1. Super Mario Sale
Super Mario Bros. is one of the most popular video games of all time. It now is one of the most expensive, too. A Super Mario fan this month paid a record $114,000 for an original, unopened copy of the game released in 1985 by Nintendo. The sale broke the previous record for a video game by almost $14,000, according to the Heritage Auctions company of Dallas, Texas, which ran the sale. The previous record also was for an original, unopened copy of Super Mario Bros., CNN News reported. Super Mario Bros. is one of the best-selling video games of all time, with more than 40-million physical copies sold. People often pay great amounts of money at auction sales for special or unusual items. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an auction in which someone has done this (search for the word “auction”). Use what you read to write a paragraph telling why a person would pay so much for this item. Write a second paragraph describing something you would pay a great deal for if you had enough money. Discuss 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; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
2. Good Gorilla News
Gorillas are among the most endangered animal species on Earth. But wildlife watchers have some good news to report this summer from the African nation of Nigeria. Highly endangered Cross River gorillas have been spotted in the remote forests of Nigeria’s Mbe Mountains — and they are raising babies! Cross River gorillas are among the most critically endangered subspecies of gorilla, and at one point only about 300 were known to exist in the wild, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Cross River gorillas are rarely seen, because they avoid humans and choose to live in the densest forests of Nigeria in west central Africa. Their numbers dropped dangerously in the past due to hunting by poachers, but they are now “well protected and reproducing,” wildlife officials said. People do many things to help or protect endangered or threatened wildlife species. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about people doing this. Write a letter to the editor telling what people are doing, why that is needed and how successful they have been. Draw a picture showing people helping this wildlife species.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.
3. Courageous Boy Hero
A 5-year-old boy with two artificial legs has become a national celebrity in the European nation of England by raising more than $1.2 million for the hospital that saved his life. Tony Hudgell had just learned to walk on his artificial legs when he decided to raise funds for the children's hospital in the city of London by walking more than six miles over a month’s time. He had hoped to raise about $600 but broke that record almost immediately when he started walking in June. “It is incredible to think that just a few weeks ago Tony could barely take a few steps,” his mother told a British news agency. “He is such a strong and determined boy, and we are so proud.” Tony said he was inspired in his fund-raising effort by 100-year-old “Captain Tom” Moore, who raised more than $40 million for Britain's National Health Service by walking 100 laps around his back garden. Children and teens can often provide great help to communities by doing special or unusual things. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about children or teens helping in this way. Use what you read to write a short editorial stating how their effort could inspire young people to help in your community. Suggest specific things children or teens could do.
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.
4. Diving for Life
You never know when the skills you learn in school will come in handy later in life. In the city of Phoenix, Arizona, a former high school football player became a hero when he drew on his sports background to save a child thrown from a burning building. Phillip Blanks had been a star wide receiver in high school in the state of Michigan, and he used those skills to dive and catch a 3-year-old child just before he would have hit the ground. The boy had been dropped from a third-floor balcony by his terrified mom when flames filled the family’s apartment. “I immediately got tunnel vision of the baby and somehow managed to catch him,” said Blanks, who is a former U.S. Marine as well as a sports star. His Marine training helped as much as his sports skills, Blanks said. The Marines taught him to “always be on high alert, not be complacent and to have discipline,” he said. People often become heroes in everyday life. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone doing something heroic. Use what you read to write a thank-you letter to the hero from the point of view of the person he/she helped.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
5. Horsey Fast Food
In the European nation of England, a traveler seeking a Bargain Bucket of chicken got a rude reaction when he tried to order at the drive-in window of a local KFC. The problem? He was driving a horse and cart instead of an automobile. Ian Bell said he felt “humiliated” when a manager told him he couldn’t be served in his cart due to health concerns for other customers, even though his horse Jon Jon was behaving “as good as gold.” He said he felt it was “discriminatory” not to serve people in carts with no warning. “The horse and cart is a common way to get around where I’m from,” he told the Metro Britain newspaper. So what did he do when he couldn’t get his Bargain Bucket of chicken? “I had to go to McDonald’s for a Big Mac,” Bell said. “No one there batted an eyelid. They didn’t say anything to me at all. They just served me my food.” Businesses often have rules to ensure the safety or health of their customers. With family or friends, use the newspaper or Internet to find examples of such rules. Write a letter to a local leader describing one rule you think is good and one rule you think is not necessary. Give reasons for your choices.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.