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for Grades 5-8

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For Grades 5-8 , week of Mar. 05, 2018

1.'Plogging' for the Earth

People who want to stay physically fit are always looking for new ways to stay healthy. An approach popular in the European nation of Sweden lets people do that and help the Earth as well. The activity is called "plogging" and it combines jogging with … picking up trash! The unusual name combines the word "jogging" and the Swedish phrase "plocka upp," which means "to pick up." The goal is to bend over and collect bottles, cans and other trash while getting an exercise run. Health experts say plogging is better for people than straight jogging because the bending simulates toe-touches or squats done in exercise routines. A half hour of jogging plus picking up trash burns 288 calories, they say, compared to just 235 burned by jogging alone. "It makes me feel good for so many reasons," one plogger noted. Plogging combines two different activities in a way that helps people get exercise. In the newspaper or online, find and read about other activities that help people exercise. Think creatively and brainstorm a way to combine two activities that would allow people go get exercise in a new, fun or helpful way. Write a paragraph describing your ideas and present it to the class.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

2. Art for Action

The deadly attack on a Florida high school has prompted people all over the country to speak out against gun violence. In the California city of San Diego, an artist wants to use her art to help end it. Artist Hanna Daly wants to do a series of mural artworks that look like colorful doorways with messages that will make people think about ways to stop gun violence. "I thought it could be, like, a doorway to change," Daly told TV station KGTV. She says she hopes when people see one of her murals they will "walk away from it thinking, maybe there's a little something I can do." Among the messages she hopes to include on her doorways is one that says "'Thoughts and Prayers Aren't Enough." Art can be used in many ways to call attention to issues or problems. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a problem you think should get more attention. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for an artwork that would call attention to the problem. Draw a sketch of your artwork and share with the class. Artworks can be anything from paintings to sculptures to public displays or installations.

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.

3. Great Fossil Find

The Bears Ears National Monument in the state of Utah has been in the news a lot since President Trump reduced its protected area by 85 percent. Now it is in the news again, for a reason that has scientists buzzing. In an area where protections have just been removed, a rich field of fossils has been found that scientists think may be one of the best of its kind. The discovery includes high-quality, intact fossils of rare crocodile-like creatures known as phytosaurs, researchers announced at a fossil conference in Utah. More significantly, they said the site "may be the densest area of Triassic period fossils in the nation, maybe the world." The Triassic period took place between 199 million and 251 million years ago, before the rise of dinosaurs. Fossils tell scientists how ancient species lived and what they looked like. In the newspaper or online, find and study photos of a species that lives today. Use what you find to write a paragraph or short paper explaining what future scientists could learn by studying the appearance or fossil of this species.

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.

4. Arctic 'Heat Wave'

Global warming is having impact all over the world, and nowhere has it been more dramatic this winter than in the Arctic region near the Earth's North Pole. In February temperatures there were the warmest ever recorded during winter months, according to weather scientists, with temperatures in eastern Greenland and the central Arctic soaring well above freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit). That is well above what is normal for this time of year and, more significantly, the higher temperatures stayed for days at a time. Scientists say the Arctic's winter "heat wave" has been caused by a combination of warmer winds from storms to the south and shrinking sea ice. In the past the sea ice would cool warm winds from southern storms but because there is less sea ice due to global warming, the warmer air is spreading farther into the Arctic, scientists say. The effects of global warming are being felt all over the world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one situation in which warming has had significant effects. Use what you read to prepare a short power point presentation detailing key effects of the warming. Present your power point to the class.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; 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. Sleepy Sales Pitch

Businesses often try unusual ideas to get people interested in their products. But how about free naps? That's the pitch at the new Casper Sleep Shop mattress store in New York City. It has six mini-bedrooms where shoppers can try out the company's mattresses - and dozing off is encouraged! Up to now the Casper Sleep Shop has only sold mattresses online, letting customers try them out at home for 100 nights or send them back at no charge. Casper's New York store is its first in an actual shopping district, but it wanted to re-create the try-it-out approach of its home sales. The store bedrooms feel private and personal and customers are told "Take however long you need." "Buying a mattress or sheets or pillows is one of the most intimate purchases you'll make," says Casper co-founder Philip Krim. "You should be mentally relaxed and comfortable so you can find the right product." Businesses often try new things to get people's attention. In the newspaper or online, find and study an ad in which a business does something unusual to get attention. Use what you find to write a business column analyzing the approach, what is good about it, what is not so good and how successful you think it will be. For fun brainstorm another idea to call attention to the business.

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.