, week of
Oct. 05, 2020
1. Front Line Baby Yoda
In the TV series “Star Wars: The Mandalorian,” Baby Yoda is a character who possesses the supernatural powers of The Force and can use them to overcome obstacles and challenges. Baby Yoda is now helping firefighters fight wildfires in the state of Oregon, thanks to a 5-year-old boy named Carver. When Carver heard about the dangerous wildfires in his home state, he wanted to do something to help the heroes on the front line, CNN News reports. He went shopping with his grandmother Sasha Tinning for food and other items firefighters might need. When Carver saw a Baby Yoda doll in the toy section, he knew that was what he wanted to donate. He put it in a care package and wrote a note: “Thank you, firefighters. Here is a friend for you, in case you get lonely. Love, Carver.” The firefighters loved the unusual gift — and now take it with them for good luck whenever they fight a blaze. They have even started a Facebook group page showing the adventures of their Baby Yoda and have attracted more than 20,000 followers! Firefighters face a lot of stress and danger in their jobs. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about firefighters fighting a wildfire or other fire. Brainstorm a way to offer emotional or personal support for the firefighters in the story. Write a letter to the firefighters telling them why you think your idea for support could help them.
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them.
2. Making History
All over the world in the world of work, women are doing things they have never done before. They are coaching and refereeing in male professional sports, taking top jobs at major banks and getting first-ever appointments to lead cultural organizations, among other achievements. They also are making history in local communities. In the city of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, for example, five female firefighters have made history by being appointed as the first all-woman squad for the Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue unit. The women serve as a captain, a driver, a firefighter, a rescue lieutenant and a medic. “We’re breaking barriers,” Rescue Lieutenant Krystyna Heiser Krakowski told a local TV station. “We can do anything. We are capable of anything. Don’t let anyone stop you.” Women “break barriers” in the world of work in many ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a woman who is doing this. Use what you read to make a list of the skills and personal qualities this woman needed to succeed. With family or friends, discuss which of these traits you also have.
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.
3. Reward for Kindness
People often make news by helping others when they could use some help themselves. That happened in Houston, Texas recently when a cashier at a local Walgreens store helped a customer with the last $20 in her bank account. Cashier Rita Jackson Burns was working the checkout line when a local real estate agent named Rina Liou attempted to buy lightbulbs she needed for an open house event that was starting in just 30 minutes. To her shock, Liou discovered she had left her wallet at home and couldn’t figure out how to use the Apple Pay app on her cell phone. Burns stepped in and paid the $12 charge with her own bank card, even though she knew she only had $20 after paying her monthly bills, the Washington Post newspaper reported. Liou was so grateful that after paying Burns back she told the story of Burns’ help on a local Internet page. A Houston TV station picked up the story, and friends of Burns set up an Internet GoFundMe campaign called “Gratitude for Ms. Rita.” In short order, friends and others contributed more than $11,000 “to make sure Ms. Rita [always] has more than $20 in her account.” Communities are stronger when people help each other. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about people doing this in your community or state. Use what you read to design a Thank You card for the person offering help. Draw a picture for the cover and write a message that would appear on the inside of the card.
Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
4. Mining for Mastodon
Gold miners are always looking for buried treasure when they are digging beneath the ground. In the South American country of Colombia, they found some treasure but it was not the valuable precious metal. Working inside a mine in the central part of the country, they found fossil bones of a mastodon instead of gold nuggets. Mastodons were ancient relatives of today’s elephants, and experts say the bones may be more than 10,000 years old. The mine where the bones were found is being explored to see if others can be located. “More could be found,” one expert told CNN News. “These animals lived in herds. They didn’t live alone, a little like the herds of elephants we see in Africa today.” Bones can tell scientists a lot about wildlife species. In the newspaper or online, find a picture of an animal, bird or other species that is alive today. Imagine or look up what this animal’s bones look like. Write a paragraph telling what this animal’s bones would tell future scientists about how it moves and behaves.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them.
For more than 100 years, merry-go-rounds have been popular entertainments at amusement parks, spinning people round and round on wooden horses and other animals. In the Asian nation of Japan, however, an old-time merry-go-round is looking for a home. The 113-year-old El Dorado merry-go-round has been taken down and put into storage to make way for a Harry Potter theme park. And no one knows what will become of it. The El Dorado, which was built in the European nation of Germany, entertained visitors at New York City’s famous Coney Island amusement area before moving to Japan 51 years ago. Fans of merry-go-rounds — also known as carousels — hope another amusement park or recreation area will give the El Dorado a new home. Merry-go-rounds have been popular attractions at amusement parks for years and years. What attractions are popular today? In the newspaper or online, find and study a photo, story or ad for an amusement attraction you like or would like to try. Write its name down the side of a sheet of paper. Use each letter of its name to start a complete sentence or phrase telling why this attraction appeals to you.
Common Core State Standards: Organizing data using concrete objects, pictures, tallies, tables, charts, diagrams and graphs; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.