For Grades K-4 , week of Aug. 03, 2020

1. Get Ready for Jobs!

How early should students start thinking about jobs they might have in the future? In the province of Ontario in Canada, the answer is FIRST GRADE. Starting this fall, students as young as first grade will be taught skills for computer coding and financial literacy, and the instruction will continue through Grade 8. The new lessons will also focus on connecting math to everyday life by promoting “critical skills that will help our students prepare for and succeed in the modern world and in the modern workforce,” said provincial Premier Doug Ford, Ontario's head of government. Computer and financial money skills are important for many jobs today and will be even more important in the future. In the newspaper or online, find or read about three jobs that require computer skills and three that require financial or money skills. For each job, write a complete sentence stating why computer or money skills are important to it. Finish by discussing jobs you might like to have with family or friends.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

2. Whales on the Move

Baleen whales are among the largest mammals on Earth, and they travel great distances to feed and breed. But their movements are changing due to global warming, according to a new scientific study. Baleens in the Atlantic Ocean are moving farther north because warmer waters to the south are making food harder to find. Baleens like the humpback and great blue whale feed on shrimp-like creatures called krill, on tiny fish, and on plankton, which they filter from sea water by bony structures in their mouths called baleen. They do not have teeth and cannot bite their food as toothed whales like sperm whales, dolphins and porpoises do. For centuries baleen whales fed in the area off the state of Maine but that area of the Atlantic Ocean is now warming faster than 99 percent of other oceans. That has reduced the amount of krill and forced the baleens farther north in search of food. Global warming is affecting wildlife and habitats all around the world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a wildlife species that is being affected. Use what you read to draw a picture showing how the species is being affected. Draw a second picture showing how people could help this species.

Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them.

3. Spend Those Coins!

Everybody loves a treasure hunt and the U.S. Mint is looking for a special kind. The Mint, which makes America’s money, is looking for the pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters Americans may have lying around the house. There’s a shortage, the Mint says, because of the coronavirus epidemic. People are hanging on to their coins because they aren’t getting out as much to shop, or are shopping online with credit cards. The Mint would like people to spend those coins, or turn them in at banks or places that give you paper money in return. “The coin supply problem can be solved with each of us doing our part,” the Mint said when asking the public to help. “… The whole system has kind of come to a stop.” You can practice shopping with coins with the ads you find in the newspaper or online. Locate ads for three products that cost less than $20. For each, figure out how many quarters, dimes, nickels or pennies it would take to buy the item at the listed price. Try to pay with the fewest number of coins. Then figure out how many coins it would take to buy each item if you had no quarters.

Common Core State Standards: Solving word problems involving dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies; representing and solving problems involving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

4. ‘Mini-Me’ Student Dolls

With schools shut down due to the coronavirus, students all over the world have been missing their friends and classmates. Teachers also miss their students, and one in the European nation of the Netherlands did something extra special to show her students how much. Miss Ingeborg Meinster-Van der Duin, who teaches primary (elementary) school in the city of Haarlem, knitted 23 dolls representing each of her students. Each knitted doll was given clothing showing each student’s style and personality, and the teacher even included glasses, hair bows and other things the students would wear. “I miss them so much,” the creative Dutch teacher said. And the kids? They were delighted to get “mini-me” versions of themselves when they returned to school to get their possessions. The teacher in the Netherlands did something special to show how much she missed her students. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read other stories about people doing special things for students. Then do something special yourself. Write personal letters to one or two classmates (or your teacher) telling them how much you miss them — and why.

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.

5. Amazing Jenga Stack

Jenga is a game of skill and strategy. It challenges players to remove rectangular blocks from a tower and restack them at the top — without knocking the tower over. It can get pretty tricky, when many blocks are removed and restacked. Now a man from the state of Arizona has made it even trickier. Instead of restacking blocks in a tower, Tai Star Valianti challenged himself to see how many Jenga blocks he could stack on top of a single block. And now he has set a new Guinness World Record. Valianti stacked an amazing 485 blocks on top of one single block, creating a structure that looked liked an upside-down pyramid. In a YouTube video online, Valianti said the pyramid took two hours to build and stood for nearly nine minutes, until his son knocked it over. Jenga is a game families and friends can play together at home. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about other games people are playing together at home during the coronavirus emergency. Or find some in ads. Pick one you have played, or would like to play. Write a paragraph telling why you think this game would be fun to play with friends.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.