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for Grades 5-8

Aug. 20, 2018
Aug. 13, 2018
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July 09, 2018
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Dec. 11, 2017
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Oct. 30, 2017

For Grades 5-8 , week of Aug. 20, 2018

1. From Hot to Hotter

This summer, there have been record high temperatures around the world. And if a new science study is correct, the next five years will deliver more of the same. The study published in the journal Nature Communications predicts that the next five years will be unusually warm, even beyond the records being set by global warming. “What we found is that for the next five years or so, there is a high likelihood of an anomalously warm climate,” noted a co-author of the study. The next five years could also see an increased risk of “heat extremes” and a significant heat-related event in the Earth’s oceans. The world is already feeling heat stress, since the last four years have been the four warmest ever recorded. Severe heat has been making news all over the world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the effects of severe heat. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a short documentary film about the effects and causes of severe heat. Write an outline for your film, including images you would use. Choose an actor or public figure you would like to be the narrator of your film.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

2. Check Your Work!

Teachers and parents are constantly telling students to check their work, so they don’t turn in papers or assignments with mistakes, misspellings or typos. Officials at a university in the state of Colorado apparently forgot that lesson and now are facing nationwide embarrassment. In its yearly commencement for graduates, Colorado Mesa University handed out diplomas on which “Board of Trustees” was misspelled as “Coard of Trustees.” The error was discovered by the outgoing editor of the school newspaper, who was checking his diploma to make sure his name was spelled correctly. The university said it would correct and reprint diplomas for graduates and send them new ones. “This mistake is all ours,” said the embarrassed university president. In many careers, it is important for people to double-check their work. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a career that interests you. Use what you read to write a paragraph detailing reasons it would be important for a person in this career to double-check his/her work. Then double-check your work!

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

3. Maya Decline

More than 4,000 years ago, the Maya people developed a highly advanced civilization in southern Mexico and Central America. The Mayans created cities, had great achievements in art and astronomy and developed the only known writing system of the ancient Americas. After thousands of years of success, however, the Mayan civilization collapsed. And now scientists think they may know why. New research into sediment from the bottom of a lake on the Yucatan Peninsula indicates severe drought and lack of rain may have been the reason. Analysis of sediment “core samples” taken from Mexico’s Lake Chichancanab indicate that there was a 50 percent decrease in annual rainfall in the 100 years before the year 1,000 C.E., and a 70 percent decrease in some individual years. Severe drought like that could have devastated Mayan farming and led to famine, starvation or breakdown of communities, researchers said. “Drought does have the potential to be a driving force for a lot of the issues that can cause civilization stress,” noted the first author of the study. Natural changes in habitats, weather or climate can have huge effects on people and their communities. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story detailing how natural changes are affecting people or a community somewhere in the world. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, explaining the natural change, how it occurred and what other nations or governments could do to address the problem.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

4. Double the Impact

Interest in politics often runs in families, but not in the way things are playing out with a family in Kentwood, Michigan. Twin sisters are running for seats on the Kent County Board of Commissioners but they’re not identical. One is running as a Democrat and one as a Republican. Democrat Monica Sparks and Republican Jessica Ann Tyson each won their party nomination in Michigan’s primary election this month, the Associated Press reports. The 46-year-old women could both end up on the board, since they are running in different districts in the Grand Rapids area. With the 2018 election just months away, there is growing interest in political races for local positions, governor’s offices and the U.S. House and Senate. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about one important race in your state. Pretend you are going to be host of a debate and write out five questions you would like to ask the candidates in this race. Share with the class and discuss.

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.

5. Moooving Experience

The world of crime is full of odd stories, but one in the state of Florida went pretty far afield this month. A woman fleeing police from a stolen car was apprehended with the help of … cows. The incident happened near Sanford, Florida, when police forced a stolen Subaru SUV to the side of the road, next to a cow pasture. A passenger in the car, 46-year-old Jennifer Anne Kaufman, decided to elude police by taking off through the pasture. But then things got strange. A herd of cows grazing in the field took off after Kaufman, chasing her across the pasture to a fence on the other side. An officer in a police helicopter alerted police on the ground to “look for a large group of cows” and they’d know where she was headed. Kaufman was arrested at the fence. Police often have to take unusual steps to arrest or apprehend suspects. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about police doing something unusual to apprehend a suspect. Use what you read to design a poster showcasing the creative thinking and tactics of the police and stating how that action benefited the community.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic. they need.