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For Grades K-4 , week of Oct. 03, 2011

1. Tracking Space Stuff

The thought of a bus streaking down from space onto the Earth's surface is a bit disturbing. But that's what happened when a massive NASA satellite plummeted to Earth recently. The satellite died in 2005 after running out of fuel. This month it fell to Earth. NASA scientists believe most of the 20-year-old dead satellite ended up landing in the ocean, but scientists from other organizations say parts of the satellite may have come down in the northwestern United States and areas of Canada. Scientists tracked the orbit of the satellite prior to its fall from space. As a class, find an article about space in the newspaper or on the Internet. Read the article and discuss as a class how scientists track things in space, such as the International Space Station, orbiting planets, meteorites and stars.

Core/National Standard: Describing an object's motion by tracing and measuring its position over time.

2. Cookies

October is National Cookie Month. Cookies are yummy, but sadly, they're not very good for you in large amounts because they contain lots of sugar. Get into a "good food" frame of mind. Discuss healthy foods and balanced eating habits with your class. Then draw a large circle on a sheet of paper -- this will be your "plate." Cut or print out pictures from today's newspaper of various foods. Arrange and paste a healthy, balanced meal on your plate. Be sure to include all food groups.

Core/National Standard: Describing the basic requirements for all living things to maintain their existence.

3.Mapping Railway Robberies

The Reno Gang started a trend on October 6, 1866, when they robbed a moving train in Jackson County, Indiana. The Reno Gang made off with $10,000 that day. Prior to this, robbers hit trains when they were at stations or freight yards. This method of thievery became popular with the construction of the transcontinental railway and regional railroads, because large amounts of cash and precious minerals were often on board. Bandits held up trains in out-of-the-way areas with little law enforcement and were able to go to hiding places where sheriffs couldn't find them. Many states have large areas of open land between cities. As a class, look in the newspaper for the weather map. Using that map, and those in your classroom, identify states and places where train robbers might have the best luck getting away with their crimes. Based on the weather report, which states might have weather conditions tomorrow that might help robbers? Discuss them as a class.

Core/National Standard: Comparing how patterns of economic growth and recession affected territorial expansion and community life in the North, South and West.

4. An Amazing Adventure

Aron Ralston amazed and inspired the nation in 2003 when he cut off his right arm with a dull knife in order to free himself from a boulder that had trapped him while hiking. Hollywood loved his story so much that a film was made of Ralston's experience. The film, "127 Hours", was such an inspiration to Amos Richards, 64, of Concord, North Carolina, that he decided to go hike the same Utah canyons. According to an Associated Press article, Richards' hike didn't turn out that well, either. He fell 10 feet and broke his leg and dislocated his shoulder. He crawled across the desert for four days before being rescued by a helicopter. Search your newspaper for an interesting or captivating story that you can read together as a class. Take turns telling your classmates the most interesting parts of the story, using complete sentences.

Core/National Standard: Telling a story or recounting an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking audibly in coherent sentences.

5. My Team Rocks!

The Detroit Lions have heard their share of jokes about their playing in the past. The NFL team went 0-16 three seasons ago. It had lost 26 consecutive road games before finally beating Tampa Bay last season. But nobody is laughing now. The team has won its last seven games, including four from last season. On Sunday, September 25, the Lions beat the Minnesota Vikings 26-23 in overtime, and Detroit fans believe their team could do great things this season. Find a newspaper article about your favorite football team. Write an opinion essay on why you think your team is great.

Core/National Standards: Writing opinion pieces, clearly stating an opinion and supplying reasons that support the opinion and providing a concluding statement.