Activities & Lesson Plans - 1st & 2nd Grade Newsletter 12/04/09

Grade: 1st-2nd

Grades 1&2 | December 4, 2009

In This Issue: Muppets Rock; Deep-Sea Census; Extreme Weather; Game of the Week 

Online Muppet Mania
The Muppets have made a comeback, thanks to a YouTube video. In just one week's time, Animal, Miss Piggy and friends managed to rack up more than 8.6 million views (and counting) while rocking out on a parody of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" video. We'd like to give a hand to a new generation of Muppet fans, who helped to put it on Kideos Top 10 List.

  • Come up with your own parody video. Have your child choose a song, and help him or her change the words or word combinations to make it silly. Then stage a fun performance in costume. 
  • Learn about each Muppet and its muse. Then share their histories with your child. ASK: Imagine you could create a Muppet based on yourself. Describe how it would look, sound and act. Try to create one feature that will stand out as an example of your personality. What would be your character's main feature, and what would you want it to say about you?

A 10-year sea census launched in 2000 continues to surprise scientists. Most recently, exploration of an area 3 miles below the ocean's surface has revealed a diverse community of marine species. The creatures thrive in a frigid, black world without sunlight. So far, researchers have discovered 17,650 animals living in eternal, watery darkness—and loving it. Watch "Beyond Sunlight" to see some of the creatures that live in total darkness. Tell your child that these animals have adapted to the conditions around them, to better survive.

  • Together with your child, visit the Census of Marine Life gallery. Discuss and point out some examples of adaptation—fish that light up or have large eyes; soft, flabby bones and flesh; large and expandable stomachs; strong sense of smell; black, silver or transparent bodies; large mouths and jaws, and teeth that angle inward.
  • Together, list the various adaptations and identify how each can aid survival. 
  • Explain that oceanographers divide the ocean into different zones based on the amount of sunlight that penetrates each area. Have your child think about the various sea animals that he or she is familiar with. Then, suggest he or she choose one to study. ASK: In what zone does it live? Does it live in a group or alone? Does it migrate? What does it eat? Has it had to adapt to its habitat, and if so how? 

Wild Weather
Ah, winter in the Northeast: mild, blustery days; joggers in shorts and T-shirts; friends lingering over lunch at outdoor cafes. Right. Even people who have never lived in the region know that the recent weather has been unusually mild. Forecasters don't expect it to last. In fact, by the time you read this, Massachusetts, Maine and the rest might be buried under a few feet of snow.

Discuss the different seasons with your child. Explain that in general, winter in the Northeast can be very cold and that during the summer, the temperatures rise.
  • Suggest that your child keep a daily record of the weather for a month, to include temperature and basic conditions, as well as the historic high and low temperatures for that day (available on The Weather Channel site). ASK: What was the highest temperature for the month? How many days were sunny? Cloudy? How often was the forecast right or at least close to the actual conditions? What might this tell you about the weather?
  • MATH: Help your child identify the highest and lowest temperatures that he or she has recorded. Have him or her subtract the low from the high. ASK: What was the largest temperature change within a 24-hour period?
  • Help your child make a graph showing the temperatures by day. Include record highs and lows for each day as well. ASK: Does this graph indicate that temperatures remained stable throughout the month?    


Talking 'Bout ... 

Toxic Toys: A consumer group released a report citing more than 32% of 700 toys tested as containing one or more toxic chemicals. Be sure to shop carefully!

of the Week 

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