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for Grades 5-8

Dec. 11, 2017
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For Grades 5-8 , week of July 31, 2017

1.Aid from Drones

The African nation of Malawi is one of the world’s poorest, but an innovative new program may soon provide high tech assistance and aid for its people. Malawi has launched a pilot program to use unmanned drone aircraft to provide humanitarian aid and other services along a “drone corridor” in the central region of the nation in southeast Africa. The project will enable Malawi to use drones to deliver medical supplies, assist during humanitarian crises, expand Wi-Fi or cell phone signals, and provide aerial photos of areas that could be developed. The corridor is a partnership project with the United Nation’s Children’s Fund known as UNICEF. In nations all over the world, technology is being used in new ways to help people. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read about a new use of technology in a nation other than the United States. Use what you read to write a short editorial for the newspaper, giving your views on how the technology is being used, and how that is helping people in the nation.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.

2.A Ban on Cars

In an effort to reduce air pollution, the European nation of Great Britain has announced it will ban sales of new gasoline and diesel cars starting in 2040. The elimination of gas and diesel vehicles would reduce emissions of the gas carbon dioxide, which is produced by burning gas and other fossil fuels and contributes to smog and air pollution. The proposed ban is part of a $1.8 billion program to ensure that every vehicle on the road in Britain produces zero emissions by the year 2050. “We can't carry on with diesel and petrol [gasoline] cars,” said Britain’s environment secretary Michael Gove. “There is no alternative to embracing new technology” such as electric cars. All over the world, nations are looking for ways to reduce air pollution. In the newspaper or online find and closely read stories about different efforts. Use what you read to design a website spotlighting anti-pollution efforts. Design the home page to show categories of information you want to highlight. Pick an image to illustrate each category. Then write headlines and text blocks to briefly explain each category.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

3.A Dramatic Rescue

A fishing boat captain in the state of Alaska is being hailed as a hero after he jumped into frigid, 40-degree waves to rescue a crewman on his boat. Captain Christian Trosvig made the dramatic rescue after his boat had unexpectedly rolled over after taking on water. Trosvig and his three crewmen were tossed into six-foot high waves in ocean inlet known as the Kupreanof Strait. Trosvig and one crewman got to a lifeboat and a third swam to a nearby vessel. The fourth crewman vanished, however, and didn’t resurface for about 20 minutes. When that crewman was sighted, Trosvig dived into the water, swam to him and kept him afloat until a rescue boat could arrive. Then he performed CPR to revive him. “He saved that guy’s life,” said one of the other rescuers. Dramatic rescues often are in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one. Pretend you are the person who was rescued. Use what you read to write a thank you letter to your rescuer, expressing the emotions you felt after being rescued.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; closely reading written or visual texts to make logical inferences from it.

4.No Shark Race

Michael Phelps is one of the greatest swimmers in the world, and when the Discovery Channel signed him up to do a show during its “Shark Week” programming fans were excited. Excitement grew when the channel announced that Phelps would race against a great white shark and promoted the showdown heavily week after week. Except that Phelps didn’t actually race against a great white when the show aired July 23. Instead, he raced against a computer generated “simulation” shark — and viewers weren’t happy. “You said he would face a shark,” wrote one on Twitter. “I feel robbed,” wrote another. “Phelps raced a fake shark … and lost,” said a third. “I feel cheated.” TV networks often go to great lengths to promote their programming, though most don’t go as far as the Discovery Channel did with “Shark Week.” In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about a TV show you like. Then discuss with family and friends the things you like about it. Use what you read and discuss, to write three TV ads promoting the show, based on the things you like.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

5.Paying for Happiness

Can money buy happiness? According to a new study, the answer is yes, if people use it to pay other people to do household chores they don’t like. A study led by Harvard University found that people who pay others to do household tasks are generally more satisfied and happy with their lives. That’s because paying others to do chores frees up time for other things, generates positive feelings and reduces time-related stress, the researchers report. The findings held true regardless of household income, hours worked per week, marital status and number of children living at home. The study was based on surveys of more than 6,000 respondents in four countries. What things and activities give you happiness? Make a list using the newspaper or Internet. Write the word “Happiness” down the side of a sheet of paper and use the newspaper and Internet to find “happiness” activities, things or situations. See if you can find one beginning with each letter of the word.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic;1. organizing data using concrete objects, pictures, tallies, tables, charts, diagrams and graphs.