For Grades 5-8 , week of Mar. 28, 2022

1. Do It Like Beckham

In a 20-year career, David Beckham was one of the most famous soccer players in the world. Nine years after he retired from competition, he remains hugely popular, with an Instagram Internet account that has 71.6-million followers and a prominent role as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund. This month, to put a spotlight on conditions faced by Ukrainians following the invasion by Russia, Beckham turned his Instagram account over to a Ukrainian doctor to show the “amazing work” medical professionals are doing in the war-torn European nation. The doctor, who works as head of a perinatal baby center in the city of Kharkiv, used Beckham’s account to detail how the war had affected the work of her and her team, CNN News reported. “Now, I’m not only the head of the center, but I continue to work as a pediatric anesthesiologist,” said the doctor, identified only as “Dr. Iryna.” “I unload cargo, I work on logistics and offer emotional support.” Beckham, a 46-year-old father of four, has launched an emergency appeal via his 7 Fund for UNICEF to help provide aid to Ukrainians affected by the war. “Please … support these incredible people and charities like UNICEF in any way that you can,” he said. Celebrities often speak up to support or call attention to causes or people in need. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about celebrities who are offering help to the people of Ukraine. Use what you read to write a political or personal column about celebrities speaking out about Ukraine and why that is important. List additional celebrities you would like to hear from, and state why.

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. Shrinking Sea Ice

Sea ice plays a hugely important role in the Earth’s Arctic and Antarctic regions near the North and South Poles. It reflects sunlight, helping control global warming. It influences the flow of ocean currents. It controls the greenhouse gas methane that is trapped in the ocean. And it provides homes for native peoples and wildlife. In the Arctic area near the North Pole, sea ice is now declining by about 13 percent per decade according to recent research. And in the Antarctic, a new study has shown sea ice has reached its lowest concentration on record. According to satellite observations, Antarctic sea ice recently fell below 2 million square kilometers (772,000 square miles) for the first times in 43 years, the Washington Post reported. “It’s a record and by quite a bit,” one climate scientist said. The decline in sea ice, which is made of frozen salt water from the ocean, can be attributed to rising temperatures in the Arctic and Antarctic, which are warming at a faster rate than other areas of the Earth. Global warming is having a huge impact on Arctic and Antarctic areas. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about some of these effects. Use what you read to create an artwork or poster showing the effects of warming in one or more area. Present your artwork to the class and discuss.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.

3. Big-Box Solar

In the effort to reduce global warming, leaders in government and business are looking for ways to use fewer fossil fuels that warm the atmosphere when burned. One way to do that is to use more renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power that do not create “greenhouse gases” that trap heat in the air. And one business sector could play a surprising role: shopping malls and “big-box stores.” According to a new report, stores and shopping centers with a lot of roof space could produce half of their annual electricity needs if they installed solar panels, reducing their reliance on fossil sources. The report from the nonprofit Environment America group and the research Frontier Group, stated that installing solar panels on rooftops could save companies millions of dollars while cutting emissions that cause warming and reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil, CNN News reports. Rooftop solar installed at superstores like Walmart, Target, Costco, IKEA, Home Depot and Kroger would generate enough electricity to power nearly 8 million average homes, the report concluded. Walmart alone has more than 783-million square feet of rooftop space at its 5,000 stores and could generate enough solar energy to power more than 842,000 homes, the report said. All over the country, leaders are taking a look at solar energy as a way to reduce the use of fossil fuels like gas, oil and coal. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about projects that are being considered or put in place. Use what you read to write an analysis of the benefits of using solar in this way and the challenges or obstacles involved.

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.

4. ’So Good’ Success

The rock band named Boston achieved a lot of success in the 1970s and 1980s and still draws crowds at concerts today. But the band never got the kind of attention that its drummer Curly Smith has gotten this spring — thanks to his son. His son Zach ran across a song Curly had written and recorded 44 years ago, but never released. He liked the upbeat “Surrender to Me” so much he posted it to TikTok and urged people to like it so that his dad would release the track. Curly was reluctant at first, but when the song got more than 300,000 likes in 24 hours he began to realize there might be a market for his old creation. Eventually “Surrender to Me” got more than 3.6-million likes and shares on social media, and Curly was convinced to release the song on his own. He and Zach remastered it in a music studio and launched it on major online streaming platforms February 4. Since its release, “Surrender to Me” has been played more than 1-million times on Spotify alone, the Washington Post reported. “I thought it should be out there,” said Zach, a sophomore studying music at Arizona State University. “It’s so good!” Songs become popular in many ways, and sometimes the popularity is a surprise. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about a song that became a surprise hit. Think like a music critic and write a review detailing why this song became a hit. Or write about a song you like that became a surprise hit.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

5. Sacred Animals

The American bison is a sacred animal for native peoples in the American West. In years past Native Americans used every part of the bison for food, clothing, shelter, tools and jewelry and worshiped them in spiritual and religious ceremonies. Native Americans still worship bison as sacred animals, but herds have been greatly diminished on native lands in western U.S. states. In the state of Colorado, the City and County of Denver are remedying that by donating bison they own to American Indian tribes to build up their herds. This month Denver delivered 33 bison from its mountain park herd to three tribes. Fifteen of the bison will travel to the Northern Arapaho Tribe in Wyoming, 17 to the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes in Oklahoma and one to the Tall Bull Memorial. Around the world animals play significant roles in different societies. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about a wild animal that is significant to a culture elsewhere in the world. Use what you read to write a paragraph or short paper describing the importance of this animal to its people and challenges to survival it may face

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.