1. Amazing Animal Count
On the continent of Africa, the nation of Kenya has some of the most amazing wildlife in the world. Travelers who go “on safari” there get to see a wide range of species, including lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, giraffes, hippos, zebras, crocodiles and both black and white rhinoceroses. To better manage its wildlife, Kenya has launched a challenging effort to count all the animals that live in its 58 national parks — every single one. It’s a huge job, since more than 1,000 species live in Kenya, and many have thousands of individual animals. On top of that, Kenya has never attempted a nationwide count of wildlife before. To add up the animals, park officials will use airplanes, GPS trackers, camera “traps” that take pictures of animals when they pass by and hundreds of volunteers, CNN News reports. Officials hope to have the count completed by the end of July. When people go on safari in Kenya, they get to see wild animals in their natural habitats. If you could go on safari, what wild animals would you like to see in their habitats? In the newspaper or online, find and study photos and stories of wild animals you would like to see. Pick two and write a paragraph for each, telling how seeing them in the wild would be more interesting or educational than seeing them in a zoo. Share and discuss with family or friends.
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.
2. ‘Mental Math’ Genius
“Mental math” is a useful skill when you don’t have a computer, calculator or pencil to solve problems. Everyone uses mental math in daily life when shopping, adding up prices or counting the number of people in a crowd. Few use it as well as an 11-year-old girl in the state of Florida, however. Sanaa Hiremath of the community of Hernando set a new Guinness World Record when she calculated a 12-digit multiplication problem without using a calculator, pen or paper. Sanaa, who has autism, successfully multiplied the 12-digit number in just 10 minutes using only her brain, UPI News reported. Autism is a condition that makes it difficult for people like Sanaa to communicate with others, but when it comes to math “I don’t think she has any limitations,” her father, Uday Hiremath, said. Reading the newspaper or Internet is a great way to build mental math skills. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories that involve math or statistics. Use what you read to create three math problems your classmates could do using mental math. Do the problems yourself to make sure you know the right answers. Then exchange with friends or classmates.
Common Core State Standards: Representing and solving problems involving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
3. Community Refrigerators
Before the coronavirus emergency, more than 35-million people faced hunger every day in the United States, and now as many as 42-million live with food insecurity, according to food experts. Children are particularly hard hit, with 10-million to 13-million going hungry each day. To help feed the hungry in its community, an elementary school in the state of Tennessee found a way to make food easily available to families who need it. Cole Elementary School in the community of Antioch set up two refrigerators at the school from which families in need can get food when they need it. And students are playing a big part in keeping it stocked. A group of young girls from the “My Best Friends Club” has been working with their moms to make sure the refrigerators always have such things as eggs, milk, and frozen dinners on hand. “It made me feel really good,” said 10-year-old Maliah Barker, the group’s founder. Though the school year is coming to an end, the community refrigerators will stay open during the summer. Students at Cole Elementary School have stepped up to help families who need food in their community. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another group of students that is doing something to help the community. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor calling attention to the students’ good deed and encouraging other students to think of ways they could help people in the community.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them.
4. Old and Really Good
Phil Mickelson is just 50 years old, but he is old for professional golfer. In this year’s PGA Championship, however, he defied his age and earned a place in the history books. When he won the PGA, he became the oldest player ever to win a major championship in professional golf. Mickelson started slowly in the tournament but led the field after the second, third and final rounds, finishing six shots under par. By winning, he broke a 53-year-old record for the oldest player to win a major tournament and earned a prize of $2.16-million. A native of San Diego, California, Mickelson has won six major tournaments in his career, including three Masters titles, two PGA championships and one British Open. Older adults are staying active longer and longer and achieving success in many different activities. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an older adult achieving such success. Use what you read to write a letter to this older adult, asking three questions you would like answered about being successful at an older age.
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.
5. Learn from the Setting
Last weekend was Memorial Day Weekend, and many families went away to beaches, lakes, mountains and other special places. The location of where people go — also called “the setting” — often plays an important role in people’s activities. It also plays an important role in many news stories that you read in the newspaper or online. The setting can help readers understand the action that takes place. Scan the newspaper for a news story that interests you. On a sheet of paper, write out where the story takes place. Then write three ways the place affects what goes on in the story — or how it could affect future events. Share ideas with friends or classmates. For added fun, think of a place you have been and write out how the setting affected your experience there.
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.