, week of
Sep. 10, 2018
1. Helping Clownfish
Ever since the movie “Finding Nemo,” orange-and-white clownfish have been hugely popular all over the world. So many people wanted them as pets, they were taken in great numbers from the ocean reefs where they live. Now a group of students from the nation of Australia are stepping up to reduce the number of clownfish taken from the sea. In the city of Townsville, students have joined a program called “Saving Nemo” to raise clownfish in tanks so they won’t be removed from their natural habitat on ocean reefs in the southern Pacific Ocean. The elementary students raise the fish from eggs and then send them to pet stores to be sold as pets. In return, the students get supplies to support and expand their clownfish breeding program. The Australia clownfish project is an example of students working together to solve a problem. In the newspaper or online find and closely read a story about a problem in your community or state that students could help solve. Write a letter to the editor explaining why the problem is important and what students could do to help solve it. Discuss ideas as a class.
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.
2. No Drinking Fountains
It hasn’t been a good year if you’re thirsty in Detroit Public Schools. Because of contamination concerns, water fountains in all schools have been turned off. The decision was made after testing done this year found that levels of the metals lead and copper were too high in the water at 16 of 24 schools. Previously, testing had found too-high levels of the metals in the water at dozens of schools. Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said the district is still waiting for test results on the water at other schools and decided to shut off all fountains until those results are in. “There’s no need to roll the dice” and put students at risk, he said. In the absence of water fountains, students have been getting drinking water from water bottles and water coolers. They can still use sink water to wash their hands without risk. School safety is a top concern for teachers, principals and other leaders. As a class, use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read a story about a school taking action to improve safety. Discuss what the school has done, how effective you think it will be and anything else you think could be done. Then talk about any safety issues you think should be addressed at your school, and how. Write a letter to the principal sharing your ideas.
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.
3. Slimy Arrest
The growth of algae in local waterways has been a big problem in communities in Southwest Florida this summer. But the community of Cape Coral was glad to have the slimy plant life one recent evening. It helped them catch a man stopped for speeding and suspected of drug crimes. Cape Coral police had pulled over 22-year-old Abraham Duarte near a canal in a local park when he jumped into the water in an attempt to escape. He didn’t get far. The algae in the canal was thick and disgusting and when he swallowed some he decided it was smarter to give up than deal with the plant life. He was so dirty, officers had to hose him down to clean him up, before taking him to a hospital to be checked out. He was charged with resisting arrest and several minor drug charges. Algae has become a big environmental problem in Florida this summer. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an environmental problem in your state or community. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a TV or newspaper ad calling attention to the problem. Give your ad an eye-catching headline and write out what images you would use — and why.
Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic. they need.
4. Lego Super Car
Anyone who has ever played with Legos has dreamed of making something no one has ever made before. On the continent of Europe this summer, the creative geniuses of the toy company have done just that. They have assembled one million Lego Technic pieces to create a life-size, driveable duplicate of the fancy Bugatti Chiron sports car. Lego Technic pieces feature interconnecting plastic rods that hold models together, and the Bugatti was assembled by hand without using glue. The car weighs more than 3,000 pounds and is powered with two batteries and more than 2,300 Lego power function motors. Car experts who have seen the Lego model have been impressed at how much it looks like the real Bugatti Chiron, which is one of the most expensive cars in the world. A new Bugatti costs almost $3 million. For more than 70 years, Legos have been popular toys around the world. What are the most popular toys for kids your age this year? In the newspaper or online, find an ad featuring a toy you have or would like to have. Study the ad and write a personal letter to a friend or relative, telling what you like about the toy, why you would like to have it or why you would recommend it to someone your age.
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.
5. What a Leaper!
If ever a dog had a perfect name, it would be Slingshot, who lives in Fenton, Michigan. Slingshot loves to leap off docks into the water of lakes or rivers, and he’s now the best in the world at it. At the North American Diving Dogs event in Ohio last month, Slingshot set a new world record for distance diving off a dock. The three-and-a-half-year-old whippet dog leaped 35 feet 3 inches in the competition to break a world record that had stood for 60 years. “I didn’t even know it was possible to jump that far,” said his owner Rachael Brinkman. “He’s amazing us." Pets often do amazing, smart or interesting things. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a pet doing something amazing, smart or funny. Brainstorm an idea for a movie or cartoon showing this pet in action. Give your movie a creative name that would make students your age want to see it. Write a paragraph explaining the plot.
Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.