For Grades K-4 , week of Apr 03, 2017

1. Play Ball!

Major League Baseball’s 2017 season begins this week, and fans all over the country are hoping their favorite team wins the championship. The regular season lasts 162 games, so a lot of baseball will be played before fans know which teams will make the playoffs and World Series. There are a total of 30 teams in the American and National Leagues. Following baseball is a great way to build reading and math skills. Stories about games are full of action, and for every game a “box score” of statistics summarizes how individual players performed. As a class, use the newspaper or Internet to find and read an account of a Major League game this week. Then study the box score, and discuss what the different statistics mean. Use what you read to create three math problems based on the statistics in the box score. Exchange problems with classmates. Be sure to do your problems before exchanging, so you know the right answers!

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; representing and solving problems involving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

2. Talk About the Environment

In his first months in office, President Trump has demonstrated he wants to change the way the nation’s government operates. One thing he wants to change is the way the government deals with the environment. The president feels there are too many rules governing the environment and would like to eliminate or loosen many of them. He also would like to reduce the size and power of the nation’s Environmental Protection Agency. Protecting the environment is an area that spotlights the debate over how much government control is necessary — and how much is too much. As a class, discuss what rules you think are needed to protect the environment. Then discuss rules that you think might create problems for businesses or individuals. Finish by writing a letter to the editor, giving your opinion on a rule you think is needed, or a rule you think goes too far. Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions;

3. Know the Nation

The United States has more kinds of different places than most nations of the world. The city of San Francisco is very different from the city of Detroit, for example, and both are different from the cities of Miami or Dallas. Divide into teams and study photos in the newspaper or online that show different cities in the United States. Read or skim the stories or captions that go with the photos. On a sheet of paper, list three cities you found. Write a short description of each, based on what you read in the newspaper or online. Finish by finding the cities on a map of the United States. Repeat this activity every day for a week and mark the cities on your map. How many cities did you learn about in a week? Which would you like to visit?

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; organizing data using concrete objects, pictures, tallies, tables, charts, diagrams and graphs.

4. U-Shaped Building

In New York City, the companies that build skyscraper buildings are always trying to outdo each other. Now one has taken the competition in a new direction. A building nicknamed “The Big Bend” would soar to great heights, and then curve back down. It would be one of the most unusual buildings in New York and would require an elevator system that can travel in curves, horizontally and even in loops. Called the “longest building in the world,” the Big Bend would be located on a stretch of 57th Street called Billionaire’s Row. Its design is an attempt to work around New York’s zoning rules for tall buildings and to create a place where people who are very wealthy would want to work or live. The slender, glass-lined tower would be 4,000 feet long and just under 2,000 feet tall. Every community has special, beautiful or unusual buildings. In the newspaper or online, find and study a photo of a special building in your community or state. Think like an art critic and write a “review” of how the building looks, what it adds to the community and how you think it makes people feel.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

5. ‘Alphabet Monster’

Reading the newspaper or Internet is a great way to build word and reading skills. It’s also a great way to practice creativity. On the front page of today’s print newspaper, find each letter of the alphabet and circle the letters with a crayon or marker. When you have finished, connect the letters with a crayon to create an “Alphabet Monster.” Which part will be your monster’s “head”? Which will be its feet? What will be your monster’s name? Write the beginning of a creative story featuring your monster.

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.