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Lessons for

Grades 1-4
Grades 9-12

Past lessons
for Grades 5-8

Oct. 21, 2019
Oct. 14, 2019
Oct. 07, 2019
Sep. 30, 2019
Sep. 23, 2019
Sep. 16, 2019
Sep. 09, 2019
Sep. 02, 2019
Aug. 26, 2019
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Mar. 25, 2019
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Feb. 25, 2019
Feb. 18, 2019
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Feb. 04, 2019
Jan. 28, 2019
Jan. 21, 2019
Jan. 14, 2019

For Grades 5-8 , week of Oct. 21, 2019

1. Top Halloween Candies

Halloween is less than two weeks away, and that means people are thinking about candy. So what are the favorites this Halloween season? According to a poll of adults taken by Monmouth University, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are America's favorite Halloween candy. Snickers finished in second place in the poll, followed by M&Ms. Monmouth researchers polled more than 1,100 adults 18 and older to determine which of the nation’s eight top-selling candies were most popular this year. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were the favorite of 36 percent, while 18 percent liked Snickers and 11 percent supported M&Ms. Other candies in the poll were Hershey bars, Skittles, Starbursts, Tootsie Pops and candy corn. “Candy corn even making the list may surprise some people, but it is one of the top-selling Halloween candies in the country,” said the director of the poll. Polls measure public opinion by questioning people who represent a “sample” of the population. Generally, the bigger the sample, the more accurate the poll will be. In the newspaper or online find and closely read a story about a poll. Write a summary of the results and what they show about people’s opinions. Then conduct a poll of your own. Ask the students in your class and others to name their top three favorite Halloween candies. Add up the results and write a summary of your findings.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; representing and solving problems involving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

2. A ‘3D’ Boat The process known as “3D printing” got its start (and name) from the use of inkjet printers to make three-dimensional items layer by layer. It is widely used in medicine and technology fields, and now it has been used to create a boat. And not just any boat: The largest boat ever created using 3D printing. The milestone boat was built by the University of Maine with what is currently the world’s largest polymer 3D printer. The printer is 70 feet long, and it was able to create a boat that has a length of 25 feet and weight of 5,000 pounds. The boat was created in one solid piece during a nonstop printing over 72 hours. It was named 3Dirigo, which plays off Maine’s state motto of “Dirigo,” which means “I lead” in the ancient Latin language. The growing use of “3D printing” in different fields is an example of technology being used in new ways to help people. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another new use of technology. Use what you read to prepare a short oral report detailing how the technology is being used and why that is an improvement for people who are using it.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

3. Saintly Support

When pro football’s New Orleans Saints played the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this month, they got an unexpected boost of support from Pope Francis and the Internet. It wasn’t intentional, but the Saints players were happy to accept it. On the Sunday of the Saints’ game, the Pope had shared a Twitter message honoring five new saints recognized by the Roman Catholic Church. “Today we give thanks to the Lord for our new #Saints,” he declared. Due to the programming of Twitter, however, putting the hashtag mark (#) ahead of the word “Saints” automatically added the logo of the football Saints to the message. The Twitter support from the Pope apparently paid off; the Saints defeated the Jaguars 13-6 and declared themselves #Blessed. The programs and algorithms of social media sites like Twitter often fill in information automatically or “autocorrect” things people type. Sometimes this is helpful, but sometimes (as in the case of Pope Francis) it is not. As a class discuss your experiences with social media automatically supplying or correcting information. Then use the newspaper or Internet to read stories about this practice. Finish by writing a consumer column offering tips for making sure your social media posts say what you want them to say.

Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

4. Targeting Sugary Drinks

Around the world, there is growing concern about the number of people who are overweight or extremely overweight (obese). Overweight people are at a higher risk for heart attacks, strokes and diseases like diabetes, and many of those problems are tied to the consumption of sugary drinks like sodas and juices. To reduce the appeal of sugary drinks, the Southeast Asian nation of Singapore is about to become the first country to ban all ads for drinks that are high in sugar. The ban, which is due to be implemented next year, will apply to sodas, soft drinks, juices, yogurt drinks and even instant coffee, government health officials have announced. The ban is part of Singapore’s wider “war on diabetes,” which seeks to reduce the number of people affected by Type 2 diabetes. According to the World Health Organization, people who drink one to two cans of sugary drinks a day are 26% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those who rarely drink them. Public health issues are often in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a public health issue getting attention in the United States or another nation. Use what you read to write a short editorial, examining the issue, why it is important, what is being done about it, or what could be done.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

5. ‘Frankenfish’

The fish known as the snakehead is something that would be right at home in a horror movie. It has a big jaw, lots of teeth and slimy skin, and it can breathe out of water and crawl on land like a snake. It is an invasive species of the worst kind, devouring native fish like bass and sunfish and disrupting ecosystems and the balance of nature. Since 2002 snakeheads have turned up in 15 states, and last week several were discovered in the state of Georgia. One of them was two-feet long, alarming wildlife officials who fear they could take over local waterways. They urged anyone finding a snakehead to “kill it immediately” — and then freeze it to make sure it is dead. Just before Halloween, the Georgia discovery reminded everyone why snakeheads have been nicknamed “Frankenfish.” Snakeheads are an invasive species that can disrupt or damage habitats or the environment. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another invasive species that is causing problems. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor outlining the risks posed by the invasive species and what could be done to combat it.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing.