1. Paddington and the Queen
In the European nation of England, Paddington Bear is one of the most popular characters in children’s books. So it was a delightful surprise for families and children when Paddington showed up to help England’s most popular queen celebrate 70 years on the throne. This month Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 70th anniversary as head of England’s Royal Family with ceremonies and events marking her “Platinum Jubilee.” As part of the festivities, the 96-year-old Queen sat down to have “tea” with Paddington at the royal palace and revealed that they both love marmalade jam sandwiches. In a filmed comedy sketch shown at a party hosted by BBC news, the Queen and Paddington settle in for a quiet afternoon tea until the accident-prone Paddington sends the teapot flying. “Perhaps you’d like a marmalade sandwich,” the bear says to the Queen. “I always keep one for emergencies.” “So do I,” confides the Queen with perfect comic timing. “I keep mine in here,” she adds, as she lifts a sandwich out of her handbag. “For later.” Paddington is a bear, but he has adventures much like those human children would have. In the newspaper or online, pick an animal you like or would like to be. Brainstorm an adventure this animal could have if it behaved like Paddington. Create a comic book showing your animal having this adventure. Draw the opening page of your comic book and share with the class.
Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events.
2. Space Pioneer
Private space companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin have opened the doors for space travel to a wider range of people. On the latest Blue Origin flight this spring, another milestone was achieved. Katya Echazarreta, an engineer and science communicator, became the first Mexican-born woman ever to travel into space. Echazarreta was selected for the Blue Origin flight by a nonprofit organization called Space for Humanity, whose goal is to send “exceptional leaders” to space. The 26-year-old Echazarreta is certainly that. She currently is working on a master’s degree in engineering from the famed Johns Hopkins University and she previously worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of America’s NASA space agency. She also boasts a following of more than 330,000 users on the TikTok social media site and is working to get more people of color involved in engineering and space careers. She came with her family to the United States from Guadalajara, Mexico when she was just 7 years old and didn’t speak English, CNN News reports. When she was 17 and 18, she supported her family by working at McDonald’s. Today, Katya Echazarreta is encouraing girls, women and people of color to pursue careers in science, space or engineering. In the newspaper or online find and closely read a story about a career in one of these fields. Use what you read to create a “Help Wanted” ad for the newspaper or Internet telling how girls or people of color could benefit by pursuing this career.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.
3. Young and Climbing High
Many kids enjoy doing special or unusual things with moms, dads, grandparents or other relatives. In the western state of Colorado, an 8-year-old boy gets to have outdoor adventures with his dad — by climbing mountains. Sam Baker and his dad Joe have been climbing mountain cliffs together for the last several years, and this spring they mastered a 1,200-foot cliff called the Moonlight Buttress at Zion National Park in the nearby state of Utah. The climb, which takes one to two days, rises straight up from the ground and requires strength, skill and great concentration. Climbers sleep on platforms dangling or hanging off the cliff and have to overcome any fear of heights they might have. Joe, who has three sons, said it has been incredibly rewarding seeing how Sam has grown by climbing. “I see this tremendous inner confidence forming in Sam,” he told Denver’s ABC7 TV. “I couldn't give it to him. … He has to kind of discover it.” Later this year Sam and his dad are planning to climb the 3,000-foot El Capitan cliff in Yosemite National Park in the state of California. At a very young age, Sam Baker has been having adventures with his dad climbing mountains. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an adventure you would like to have. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend inviting him or her to join you on this adventure. Be sure to tell why it would be fun or exciting.
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.
4. A Money Reward
People often dream of finding hidden treasure — and sometimes they actually do! In the state of California, a woman moving into a new house to be near her grandchildren found unexpected riches when she acquired furniture that was being given away for free on the Internet. Vicky Umodu had just moved into a new house in the Southern California city of Colton when she spotted an ad for the furniture on the Craigslist website. She collected several pieces that she needed, including an oversized armchair, the Washington Post newspaper reported. But something about the seat cushion felt strange to her, so she unzipped it to see why. The answer totally surprised her. Inside were envelopes stuffed with money — lots and lots of money in $100, $50 and $20 bills. When she added it all up it totaled more than $36,000 in cash. Though she could have used the money, “I knew I couldn’t keep it,” she said. “I knew I had to give it back.” She contacted the man who had given her the furniture and told him she had some very good news for him. He couldn’t believe she would return the money. “Not everyone would do that,” he said. To reward Umodu’s honesty, he gave her $2,200 from the found money to do with as she wished. She used it to buy a new refrigerator for her home. People often make news by “doing the right thing.” In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one person doing this. Write a short editorial for the newspaper telling why this person’s actions could be a role model for others. Then talk with family or friends about a time you or someone you know did the right thing.
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; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
5. Chocolate Rescue
Emergency rescue crews often have to deal with unusual situations. But few have to handle an emergency that looked like a scene from the movie “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Yet that’s what a crew in south central Pennsylvania had to do when they were called for assistance last week. Two workers had fallen into a vat of chocolate at an M&M factory and they couldn’t get out. At first, rescuers thought they could just pull the workers out, but that approach didn’t work. So they turned to Plan B: Cutting a hole in the side of the tank to drag the employees out of the mixture. The workers were transported to local hospitals, one by ambulance and one by helicopter. They did not have life-threatening injuries, officials said. It was not immediately clear how they fell into the chocolate tank at the Mars/M&M factory. Emergency rescue crews often have to rescue people in unusual situations. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one such rescue. Use what you read to write a paragraph detailing what special skills and equipment they needed to perform the rescue.
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing.