1. Hot, Hot, Hot
If you think this summer has been really hot, you’re not imagining it. According to U.S. scientists, the temperatures in June were the hottest in history, and July is shaping up to be just as steamy. According to data released by America’s NASA space agency, which also tracks weather, the average June temperature for the planet Earth was 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit above what is considered normal for June based on world averages from previous years. That easily topped the previous record of 1.5 degrees above normal set in June 2016. Many factors contributed to the heat record, including an intense heat wave on the continent of Europe and the first 90-degree temperature ever recorded in the city of Anchorage, Alaska. Extreme heat has been making news all across the nation this month. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about ways that communities are helping people deal with the heat. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a public service TV ad listing ways communities can help with the heat. What people need help the most?
Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.
2. Super-Priced Sneakers
Sneakers are among the most popular clothing items in the world. People are willing to pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars for them — but would they pay thousands, or even tens of thousands? The Sotheby’s company is attempting to find out, with its first-ever auction sale of famous sneakers. Sotheby’s usually sells such things as great works of art, but it is betting people will pay piles of money for sneakers, too. Among the items in the online sale is a pair of the first Nike running shoes, which could sell for as much as $160,000. The “Moon Shoe” was one of just 12 pairs created by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman. Other featured sneakers include “Back to the Future Part II” models inspired by the 1989 film starring Michael J. Fox. The sale runs through Tuesday, July 23. Sneakers play a big part in the lives of kids. In the newspaper or online find and study photos of kids doing things while wearing sneakers. Then think about things that you do wearing sneakers. Use what you read and personal experience to write a short essay about your sneaker activities titled “If My Sneakers Could Talk.”
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.
3. A Giant Rocket
This month, the world is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first landing by humans on the moon. On July 20, 1969, U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the moon’s surface, and he later joined fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin to plant the American flag in the moon’s soil. To celebrate the achievement, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum turned one of the nation’s most famous landmarks into a giant rocket. With the U.S. Department of the Interior, the museum projected an image of a Saturn V rocket onto the surface of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. The 555-foot-tall monument on the National Mall already looks something like a rocket with its skinny shape and pointed tip, so it wasn’t a huge leap to make it look like a real rocket. The Saturn V was the rocket that took Armstrong, Aldrin and Michael Collins into space on their historic moon mission. The 50th anniversary of the first moon landing was celebrated in many ways by communities around the nation. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about different celebrations. Use what you read to draw a cartoon or artwork showing one of the celebrations. Explain your drawing to family or friends.
Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; citing textual or visual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
4. A Huge Jellyfish
Jellyfish have been around for millions of years and are some of the most unusual creatures in the world’s oceans. Jellyfish come in exotic shapes and colors and have tentacles that can give a nasty sting to their prey or even humans. They also can be very large, as a pair of divers discovered this summer in the waters off the European nation of England. The divers ran into a “barrel jellyfish” that was as big as they were! When they posted a video of their encounter, it went viral on the Internet and attracted thousands of viewers. Barrel jellyfish are the largest jellyfish species that live in the ocean waters off England, but it is rare to encounter one so large. The species has eight puffy arms, stinging tentacles and a large, globe-like head. The diver who met the giant jellyfish said it was an “unforgettable experience … the best thing I’ve ever done.” The oceans are full of unusual sea creatures. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one. Use what you read and additional research to write a personal letter to a friend or relative, telling what makes this creature unusual. In your letter write out additional things you would like to know about the creature.
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.
5. Help for Honeybees
Honeybees play a hugely important role in the plant world. By buzzing from plant to plant, they pollinate the flowers that allow the plants to produce fruits and vegetables. In many places, honeybee populations are declining, but in the European nation of the Netherlands, they are getting help and support from one city. The city of Ultrecht has turned the roofs of more than 300 bus stop shelters into green ecosystems for bees. The “bee stops” are planted with sedum plants, which attract honeybees and bumblebees with their flowers. Utrecht is the fourth-largest city in the Netherlands, which is also known as Holland. The “bee stops” in the Netherlands are an example of people trying to help a wildlife species. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another effort by people to help wildlife. Write a short letter to the editor telling why this effort is important to the wildlife species, and to humans.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.