Activities & Lesson Plans - 1st & 2nd Grade Newsletter 4/2/10 - Presidential Pitch

Grade: 1st-2nd

April 2, 2010 | Grades 1&2

In This Issue:
 The President's First Pitch, Boys Need to Read, Elephant Power Walk

Play Ball!
President Barack Obama will be tending to some very important business on April 5—throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at the Washington Nationals' first baseball game. His toss marks the 100th anniversary of season-opening presidential pitches. 

Pitch Preview: See President Obama's pitch at the 2009 All Star Game.

Activity Ideas - Math
Tell your child that U.S. Presidents have been throwing out ceremonial first pitches for 100 years. Help your child identify the years and make a timeline of presidential pitches using the information below. 
  • 1910 President William Howard Taft threw out the first ever presidential pitch.
  • Five years later, President Woodrow Wilson threw out the ceremonial pitch. (1915)
  • On the tradition's 10th anniversary Vice President Thomas Marshall did the honors. (1920)
  • Starting in (and including) 1924, President Calvin Coolidge pitched the ceremonial ball for two years in a row. (1924, '25)
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt became President in 1933. From that year on, he threw out the first pitch for a total of six years in a row. (1933, '34, '35, '36, '37, '38)
  • Roosevelt stayed away from the mound in 1939, but returned for the next two years. (1940, 1941)
  • Including his first "first" in 1946, Harry Truman threw out the presidential pitch for seven years in a row. (1946, '47, '48, '49, '50, '51, '52)
  • Dwight Eisenhower "bested" his two predecessors by tossing the first ball eight years in a row, starting in 1953. (1953, '54, '55, '56, '57, '58 '59, '60)
  • More recently, George W. Bush continued the baseball tradition, throwing out three first pitches in a row. His last consecutive year was in 2006. When was his first? (2004)
Bonus: Find a fun fact for each President on this timeline. (For example: Truman was the first left-handed pitcher among Presidents; Franklin D. Roosevelt was an enthusiastic stamp collector.)

He Said, She Read
Some advice to inspire an explosion of reading among boys: Give them a gross-out book full of swashbuckling adventure. A new report by the Center on Education Policy reveals that boys have fallen behind in reading in every state. Girls' verbal skills are well ahead of boys'. One theory: Boys are bored silly by the sedate ways that most schools teach verbal skills. 

Activity Ideas - Language Arts
Suggest to your child that he or she start a friendly reading challenge (for boys, invite a girlfriend or sister to take part; for girls, invite a boyfriend or brother). 
  • Set a goal for both, i.e., read one book per week for a month; swap books to see what the other person likes to read.
  • Each week, have each child share his or her story with the other; talk about the plot, characters, story, setting. 
  • Compare notes at the end of the month. Have children discuss what kinds of stories they like or don't like and why.   
Bonus: Help your child write a story that he or she would like to read. Come up with a plot, characters, a conflict and its resolution.
Find books that boys will like.

Learning Tips: Writing Short Stories
Recognizing Cause and Effect

Elephant Elephants Walking
Forget horsepower—scientists have found that elephants' legs work like a four-wheel-drive vehicle. When they walk, power is applied independently to each limb. Researchers believe that all other four-legged animals have rear-leg drive; the hind legs accelerate while the front legs act as brakes. 

Sure, elephants can walk; but can they paint? Visit Kideos to answer this burning question. 

Heaviest Land Mammals

1. Elephant: Up to 15,000 pounds

2. Hippopotamus: Up to 7,000

3. Rhinoceros: Up to 5,000

4. Giraffe: Up to 3,000

5. Water Buffalo: Up to 2,600

Activity Ideas - Math
Share the list of Heaviest Land Mammals with your child. Ask him or her to use the information to answer the questions.

  • True or False: A rhinoceros is heavier than a hippo. (False)
  • T or F: Elephants usually weigh more than 15,000 pounds. (False)
  • T or F: A water buffalo's weight is about half that of a rhinoceros. (True)
  • Which two land mammals weigh nearly the same? (Giraffe and water buffalo)
  • Which three animals together weigh as much as an elephant? (Hippopotamus, rhinoceros, giraffe)
  • ASK: Why are the animals' weights qualified as "up to"? (Not every mammal reaches the maximum weight for its kind.) 

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Every Day Is Earth Day Game

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