1. Historic Launch
For the first time in nearly 10 years, America’s NASA space agency is going to launch a team of astronauts from U.S. soil. And for the first time, it is working with a private company to do it. If all goes according to plan, NASA will launch two astronauts on May 27 aboard a spacecraft and rocket created by the private SpaceX company of California. SpaceX has successfully flown missions delivering cargo and supplies to the International Space Station, but this will be the first time it will transport astronauts. For this historic mission, NASA has chosen veteran astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to pilot the craft. Both have been to space many times, and both are former military test pilots. Each is also married to an astronaut in the U.S. space program. Since the last launch from U.S. soil, American astronauts have traveled on Russian spacecraft to missions aboard the International Space Station orbiting above the Earth. Space missions give scientists new information about space and the way humans react to living in space. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a mission that is doing this. Use what you read to prepare a short oral report for family or friends telling what the mission is teaching scientists.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; citing textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
2. Story Time with Michelle
When she was First Lady, Michelle Obama focused a lot of energy on improving the lives of kids. As the nation battles the coronavirus, she is still doing it. Mrs. Obama has launched a weekly online story time to entertain kids while they are isolated at home and to encourage them to read. Called “Mondays with Michelle Obama,” the story time series features the former First Lady reading favorite children’s books and giving kids an opportunity to practice their own reading skills. The first book in the series was “The Gruffalo” and the featured book this Monday will be “There's a Dragon in Your Book.” In the next two weeks the featured books will be “Miss Maple's Seeds” and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” “As a little kid, I loved to read aloud,” Mrs. Obama said when announcing the program. “And when I became a parent, I found [m]uch joy in sharing the magic of storytelling with my own children.” The former First Lady’s story time can be viewed Mondays at noon on the Facebook pages of PBS Kids and Penguin Random House. Reading aloud builds skills and improves vocabulary. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a children’s book you would like Michelle Obama to read aloud. Or pick a book you have read and liked. Write a personal letter to her, asking her to read your book and telling her why students your age would enjoy it.
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. Hero for Health
It pays to stay physically fit. And it pays off big time if you’re 99 and decide to walk to raise money to fight the coronavirus. A 99-year-old military veteran in the European nation of England raised more than $33-million for England’s health care system by walking in his garden. Captain Tom Moore became an English hero when he announced he would raise funds for the health system by walking the 82-foot length of his garden back and forth 100 times, using his walker for support. He did 10 laps at a time and hoped to complete the 100 laps by his 100th birthday April 30 and raise 1,000 pounds (nearly $1,250). When the BBC television network live-streamed his effort, his popularity took off and the money started pouring in. in just a day he raised $8,750 and days after that donations had jumped to $1.25-million. By the time he hit his goal of 100 laps he had raised $15-million and the donations kept coming. In the days after he finished donations almost doubled, topping $33-million for the health care system. People all over the world are doing things on their own to help doctors and hospitals fight the coronavirus. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone doing this. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor telling what this person has done and how it could inspire others. With family or friends, brainstorm ways you or your family could help doctors or patients.
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
4. Animals on the Move
With people staying inside due to the coronavirus, a new kind of life is being seen on streets, in parks and in public spaces. Wildlife. With no people around, wild animals have become bolder in their movements and activities all over the world. Lions now lie in the middle of a usually busy road in the nation of South Africa. Bears are making themselves at home around ranger stations at Yosemite National Park in the United States. Crocodiles are lying in the sun on beaches in Mexico. Wild goats have been roaming the streets in the European nation of Wales, and jackals have appeared at a park in the Middle East city of Tel Aviv, Israel. Wildlife experts say the absence of human activity has emboldened wild animals to explore human spaces. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about this happening. Use what you read to write a short editorial offering animal safety tips for when humans return to those spaces.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
5. Fishy Drone Fun
Small drone aircraft are becoming more and more popular for taking photos and other tasks. In the southern Pacific nation of Australia, one was used to relieve the boredom of staying at home during the coronavirus emergency. Twenty-nine-year-old Sam Romeo of the city of Sydney attached a hook and line to his drone and went fishing. And he even caught a fish without leaving his house. It took 30 minutes and two battery changes, but Romeo caught a whiting fish on his line. He had to throw it back, however, because it was undersize. “It wasn't as relaxing as real fishing because the drone battery only lasts 20 minutes,” he said, and it’s “always in the back of your mind” that the battery could die and the drone could fall in the water. Drones are growing in popularity for a variety of uses. In the newspaper or online find and closely read a story about someone using a drone in a new way. Write a paragraph telling how the drone allowed the person to do something he/she could not do before. Then write a paragraph explaining something you would like to do with a drone — and why.
Common Core State Standards: Citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions; 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.