Yak’s Corner

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for Grades 5-8

Dec. 11, 2017
Dec. 04, 2017
Nov. 27, 2017
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For Grades 5-8 , week of Nov. 13, 2017

1. Special Protection

When First Lady Melania Trump traveled to Asia with President Trump, she got special attention and treatment in the nation of Japan. The police department in the city of Tokyo put together a squad made up entirely of women to protect the First Lady. “They think it’s more welcoming to have an all-female crew,” for female dignitaries, explained law enforcement expert Jonathan Wackrow of CNN news. “By providing this sort of unit, law enforcement is trying to be respectful and not too intrusive.” The all-female unit was trained in a wide variety of protection tactics and stood out by wearing sleek black suits instead of uniforms. Women play increased roles today in law enforcement, the military and other service fields. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about women finding success in law enforcement or the military. Use what you read to write an opinion column for the newspaper, discussing the skills and values the women had to become successful, obstacles they had to overcome and how they could inspire other women or girls.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

2. A Mystery Chamber

The Great Pyramid is one of the great landmarks in the north African nation of Egypt. Built 4,500 years ago as a tomb for the pharaoh Khufu, it has been studied for years by experts on ancient Egyptian life. Now a high-tech examination of the pyramid has revealed something no one ever knew before. A scan of the pyramid by a special type of cosmic ray has revealed that there is a chamber in the interior of the pyramid that no one had detected. The chamber is 100 feet long and located above the part of the pyramid known as the Grand Gallery, which passes through the pyramid’s interior to the King's Chamber. The Great Pyramid is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one that is still largely intact. Technology like the cosmic ray scanning is giving archaeologists new information about the ancient world. Technology also is helping scientists better understand today’s world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about technology being used to help scientists learn more about the world today. Use what you read to write a paragraph summarizing what technology has helped scientists learn, and why that is important.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

3. An Anne Frank Train?

Anne Frank’s diary about hiding from Nazis during World War II is one of the most famous books about the experience of Jews during the Holocaust. She has been honored numerous times since her death in a concentration camp at age 15, but a new plan has drawn protests. A proposal to name a high-speed train on Germany’s national railroad for Frank has come under fire from historians, Jewish leaders and government officials. The reason: It is a painful reminder for many that the Nazis used trains to transport Jews to concentration camps. “To name a train ‘Anne Frank’ is disrespectful,” noted one government leader. The Deutsche Bahn railroad has apologized for any offense caused, and said it had not intended to undercut the memory and legacy of Anne Frank. When government, business or community leaders make decisions, they often have to consider the history of situations or issues. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about leaders discussing the history of a situation before making a decision for a government, business or community institution. Use what you read to write a short editorial discussing why the history is important, and what you think the leaders should decide.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.

4. Brutal Pollution

In the Asian nation of India, the capital city of New Delhi has a regional population of more than 18 million people. And that has created a huge pollution problem. This month, air pollution got so bad the Indian Medical Association declared a public health emergency and warned people not to go outdoors. Schools were closed, and parents were urged to buy gas masks for children to protect their lungs. Doctors reported an increase in patients with coughing or breathing problems, and pollution levels reached more than 10 times the safe limit, officials said. The pollution had turned the city into a dangerous “gas chamber,” the chief minister of New Delhi said. Pollution affects communities in many ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about pollution affecting a community. Then use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a one-minute public service TV ad to educate the public about the problem. Write the narrative for the ad, including the images you would use. Present your ad to the class and discuss.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it. effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; engaging

5. A Rare Great Ape

Great apes are humans’ closest relatives in the animal world, and scientists have just identified a new species. It’s a third type of orangutan called the Tapanuli orangutan. The new species is the rarest great ape in the world with fewer than 800 individuals living in the wild on the Indonesian island of Sumatra on the edge of the Indian Ocean. Identification of the new species was made possible by analysis of an orangutan killed by villagers near Tapanuli forest. With the Tapanuli orangutan, the great ape “family” has expanded to eight species: three types of orangutans, chimpanzees, eastern and western gorillas, bonobos and humans. Great apes are endangered all over the world due to hunting and loss of habitat. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about problems faced by great apes other than humans. Use what you read to write a fund-raising letter seeking support for efforts to aid great apes in the wild. In your letter, be sure to detail dangers faced by great apes and steps that are needed to protect them.

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.