Activities & Lesson Plans - 3rd & 4th Grade Newsletter 4/2/10 - Getting Guys To Read

Grade: 3rd-4th

April 2, 2010 | Grades 3&4

In This Issue:
 The President's Game Face, Get Guys Reading, Pachyderm Power Walk

Obama Pitch All Star GamePresidential Ball
On April 5, Barack Obama will have on his "game face" as he throws 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.

Learning Tips - Math
Tell your child that predictions aren't guarantees; they are merely good guesses based on data that you believe is reliable. 
  • Have him or her look up batting averages for favorite players, taking into account a period of at least three years including 2009.
  • Have him or her determine each player's likely batting average for the upcoming season (and/or other statistics), based on previous records and imagined variables, as shown below.
Derek Jeter
Batting Average by year - 2007: .322, 2008: .300, 2009: .334
  • ASK: Assuming Jeter's health and conditioning are similar to the last three years, how likely is it that his batting average will be .300 or above? (Very likely)
  • Imagine that Jeter's 2010 average is .200. What are possible reasons for this drop? (He played injured for most of the season; he didn't practice during the off-season; he let himself get out of shape.)
  • Since 1996, Jeter has hit at least 10 home runs per season. How likely is it that he gets only five home runs this season. (Very unlikely, unless he is injured.)
Learning Tips: Use Probability to Predict Future Events
All Possible Outcomes for an Event

Boys' Books Go Blam!
Want your guy to read? Tell him the book is disgusting. 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? Parents and teachers need to show them that reading can be explosive fun. 

Activity Ideas - Language Arts
  • Suggest to your child that he or she start a book club. Boys may want to start an all-guys Reading Roundtable.
  • Together with other members, have him or her write up a pact highlighting fun goals and silly guidelines.
  • Encourage your child to rate the books that he or she likes and see what other readers have to say: visit author Jon Scieszka's Guys Read, and Scholastic Stacks
Bonus: Every few months stage a reading challenge, i.e., how long can each member stay focused on a book while friends are trying hard to distract him or her. The person who wins gets free pizza or gets to choose the next two books.

Elephants Get Rolling

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
Giraffe: Up to 3,000 pounds
Elephant: Up to 15,000 pounds
Water Buffalo: Up to 2,600 pounds
Rhinoceros: Up to 5,000 pounds
Hippopotamus: Up to 7,000 pounds 

Activity Ideas - Math
  • Have your child put the mammals in order by weight, from heaviest to lightest. (1. Elephant, 2. Hippopotamus, 3. Rhinoceros, 4. Giraffe, 5. Water Buffalo)
  • Compare each mammals' maximum weight to an elephant's maximum weight, using subtraction. (Elephant weighs 8,000 pounds more than hippo; 10,000 pounds more than rhinoceros; 12,000 pounds more than giraffe; 12,400 pounds more than water buffalo)
Bonus: Imagine that the five animals above get into an elevator. Together, how much do they weigh? (up to 32,600 pounds) What is the likelihood that the elevator moves upward? (Very, very, very unlikely)

Learning Tips: Count Up to 10,000
Add and Subtract 5-Digit Numbers

Game of the Week

Baseball Game

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