, week of
Aug. 08, 2022
1. Mostly Girl Turtles
Sea turtles are among the most impressive creatures on Earth, with some species growing up to 9 feet long and weighing 1,500 pounds. They are also one of the most unusual. Whether they are male or female is determined by the heat of the sand in which their eggs hatch. In the state of Florida, heat waves and global warming have had a huge impact on sea turtles. The higher temperatures have been so hot most of the baby turtles that hatch have been female. “The last four summers in Florida have been the hottest summers on record,” said the manager of a turtle center in the Florida Keys islands off the tip of the state. “Scientists that are studying sea turtle hatchlings … have found no boy sea turtles, only female sea turtles for the past four years.” According to government scientists, if a turtle’s eggs incubate below 81.86 degrees Fahrenheit, the turtle hatchlings will be male, but if they incubate above 88.8 degrees, they will be female, Reuters News reports. Turtles incubated between those temperatures will be a mix of males and females. Global warming is affecting wildlife all over the world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a wildlife species that has been affected by warming. Use what you read to write a letter to a teacher, telling how the species has been affected and suggesting ways your class might be able to help it.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.
2. Wreck of a Galleon
Spanish galleons were huge wooden sailing ships built for war or carrying treasure from the 1500s through the early 1700s. They could hold more than 50 cannons when equipped for war and carry thousands of pounds of cargo when transporting treasure from Spain’s “New World” empire in Mexico, South America and the Caribbean Sea. In 1656, one of those galleon treasure ships collided with another member of its fleet and sank off the coast of what is now the island nation of the Bahamas in the Caribbean. The 891-ton “Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas” — which means “Our Lady of Wonders” — went to the bottom with a cargo of gold coins, gemstones and priceless jewels that once belonged to seafaring knights. In the 366 years since the galleon sank, thousands of valuables have been recovered by divers, but a new expedition using high-tech equipment has just brought up a treasure trove of new artifacts, CNN News reports. The new discoveries include everyday items like bottles and dishes and riches like a gold necklace featuring a giant Colombian emerald and 12 smaller emeralds. They will be displayed in the new Bahamas Maritime Museum in an effort to offer fresh insight into life aboard the vessel and reconstruct “the mystery of how the ship was wrecked and fell apart.” Shipwrecks are valuable to scientists and history experts because they preserve items that show how people worked or lived. With a friend or family member, use the newspaper or Internet to find photos of modern ships or boats. Pick one and study it. Talk about items shown in the photo that would tell future history experts about how people worked or lived on the ship.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
3. A Titan of a Tree
The world’s tallest tree is a coast redwood named Hyperion located deep in the forest of California’s Redwood National Park. Hyperion is 380 feet tall and is named for one of the powerful Titan gods worshiped by the ancient Greek people on the continent of Europe. Unlike its ancient ancestor, the redwood does not have god-like powers and needs help to survive from human activities that have damaged the habitat surrounding it. To protect Hyperion, Redwood National Park has issued new rules to keep people away from the giant tree. Anyone caught near the tree can now face a $5,000 fine and up to six months in jail, park officials announced. The severe penalty was imposed because tourists and hikers have damaged the area around the trunk of the tree by destroying vegetation, leaving litter and even using the dense woods as a bathroom, The Guardian newspaper reported. The damage has “resulted in the devastation of the habitat surrounding Hyperion,” park officials said. In Greek mythology, Hyperion was the father of the sun god Helios and the moon goddess Selene. People often take action to preserve natural attractions, habitats or the environment. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about something people have done to help or preserve nature. Use what you read to write an editorial or letter to the editor explaining what people have done and why it is important.
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.
4. Sweet Job
People all over the world love candy, and many are always on the lookout for new kinds to enjoy. If you are one of those people, a Canadian candy company has just the job for you. The Candy Funhouse company, which makes candies ranging from gummies to chocolate bars, is looking to hire a Chief Candy Officer to test new treats. It’s a sweet job, paying $78,000 a year, and the person who gets it can even work from home. The company said the position is open to applicants as young as 5 years old — though parental permission would be required for anyone under 18, CNN News reports. “Imagine your best memories around candy, and having that every day at work,” said the company’s chief executive. People often work at jobs involving things they love or love to do. In the newspaper or online, find and study ads or stories about something you enjoy this way. Use what you read to design and write a Help Wanted ad describing a job that would be connected to the activity, and why people should want the job.
Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
5. Reading Character
Schools are re-opening all over the country, and students are brushing up on their reading skills to get ready for class. One way to do that is to practice recognizing the character traits of people in real or imaginary stories. A person's character traits are the kinds of attitudes they show over long periods of time. Someone may be kind, or funny, or mean, or dishonest. A person may help others, or pick on others. In the newspaper or online, find a news or feature story that tells you something about a person. On a sheet of paper, list the person’s different character traits. Finish by writing a sentence stating what kind of person the subject is. For added challenge, pretend that tomorrow you open the newspaper and read that the person you chose has been arrested for shoplifting or been given an award for helping others. Could you have predicted either choice from the list of character traits you wrote out?
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.
Lessons & Classroom Activities
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