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for Grades 5-8

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For Grades 5-8 , week of May 11, 2020

1. ‘Mask Hunter’

The Internet has the power to make stars of people from all kinds of backgrounds. The latest example is a 30-year-old businessman from the Asian nation of China who traveled halfway around the world to find masks for healthcare workers and the fabric to make them. Lin Dong allowed a video blogger to film his efforts in the nation of Turkey, and the results turned into an eight-part video series that has become a massive hit in China. The series, called “Mask Hunter,” follows Lin as he deals with legitimate and not-so-legitimate dealers in a search for a hard-to-get material called melt-blown nonwoven fabric. The fabric is an extremely fine, synthetic mesh that creates the inner layer of a mask and filters particles that can carry the coronavirus, the Washington Post reports. Lin is not working for the Chinese government, but is simply a businessman trying to make a profit. “If I’m lucky, I’d be able to make a fortune,” he said. “But if there are problems, I’ll lose it all.” With the coronavirus lockdown many people are turning to the Internet and social media to share their lives or show their creativity. And many are attracting a large following. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about people who are winning a following for things they are doing on the Internet or social media. Pick one and “review” the person’s efforts to examine why they are popular. Use evidence from what you see to support your opinions.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

2. Making Flour the Old Way

With people confined to home during the coronavirus epidemic, many have taken to baking their own bread, cakes and cookies. So many, in fact, that stores are experiencing a shortage of flour used in baking. In the European nation of England, one community has cranked up a 1,000-year-old grist mill to produce flour that local residents need. The Sturminster Newton Mill in southwest England has operated as a living history museum in recent years, grinding flour in small amounts to sell to tourists. But when the coronavirus created more demand, the mill’s operators decided to step up. “We had a stock of good-quality milling wheat and the means and skills to grind it into flour, so we thought we could help,” miller Pete Loosmore, told news outlets. The mill is located on the River Stour and is powered by a water turbine that draws water from the river. All over the world people are trying new or unusual things to help others. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about people doing this. Use what you read to write a personal column examining what people are doing, and what obstacles they faced to be successful.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them.

3. Comfort Reading

People are staying home during the coronavirus emergency, and many are turning to reading to entertain themselves. And many are choosing to re-read favorite books instead of trying new ones. That is perfectly natural in a time of stress or emergency, reading experts say, because favorite books provide comfort and familiarity. They are like old friends and relieve “information overload” from reading the news on the Internet or in newspapers. Sometimes, just re-reading familiar scenes can be enough. “Ten minutes of comfort reading in the morning is enough to give me a happy buzz for the entire day,” one reader told the Washington Post. In the newspaper or online find and closely read stories examining what books people are reading during the coronavirus emergency — and why. Then think of favorite books you have read and why you liked them. Write a letter to a friend recommending one or two books to read during the corona lockdown and telling why. Then use the Internet to find books or excerpts of books for your age that you could read for fun.

Common Core State Standards: Reading and comprehending literary and informational texts independently and proficiently; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

4. Tornado Spring

Spring is usually not as deadly as summer for tornadoes in the United States. Yet this April was a near-record month. With a preliminary count of 351 tornadoes, this April had the second greatest number of twisters for the month, according to the Storm Prediction Center of the National Weather Service. Only three days in April did not have severe weather, and 14 separate killer tornadoes touched down — the fifth most in National Weather Service history. The April tornadoes caused 40 deaths, the most in a month since 41 in May 2013. The greatest number of deaths ever recorded in a month was 43 in April 2011, the Weather Service reported. Tornadoes and other forms of extreme weather can have huge impact on people and the environment. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an extreme weather event. Design an infographic, chart or visual display to illustrate the different kinds of impact the event has had on people and the environment. Present your infographic or display to family or friends.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; organizing data using concrete objects, pictures, tallies, tables, charts, diagrams and graphs; demonstrating understanding of figurative language.

5. Costumed Curb Fun

People all over the world are looking for new or fun things to do while being isolated at home. For some, the answer has been an activity popular with both kids and adults: Playing dress-up. And not just in private. While kids play indoors, some adults are dressing up in crazy or creative costumes when they take out the trash! In many cases, they are filming themselves and sharing the fun online, CNN News reports. One place to see the phenomenon is the Bin Isolation Outing Facebook group in the southern Pacific nation of Australia. It started as a joke among friends and now has more than half a million followers enjoying videos and photos of costumed people taking their trash cans (bins) to the curb. Getting dressed in costume “has completely recharged my soul and lifted me out of my funk” one said. Both kids and adults enjoy getting dressed up in costumes (it’s why Halloween is so popular). If you were going to dress in a costume during the coronavirus emergency, what would it be? A famous person or celebrity? A character from a movie or book? Something else? With family or friends, use the newspaper or Internet to find and study photos of people or characters you would like to dress up as. Then challenge yourself to make a costume just from clothes or items you have at home. Draw pictures of yourself in your costume, or take photos with a smart phone. Share with friends and discuss.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.