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For Grades K-4 , week of July 31, 2017

1.A Boy Finds a Fossil!

A 9-year-old boy hiking with his family tripped on a rock and fell down in the New Mexico desert last year. When he got up, he realized he had stumbled on a fossil skull dating back to prehistoric times. Jude Sparks immediately noticed two large, fossilized teeth sticking out, and a little way off was what looked like a tusk. Jude’s parents took pictures of the fossil, and emailed them to a biologist at New Mexico State University. When he saw them, he rushed to the site and determined the skull was from a Stegomastodon, an ancient relative of elephants that lived 1.2 million years ago. With the help of the Sparks family, biologist Peter Houde dug up the fossil, and preserved it for study. Stegomastodons had two enormous tusks and stood nearly nine feet tall. Fossils show scientists what ancient wildlife species looked like and give clues about how they lived. What would a fossil of a species from today tell future scientists? Find a photo or story about a wildlife species in the newspaper or online. Imagine this animal became a fossil. Write a paragraph describing what future scientists could learn from this fossil about the look and lifestyle of this species.

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.Skate Park for Detroit

Tony Hawk is one of the most popular stars of the skateboarding world. And now he’s a hero to Detroit skateboarders for helping bring a new skate park to the downtown section of the city. The skate park is scheduled to open to the public August 16 and will stay open until January, before moving to another location. Hawk helped design the skate park, which is being built by the Modern Skate and Surf skate shop. It's “exciting to see the skate scene continue to thrive in Detroit,” Hawk said. Facilities like skate parks give people places to get together, get exercise and have fun. With family and friends, talk about other facilities you would like to see built in your community. Write a letter to the editor of the newspaper describing one facility and why you think it is needed.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

3. Blobs and More Blobs

In the European nation of France, people living on the Opal Coast next to the ocean got some unwelcome visitors not long ago. Strange and mysterious yellow blobs washed in from the sea along about 20 miles of beaches. Nobody knew what they were at first, though they were described as “spongelike clumps” and — even more disgustingly — “possibly the biggest balls of earwax ever.” They felt like packing foam or unbaked cooking dough. After samples were sent to researchers, the blobs were revealed to be paraffin wax, a substance that officials said did not pose a danger to humans, plants or wildlife. Officials said they believed the wax had come from a cargo ship that cleaned the material from its storage areas and dumped it into the ocean too close to shore. All over the world people are battling trash or pollution. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one effort. Use what you read to draw a series of comic strips showing ways people are dealing with this pollution problem.

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;

4.Water Inside Moon?

In terms of space distances, the Earth’s moon is fairly close to our planet. So why doesn’t it have water that could support life as the Earth does? According to new research, the moon may have a fair amount of water, but it is buried deep below the surface. In a study released by scientists from Brown University, researchers say they have found evidence of water trapped in “glass beads” in ancient rocks that volcanoes spewed across the surface of the moon. Since the evidence was found in almost all samples viewed in satellite images, they concluded “the bulk interior of the moon” is wet. “It’s more water than previously recognized,” said Ralph Milliken, lead author of the research. Water is necessary for all forms of life. Scientists study the moon, the planets and stars to learn more about the universe and our solar system. With family or friends, use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read a story about a space mission that is giving scientists new information about stars, moons or planets. Use what you read to design a poster, showing the most important findings of the mission. Give your poster an eye-catching headline.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

5.Girl Is a Target

In the European city of London, England, a 5-year-old girl got a lesson in local government that she won’t soon forget. When the Lovebox Music Festival opened near her home, the girl got what she thought was the great idea to sell people lemonade as they walked to the festival area. “She just wanted to put a smile on people's faces,” said her father Andre Spicer, a professor at a nearby business school. Local officials, however, said “not so fast.” Four local council officers approached the girl, told her she was breaking the law and gave her a $200 fine for not having a food permit. When her dad wrote about it in a local newspaper, council officials found that the community was outraged at how the girl was treated. They quickly backtracked, canceling the fine and sending the girl and her family an apology. “We are very sorry that this has happened,” they said. “We expect our enforcement officers to show common sense and to use their powers sensibly. This clearly did not happen.” Kids often make news by coming up with interesting ideas or projects. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a young person doing something unusual or useful. Write the person’s name down the side of a sheet of paper. Use each letter to start a phrase or sentence describing how the person’s actions are unusual, useful or interesting.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; organizing data using concrete objects, pictures, tallies, tables, charts, diagrams and graphs.