For Grades K-4 , week of May 21, 2018

1. Record Sports Sale

There are only a limited number of pro sports teams in America —32 in the National Football League, 31 in the National Hockey League, and 30 each in the National Basketball League and Major League Baseball. That makes them very valuable — and the value keeps going up. The latest example is the sale of the Carolina Panthers football team for nearly $2.3 billion to billionaire David Tepper. If approved by the league, the Panthers deal will set a new record for the sale price of an NFL team. Tepper is buying the team from owner Jerry Richardson, who has owned the Panthers since they were founded in 1995. Nearly everyone has a favorite sports team. As a class, discuss teams you like, and why. Then find and closely read a story about a team you would like to own if you could. Use what you read and prior knowledge to write a short sports column telling why you would like to own the team.

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

2. Helicopter on Mars

Scientists for America’s NASA space agency are always looking for new ways to explore the planet Mars. So it should come as no surprise that when the next Rover landing craft heads to the Red Planet in two years, it will carry a device never tried before. In the belly of the Rover 2020 craft will be a small helicopter specially designed to fly in the thin atmosphere of Mars. The helicopter will have a body the size of a small dog and a rotor blade just more than one yard long. It will be used to scout locations for the Rover to explore and plan routes to reach them. Flying a helicopter on Mars is far more difficult than flying on Earth because the planet’s atmosphere is 100 times less thick than Earth’s air. That means that even a small helicopter will have to be incredibly powerful to reach even a height of just 10 feet off the ground. In the years the United States has been exploring Mars, scientists have learned a lot about the planet next out from Earth in the solar system. With a partner, use the newspaper and Internet to find and closely read stories about things scientists have discovered about Mars. Use what you read to create a website highlighting “Mars Discoveries.” Design the home page to show discoveries you want to highlight. Pick an image to illustrate each category. Then write headlines and text blocks for each discovery.

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.

3. Big, Bouncy Fun

On TV and in theme parks, obstacle courses provide people with fun and challenging entertainment. Now one created in the European country of Belgium has set a world record. A monster-sized inflatable course nicknamed “The Beast” has been declared the world’s largest inflatable obstacle course by the Guinness World Records organization. The bouncy course is 1,625.72 feet long and includes 60 challenge sections and five “wipe-out obstacles,” according to the Hold My Shoes entertainment company that created it. “The Beast” is touring the world this summer, visiting the nations of England, Australia, Japan, Brazil and several other countries. Obstacle courses are a popular entertainment at events and theme parks in the summer months. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another kind of summer entertainment you would like to try. Write the word ENTERTAIN down the side of a piece of paper. Use each letter to start a phrase or sentence stating a reason you’d like to try this entertainment.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; organizing data using concrete objects, pictures, tallies, tables, charts, diagrams and graphs.

4. An Inspiring Climb

As the tallest mountain in the world, Mount Everest is the biggest challenge a mountain climber can face. Imagine climbing it with two artificial legs. A mountain climber from the Asian nation of China did just that this month, reaching the summit 43 years after he lost both his feet in his first try. Xia Boyu, who lost his feet to frostbite in his first attempt, later had both legs amputated below the knee due to cancer. But that didn’t keep him from trying to reach the top. He tried three times using artificial legs, and at age 70 he reached the summit on his fifth try. Climbing Everest, was “a personal challenge, a challenge of fate,” he told the Japan Times newspaper before his last attempt. “Climbing Mount Everest is my dream.” Xia Boyu’s successful climb of Mount Everest has inspired people around the world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another person whose actions have inspired people in some way. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, detailing what the person has done and why that could inspire others.

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. Save Those Clothes

In every store, there are always products that don’t sell. Many of them get thrown away, even if they are still good. In the European nation of France, it could soon be against the law to throw away unsold clothing that could be used by people in need. An organization that battles homelessness in the city of Paris is working with French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe to require stores to donate unsold items of clothing to charity groups that help people who are poor or homeless. The move not only would help people in need but reduce the volume of trash that needs to be disposed in landfills, supporters say. Many organizations work to help people in need. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one organization and how it helps. Use what you read to write a short editorial, giving your opinion on how the work of this organization makes the community a better place.

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.