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For Grades K-4 , week of June 05, 2023

1. Review Rebuttal

Two weeks ago, “The Little Mermaid” became the latest Disney live-action remake to hit theaters. Since then, it’s made more money than the original 1989 film’s box office totals and star Halle Bailey has received worldwide praise for her portrayal of Ariel. Still, the movie, which faced controversy since the casting was first announced, is still struggling against critics—some of whom may not have even seen the movie! It’s been the target of “rating bombing,” a tactic where people who haven’t seen the movie post negative reviews to try to keep others from seeing it. The popular television show and movie website IMDB added a disclaimer on “The Little Mermaid” page, saying there was unusual activity in the film’s reviews, and it had used a special weighted calculation to provide more accurate ratings—leading to the current score of a 7 out of 10. Try your hand at writing a movie review! Think of the last movie you watched whether it was in theaters or at home. Write a brief summary of the plot, then note what you liked and didn’t like about it. Think about the actors or voices, the scenery, whether you liked the way the story unfolded, and what you might have done differently if you were the one making it. Don’t forget to give it a score out of 10, with 10 being the best.

2. Surprising Find

Magellan, a deep-water investigation company, recently completed a digital scan of the shipwreck of the Titanic, which sunk in 1912, and found something surprising. Among the wreckage, which is spread across three square miles of the ocean floor, was a gold necklace with a prehistoric shark tooth on it. The tooth was from a megalodon, a type of shark that lived 23 million years ago and was closely related to today’s great white sharks. Scientists estimate megalodon were about 47 to 67 feet (or about two school buses) in length with strong jaws that were almost 6 feet wide. In fact, the name megalodon means “big tooth.” However, it’s hard to know exactly how big megalodons were because there’s very little left of them: Like sharks, megalodons’ skeletons are mostly made of cartilage—like our noses—instead of bone, so their remains didn’t become fossils like those of dinosaurs and other prehistoric species. Pretend you are a museum curator who has received the megalodon tooth necklace from the Titanic for display. Using the facts found here, write a description about its history so museum visitors know what it is and why it’s special.

3. Buckle Up

Ford is recalling 176,000 of its Bronco SUVs made from 2021 to 2023 after a study found that drivers in the front seats can have difficulty reaching the metal portion of the belt to put it on. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration estimates that almost 15,000 lives were saved by seatbelts in the year 2017 alone, and properly wearing one is the most important way to keep yourself safe in a car. While 49 of 50 states have laws about wearing seatbelts, sometimes people still need a reminder. Design a campaign to help remind adults to buckle up or to help kids learn the importance of seatbelt safety for the first time.

4. Summit Rescue

A sherpa guide from Nepal saved a Malaysian climber’s life on Mount Everest, carrying and dragging him more than 1,900 feet down the mountain over six hours to an area where a helicopter could reach them to take the climber to base camp. Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world above sea level and is part of the Himalayas mountain range between China and Nepal. Sherpas are an ethnic group native to the Himalayas who help guide and support climbers on their journeys. The area close to the mountain’s summit where the sherpa and his client found the climber is known for its extremely cold temperatures, where it can get to -22 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, and there is very little oxygen to breathe. Write down some questions you would ask if you had the chance to interview the sherpa who rescued the climber for a news story. Think about what you would like to know and what questions readers might have for him, too.

5. Downhill Dash

One of the strangest sports in the United Kingdom is the annual cheese wheel race, where racers chase a 7-pound wheel of cheese down a steep hill. The winner gets to keep the cheese! Most racers usually end up sliding or rolling down the 200-yard slope, and this year’s 19-year-old winner of the women’s race was knocked out briefly on her way to the finish line. The cheese-rolling race was first written about in the early 1800s, but the sport is believed to be even hundreds of years older than that. Design your own sport that uses everyday objects; think about the rules, scoring, how many people can play, and don’t forget to give it a name!