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For Grades 5-8 , week of Aug. 13, 2018

1. New Wildfire Record

With dry conditions and fierce winds, the state of California has had many wildfires in recent years. But this summer has brought one for the record books. When two large fires combined in Northern California, they created the single largest fire in modern state history. The fire has consumed more than 1,000 square miles of territory and forced tens of thousands of people from their homes. Called the Mendocino Complex Fire, the blaze is burning next to Clear Lake and Lake Mendocino northwest of the state capital city of Sacramento. The previous record for largest California fire was set last year with the Thomas Fire in Southern California. The Mendocino fire in California is posing tremendous challenges for firefighters and communities. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about some of these challenges. Use what you read to write a short editorial outlining things communities and firefighters could learn from the challenges they face.

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

2. Groundbreaker at Pepsi

When Indra Nooyi took over as head of PepsiCo, she was the first woman to serve as chief executive of the food and beverage company. She also was the Pepsi’s first chief executive born outside the United States and one of the few minority women to lead a major corporation. This month, Nooyi announced she will end her groundbreaking run as Pepsi’s CEO after 12 years, although she will remain chair of Pepsi’s board of directors through next year. Under her leadership, Pepsi shifted focus away from sugary soft drinks to healthier foods and beverages — and nearly doubled its revenue to $63.5 billion in 2017. Nooyi, 62, will be succeeded by Ramon Laguarta, who has served as Pepsi’s president since last year. Indra Nooyi is a groundbreaking leader in the business world and an inspiration for women everywhere. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about other groundbreaking women who are inspiring others. Use what you read to design a website showcasing some of these women. Design the home page to showcase women in different career fields that you want to highlight. Pick an image to illustrate each woman’s career. Then write headlines and text blocks for each featured woman.

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.

3. A Disease on the Move

Bug bites are a hazard for people who like outdoor activities in the summer. And bites from ticks are among the most dangerous. Tick bites can spread Lyme disease, which causes symptoms ranging from joint aches to fatigue to neck stiffness. Lyme disease first became a problem in the New England states in the northeast region of the country, but now it has spread nationwide. A study by the Quest Diagnostics laboratory has found that Lyme disease is now present in every state of the nation, plus the District of Columbia. The state of Pennsylvania had the most cases of Lyme disease last year, with a total of more than 10,000. The ticks that spread Lyme disease are most commonly carried by deer and other wildlife. The good news is that antibiotic drugs can cure most Lyme infections. The spread of Lyme disease is a growing public health problem. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another public health problem. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, detailing the most important facts people need to know about this problem, and what communities can do about it.

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. Samurai Treasure

In ancient Japan, the samurai were great warriors and leaders. They also were wealthy noblemen, as a recent discovery has demonstrated. Japanese archaeologists recently discovered a jar containing more than 200,000 brass coins belonging to a samurai of the early 15th century. The coins were found buried in an area north of the city of Tokyo and are believed to be one of the largest collections of medieval coins ever found. The coins, which had holes in the middle so they could be strung together on string or leather, were buried in a two-foot wide ceramic jar six feet underground. Experts believe the treasure was buried to protect it during a time of war and upheaval among samurai clans. Samurai were a special group of people who played an important role in ancient Japan. What special groups play important roles in today’s world? In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about one group, what it is doing and why that is significant in its community or the nation. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a half hour TV show telling the story of this group. Write an outline for your show, including images you would use. Then write the script for your show, in the style of a screenplay.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

5. Reaching for the Sky

On the continent of Europe, the record for tallest skyscraper is now held by the city of St. Petersburg in Russia. A building called the Lakhta Center is nearing completion and will stand 1,516 feet tall. That makes the 87-story structure the northernmost skyscraper in the world. The skyscraper has an unusual “twisted” design that shifts 90 degrees from the base to the top, CNN news reports. The design is intended to look like a flame as the headquarters of the Russian gas company Gazprom. While the building is the tallest in Europe, it is just the 13th tallest in the world. The tallest skyscraper is the 2,717-foot Burj Khalifa building in the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East. New buildings often have a big impact on how a community looks and how people feel about the community. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about a new building in your community or state. Look up and study photos of the new building, or drawings of how it will look. Write a personal column detailing the impact the building will have on the way the community looks, and how it will affect how people feel about the community. Share and discuss with family or friends.

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; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.