Activities & Lesson Plans - 5th & 6th Grade Newsletter 1/8/10 - Inspiring Kids To Read

Grade: 5th-6th

January 8, 2010 | Grades 5 & 6

In This Issue: World's Tallest Building; Kids' Books Ambassador; Wild Horse Roundup

Burj Kahlifa, WikipediaWorld's Tallest Tower Opens

Soaring 2,717 feet into the sky, the building tops the former record-holding skyscraper by more than 1,000 feet. Burj Khalifa opened on January 4 surrounded by admirers and a blaze of fireworks. The tower will house apartments, offices, a hotel and a mosque, among other things. It graces the skyline of Dubai, a sheikdom that is a member of the United Arab Emirates. 


Slideshow: Building Burj Khalifa
Activity Ideas
Using Formulas

Tell your child that tall buildings sway slightly in the wind. This is one of the many factors architects and engineers consider when designing a building. Share the formula that determines how much a skyscraper will sway to the left or to the right:  building height (H) divided by 500 = sway amount (X). H ÷ 500 =X


Use the formula to calculate how much these buildings will sway:

  • Two International Finance Centre: 1,362 feet tall. (1,362 ÷ 500 =2.72 feet)
  • Burj Khalifa is 2,717 feet tall. (2,717 ÷ 500 = 5.43 feet)
  • Shanghai World Financial Center: 1,614 feet tall. (1,614 ÷ 500 =  3.23 feet) 
  • Jin Mao Building: 1,380 feet tall. (1,381 ÷ 500 = 2.76 feet) 
  • Willis Tower: 1,451 feet tall. (1,451 ÷ 500 = 2.90 feet)
  • Taipei 101: 1,667 feet tall. (1,667 ÷ 500 = 3.33 feet)
  • Petronas Towers 1&2: 1,483 feet tall. (1,483 ÷ 500 = 2.97 feet)
  • Trump International Hotel & Tower: 1,389 feet tall. (1,389 ÷ 500 = 2.78 feet)
  • CITIC Plaza: 1,280 feet tall. (1,280 ÷ 500 = 2.56 feet)
Have your child put the buildings above in order, by height; then graph from tallest to shortest. 

(1. Burj Khalifa; 2. Taipei 101; 3. Shanghai World Financial Center; 4.&5. Petronas Towers 1&2; 6. Willis Tower; 7. Trump International Hotel & Tower; 8. Jin Mao Building; 9. Two International Finance Centre; 10. CITIC Plaza)

Metric Conversion
Convert heights to metric equivalent for the top three buildings. Create an equation using this information: one foot = 0.3048 meters. (Height in feet [F] x 0.3048 = height in meters [M]) 
  •  Burj Khalifa: 828 Meters tall (2,717 x .3048 = 828)
  • Taipei 101: 508 Meters tall (1,667 x .3048 = 508)
  • Shanghai World Financial Center: 492 Meters tall (1,614 x .3048 = 492)

Homework Help: Solve Problems With Graphs and Equations;

More Resources: Visit KidInfo for links to graph tutorials, types of graphs and more.

Game: Points on the Coordinate Plane

The Queen of Kids' Books

This month Katherine Paterson begins her reign as the new National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. Paterson authored Newbery Medal-winning books Bridge to Terabithia (1977) and Jacob Have I Loved (1981), among others. During her two years as ambassador, Paterson will work to remind and inspire parents and kids of the joys and importance of young people's literature.


Read More: School Library Journal; The New York Times


Activity Ideas
Reading / Writing

Have your child make a list of his or her favorite books. Choose one, then:
  • Write a different ending for the story or rewrite a particular chapter/scene in the book. 
  • Research a favorite author, to focus on sources of inspiration, influences as a child, favorite books and other details or anecdotes that reveal the author's personal, creative side.
  • Draw characters or scenes as you imagined them while reading. 
  • Compose a soundtrack for the story or the characters (as in the musical children's story Peter and the Wolf), drawing from favorite songs, musicians or personal musical talent. 
Learning Tips: Author's Techniques; Stories and Literature - Analyzing Character
Game: Rags to Riches

Wild HorseWild Horse Roundup

At the end of December, the Bureau of Land Management began a two-month roundup of wild horses in northern Nevada. The aim is to remove about 2,500 mustangs from public and private lands. Federal officials say the move will protect the habitat of a variety of wildlife—wild horses included. The horses will receive veterinary care upon capture and will eventually be put up for adoption.

News Watch: Video of Roundup
See Photo Slideshow:
National Geographic Magazine

Activity Ideas

Tell your child that more than 3,040 wild horses were living in northern Nevada as of September.

  • If 3,040 is three times what the land can support, how many horses can the land support? (1,013 horses)
  • Without the roundup, the population could grow by 20-27% a year. Assuming it grows by 20%, how many horses would there be after one year? (3,648) // Two years? (4,378) // Three years? (5,254) Four years? (6,305) Five years? (7,566)
  • Now, imagine the population grows by 25%. Calculate the resulting population numbers by year. One year: (3,800) // Two: (4,750) // Three: (5,938) // Four: (7,422) // Five: (9,279)
  • About half of the nearly 37,000 wild mustangs live in Nevada. Estimate how many live in Nevada. (18,000) Now, calculate the number: (18,500)


Homework Help: Percentages

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Mr. Nussbaum - Stock the Shelves Game
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