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For Grades K-4 , week of Aug. 28, 2017

1. Old-Time Boats

The African nation of Egypt is famous for its ancient pyramids, tombs and statues. Less well known are its boats. But that has changed this summer. About 120 pictures of ancient Egyptian boats have been discovered in a building next to a pharaoh’s tomb that dates back 3,800 years. The largest of the images are almost 5 feet long, and they give a detailed look at sails, masts, oars, rudders, rigging and other equipment used by ancient Egyptian sailors. Egyptians developed some of the first sailing boats in the world for use on the Nile River and the Red Sea, and more than 145 pottery jars shaped like ships were found near the building’s entrance. Archaeologists and historians study artifacts, pictures and buildings from the past to learn how people lived and worked in earlier times. In the newspaper or online, find and study an advertisement featuring a variety of different items for sale. Think like an archaeologist and study three or four of the items. Then write a paragraph explaining what these items could teach archaeologists from the future about how we live. Discuss as a class.

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; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

2. A Very Rare Moose

Meeting up with a moose in the forest is something people don’t easily forget. Moose can grow more than seven feet tall and weigh more than 1,500 pounds — and males have huge antlers. So what would it be like to meet up with a moose that not only was big, but ALL WHITE. In the European nation of Sweden this summer a man got to see a snow-white moose up close two days in a row near the town of Eda. And on the second day he was able to record a video of the rare plant-eater wading in a stream. Sweden has an estimated 400,000 moose, but very few of them are white. Rare wild animals like white moose often inspire people to create works of art. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a rare wild animal. Use what you read to write a poem, rap or rhyme inspired by the animal. Or draw a picture or artwork that expresses emotions the animal makes you feel. Write a paragraph for your picture explaining how the animal inspires you. Discuss ideas as a class.

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

3. Love for Ellie

Since she was six months old, 12-year-old Ellie Lucas of Chesapeake, Virginia has had to deal with life threatening allergies to wheat and peanuts. She has had six close calls when she was exposed to wheat or peanut products and had to be given an emergency anti-allergy shot with an Epipen. To help keep her safe, Ellie’s family wants to get a service dog that could detect wheat and peanuts anywhere she goes. They were discouraged when they learned the dog and its training would cost $9,000, but their community has stepped up to help. An aunt created a cookbook to raise funds for the service dog and the community responded by opening their hearts and wallets. Sales of “Cooking for a Cure — Puppy Love for Ellie” have raised more than $3,000. Response has been so great more cookbooks are being printed. Communities often find creative ways to help people in need. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a person who needs help or a problem that needs solving. Write a letter to the editor offering ideas on how the community could work together to offer help or solve the problem.

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. Stinky Flowers!

In Washington, D.C., the U.S. Botanic Garden has three flowering plants that have caused a sensation this summer. And do they stink! The plants are giant corpse flowers, and they get their name because they smell like dead bodies — or worse. Native to the Southeast Asia nation of Indonesia, corpse flowers can grow up to 12 feet tall in the wild, with a tall central column and a deep-red “cape” around it. The display of the three corpse flowers blooming together was a first for the Botanic Garden and drew crowds of extra visitors. The garden also ran a live video stream on its website showing the flowers as they bloomed. Museums and display gardens often feature unusual things that draw large numbers of visitors. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an unusual thing on display in your area at a museum, public garden or other place. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a TV or newspaper ad encouraging people to go see the unusual item. Make sure your ad has an attention getting message or image.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points;

5. Bible Museum

The Bible is one of the most widely read religious books in the world, and soon the U.S. capital of Washington, D.C., will have a museum completely focused on it. The Museum of the Bible is expected to open in November with displays of artifacts and biblical texts spread over eight floors in a 430,000-square-foot facility. The museum also will feature a library, a theater, a restaurant and a rooftop garden. “Our mission is to invite all people to engage with the Bible,” Vice President of Marketing Steven Bickley said. Museums often focus on special topics or materials that interest people. If you could start a museum, what would you choose to show? In the newspaper or online, find and read a story about a topic that interests you or your friends. Pretend you are going to start a museum based on this topic. Write a paragraph describing what you would show in your museum and why you think people would want to visit.

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.