Activities  Home  K-4  5-8  9-12   Geo Quiz   Vocabulary Quiz   NewsVideo   Cartoons   Talking Points  Science Webcast 

Additional Resources for Your Classroom

Find over 300 resources that include teacher guides, student supplements, teacher training modules and so much more.

Click here to access instructional material

For Grades 5-8 , week of June 27, 2016

1. Lionfish Targeted

The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission has launched a statewide hunting competition to encourage divers to capture, kill and eat lionfish, which have invaded the western Atlantic Ocean and gobbled up native fish species. Whoever captures the most by September 30 will be awarded the title of Lionfish King or Queen. Lionfish are native to the South Pacific and Indian Oceans, but since entering the waters of the Atlantic they have threatened fish, coral reefs and marine ecosystems from Brazil in South America to North Carolina in the United States. Known for bright stripes and spiky, venomous “fin rays,” the lionfish are multiplying rapidly. In just one weekend this year, more than 14,000 were captured in Florida waters, about five times more than during the same weekend last year. To encourage divers to hunt lionfish, the Whole Foods grocery chain has begun selling fresh lionfish in the seafood departments of its Florida stores. Employees have been trained to remove the venomous spikes, leaving white fish meat that can be cooked like any other fish. Lionfish are an invasive species that is threatening native species in the Atlantic Ocean. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about other invasive species and the effects they are having. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a short video or film examining one invasive species. Write an outline for your video, including images you would use. Then write the first scene in the form of a movie screenplay.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

2. Big Ben to Take Break

In the city of London, England, the famous Big Ben clock and bell have been a local landmark for more than 150 years. But starting early next year, Londoners will have to learn to live without the clock’s familiar “bong” sounds. The bell will fall silent for “several months” while the clock and bell tower undergo “urgent” repairs, the British Parliament has announced. Repairs on the clock and bell are part of a larger project to renovate the Palace of Westminster, where the clock is located. Big Ben is located in the 315-foot Elizabeth Tower at the palace, and the tower will be covered in scaffolding for as long as three years. At least one of the clock’s four faces will be visible at any given time, however, and it will still chime for major events, officials said. The Palace of Westminster is where England’s Parliament meets to vote on government policies. Big Ben and its tower are an important landmark in London. What buildings are landmarks in your community or state? In the newspaper or online, find and read a story about a building that is famous as a local landmark, or study a photo of it. Use what you read or study to write a paragraph describing why the building is important to the community and how people feel about 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 or speaking to support conclusions.

3. Computer Vision Syndrome

Up to 70 million people worldwide are at risk for “computer vision syndrome” from overusing their computers, according to a study reported in the journal called Medical Practice and Review. One symptom is a burning of the eyes that makes it difficult to continue at the computer, but abates after the eyes are rested. The researchers say the people most at risk are professionals such as accountants and bankers, students and the millions of children and adolescents who spend hours playing computer games. Computer overuse can also lead to non-vision problems such as chronic headaches and neck and back pain, researchers note. Overuse of computers can have physical effects on people. So can overuse of other products, over-consumption of some foods or beverages or overdoing it with some activities. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read about a product, food or activity that could have negative effects on people if overdone. Use what you read to write an advice column for the newspaper, outlining risks and offering ways to avoid bad effects.

Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

4. ‘Out of Fuel’ Car Wins

A 24-year-old American rookie stretched his fuel mileage to the absolute limit to win the 2016 Indianapolis 500 auto race. After telling his pit crew “I’m out of fuel, guys,” Alexander Rossi had to have his Honda-powered IndyCar topped off with fuel before it could make it to the victory circle. Rossi was running last at one point in the early going of the race, but gradually pulled ahead of the other 32 cars around the two-and-a-half-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway track. Alexander Rossi’s win in the Indianapolis 500 was an outstanding — and unusual — achievement in sports. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read about another outstanding and unusual achievement by an athlete. Write the words “SO UNUSUAL” down the side of a sheet of paper. Then use each letter of the words to begin a complete sentence describing the athlete’s unusual achievement.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

5. Lightning Hits 11 at Party

Lightning struck a children’s birthday party in a park in Paris, France, recently, injuring eight kids and three adults during a sudden storm. An off-duty firefighter who was visiting a nearby museum is credited with getting medical help to the victims. Six of those hit by the bolt were seriously injured, but “it would have been much worse” had Pascal Gremillet not happened on the scene, fire officials said. After “a quick triage” assessment of the situation, Gremillet offered first aid to the victims and alerted medical services. Sudden storms are often in the news. In the newspaper or online, read a story about a sudden storm and the effects it had. Then use what you read to create a public service ad for the newspaper, outlining key things people should know and do to stay safe in such a storm. Use images from the newspaper or Internet to illustrate your ad, if you like.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.