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Grades 1-4
Grades 9-12

Past lessons
for Grades 5-8

Dec. 09, 2019
Dec. 02, 2019
Nov. 25, 2019
Nov. 18, 2019
Nov. 11, 2019
Oct. 28, 2019
Oct. 21, 2019
Oct. 14, 2019
Oct. 07, 2019
Sep. 30, 2019
Sep. 23, 2019
Sep. 16, 2019
Sep. 09, 2019
Sep. 02, 2019
Aug. 26, 2019
Aug. 19, 2019
Aug. 12, 2019
Aug. 05, 2019
July 29, 2019
July 22, 2019
July 15, 2019
July 08, 2019
June 24, 2019
June 17, 2019
June 10, 2019
June 03, 2019
May 27, 2019
May 20, 2019
May 13, 2019
May 06, 2019
Apr 29, 2019
Apr 22, 2019
Apr 15, 2019
Apr 08, 2019
Apr 01, 2019
Mar. 25, 2019
Mar. 18, 2019
Mar. 11, 2019
Mar. 04, 2019
Feb. 25, 2019

For Grades 5-8 , week of Apr 08, 2019

1. Methane Mystery

Methane gas is widely found on Earth. It is produced by living things ranging from cows to microbes, and by geological forces that take place within rocks. So it was not surprising that scientists were abuzz last week with confirmation that methane is being produced on the planet Mars. The confirmation was based on analysis of data gathered by the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter spacecraft, which detected methane in the atmosphere above the Gale Crater near the Martian equator. The data confirmed an earlier report of methane in the area by the American ground rover Curiosity. While the new report does not indicate what produced the methane, it raises the possibility that it could have come from living microbes beneath the surface of the so-called “red planet.” Scientists have a lot of interest in Mars because it is the planet most like Earth in the solar system. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a space mission seeking to gather more information about Mars. Use what you read to create a short oral report, outlining the goals of the mission, what has been achieved and why it is important to scientists.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

2. Recycled Sneakers

Plastic pollution is a problem all over the world — and especially in the world’s oceans. Now an innovative program between sneaker company Adidas and an ocean conservation group is working to reduce the plastic in oceans — by turning it into environmentally friendly shoes. With the conservation group Parley for the Oceans, Adidas is collecting plastic from beaches before it enters the water and turning it into stylish, “sustainable” shoes. This year, the program will produce 11-million pairs of shoes using recycled ocean plastic, more than twice as many as were produced last year. The Adidas x Parley shoes, which cost $160 to $220 a pair, are not cheap but they have gotten high ratings from running groups and general consumers. Buyers are responding to the Adidas message that “Every shoe is a small contribution to the preservation of our oceans.” Many consumers want companies to “take care of the Earth” as well as provide good products. As a result, many companies now promote how they are “Earth friendly.” In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about companies doing this. Use what you find to create a power point showing different approaches taken by companies, and which you think are the most effective. Use images from the newspaper or Internet to illustrate your power point.

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; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

3. Hip Hop Cheese

There are lots of tricks to making great cheese, but most people wouldn’t list hip hop music as one of them. Yet a study in the European nation of Switzerland has found that exposing cheese to hip hop around the clock yielded better taste and flavor. The unusual study by the Beat Wampfler cheesemaking company was trying to determine if the soundwaves of music have an effect on the cheesemaking process. In an experiment that started last September, 22-pound “wheels” of Emmental cheese were exposed to different types of music, including hip hop, classical opera and classic rock. A panel of judges picked the cheese exposed to A Tribe Called Quest’s hip hop track “We Got it From Here” as the best. The next phase of the study will examine the effect of hip hop on different types of cheese. The hip hop cheese study is an example of “product research” by a business to better understand something it makes. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another “product research” project. Use what you read to write a short business column explaining the research and how it could help the company make a better product.

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

4. Oh, Canada!

Canada is the northernmost nation in North America, with territories extending to the Earth’s North Pole. It is known for its glaciers, sea ice and long winters, but that is changing due to climate change and global warming. And it is changing faster in Canada than in the rest of the world. A new report titled “Canada’s Changing Climate” has found that Canada is warming twice as fast as other countries. Since 1948, the average yearly land temperature has increased nearly 3 degrees Fahrenheit, and the nation now gets more rain than snow each year, the report found. Extreme hot temperatures are now hotter than in the past, and extreme cold temperatures are not as cold. Coastal areas face greater risk of flooding as polar ice melts and sea levels rise. The study on “Canada’s Changing Climate” seeks to raise awareness and help people understand how global warming is affecting that country. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about the effects of global warming on another country. Use what you read to write a short letter to the editor, summarizing the effects in that country and what they could teach the rest of the world.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

5. Police Work

If you’re looking for a job with a police department, it’s probably a good idea not to be wanted by the police. A man in the Asian nation of China discovered that this month when he applied for a job as a part-time police officer in Central China’s Hunan Province. It never occurred to him that the police would check him out in their computer database to see if he had a criminal record. When they did, they found he was wanted for avoiding arrest for another crime in a neighboring province. He was arrested on the spot. And no, he did not get the job. People often do things that seem odd or even stupid to other people. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one of these situations. Write a paragraph explaining why the person’s action or decision was not a wise one, and describe another action that would have been better.

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