, week of
Feb. 05, 2018
1. Who's Your Mummy?
A female mummy discovered in a church in 1975 has been identified in the European nation of Switzerland. It appears she has a famous descendant living today. The mummy has been identified through scientific testing as Anna Catharina Bischoff, an 18th century minister's wife who died helping the sick. Genetic DNA from the mummy indicates her present-day relatives include a top government official in the nation of Great Britain - Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Johnson, who is in charge of Britain's relations with other countries, said he was "very excited to hear about my late great grand 'mummy.' Very proud." Studying mummies gives scientists information about how people looked and lived and how healthy they were. It also helps scientists understand the places where mummies lived. In the newspaper or online, find and study a photo of a person living their life today. Pretend the person in the picture has been found as a mummy in the future. Write a paragraph or two describing what future scientists could learn about the person's life, lifestyle and surroundings from what you see in the photo. Discuss as a class.
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. King James
Ever since he went directly from high school to the NBA, LeBron James has been one of the top stars in pro basketball. He has won three NBA championships and four MVP awards, and two weeks ago he achieved another honor. In a game against the San Antonio Spurs, he scored the 30,000th point of his pro career, joining just six others who have reached that milestone. Even more impressive was the fact he reached the scoring mark at a younger age than any other NBA star. At age 33, James was more than a year younger than Kobe Bryant was when he hit 30,000 points. Lebron James has achieved success year after year over a long period of time. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another person who has achieved success for a long time. Use what you read to present an oral report to the class, describing what skills and character qualities the person needed to be successful for so long.
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. Fiona Is One!
As zoo animals go, few are as famous as Fiona the hippo. Born six weeks early at just 29 pounds, she not only survived her slow start but became an Internet celebrity at the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio. Fiona turned one on January 24, and she's still a hugely popular attraction, both at the zoo and online. On her birthday, the zoo threw a party at which she got to feast on a giant pile of tropical fruits while fans took pictures. But at more than 650 pounds, she's no longer the cuddly baby people fell in love with online. She will eventually grow to 3,000 pounds, and zookeepers know they have to respect her size and strength. They also have to respect the reputation of hippos as animals that can be dangerous to people and other animals. In zoos or in natural surroundings, wild animals should be respected by people so that neither people or the animals are harmed. With a partner, read stories in the newspaper and Internet about wild animals that people should be careful around. Use what you read to design a website for the Internet titled "Wild Animals to Respect." Design the home page to show what animals you would feature. Pick an image from the newspaper or Internet to illustrate each category. Then write headlines and text blocks for each category. Share with the class.
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.
4. What a Winner
All over the world, people buy tickets in lottery games for a chance to win big cash prizes. In the state of California, a man has achieved something few do. He has won big money twice - 21 years apart. This month 66-year-old Lino Fabela won a $2 million prize in the California Lottery. He said he "almost fainted" when he learned the size of his prize, particularly since he had won before. In 1987, he won a $250,000 jackpot, also in the California lottery. Fabela said he plans to use his prize money to help his daughters buy homes. When people win lottery prizes, they often choose to help other people, special programs or the community with their winnings. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read about a person, program or group you would like to help if you won a lottery prize. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor describing why you would help this person, program or group, and what you would hope to achieve. Discuss ideas as a class.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
5. Whoooo's Getting Help?
It's often said that being in the right place at the right time can help people succeed. So can having the right skills for a challenge. That certainly was the case for a Natural Resources police officer in the state of Maryland, and an injured owl benefited as a result. When a big barred owl was injured at rush hour on a busy highway in the town of Hanover, Corporal Mike Lathroum was one of the first to respond. That was a good piece of luck for the injured owl, which had apparently been hit by a car and was grounded on the highway's slow lane. Lathroum's hobby is bird watching, and he knew just what to do when he saw the injured owl. The bird was in a classic defense display "where it will spread its wings out to the sides to make itself appear larger," Lathroum said. That's pretty large, since barred owls have a wingspan four feet wide. The officer put his jacket over the owl to calm it down and to gain control of its feet so it could be taken to a shelter. "Once you have the feet, you have control of the bird," he said. The owl had no broken bones and was expected to recover, the shelter said. People help animals and other people in many ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone providing help to animals or another person. Use what you read to write a short editorial for the newspaper, explaining how this person's actions could inspire others in the community.
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.
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