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for Grades 5-8

Dec. 17, 2018
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Nov. 26, 2018
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Mar. 26, 2018
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Mar. 05, 2018

For Grades 5-8 , week of Feb. 26, 2018

1.‘Panther’ a Huge Hit

The “Black Panther” movie is finally in theaters, and it is proving an even bigger hit than had been predicted. In its opening weekend, the movie sold nearly $242 million in tickets in the United States and a total of more than $426 million around the world. Theaters had to add additional shows to accommodate the demand in many places, and experts predicted it would become one of the most popular action movies ever. Released during Black History Month, “Black Panther” features a cast that is almost entirely black and a story line that focuses on a successful, high-tech nation in Africa led by a new King, T’Challa. In many U.S. theaters, African American theater-goers dressed in traditional African costumes to celebrate the opening and their African American heritage. The popularity of “Black Panther” has disproved the long-held view in Hollywood that black oriented movies could not be widely successful. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about “Black Panther’s” groundbreaking impact on the movie world. Use what you read to write a movie review or commentary predicting what “Black Panther’s” long-term effect could be.

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.

2.Processed Food Risks

Doctors have long known that fresh foods are healthier for you than processed foods that include additives, flavorings, artificial color and preservatives. But a new medical study gives even more reason to eat healthy. According to the study, eating “ultra-processed foods” may pose a heightened risk for developing cancer later in life. “Ultra-processed foods” include such popular items as cakes and pastries, fast foods like chicken nuggets, processed meats like hot dogs, fizzy drinks and mass-produced breads like hamburger rolls. Such foods make up 60 percent of the calories in average American diets, according to recent studies, and scientists say that could be a concern for the future. “Ultra-processed fats and sauces, sugary products and drinks were associated with an increased risk of overall cancer,” the study says. People who eat a lot of “ultra-processed foods” also are more likely to have heart and circulation problems or diabetes. Eating a healthy diet is an issue that affects people of all backgrounds. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another health issue that affects a wide range of people. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a short video or film, detailing what people should know about the issue, and how they should address it.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

3.‘Cheddar Man’

In the European nation of Great Britain, 80 percent of the population is white, according to the latest statistics. But breakthrough research involving a 10,000-year-old skeleton indicates Britain may not always been the land of White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPs). Analysis of genetic DNA from the famous skeleton known as “Cheddar Man” has revealed that Britons of that early era had dark skin and curly hair. Found in a cave in the village of Cheddar, “Cheddar Man” was long believed to have had fair hair and skin. State-of-the-art DNA analysis, however, indicates he had “dark brown to black skin” and “dark curly hair,” though his eyes were blue. Scientists now believe “Cheddar Man” migrated from other parts of Europe as part of the last wave of immigrants entering Britain after the ice age. From archaeology to crime-fighting, DNA science has had great impact on fields of research and study. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a use of DNA science or analysis that is changing research or achievement in a career field. Use what you read to write a business or consumer column for the newspaper, explaining the impact DNA science is having on the field.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

4.New Spiders

For scientists who study wildlife, there are always new things to discover — even if they are millions of years old! That certainly was the case of two scientists from the Asian nation of China. Studying ancient chunks of the gemstone known as amber, they discovered a species of spider that no one had ever seen before. Trapped in the amber, the 100-million-year-old arachnids have a mix of ancient and modern features —a long, skinny tail inherited from an earlier ancestor, fierce-looking fangs and a silk-producing organ like those found in spiders today. The creatures are so small they could fit on the tip of a pen, but they have huge significance in the spider family tree. The scientists who discovered them say they are an entirely new species that may be a bridge between ancient and modern spiders. The specimens were found in the Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. They had been trapped in tree sap known as resin, which later turned into amber. The study of ancient life forms helps scientists understand how living things developed and evolved over time. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a discovery involving an ancient life form. Write a paragraph detailing why the discovery is important to scientists.

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.

5.Anime Masterpieces

Anime cartoons are popular with kids all over the world, but Japanese artist Keita Sagaki is doing something new with anime that appeals to all ages. Sagaki re-creates famous works of art using tiny anime cartoon figures instead of brush strokes. The completed works look like pen-and-ink drawings of the originals, but when you look closely at his versions you see that every section is actually a collection of cartoons that re-create the lines, shapes and shadows of the artwork. Since starting this unusual use of anime (pronounced AN-i-may), Sagaki has won a wide following for re-creating works like Leonardo da Vinci's “Mona Lisa.” A closeup look at his version reveals a drawing of a dog on the Mona Lisa’s cheekbone, a smiling cat at the end of her nose and the planet Saturn on her forehead. Keita Sagaki uses anime art to re-interpret familiar artworks. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story that interests you. Then think like an artist, and interpret the facts of the story or situation as a work of art. Your interpretation can be anime style or not. Share and discuss as a class.

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.