Activities & Lesson Plans - 3rd & 4th Grade Newsletter 2/05/10 - Making Football Safer

Grade: 3rd-4th

February 5, 2010 | Grades 3&4

In This Issue: The iPad Unveiled; Can Football Tackle Its Troubles?; Finding Color in Dinosaur Fossils 

The Latest Apple

Apple has introduced a new product it hopes will rival Amazon Kindle and expand upon the success of the iPhone and the iPod Touch. With the forthcoming iPad, the company is poised to enter the e-book business by way of a slim tablet computer that offers users computing power well beyond that of other e-readers. Sources say that the company has been working on a tablet computer for more than 10 years and that recent technological advances and improvements made its latest product possible. 


Activity Ideas - Language Arts
Tell your child that a private school in Massachusetts has given away most of its collection of 20,000-some books. The library will become a "learning center" with technology far outnumbering traditional texts.

Share this quote with your child: "There is a kind of deep-dive, meditative reading that's almost impossible to do on a screen. Without books, students are more likely to do the grazing or quick reading that screens enable, rather than be by themselves with the author's ideas." - Author William Powers, Hamlet's Blackberry

  • ASK: Would you rather read something off the computer screen as opposed to reading the pages of a book? 
  • List a few things that you would miss if books disappeared from library shelves and your life. Then, write down a few things that you prefer about reading on the computer.
  • Do a reading exercise. If you have an e-reader, great! If not, no problem—find a magazine or newspaper article, poem or storybook to read online. If possible, try to choose a text that you can also read in book or newspaper form. 
  • Read the story or article on the computer and then on paper. Take note of the following: time spent with each medium; level of satisfaction and interest; overall experience. Conclusion: Which medium do you prefer? Why?


Online Reading Options: Washington Post Kids Post

The Very Hungry Caterpillar 

TIME for Kids magazine


Read, from New York Times:  With Its Tablet, Apple Blurs Line Between DevicesKids' Toy or Tech Tool?

football tackleA Dangerous Game

The latest news about head injures in the game of football is alarming. Researchers have found that concussions are far more damaging than previously known. Several retired pros are suffering serious health problems including early onset of Alzheimer's and depression. After long denying any connection between the game and players' health problems, last fall the NFL adopted a new policy requiring players to be cleared by a brain-injury expert before returning to a game or practice. Several states are considering or have passed similar policy for youth sports.


ReadThe Problem With Football: How To Make It Safer.
Football Physics: The Anatomy of a Hit

History of Football Helmet


Activity Ideas - Math
Football is a game of numbers. How many of these questions will you get right?

  • A first down is equal to 10 yards. Your team just gained 3 yards on its first attempt on a first down. How many more yards does it need for the first down? 7 more yards. (10 yards - 3 yards = 7 yards)
  • The quarterback just completed a 10-yard pass from his team's 10-yard line. Where will the next play start? On the 20-yard line. (10 yards + 10 yards = 20 yards) 
  • The football field is 100 yards long. Your team is at the 25-yard line. What percentage of the field have they covered? 25% (25 yards ÷ 100 yards = 0.25 or 25%) What percentage do they have left to cover? 75% (100 yards - 25 yards = 75 yards) (75 yards ÷ 100 yards = 0.75 or 75%)
  • A touchdown and extra point kicked is worth 7 points. How many touchdowns has your team scored if it has 14 points? 2 touchdowns. (14 points ÷ 7 points = 2 touchdowns) 28 points? 4 touchdowns (28 points ÷  7 points = 4 touchdowns) 35 points? 5 touchdowns (35 points ÷ 7 points = 5 touchdowns)
  • A football game is made up of four 15-minute quarters. Technically, how long would a game last if play went uninterrupted by timeouts, commercials and halftime shows? 60 minutes, or one hour. (15 minutes x 4 quarters = 60 minutes)

The Color of Dinos

Recently scientists announced that they had discovered the color of a dinosaur that lived 125 million years ago. How? By studying its fossilized feathers. Scientists know that a bird's feathers get some color from pigments called melanins, which are contained within a capsule-like structure in the feather. The shape of the capsule depends on its color. In this case, the dinosaur's tail was covered with ginger and white feathers. 

Activity Ideas - Language Arts

Read the following statements about dinosaurs. Determine which ones are facts and which are opinions. 

  • T-rex had sharp teeth. Fact (F)
  • T-rex was a big scary predator. Opinion (O)
  • Some dinosaurs had feathers. F
  • Scientists have discovered the colors of some feathered dinosaurs. F
  • Scientists are so smart for being able to figure things out millions of years later! O
  • Thank goodness humans weren't around when dinosaurs roamed the earth. O
  • Humans weren't around when dinosaurs roamed the earth. F
Extra Reading: TIMESuper-Crocodiles May Have Dined on DinosaursTiny T-Rex: Fossil Shows the Dino King Started Small

Watch: Expedition Week: Bizarre Dinosaurs

Learning Tips: Facts Vs. Opinions
Games: Fact Or Opinion

Game of the Week
Mr. Nussbaum
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