Activities & Lesson Plans - 5th & 6th Grade Newsletter 2/19/10 - Shaun White Wins Gold

Grade: 5th-6th
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February 19, 2010 | Grades 5 & 6

In This Issue: Shaun White Grabs Gold, Happiest State: Hawaii, Terrier Wins Best in Show 

Shaun White in AirWhite Goes All Out on Halfpipe
In his second trip to the Winter Games, snowboarding phenom Shaun White soared above the competition. With two Olympic gold medals under his board, White has helped the extreme sport win a wider audience while tirelessly pushing the limit with new tricks.

Watch White in 2006 Olympics
See Shaun White's Website


Activity Ideas - Language Arts


Together with your child, review the snowboarding terms below. Then have him or her answer the questions, using a dictionary if needed.


Alley-oop: A rotation of 180 degrees or more going uphill.

Blindside: Unable to see one's takeoff or landing.

Bone: To straighten one or both legs. 

Bonk: To hit an object with the snowboard and ride away. 

Butter: To flex the nose or the tail of the board.

Cab: To take off with usual back leg in front, spin 360 degrees and land in usual stance. Named for the American skateboarder Steve Caballero. 

Cork: An airborne rotation off the vertical axis. 

Fakie: To ride with the usual back leg in front. 

Frontside: The toe side of the board, and the direction the rider faces.

Goofy foot: To grasp a board's edge with one or both hands.


  • Which term could be translated as "The part of the body on which you wear a shoe, in this case belonging to a Disney character."  Goofy foot
  • Identify the word that could refer to something you might ride in to get from one place to another, especially in New York City. Cab
  • You might spread this on toast or use it in a cookie recipe. Butter
  • Based on the definition of fakie, what might "air to fakie" mean? Answers could include ride into the air and land with back leg in front(Air to fakie: To approach the wall riding forward, go airborne without rotation and land with the back leg in front.)
  • Which terms have definitions that seem to draw from their conventional definitions? Explain. Blindside - A blind side (n.) is the part of one's field of vision where one is unable to see approaching objects; Frontside - Front is the part of anything that faces forward. People stand with toes pointing forward;  Bonk - To hit, strike, collide.
  • If a boarder does an alley-oop, it means that: he or she has wiped out (as in "oops!"); he or she has performed a cool trick; he or she is giving props to an urban area, which is likely to have alleys.

Learn more: Snowboard Halfpipe Trick Library, New York Times 
Learning Tips:
Use Clues to Determine Meaning of Unknown Words

Aloha Ha!

A national survey of 350,000 people revealed some not-so-surprising results: the state of Hawaii was the happiest place to live in 2009. Residents rated their states based on categories including job satisfaction, physical health and community satisfaction. 

Take a Look At the List

Activity Ideas - Math


Tell your child that the survey was based on a variety of self-reported factors.

  • Imagine that you are surveying your state's happiness. If you asked only people in your neighborhood, would that be biased or unbiased? Explain. Biased - Your town does not represent the views and feelings of people in other parts of your state.
  • In December 2009, Louisiana topped the happiest state list. Before the list was published, parts of Louisiana were devastated by Hurricane Katrina. How likely is it that the happiness levels still applied? Explain. Very unlikely, because data was gathered before the storm, which destroyed people's houses and businesses and many people were badly injured or killed.
Encourage your child to conduct his or her own happiness survey within his or her town, school or neighborhood.
  • Brainstorm five or so unbiased questions. 
  • Then have your child graph the data.
Learning Tips: Sampling Errors and Bias
Game: Probability

Every Dog Has Its Day
There's a new Top Dog in town. A Scottish terrier named Sadie fetched Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Doberman pinscher C.J. lost by a nose, becoming the country's second-ranked dog. As for the golden retriever, a clear crowd favorite, raucous applause would be the night's only reward.

Activity Ideas - Language Arts
Oral Presentations

Have your child imagine that he or she is giving a speech titled "Finding the Right Dog for Your Family." Discuss important information to include.

  • Do the research: Visit the American Kennel Club and the Westminster Kennel Club.
  • Get helpful tips and anecdotes from dog owners.
  • Write up a brief but info-packed presentation, to include only the most helpful, interesting and entertaining information.
  • Have your child practice the speech before family and friends.
  • After the presentation, ASK the audience: Do you feel that you are better informed? What questions if any were left unanswered? Is there anything that could have been left out?
Learning Tips: Deliver Informative Presentations,
Using Volume, Pitch and Tone in Oral Presentations

Game of the Week
Game Classroom Word Scramble II

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