Resources for Teachers and Students


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Lessons for

Grades 1-4
Grades 5-8

Past lessons
for Grades 9-12

Aug. 20, 2018
Aug. 13, 2018
Aug. 06, 2018
July 30, 2018
July 23, 2018
July 16, 2018
July 09, 2018
June 25, 2018
June 18, 2018
June 11, 2018
June 04, 2018
May 28, 2018
May 21, 2018
May 14, 2018
May 07, 2018
Apr 30, 2018
Apr 23, 2018
Apr 16, 2018
Apr 09, 2018
Apr 02, 2018
Mar. 26, 2018
Mar. 19, 2018
Mar. 12, 2018
Mar. 05, 2018
Feb. 26, 2018
Feb. 19, 2018
Feb. 12, 2018
Feb. 05, 2018
Jan. 29, 2018
Jan. 22, 2018
Jan. 15, 2018
Jan. 08, 2018
Jan. 01, 2018
Dec. 11, 2017
Dec. 04, 2017
Nov. 27, 2017
Nov. 20, 2017
Nov. 13, 2017
Nov. 06, 2017
Oct. 30, 2017

For Grades 9-12 , week of Aug. 20, 2018

1. Oscar Change

For 90 years the Academy Awards program has been giving out its famous Oscar awards to honor excellence in the world of movies. Next year, the awards will include a new category recognizing Achievement in Popular Film. The new category will give the Academy a way to honor blockbuster hits like “Wonder Woman” or “Star Wars” that are popular with audiences but have not been traditionally included in the Best Picture category. It also will be an attempt to attract a bigger audience for the Oscar television broadcast. The Academy Awards were set up to recognize “merit” in filmmaking, acting, music, directing and technical achievement. Winners are voted on by the Academy membership, which includes, actors, directors, writers, costume designers and others who contribute to making movies. Last year’s Best Picture was “The Shape of Water,” an artsy science fiction story in which a woman falls in love with a sea creature. What is the best movie you saw this summer? As a class, discuss different movies and why you liked them. Then discuss whether you think the Academy Awards program should put these movies in the Best Picture or Popular Film categories, or both. Write a film commentary for the newspaper discussing how you would distinguish between the two categories if you were a member of the Academy.

Common Core State Standards: Responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.

2. Targeting the Sun

The sun is the center of Earth’s solar system, but much is still not known about it. That could change soon, thanks to a ground-breaking mission that will take a space probe closer to the sun than any in history. The Parker Solar Probe launched by America’s NASA space agency will travel to within 4 million miles of the sun and reach speeds up to 430,000 miles per hour — both new records in space exploration. But they’re just the beginning of what the Parker probe hopes to accomplish. Over the next seven years the probe will gather data on the temperature of the sun’s outer corona, the speed of space wind, and the eruptions of fast moving energy particles that create “space weather” events that can disrupt communications, electronic systems and electrical grids on Earth. The probe also will measure the sun’s magnetic field, sample particles from solar wind and measure the strength of eruptions from the sun’s surface. The Parker Solar Probe is mission designed to help scientists better understand our solar system. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another space mission gathering information about the solar system. Use what you read to write a science column for the newspaper, explaining what the mission seeks to achieve, why that is important and what information it has already gathered.

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. Death by Fentanyl

The drug fentanyl has made headlines for contributing to the nation’s opioid epidemic and the record 72,000 deaths from drug overdoses last year. Now it has made headlines for another reason. In the state of Nebraska, prison officials have used fentanyl to execute a prisoner who had been sentenced to death by the courts. The execution of 60-year-old Carey Dean Moore was the first time fentanyl had been used to carry out a death sentence in the nation’s history. Moore had spent nearly 40 years in prison after being sentenced to death for killing two taxi drivers in the city of Omaha in 1979. The growing use of the deadly drug fentanyl is a major concern throughout the United States. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about fentanyl use and what communities are doing about it. Use what you read to write a short editorial, outlining steps you think states and the nation should take to combat fentanyl use.

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.

4. Wrestling Mayor

In the world of professional wrestling, the wrestler known as Kane the “Big Red Machine” is a 7-foot, 300-pound masked villain and fan favorite. After 25 years in the ring, however, Kane now has another claim to fame. He has been elected mayor of Knox County in the state of Tennessee. Kane, whose real name is Glen Jacobs, won election as a Republican this month by defeating Democrat Linda Haney. A resident of East Tennessee since 1995, Kane/Jacobs didn’t have an easy path to victory. In the Republican primary election, he won the party nomination by just 23 votes. Kane is not the first pro wrestler to win election to office. In 1998, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, shocked the state of Minnesota by winning election as governor as a candidate of the independent Reform Party. He served one four-year term before leaving office. More and more people with unusual backgrounds are entering politics. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about candidates who have entered politics this year from diverse or unusual backgrounds. Use what you read to write a paragraph or political essay analyzing the benefits and liabilities of having candidates from such backgrounds.

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.

5. Christmas in August

Every year, people complain that stores start promoting Christmas and the winter holidays earlier and earlier. Well, a department store in London, England may have set a new standard. This month, the Selfridges store opened its Christmas shop on a steamy summer day 144 days before the Christmas holiday. The store defended the move when asked why it started almost five months before December 25. Spokesperson Eleanor Gregory said, “We have customers that … demand Christmas [even] during this time of year.” As long as they do, she added, “we’re happy to launch our Christmas shop in the middle of summer.” When promoting or marketing products for sale, timing is everything. Promoting products too early or too late can harm sales. As a class, discuss what you think the right time is to start promotions for Christmas or winter holiday materials. Pick a product or store you like and create a newspaper, TV or Internet ad to launch its Christmas/holiday campaign. Give your ad a theme that would reflect the time of year you think the campaign should start.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic.