1. WRITTEN IN STONE
A man who carved his and his girlfriend’s names into the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, is now facing prison time and a fine of 15,000 euros (about $16,300 in US dollars). The wall the tourist carved into was constructed during a restoration of the first-century monument in the 1800s, but Italian authorities still found the man and charged him with vandalizing the historic property. The Colosseum was built in the years 72 to 80 AD—we’re now in 2023 AD!—to hold public events including contests, re-enactments of famous battles, and gladiator fights. Write a paragraph on why you think it’s important for us to preserve historic landmarks like the Colosseum that were built so long ago.
2. RISING TEMPERATURES
Last week saw three days that were likely the hottest in modern history. Greenhouse gases, which are created by burning oil, gas, and coal, continue to build up in the atmosphere, trapping heat and making the surface of the Earth warmer. Additionally, this year marks the return of El Niño, a weather pattern that happens ever few years and brings warmer temperatures around the world. El Niño phases happen when the temperature at the equator in the Pacific Ocean is 1 degree Fahrenheit or more above average and the air pressure shifts lower on the western side of the Pacific, near Australia, and higher around Tahiti on the eastern side of the ocean. When the opposite temperature and air pressure occurs, it’s called La Niña, which brings cooler temperatures. Print or draw a map of the world and mark the locations that are important for El Niño to develop: the equator and the Pacific Ocean.
3. STANDING TALL
The California Science Center is planning to display the space shuttle Endeavor vertically, the way it looked before it was launched into space during its 25 missions between 1992 and 2011. It’s a complicated task to stack the parts, and one that has never been attempted outside a NASA facility. It starts with the rocket boosters, then the external tank and the shuttle itself. Once completed, it will be twenty stories tall and the rest of the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center in Los Angeles will be built around the display. Look up what the Endeavor shuttle looks like, then draw your own interpretation of what the new display at the Air and Space Center will look like.
4. FREQUENT FLYERS
Two pilots set a new Guinness World Record for the fastest journey by plane through all 48 contiguous United States by doing it in 38 hours and 13 minutes. Their trip started in Sanford, Maine, and ended in South Bend Indiana, touching down at airports in 46 other states in between. The shortest flight time between two states was about four minutes, which happened from Nebraska to Iowa and Ohio to West Virginia. If you were going to interview the pilots for a news article about their record-breaking trip, write a list of questions you would ask them to get the information readers would want to know.
5. ON THE LOOSE
An unusual pet is on the loose in Blanchard, Oklahoma. A wallaby, which looks like a small kangaroo, escaped its backyard pen last week and may be hiding in a wooded area with tall grass nearby in the rural community. His owner says Roo the wallaby could have been let out of the enclosure by the owner’s dog, who may have hit the gate latch and given Roo the chance to escape. The Blanchard Animal Patrol and police are helping with the search, including using drones to help look for the loose animal. Research wallabies, including where they’re native to and what the differences are between a wallaby and a kangaroo. Write a paragraph about what you learn.