Resources for Teachers and Students

Click here for printer-friendly version

Go to
Lessons for

Grades 1-4
Grades 9-12

Past lessons
for Grades 5-8

Aug. 25, 2014
Aug. 18, 2014
Aug. 11, 2014
Aug. 04, 2014
July 28, 2014
July 21, 2014
July 14, 2014
July 07, 2014
June 23, 2014
June 16, 2014
June 09, 2014
June 02, 2014
May 26, 2014
May 19, 2014
May 12, 2014
May 05, 2014
Apr 28, 2014
Apr 21, 2014
Apr 14, 2014
Apr 07, 2014
Mar. 31, 2014
Mar. 24, 2014
Mar. 17, 2014
Mar. 10, 2014
Mar. 03, 2014
Feb. 24, 2014
Feb. 17, 2014
Feb. 10, 2014
Feb. 03, 2014
Jan. 27, 2014
Jan. 20, 2014
Jan. 13, 2014
Jan. 06, 2014
Dec. 16, 2013
Dec. 09, 2013
Dec. 02, 2013
Nov. 25, 2013
Nov. 18, 2013
Nov. 11, 2013
Nov. 04, 2013

For Grades 5-8 , week of Aug. 25, 2014

1. Regulate Cookie Monster?

Tourists may find them amusing, but New York City police do not. So New York’s City Council is considering requiring licensing and background checks for costumed characters who cavort in Times Square and other public places. A Spider-Man has been accused of punching a policeman, two Statues of Liberty got into a fight, a Woody from “Toy Story” has been accused of groping women, and Cookie Monsters and Elmos have demanded money for posing with tourists. They have become a nuisance to many, but regulating them could pose a free-speech issue. That’s because the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects freedom of speech and expression. With family or friends, look up the First Amendment and read its freedoms. Then find stories in the newspaper or online that deal with freedom of speech. Use what you find to write a short editorial for the newspaper, giving your opinion on whether New York should regulate costumed characters in public places. Write an eye-catching headline for your editorial that will make people want to read it.

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.

2. First Female Math Prize Winner

A professor at Stanford University in California is the first woman ever to receive a Fields Medal, considered the math equivalent of the Nobel Prize. Maryam Morzakhani, who is from the Middle East nation of Iran, was one of four recipients of the award given every four years at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Seoul, South Korea. The field of mathematics historically has been dominated by men, who earn 70 percent of the doctoral degrees and have won all the major awards over the years. Hailing her selection, the president of the International Mathematical Union noted that “there is no difference between the math done by a woman or a man.” Schools are now encouraging more girls and women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics— “STEM” fields in which women have been under-represented in the past. With family and friends, brainstorm ways to encourage more girls and women to enter these fields. Then design a public service ad for the newspaper to attract more women. Be sure to include points addressing why this would be good for women and good for the career fields.

Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop integrating a coherent understanding of a topic.

3. ‘Satisfries’ Dissatisfy

“Satisfries” never caught on at Burger King — one website called them “Saddest Fries” — so after less than a year, most of the chain’s restaurants (but not all) are removing the lower-calorie, pricier french fries from their menus. Burger King had given its franchises the option of continuing to sell the fries, which debuted last September, but only about 2,500 of 7,400 locations have decided to keep them as a permanent item. “Satisfries” were developed as a healthier alternative to french fries, which contain high levels of fat and salt. In the ads of the newspaper, find other foods that would provide healthier alternatives to snacks or fast foods that people like. Pick one and create a series of comic strips in which one character shows others the benefits of the healthier food choices.

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.

4. Hovering Efficiently

Micro-drones — tiny aerial vehicles used for surveillance — are now able to fly nearly as efficiently as hummingbirds, researchers have concluded. The micro-drones must be able to hover, and hummingbirds “are the only birds that can sustain hovering,” according to a report in the Royal Society scientific journal Interface. The study showed that “if we design the wings well, we can build drones that hover as efficiently, if not more efficiently, as hummingbirds.” Hummingbirds still have some flight advantages, they noted — they’re better able to withstand wind gusts and more adept at finding their way through many objects while seeking a target. Drones are widely used in military operations and now are being considered more for non-military uses. This has caused some debate. In the newspaper or online, closely read stories about drones and the debate over their use. Use what you read to write a summary of key points.

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.

5. Teen Runaway Lived in Store

A teenage runaway lived undetected for two days at a 24-hour Walmart in Corsicana, Texas, before a store employee discovered the 14-year-old boy stepping out from behind some boxes in the baby apparel aisle. The boy had been pilfering food and drinks from the store to feed himself. Explaining the situation, Walmart officials said that if a child is missing in one of its stores, “we’re actively looking for that child,” but in this case, no one was aware that a child was missing. The child’s parents were out of town, and he had been staying with an aunt when he ran away. Children who run away are a concern for families and communities all over the country. With the newspaper and Internet, read about the issue of runaways in the United States. Then write a short editorial outlining ways communities could help runaways or address issues that cause young people to run away in the first place.

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.