Activities & Lesson Plans - 5th & 6th Grade Newsletter 4/2/10 - The President Throws A Pitch

Grade: 5th-6th

April 2, 2010 | Grades 5&6

In This Issue:
 Presidential "Play Ball!", Guys Read, Elephant Tracks

Major League President
Barack Obama will be taking part in an important presidential tradition on April 5—throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. His toss at the Washington Nationals' first baseball game marks the 100th anniversary of season-opening presidential pitches. 
Pitch Preview: See President Obama's pitch at the 2009 All Star Game.

Activity Ideas - Language Arts 
  • Have your child research important events in baseball history, to identify at least one event per decade. 
  • Make a timeline highlighting baseball's big moments.
  • Draw or find images online and in magazines to illustrate the timeline.
Activity Ideas - Math
Have your child calculate his or her favorite players' batting averages using the formula/examples below. Find 2009 hitting stats by player at Major League Baseball's website.

Batting Average = Hits/At Bats
  • David Ortiz: 129 hits ÷ 541 at bats, = .238 batting average
  • Derek Jeter: 212 hits ÷ 634 at bats = .334

Books for Boys
Give guys gross-out books full of swashbuckling adventure, and you'll likely see a reading explosion. 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', and it seems girls work harder. 

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 that wins gets free pizza or gets to choose the next two books.

Learning Tips
: Identifying the Main Problem of a Plot

ElephantsWalk the Walk
What do elephants and Jeep Wranglers have in common? Four-wheel drive. Scientists have found that an elephant's 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

1. Elephant: Up to 15,000 pounds

2. Hippopotamus: Up to 7,000

3. Rhinoceros: Up to 5,000

4. Giraffe: Up to 3,000

5. Water Buffalo: Up to 2,600

Activity Ideas - Math

  • Review the list of Heaviest Land Mammals with your child. 
  • Tell him or her that 1 ton = 2,000 pounds. 
  • Convert the mammals' weights from pounds to tons, using this equation: 15,000 pounds (elephant's weight) ÷ 2,000 pounds (amount of pounds in 1 ton) = 7.5 tons.

Elephant: 7.5 or 7 1/2 tons
Hippopotamus: 3.5 or 3 1/2 tons
Rhinoceros: 2.5 or 2 1/2 tons
Giraffe: 1.5 or 1 1/2 tons
Water buffalo: 1.3 tons

Game of the Week

Batters Up game

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