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For Grades K-4 , week of Oct. 03, 2022

1. Stand Up to Bullying

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. During this month students, teachers, families and communities work together to reduce bullying in schools and other places. It takes strong character to stand up to bullies. It takes courage, strength, respect, determination, caring and responsibility. As a class, talk about how those character traits could help people stand up to bullies. Then find a story in the newspaper or online in which someone is bullying another person, or treating them unfairly. Read the story closely. Then write how each one of the character traits above could help stop the bullying or unfair treatment described in the story.

Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

2. Space Crash

When America’s NASA space agency launches a new craft, it usually wants it to avoid other objects in space. This month, however, a space craft launched by NASA crashed into an asteroid — on purpose! In a perfect mission, the craft took aim at an asteroid named Dimorphos (di-MORE-fus) and crashed into it at 14,000 miles per hour about 7-million miles from Earth. The crash was a test of a possible way to protect Earth from an asteroid or comet if it were heading toward our planet. The goal was to change the path of Dimorphos in the way scientists would like to change the path of any space object that might head for Earth in the future. The space craft, known as DART, made a direct hit on Dimorphos, which is about the size of a football stadium and orbits a larger asteroid. NASA scientists said it would take days or weeks before they would know if the DART craft had changed the path of Dimorphos. NASA has had great success with missions that have traveled millions of miles in space. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one of these missions. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, telling what this mission has achieved, why that is important and the challenges it faced.

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.

3. A ‘Sesame Street’ First

Since it first came on TV more than 50 years ago, “Sesame Street” has been a pioneering children’s television show. Yet Megan Piphus Peace is doing something never done before as the show enters its 53rd season. She is the first Black woman to be a puppeteer for a regular character. Piphus Peace, who is 29, plays Gabrielle, a 6-year-old African American girl who is friends with popular characters such as Big Bird, Elmo, Abby Cadabby and Cookie Monster. She got her first puppet when she was 8 years old and taught herself the craft. That sets her apart from the other puppeteers on “Sesame Street,” most of whom went to college or arts schools to learn how to engage audiences with puppets. While several of “Sesame Street’s” past puppeteers have been Black, none have been women. “Being the first Black female puppeteer on the show, means opening doors for future performers anywhere in … television and entertainment,” she told the Washington Post newspaper. “The more diversity we have, the more display of the possible opportunities we have for the next generation.” Megan Piphus Peace hopes to show how people of different backgrounds can make communities stronger and more interesting places to live. With a partner, use the newspaper or Internet to find stories and photos of people from different backgrounds who are doing this through events, foods, sports, clothes, entertainment or other activities. Share your findings with the class and discuss.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

4. Ducks in a Row

Have you ever wondered why ducklings follow their mother in a straight line when swimming? A biology scientist at West Chester University in the state of Pennsylvania thinks he has found the answer. They are “drafting” to conserve energy the way auto racers, bicyclists and even runners do in a race. For racers, getting right behind the car or bicycle right in front of them reduces the drag caused by air or wind pushing against them. For ducklings, the straight-line formation does the same thing in water, according to scientist Frank Fish. “It all has to do with the flow that occurs behind that leading organism and the way that moving in a formation can actually be a … benefit,” Fish said. For his efforts Fish earned one of this year’s Ig Nobel prizes, a light-hearted awards program that occurs just before the world famous (and serious) Nobel Prizes are given out. The Ig Nobel awards go to fun or even silly scientific projects. Fish shared his award with researchers from the European nation of Scotland who declared that when ducklings are in the water they “surf” the mini-waves created by their mother to move across the surface. Scientists often do research to explain how things work in everyday life. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a scientist doing this. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend summarizing in your own words what the scientist learned. Close your letter by describing something from everyday life for which you would like a scientific explanation.

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.

5. A Record for the Ages

With active lifestyles and better health care, people are living longer and longer in the United States and around the world. But even the oldest of our elders would be impressed with four sisters in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. The sisters have set a new world record for the highest combined age for four living siblings at an astonishing 389 years! The sisters all are over 90 years old and one is more than 100! Arlowene Johnson Overskei, 101; Marcene Johnson Scully, 99; Doris Johnson Gaudineer, 96; and Jewell Johnson Beck, 93, earned the record when the Guinness World Records organization verified their combined age last month. “We are still living, and that’s something to celebrate,” Gaudineer told the Madison Daily Leader newspaper. Senior adults are living longer and more active lives than ever before. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a senior who is doing this. Pretend you are a newspaper photographer who has been assigned to tell this person’s story in pictures. Write a list of what pictures you would take, and why. As a class, discuss senior adults you know who are living active and interesting lives.

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.