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for Grades K-4

Sep. 17, 2018
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For Grades K-4 , week of Jan. 01, 2018

1. Back to the Moon

Humans have not set foot on the Earth’s moon in 45 years, but President Trump wants to change that. He has authorized the head of America’s NASA space agency to plan space missions “back to the moon, and eventually to Mars.” There is no timetable for when such missions might take place, but they would be different from previous missions in a big way. The President wants to involve private space companies as partners, rather than have the missions run only by the government. The last time Americans landed on the moon was the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. Astronauts spent three days on the moon’s surface then as part of a 12-day mission. NASA space missions provide valuable information to scientists. Use the newspaper or the NASA website www.nasa.gov to find and closely read a story about one of these missions. Use what you read to write a paragraph explaining the most important discoveries the mission has made. Draw a picture to go with your paragraph.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.

2. Amazing Kindness

People often talk about how acts of kindness can change people’s lives. A firefighter in Pennsylvania discovered that last month after losing his home to a house fire. A complete stranger came forward and gave him a house to live in until he decided what he and his family were going to do. The family of firefighter J.J. Lyons was left homeless in early December when their home was destroyed by a fire. “We had no idea what we were going to do or where we were going to go,” Lyons said. Until Joe Miller stepped in. He was trying to sell his mother’s house after she had passed away. Instead, he donated it to the Lyons family to use until they could get back on their feet. “I told J.J. that we can't bring his house back … but we could help him this way,” Miller said. Lyons, his wife Jessica and their 5-year-old daughter Jilline were able to settle in right before the holidays. Acts of kindness are often in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone doing something kind for others. Use what you read to write a short editorial telling how this person’s kindness could be a positive model for others.

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.

3. Giant Penguin

Among all the birds on Earth, penguins are among the toughest. They can’t fly, but they are great swimmers and can survive in the brutally cold climate of Antarctica and the Earth’s South Pole. As tough as today’s penguins are, they would have been no match for the penguins that lived in ancient times. A fossil discovered in the Southern Pacific Ocean nation of New Zealand indicates that some ancient penguins were nearly 6 feet tall and weighed more than 220 pounds! The fossil penguin would have dwarfed today’s biggest penguin — the emperor, which is about 4 feet tall and weighs about 55 pounds. The fossil skeleton is estimated to be between 59.5 million and 55 million years old. That would make it one of the oldest known giant penguins. Scientists study fossils to learn about the habits, skills and appearance of ancient creatures. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a recent fossil discovery. Use what you read to prepare an oral report detailing what the fossil discovery has taught scientists about the ancient species.

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.

4. Rare Heart Operation

A baby born in the European nation of Great Britain made history last month when she was less than three weeks old. She survived three surgeries to put her heart back inside her body. Vanellope Hope Wilkins was born with a rare condition in which her heart formed outside her body. It was beating properly and she was otherwise healthy, so doctors and her parents decided to take the risk to re-locate the heart to its proper position inside her chest. It took three operations, but Vanellope is now on the way to recovery. She is the first baby to survive the operation in the history of Great Britain. Health issues and achievements in medicine are often in the news. As a class, find and closely read a story about an important medical issue or achievement. Use what you read to create a poster explaining the most important points about this achievement or issue. Give your poster an eye-catching title.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

5. Some Pig!

Celebrities come in many forms, but nobody could have predicted the rise of Esther the Wonder Pig. She weighs 650 pounds and dresses in costumes. She has become an Internet star, with more than 1.5 million followers on social media. She has become so popular that her followers contributed nearly half a million dollars to create an animal sanctuary for her and other animals. All because two men in Ontario, Canada thought it would be fun to have a pig as a pet. Of course, Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter didn’t expect Esther to grow up to be 650 pounds. She was supposed to be a miniature pig and live in the house. She does live in the house, but after she hit 450 pounds her owners knew they needed a new home. With the help of followers on Esther’s website, they raised money to start an animal sanctuary. They named it the Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary (www.estherthewonderpig.com). Animal stories are popular in the newspaper or online, especially if they have happy endings. With the newspaper or Internet, find and closely read an animal story that has a positive message or happy ending. Use what you read to draw a chapter of a comic book, showing this animal in action.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.