said one California scientist. Last weekend, America observed Earth Day, a holiday when people celebrate the beauty of nature and the environment. In the newspaper or online, find and study photos of beautiful places, birds or animals in nature. Use photos you find to create an art collage (KOLE-ahj) showing different ways nature is beautiful. Give your artwork a title and share with the class.

Common Core State Standards: Integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

4. 50 Flights on Mars!

When the Ingenuity helicopter made its first flight on the planet Mars, it made history as the first aircraft ever flown on another planet. In the two years since then the little four-pound chopper has done things its inventors never imagined. This month, Ingenuity (IN-jen-OO-it-ee) successfully completed a record-breaking 50th flight on the planet that is next out from Earth in our solar system. Since arriving on Mars with the Perseverance rover in February 2021, Ingenuity has flown for more than 89 minutes and 7.1 miles, CNN News reports. America’s NASA space agency originally planned just five flights for Ingenuity, but the helicopter has proved tougher and more valuable than scientists had believed possible. After its first flights, its role has expanded to be a partner and scout for the journeys of the rover Perseverance, checking out places that rovers can’t go or helping plot safe paths to new destinations. NASA is now planning to send two more helicopters to Mars on future space flights. When scientists invented the Ingenuity helicopter, they put it together using parts and cameras from smartphones that anyone could buy in a store. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another new invention or product. Use what you read to write a paragraph telling what materials or parts were needed for the invention and how they were put together.

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

5. Shipwreck Mystery

Shipwrecks reveal a lot about the past, because water preserves artifacts that give a glimpse of life in earlier times. On the border between the United States and Canada in the northern Midwest, scientists may have solved a 100-year-old mystery with the discovery of a pair of shipwrecks on the bottom of Lake Superior. The shipwrecks were from a fleet of lumber vessels that sank in a violent, surprise storm in November 1914. From the day the ships went down, historians have been trying to determine exactly where the vessels sank — and why. This month, the historical society in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula announced that it had found two of the fleet’s three boats using a remote underwater research robot, the New York Times reported. The steamboat C.F. Curtis was found some 500 feet below the surface, and the schooner barge Selden E. Marvin was found about 600 feet below. The two ships were discovered 25 miles off the shore in an area known as the “Graveyard of the Great Lakes.” More than 200 vessels are known to have sunk in the “Graveyard” area. Shipwrecks can reveal a lot about life in the past. What could ships of today reveal in the future? In the newspaper or online, find and study stories and photos involving vacation cruise ships from today. Use what you find to write a short paper detailing what future historians might conclude about today’s luxury lifestyles by studying the contents of cruise ships. Share with the class and discuss.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.