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Lessons for

Grades 5-8
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Past lessons
for Grades K-4

Dec. 11, 2017
Dec. 04, 2017
Nov. 27, 2017
Nov. 20, 2017
Nov. 13, 2017
Nov. 06, 2017
Oct. 30, 2017
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Oct. 09, 2017
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Apr 24, 2017
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Mar. 27, 2017
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Mar. 06, 2017

For Grades K-4 , week of Oct. 09, 2017

1. Creatures Cross the Sea

A deadly tsunami wave that hit the Asian nation of Japan has had a big effect on America — six years later. A scientific study just released has found that the 2011 tsunami in Japan resulted in nearly 300 species of sea creatures floating across the Pacific Ocean to America’s West Coast. Mussels, crabs, plants and other sea creatures drifted 4,300 miles across the ocean attached to trash, plastics and debris sucked into the ocean by the force of the tsunami. The trash made it possible for the sea creatures to migrate to places they were previously unable to reach. Natural events like tsunamis, floods or dry spells can have a big effect on wildlife. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a natural event that could affect wildlife. Use what you read and previous knowledge to write a paragraph explaining different ways wildlife could be affected, and for how long.

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. Healthy Outdoor Eyes

Playing outdoors is a great way to get exercise and fresh air. It’s also a great way to prevent vision problems, according to a new study. Being exposed to outdoor sunlight can reduce the risks of developing near-sightedness in many children, researchers have found — even if their parents are near-sighted. Outdoor light appears to slow changes in the shape of the eye that cause near-sightedness, researchers found in a study of nearly 5,000 children funded by the National Eye Institute. “It's the actual light exposure … that may work the magic,” wrote researchers Karla Zadnik and Don Mutti in a report for CNN news. Researchers are constantly studying things that affect the health of children or families. As a class, use the newspaper or Internet to closely read a story about a study examining something that affects children’s health. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, telling families the most important things they should know about the research.

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. Help for Pete the Parrot

Pete the parrot is getting a new foot — and how he deals with it could determine how other injured birds can be helped. Pete, a 34-year-old blue crowned Amazon parrot, lost his left foot when a fox grabbed it from outside his outdoor cage in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He was rushed to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, and doctors there have created a replacement foot using a high-tech process known as 3D Printing. In a breakthrough for his doctors, Pete has started accepting the plastic foot — something many injured birds refuse to do. He has stood on it for extended periods, and even tried to take a few steps. People help animals in many different ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a person helping a wild or tame animal. Use what you read to draw a series of comic strips, showing how the animal is being helped and what it might say if it could talk.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events.

4. A Move to Electric Cars

In an effort to reduce air pollution and auto emissions, the General Motors company has announced it is heading to an “all-electric future” in the cars it makes. GM, which has already had success with its electric Chevrolet Bolt car, said it will produce two new electric models next year and an additional 18 by 2023. The electric models will replace cars powered by gasoline, which produces gas emissions that contribute to global warming. GM is not alone going electric. Ford Motor Company has said it will produce 13 new electric vehicles over the next five years. Electric cars use technology in a new way to reduce air pollution. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another product that uses technology in a new way. Use what you read to design an ad for the newspaper, telling people about the benefits this product has as a result of technology. Give your ad an eye-catching headline.

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.

5. Big Bee Surprise

In the town of Hillside, New Jersey this summer, a homeowner noticed he had an awful lot of bees buzzing around his yard. But he had no idea how many until he hired a beekeeper to check out the situation. The beekeeper traced the bee colony to a wall of the man’s house, and when he opened the wall he found 30,000 bees inside! The homeowner was happy to have the bees removed, and so was a nearby church in the town of Rochelle Park. The church this summer lost a bee hive it had operated for making honey, and was glad to have the homeowner’s colony as a replacement. The bees had made about 40 pounds of honey at their previous home. People often benefit from the activities of insects, animals or other creatures. In teams or pairs, use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read stories about some of these benefits that people get. Use what you read to create a news report about two or more of these benefits in the style of a TV news program. Present your report to the class.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.