Activities & Lesson Plans - 3rd & 4th Grade Newsletter 4/16/10 - Paid To Make The Grade

Grade: 3rd-4th

April 16, 2010 | Grades 3&4

In This Issue: Luzon Lizard, Planting World Peas, Cash in Class

Spotted: A 6-Foot Lizard
What is scaly, polka-dotted and as tall as a person (but doesn't stand up)? 
A new species of lizard found on Luzon island in the Philippines. The monitor lizard has been hidden in full view from scientists; Luzon locals are familiar with the fruit-loving reptile. Last summer, scientists finally had the opportunity to study the elusive creature, who happens to be related to the even larger Komodo Dragon. Imagine that family reunion! 

Activity Ideas - Language Arts
Many words in the English language are derived from Latin. What do these Latin words mean? Use your stellar vocabulary skills to find the answer. In cases where the Latin and English words are not spelled similarly, include the word that helped link the translation to the original.

- giant
Brevis - (brief) short
Humidus - (humid) moist, wet
Ignis - (ignite) fire
Canis - (canine) dog
Terra - (terrain) land
Ferox - (ferocious) fierce
Odorus - (odor) smelling
Flori - (floral) flower
Ruber - (ruby) red
Bestia - beast
Felis - (feline) cat
Aegyptius - Egypt
Pedalis - (pedal) footed

Translate the names of these imaginary creatures into Latin using the list above.

  • red flower smelling dog: (ruber floriodorus canis)
  • giant fierce land beast: (gigantos feroxterra bestia)
  • fire footed cat from Egypt: (ignis pedalis canis aegyptius)
Bonus: Visit the San Diego Zoo to make up more silly science names. Watch Wile E Coyote, aka Eaticus anythingus, for inspiration.
Learning Tips: Common Roots, Greek and Latin Words

World Peas
What's the latest tourist attraction in Washington, D.C.? The People's Garden. Created last year by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, it grows organic peas, peppers, tomatoes, and other produce for donation to area food pantries and soup kitchens. Vilsack called on other USDA employees to plant their own; currently, 255 have taken root worldwide. 

Activity Ideas - Language Arts

  • Discuss what it means to personify a plant, animal or other object. In what ways do we already do this? (By referring to nature as "Mother Nature.")
  • Come up with examples of humanlike behavior in nature. (For example, a leaf fluttering in the breeze might look like a child's hand waving; a wind rustling the leaves could sound like whispering.) 
  • In this way, challenge your child to imagine life in a vegetable garden. (Are the tomatoes teasing the squash for their odd shapes?)
  • Write a poem from the point of view of one or more plants in the garden.
Bonus: Together with your child, come up with gardening words that can be used in other ways. Use them to write about the USDA gardens. (For example, The People's Garden provided the seeds of inspiration that bloomed into a green movement.)
Learning Tips: Figurative Language

Classroom Cash
How much is an A+ worth? In recent years, low-performing schools have experimented with
paying kids to do well. Some people oppose a cash-reward system, saying it sends the wrong message to kids. A recent study indicates that students respond better to programs that pay them for specific actions within their control, like getting to school on time.

Activity Ideas - Math

  • Imagine that you get 50¢ each time you take out the trash. Lately, it has been especially stinky. You ask your mom for $1.00. She says 75¢. Is that more or less than your asking price? Less. By how much? 25¢. ($1.00 - $0.75 = $0.25)
  • You don't like cleaning the bathroom but you get $4 when you do. Your sister offers to help for $2.50. How much will that leave you? $1.50 ($4.00 - $2.50 = $1.50)
  • You decide to pay your sister to help, but just to annoy her you give her the money in dimes and nickels. How many dimes will you need to make a dollar? 10 dimes ($1.00 ÷ $0.10 = 10) You use nickels to make up the rest. How many nickels do you need? 30 nickels ($2.50 total - $1.00 in dimes = $1.50) ($1.50 ÷ $0.05 = 30 nickels)  

Game of the Week

Game of Week

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