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Lessons for

Grades 5-8
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Past lessons
for Grades K-4

Dec. 11, 2017
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For Grades K-4 , week of Sep. 25, 2017

1. An Old, Old Canoe

Hurricane Irma uprooted many things when it hit the state of Florida, but one of the more unusual ones may have a lot of history. One day after the hurricane struck, photographer Randy Lathrop stumbled upon a handmade, wooden, dugout canoe that may be more than 100 years old. Lathrop was riding his bike near the Indian River in Brevard County and immediately knew the 15-foot-long canoe was old and unusual. He called the Florida Division of Historical Resources to report his find and loaded it into a pickup truck to make sure no one would chop it up or haul it away as trash. Made from hollowed tree trunks, dugout canoes were an important method of transportation for native tribes in North America. What are important methods of transportation today? In the newspaper or online, find and study stories or photos involving types of transportation. Use what you find to write a paragraph describing an important type of transportation for families, and why it is important. Write a second paragraph describing an important type of transportation for businesses.

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.

2. A Pair of Whoppers!

In every community, emergency responders like EMTs and firefighters treat people when they are injured, help them when they are sick and sometimes even deliver babies. But in the town of Denville, New Jersey, an emergency crew did something that likely will never happen again. They successfully delivered two babies two nights in a row for two moms who couldn’t make to the hospital on time. And they did it in the same Burger King parking lot! Both babies were healthy boys, and they came so fast the responders didn’t have time to think much about the situation. “It’s excitement — pure excitement,” said volunteer firefighter Rich Yobs. “The adrenaline is a rush.” Emergency teams help people in many ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a team of EMTs, firefighters or police helping someone in need. Design an award certificate to honor the team for its work and write a paragraph explaining why the team deserves to be honored.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

3. Drones Against Graffiti

Dealing with graffiti is an ongoing problem for many cities — especially when letters or figures are painted high up on bridges, buildings or other structures. Now two inventors in San Jose, California have come up with a solution — and won the city’s Unleash Your Geek technology competition in the process. Candace Marbury and Chris Farmer invented a small drone aircraft that has a spray can that can paint over graffiti in hard to reach places. A drone is “a great solution,” Marbury said. “It flies. It’s untethered. [And] they’re increasing the amount of payload they can hold.” Every day technology is being used in new ways to help people live or work. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about technology being used in a new way. Write a personal letter to a friend or family member, explaining how using technology this way will help people. Draw a picture of this new use to go with your letter.

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.

4. President’s Grandson

Donald Trump is president of the United States, but he’s also a grandfather. And this month he welcomed his ninth grandchild into the world — a baby boy born to Trump’s son Eric Trump and daughter-in-law Lara Trump. As he does with many things, the president welcomed his newest grandson with an online Twitter message: “Congratulations to Eric & Lara on the birth of their son, Eric ‘Luke’ Trump this morning!” the president wrote. The president’s other grandchildren include three boys and two girls from son Donald and his wife Vanessa and two boys and a girl from daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner. When families have a new baby, friends and relatives often send messages or greeting cards to offer congratulations. In the newspaper or online, find a photo, drawing or image that could be used in an interesting way for a congratulations message. Design a card, text message or Facebook post using this image in a fun way to say “Congratulations!” Share with the class and discuss.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

5. A Mountain Record

Located in Asia’s Himalaya mountains, Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world. Climbers are always challenging themselves to climb it in new ways, and this summer one did something never done before. Climber Anshu Jamsenpa from the Asian nation of India became the first woman to climb Mount Everest twice in 5 days. Jamsenpa, a 38-year-old mother of two, has now climbed the 29,028-foot-tall Everest a total of five times. She credits her religious faith for giving her the strength to climb the tallest mountain. When she reaches the top, she says, “I always think that I am very close to God, and I am getting a blessing.” People often like to test their skills against challenges in nature. In the newspaper or online, find a photograph of a place in nature that could challenge people. Study the photo and write a paragraph explaining what the challenge would be, and what skills would be needed to master the challenge.

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.