, week of
Aug. 27, 2018
1. Help for Mr. Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was one of America’s greatest presidents, but even greatness has a price. That has been the sad discovery this summer for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois. The museum is facing a deadline to pay back money it borrowed from a bank to purchase personal items of the nation’s 16th president. It needs to raise nearly $10 million to pay off the bank, and if it can’t it may have to sell prized Lincoln possessions like a beaver fur top hat and gloves Lincoln carried the night he was assassinated. The museum has launched a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money on the Internet and is seeking additional funds from private donors and the state government. It has already paid off more than half the $23 million loan it took out 11 years ago to purchase more than 1,000 Lincoln items. When organizations seek to raise money, they often send out a letter explaining why the money is needed. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an organization needing money. Use what you read to write a fundraising letter explaining why the money is needed and how every contribution can make a difference.
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.
2. What a Rescue!
Add this to the things you should NOT do while on summer vacation. A woman traveling on a cruise ship fell into the Adriatic Sea in the middle of the night, but survived after keeping herself afloat for 10 hours by kicking her feet and “treading water.” Kay Longstaff said she also sang to herself while afloat to keep herself from thinking how cold the water was. Longstaff was a passenger on the Norwegian Star cruise ship, when she fell into the water about 11:30 p.m., according to the cruise company. The ship was about 60 miles off the coast of the European nation of Croatia, and when the crew realized a woman had fallen overboard it stopped the ship and started a search. They notified the Croatian navy and coast guard, who used scientific information on wind speeds and ocean currents to figure out where Longstaff was headed. They were right, and about 9:40 a.m., she was spotted in the sea. Police, fire and emergency crews often make news by rescuing people. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a rescue. Pretend you are the person rescued and write a letter to the editor thanking your rescuers and explaining the emotions you felt after being rescued.
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. Teeny, Tiny Crime
Crime stories get a lot of attention even when they’re pretty little. But few are as little as one caught on video in New York City this summer. In a jewelry and gem store a tiny thief tried to make off with a diamond that was as big as the bandit was. That’s because the thief was an ant that was trying to drag the diamond back to its colony. Though tiny in size, ants are incredibly strong. They often carry things as big as their bodies and can carry them for great distances. They usually target food, but sometimes they tackle things that can be used in their colony or nest. It’s not known why the diamond appealed to the ant, but it was determined to have it. The LiveScience website reported it sometimes pushed the diamond ahead of it, and sometimes dragged the gem behind it. “I’ve seen ants drag things well over 100 times their mass,” marveled Helen McCreery, a biology researcher at Michigan State University. “They are very strong.” Crime stories are frequently featured in the newspaper or online. Find one that interests you and read it closely. Then draw a comic strip telling the story of the crime with the characters portrayed as animals or insects.
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. they need.
4. Power On
It has been 11 months since Puerto Rico was pounded by Hurricane Maria. But at last electric power has been restored to all but a few homes in the U.S. territory in the Caribbean Sea. The work is not over for the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, however. Many of the electric lines that were restrung quickly to get power going will have to be replaced and upgraded. “We’ve been flying helicopters all over this island for 11 months now, stringing new lines and putting new towers in,” said Michael Byrne, the federal disaster recovery coordinator for Puerto Rico. “But that was just to patch back together what was there.” Now the utility needs to upgrade the system to keep it safe from future storms. Living without electricity has been a huge challenge for the people of Puerto Rico. As a class, discuss what it would be like if your family had no electricity for a month or more. Then use the newspaper or Internet to find a picture of an indoor scene. Study the photo and write a paragraph detailing all the things that would be different of impossible if there were no electricity.
Common Core State Standards: Responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
5. Stonehenge Discovery
In the European nation of England, the rock formation known as Stonehenge has been a mystery for more than 5,000 years. Who built it and why have been ongoing questions for historians, archaeologists and other researchers. Now, however, a new scientific approach has unlocked a mystery buried underground at Stonehenge — and may help explain who created the monument. Archaeologists have long believed that the circular rock formation at Stonehenge was some kind of burial site. The new research examined human remains found in graves at the site and determined that they were not local people. Using scientific testing, researchers determined that bones that were cremated (burned) and buried there were from people who lived more than 140 miles away in the country of Wales. They may have been workers who built Stonehenge or brought its famous rocks to the site. Bluestones used to build Stonehenge are believed to have come from a quarry location in Wales. Discoveries by scientists and archaeologists often shed light on how people of the past lived or worked. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story involving a discovery about the past. Use what you read to design a poster, explaining the discovery and why it is important. Present your poster to the class.
Common Core State Standards: Integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.
Lessons & Classroom Activities
Resources by grade level