For Grades K-4 , week of May 14, 2018

1. Big Volcano Eruption

Volcanoes don’t erupt often, but when they do they can cause great damage. Residents of the U.S. state of Hawaii discovered that this month when Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano burst into action. Huge gaps called fissures broke open in the ground in residential areas on the state’s Big Island, sending clouds of steam into the air and allowing hot lava to spill out and set fire to homes. Nearly 2,000 homeowners were evacuated, and nearly 30 homes were destroyed in the first day alone. Caused by a pair of powerful of earthquakes, the eruption sent lava shooting 330 feet into the air — higher than the length of a football field. Tourists and other visitors were urged to stay away from the affected area, as officials warned “this is not the time for sightseeing.” Natural disasters are often in the news. With a partner, use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read a story about a natural disaster. Use what you read to create a short TV news report on the most important or most interesting things about the disaster. Include ideas for photos or videos you would like to use.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

2. Chocolate Disaster

Chocolate is one of the most popular treats in the world, but people in the European nation of Poland have discovered there can be too much of a good thing. Especially when it turns a highway into a sticky, gooey mess. That happened in the town of Slupca in western Poland when a tractor trailer carrying tons of liquid chocolate overturned and spilled its load over the road. The chocolate covered six lanes of the highway and blocked traffic in both directions. Things then went from bad to worse, when the liquid chocolate started to harden, making it even more difficult to remove. Odd events often are in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an odd news event. Use what you read to write a humorous poem, rap or rhyme about the event. Share with the class.

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

3. Quakes on Mars?

Does the planet Mars have earthquakes? And if it does, what do they feel like? A probe launched this month by America’s NASA space agency hopes to find out when it lands on the so-called red planet six months from now. The InSight probe is equipped with sensitive, high-tech equipment that will be able to pick up even small tremors if and when they occur. Technically, InSight won’t be measuring earthquakes, but “marsquakes” as scientists call seismic disturbances on the planet next out from Earth in the solar system. It is the first probe to study seismic activity on another planet and will operate from the middle of a huge, flat plain near the Martian equator. The InSight probe seeks to give scientists new information about our solar system. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another mission seeking new information about the solar system, its planets or the sun. Use what you read to write a paragraph summarizing the goal of the mission and why it is important to scientists.

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

4. Travel, Travel, Travel

Many people like to travel, but few are into it as much as Jessica Nabongo. She has made it her goal to become the first black woman to visit every country on Earth. So far she has visited 109 of the 193 countries recognized by the international United Nations organization, CNN news reports. She hopes to visit 63 more by the end of this year and the rest in 2019. Born in Detroit, Michigan, Nabongo worked for the United Nations and a pharmaceutical company before devoting herself to travel full time and becoming a travel blogger. According to travel experts, about 150 people are known to have been to every country, but none of them has been a black woman. Like Jessica Nabongo, people often set unusual goals for themselves. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone who has set an unusual goal. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor giving your opinion on how this goal could inspire others.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

5. Flying High at 95

Military veteran Paul Rosenblatt served in both World War II and the Korean War and wanted just one thing for his 95th birthday — a ride in a military plane. He got his wish early this month when he took off near Mobile, Alabama in a World War II training plane. The flight was made possible by his daughter in an effort to honor his love of flying and his military career. Rosenblatt earned a Purple Heart for bravery as a member of the Army’s 9th Armor Division during the famous Battle of the Bulge in Europe in World War II. He later worked more than 40 years in the airplane industry. For his birthday flight, Rosenblatt’s plane flew in formation with the Roy Ray Flight Demonstration Team. And how was it? “Oh the flight was exhilarating!” he said afterward. With better health and exercise, senior citizens are staying active longer and longer. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a senior who is active in his/her life or community. Pretend you are going to interview this person. Write out five questions you would like to ask about what they do, why they do it, and what they get out of it.

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.