Resources for Teachers and Students
, week of
Aug. 24, 2015
1. Van Gogh in Flowers
The famous artist Vincent van Gogh died 125 years ago this summer. And just as he predicted, his work is far more popular today than it was when he was alive. No places are showing more appreciation for his art than the European nation of the Netherlands, where he was born, and the nation of France, where he is buried. In the city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, one of van Gogh’s self-portrait paintings was re-created this summer, using more than 50,000 dahlia flowers. On top of that, a bike path in Amsterdam is using creatively arranged lights to simulate his masterpiece painting “The Starry Night.” In the French village of Auvers-sur-Oise people can celebrate van Gogh by taking tours of sites that inspired his paintings. Art is a great way to honor people — even if they are not artists. In the newspaper or online, read about a person you think has done things that deserve to be honored. Then think like an artist and create a drawing or painting that would honor this person for his or her achievements.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
2. World’s Fastest Computer
President Obama has issued an executive order, calling for the United States to build the world’s fastest computer by the year 2025. The supercomputer would be able to make one billion billion calculations per second — that’s a 1 followed by 18 zeroes! Its speed and power would allow this computer to accurately measure galaxies, weather, molecule interactions and aircraft in flight, as well as to help detect cancer from x-ray images. The program will “ensure the United States continues leading in this field,” the president said. Advances in technology make it possible to do things that never were possible before. With family or friends, closely read a story about an advance in technology, or study an ad for a device that is a new use of technology. Use what you read and previous knowledge to write a short poem, rap or rhyme telling what this new technology can do, and why that is important for people. For added challenge, start each line of your poem with a letter from the word “Technology.”
Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.
3. Bittersweet No-Hitter
For fans of the Philadelphia Phillies, pitcher Cole Hamels’ no-hitter was a bittersweet moment. It was a shining light in the team’s worst season in decades — and it turned out to be his last game as a Phillie. Four days after no-hitting the Chicago Cubs, Hamels was traded to the Texas Rangers. He became the first player in Major League history to throw a no-hitter and then be traded before his next pitching start. Because the Phillies have struggled this season, they have decided to trade some of their best players for a larger number of players who could be stars for the team in the future. Hamels, who was the most valuable player in the 2008 World Series, is one of the top players in Major League Baseball. In the newspaper, find and read a story about another star in the Major Leagues. Use what you read, and prior knowledge, to write a paragraph explaining why this player is valuable to his team.
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.
4. Three More Astronauts
Three more astronauts — an American, a Russian and a Japanese — have joined three others orbiting the Earth on the International Space Station. They arrived in a Soyuz space capsule that blasted off from a Russian launch facility in the Asian nation of Kazakhstan. The launch had been postponed by two months after the failure of two unmanned cargo ships. The astronauts on the International Space Station conduct experiments to learn more about our solar system and how living things respond in space. With family or friends, use the newspaper or the website www.nasa.gov to read about another space mission. Use what you read to design an ad for the newspaper to explain the top goals of the mission. Be sure to give your ad an eye-catching headline that will make people want to read it.
Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.
5. Pink Flamingo Gets New Leg
A pink flamingo in the South American nation of Brazil has a new leg to stand on — an artificial one. The 6-year-old Chilean flamingo at the Sorocaba Zoo fractured his leg and — to prevent infection from setting in and spreading — zookeepers decided to amputate and give the bird a man-made leg. The zoo’s veterinarian, who performed the surgery, says it’s unknown how the injury occurred. It may well be the first time that a flamingo has used a man-made leg. Humans often make news by helping animals. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone helping an animal in some way. Use what you read to write a short letter to the editor of the newspaper, thanking this person for helping the animal and stating why it was an important thing to 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.
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