For Grades K-4 , week of Apr 25, 2022

1. Wildlife Bridge

In many places around the country, communities are looking for ways to improve wildlife habitats and reduce the impact of human activities on animals. In a community just north of Los Angeles, California a partnership between public and private organizations is about to do that in a very big way. On Earth Day last Friday, officials broke ground to build the largest wildlife bridge in the world to help animals cross the 10-lane 101 Freeway. The $90-million project will connect two sections of the Santa Monica Mountains and allow mountain lions, bobcats, deer, coyotes, rabbits, snakes, toads, lizards and other species to cross the highway without risk of being hit by cars. The bridge will be 210 feet long and 165 feet wide and planted with bushes and grasses similar to those in the surrounding area. The 101 Freeway is one of the busiest highways in the region with 300,000 cars and trucks traveling it every day. People and communities do many creative things to help wildlife. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a creative thing one community has done. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, outlining a creative way your community could help wildlife.

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. Skinny, Skinny Skyscraper

The skyline of a city is the shape its buildings form when viewed against the sky from a distance. No two skylines are exactly alike, and they are constantly changing with the construction of new buildings or skyscrapers. New York City has one of the most famous skylines in the world, with the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, the Central Park Tower and the Chrysler Building. Now it has gotten a new addition that is like no other. The just opened Steinway Tower is the skinniest skyscraper in the world, CNN News reports. With a height of 1,428 feet, the 84-story Steinway is 24 times as tall as it is wide, making it look almost like a pencil sticking up from the ground. It will be home to apartments and condominiums for New York’s wealthiest people to live. The prices are as high as the building with a single-room studio apartment going for a $7.75-million and the top-floor penthouse priced at $66-million. Buildings of different types contribute to the personality of a community and how people feel about it. In the newspaper or online, find and study a picture of a building that does this. Write a paragraph stating how the look of this building reflects the personality of its community, or how it makes people feel. Finish by discussing buildings in your community and how they make people feel.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.

3. Unfortunate History

When similar events affect a person, business or community, people often say “history is repeating itself.” An unfortunate shipping company from the Asian state of Taiwan experienced repeat history this spring, and the Evergreen Marine Corp. company has now drawn attention from investigators on opposite sides of the world. Last year, a massive Evergreen super cargo ship called the Ever Given got stuck in the Suez Canal in northern Africa and caused a shipping crisis felt by many nations. This spring an Evergreen super cargo ship named the Ever Forward ran around in the mud of the Chesapeake Bay near the eastern U.S. states of Maryland and Virginia. Both are container ships that can carry thousands of pounds of goods. In Africa, it took emergency crews six days to free the Ever Given and restore shipping in the canal that connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea. The job in the Chesapeake took more than a month until it was completed last week. The freeing of the Ever Forward in the Chesapeake was complicated by the fact that dozens of cargo containers had to be offloaded to make the ship lighter while mud was dug out from under the hull. Emergency teams have to deal with all kinds of situations, both large and small. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an emergency team dealing with a situation. Use what you read to create a poster describing the greatest challenge faced by the emergency team and how it dealt with the problem.

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.

4. Cheesy Badness

When it comes to meals or snacks, people all over the world like cheese. So do thieves, apparently, as a pair of farmers in the European nation of the Netherlands recently found out. In the middle of the night, a group of thieves broke into a dairy farm and cheese business in the small town of Fijnaart and made off with $22,000 of cheese. It was no small theft — the 161 round “wheels” of Gouda cheese weighed 3,500 pounds. The thieves were quiet as well as strong. Farmers Gerda and Joost van Dorp heard no commotion in the night and the family dog never even barked. “It was heartbreaking and something that makes you lose your faith in humanity,” Gerda told the Washington Post newspaper. And then people reached out to help. A cheesemaker from another town whom the van Dorps had never met organized an online GoFundMe campaign to help the family. “This makes you realize that yes, some people are bad,” Gerda said. “But most people are good, honest and have sympathy for you when you need it the most.” People often offer help when others have setbacks or misfortunes. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about people offering to help someone in this way. Use what you read to create an ad for the newspaper or Internet asking for additional help for those affected by the setback. Give your ad an eye-catching headline that will make readers want to help. Use images from the newspaper or Internet for your ad.

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.

5. Lego Relief

For more than 70 years, Lego brick sets have been hugely popular with kids and adults all over the world. More than 600-BILLION pieces have been sold in different combinations, and they have helped children express their creativity in many ways. Now they are helping an 11-year-old from the European nation of Ukraine recover from the sadness of having to leave his homeland. When 11-year-old Andrii Sidorov fled the Ukrainian city of Kyiv in late February when the nation of Russia invaded, he only had a small suitcase and had to leave his Lego collection behind. He, his brother and his father eventually made their way to the European city of Galway, Ireland, where they have been trying to adjust to being in a strange land. One thing Andrii missed most was the huge Lego collection he had put together since he started playing with them as a 3-year-old, the Washington Post newspaper reported. His talent with Legos had earned him a following of Internet fans on YouTube and Instagram, but in Ireland he was cut off from all that. Until his father Igor reached out on Facebook to people who could spare “any Lego, any size and color in any quantity.” Within 24 hours, dozens of packages of new and lightly used Lego sets started arriving at the hotel where the Sidorovs were living. Andrii was overjoyed. “Glory to Ireland!” he wrote in an Instagram post, featuring a Lego creation of an Irish flag. “Thanks to all these wonderful … people with very big hearts!” Children have been affected in many ways by the war in Ukraine. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one effect. Use what you read to write a letter offering support and encouragement to a child who has been affected.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.