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for Grades K-4

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For Grades K-4 , week of Mar. 05, 2018

1. Far-Away Pictures

Spacecraft launched by America's NASA space agency have made thousands of discoveries in the last 50 years. Now NASA's New Horizons craft has achieved another milestone, taking photos farther from Earth than any other spacecraft. The photos come from the Kuiper Belt, a band of ice balls, rocks and comets that extends beyond the dwarf planet Pluto. The images were beamed electronically back to Earth from more than 3.79 BILLION miles away. The photos broke the record of NASA's famous Voyager 1 spacecraft, which sent a "Pale Blue Dot" image of Earth from 3.75 billion miles away in 1990. "New Horizons has long been a mission of firsts - first to explore Pluto, first to explore the Kuiper Belt, fastest spacecraft ever launched," said the mission's principal investigator. Space missions help scientists learn more about planets, stars and the solar system. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a space mission. Use what you read to design a poster explaining some of the most important things about the mission. Use images from the newspaper or Internet to illustrate your poster.

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

2. Help from NBA Star

Kevin Durant is one of the most successful players in the National Basketball League, and he wants students from his home state of Maryland to be just as successful. To do that, he has donated $10 million to establish a partnership with public schools in Prince George's County to help disadvantaged students attend college. The money donated by the Golden State Warriors star will be used to set up a 10-year College Track program to guide and support students through their education. "I want to do my part" to help students get to college and "see the world," Durant said. His College Track program will be the first on the East Coast when it opens later this year. Athletes and celebrities often give back to the community in big ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an athlete or celebrity giving back. Use what you read to write a short editorial discussing how the effort could inspire other people to help 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.

3. Rare Yellow Bird

In the world of birds, the cardinal species is famous for the bright red feathers of male birds. Now a birdwatcher in the state of Alabama has caused a buzz among birders by observing a cardinal that is bright yellow. The unusual bird was observed at a backyard bird feeder and immediately caused a sensation when a video was posted on the Internet. It's a "one in a million" bird, one expert noted. Scientists are divided about why the male bird is yellow instead of red. Some say this bird could have a defect in the way it processes foods, since male cardinals get their red color from what they eat. Other scientists say the yellow cardinal could have been caused by an odd genetic mutation in its genes. Animals make news in many unusual ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an animal in the news for an unusual reason. Use what you read to create a series of comic strips 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.

4. Great Wooden Tower

In cities all over the world skyscrapers made of glass and steel are being built taller than ever before. In the Asian city of Tokyo, there are plans to build a skyscraper that would be a record-breaker in another way. A proposed 70-story tower would be the world's tallest skyscraper made mostly out of wood. The tower would soar to a height of 1,148 feet above Japan's capital city and cost $5.6 billion to build. It will have a framework of steel for support against earthquakes, but 90 percent of its materials will be made from fire-resistant timbers and wooden materials. The skyscraper will also have "green" balconies and roof areas that will feature plantings and connect with the natural environment. People who build skyscrapers and other buildings often try new things. With a partner, use the newspaper and Internet to find stories and photos about unusual new buildings that are being built around the world. Use what you find to design a "New Buildings" website to show some buildings that interest you. Design the home page to show what buildings you would feature. Pick an image to illustrate each from the newspaper or Internet. Then write headlines and text blocks explaining what is new, interesting or unusual about each one. 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.

5. No KFC

It's hard to run a chicken restaurant if you don't have any chicken. KFC found that out recently when the fast-food company ran out of chicken for its famous meals and buckets in the European nation of Great Britain. KFC was forced to shut down hundreds of restaurants in Britain when problems in its supply system interrupted chicken deliveries. More than 800 of Britain's 900 KFC restaurants were shut down for several days, prompting KFC to take out full page newspaper ads to apologize. The problems were caused by KFC's switch to a new delivery company. Businesses often have to overcome problems to remain successful. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a business in your state or community. Use what you read and other knowledge to imagine a problem or challenge this business could face. Write a paragraph explaining how the problem could be handled so that the business could remain successful.

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.