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For Grades 5-8 , week of June 01, 2020

1. Record Money-Maker

For years, tennis star Serena Williams has been the highest paid women’s athlete in the world, earning between $18-million and $29-million a year in prize money and endorsements. This year Serena will have to step aside as the top money earner among women. Over the last 12 months, 22-year-old tennis phenomenon Naomi Osaka has become the highest paid women’s athlete in history. Osaka, who has won two major titles in women’s pro tennis, amassed a staggering $37.4-million in prize and endorsement money over the last 12 months to set a new record for women’s sports earnings, according to Forbes magazine. She broke the all-time earnings record of $29.7-million set by Maria Sharapova, another a tennis star. Osaka came to worldwide attention when she beat Williams at the U.S. Open in 2018 to claim her first major title. According to Forbes, she now has 15 endorsement deals, including a high-priced clothing contract with Nike. Athletes earn millions of dollars by endorsing different products. In the newspaper or online, find and study stories, photos and ads of an athlete endorsing a product. Use what you see and read to write a paragraph or short paper analyzing how the athlete benefits by endorsing the product (beyond money) and how the product benefits by having the athlete as a spokesperson. Discuss with family and friends.

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 to support conclusions.

2. Crowns for Safety

In response to the coronavirus epidemic, people around the world are being encouraged to practice social distancing by staying six feet apart in public. In the European nation of Germany, Burger King is making that possible in a fun way by distributing giant Burger King crowns to customers. The crowns extend three feet in each direction, and if others are also wearing them people will be positioned a safe six feet from each other. As with the crowns given out to children in the past, customers have to assemble the oversize crowns themselves. “The do-it-yourself social-distance crown was a fun and playful way to remind our guests to practice social distancing while they are enjoying food in the restaurants,” a Burger King spokesman said. Many stores, restaurants and products have characters, logos or other features that people associate with their brand. In the newspaper or online, find examples of products or businesses that have such features. Think like an advertising designer and rework one or more feature to encourage people to safely social distance in the way Burger King expanded its crowns. Share with family or friends.

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.

3. Go on Safari!

With families confined to home during the coronavirus emergency, some kids and parents would do anything to go on an adventure. A program based in the nation of South Africa allows them to do that by offering live safaris online. The safaris take viewers on tours of game reserves at sunrise and sunset, and provide close-up views of the lives of lions, baboons, elephants and other animals. Thanks to the Internet, guides even take questions in real time from people watching. The SafariLIVE program has been operated by the WildEarth company since 2007, but its popularity has taken off since the coronavirus lockdown, the Washington Post newspaper reported. During April, more than 1.1- million viewers participated in SafariLIVE broadcasts from the Ngala and Djuma Game Reserves, about five times as many as in March. With community activities shut down, more and more people are turning to the Internet for fun and entertainment. In the newspaper or online, read about such online attractions. Then write a review of one Internet entertainment as if you were an entertainment or culture writer. For added fun, find an Internet entertainment you wouldn’t ordinarily try and write a review of that. Discuss with family or friends.

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.

4. Mammoth Hunters

Mammoths were early relatives of today’s elephants, and they often were hunted by prehistoric peoples for food, scientists say. Hunting parties sometimes drove them into pits designed as traps, and hunters also may have taken advantage of natural resources like the mud of lakes. A new discovery of mammoth bones in the nation of Mexico supports that theory of ancient hunting. The bones of about 60 mammoths were found in what used to be a lake north of Mexico City. Researchers believe they may have become targets for ancient hunters when they became stuck or slowed by the mud of what used to be Lake Xaltocan. Archaeologists said the discovery of the mammoth bones in three areas of the lake provided “an unprecedented opportunity to delve into more than 30,000 years of history.” Discoveries of bones or fossils of ancient creatures give scientists new information about how they lived. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read about one such discovery. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend or teacher telling what has been discovered and why that is important to the study of ancient life.

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.

5. Hurricane Season

The Atlantic Ocean hurricane season officially begins June 1, and weather watchers for the federal government are predicting it may be an “extremely active” one. Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are predicting there is a 70 percent chance there will be 13 to 19 named (major) storms this year, with six to 10 becoming hurricanes. Three to six of those could become major hurricanes of Category 3 intensity or more, the scientists said. An average season produces 12 named storms and six hurricanes, three of which turn into major hurricanes, the Washington Post newspaper reported. NOAA hurricane predictions are based on analysis of ocean and atmospheric conditions across the Atlantic Ocean, especially areas where hurricanes are likely to form. There already have been two major storms, Tropical Storms Arthur and Bertha, which formed in May. Weather watchers keep close track of hurricanes and tropical storms. In the newspaper or online, read stories about predictions for this year’s hurricane season. Then create a chart or graph to record storms as they occur for the summer months of June, July and August. Have one axis show when the storm occurred and a second axis show how intense it was — Tropical Storm, Category 1, Category 2, Category 3, Category 4 or Category 5. Fill in your chart as storms occur.

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.