Activities & Lesson Plans - 5th & 6th Grade Newsletter Can Sleep Make You Smarter?

Grade: 5th-6th


June 14, 2010 | Grades 5&6

In This Issue: Sleep for 10, Gates Donates Again, Plastic or Re-usable?

You Snooze, You Don't LoseWhat's the magic number for sleep? New research suggests 10 hours if you want to be faster or smarter. Stanford University scientists found that football players ran the 40-yard dash faster after a full 10 hours. In a study of preschoolers, researchers found that established rituals and rules before bedtime resulted in higher scores on language and math skills.  
Activity Ideas - Math
  • Suggest your family do an unofficial sleep study. First, write down the average amount of sleep each person gets on a typical night. 
  • Record each person's time for a 20-yard dash.
  • During a typical week of sleep, have each person record whether he or she feels tired or gets tired throughout the day. 
  • Rearrange your family schedule to get 10 hours of sleep a night. After about a week of this, time each person running the 20-yard dash.
  • Did you get faster results? 
  • Record whether you felt more wakeful during the day or had more energy, along with any other changes you observed.

Funding for Families
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is known for its generous donations to help fund healthcare initiatives in developing countries. Until now, the focus has been on infectious diseases, vaccines, and H.I.V. and AIDS. Now it has pledged $1.5 billion over the next five years for maternal and child health, family planning and nutrition programs. 

Activity Ideas - Math
The following information represents a portion of the Foundation's funding from 1994 to present; use it to answer the questions.
Global Development: $2,861,000,000; Global Health: $13,227,000,000; U.S. (education initiatives): $5,783,000,000
  • How much does the Gates Foundation donate to Global Development, Global Health and the United States combined?  $21,871,000,000 ($2,861,000,000 + $13,227,000,000 + $5,783,000,000 = $21,871,000,000)
  • Global Development makes up  _____ % of the total. 13% ($2,861,000,000 ÷ $21,871,000,000 = 0.13) (0.13 x 100 = 13 %) *Use this equation to determine the following percentages.
  • Global Health represents _____ % of the total.  60%
  • U.S. makes up _____ % of the total.  26%
  • Use the percentages to make a pie chart representing the three areas of funding shown above. 
Learning Tips: Long Division and Division With Decimals

Americans go through about 90 billion plastic bags each year. A few cities and states in the U.S. are trying to reduce this number—California, in particular. Several cities there have imposed local bans on plastic bags, which has led to an initiative to ban the bags statewide. Since January, Washington, D.C., has charged a 5 cent fee on bags given out by stores that sell food. These movements may spur other areas within the country to bag the plastic bag.

Activity Ideas - Language Arts

  • Imagine that you get a newsletter called "Keep Our City Clean." You decide to read the article "The Plastic Bag Problem." Do you think this article will be biased or unbiased? Explain. Biased. The article is in a green publication, so most likely the writer believes in green living. Also, the title indicates what tone the writer will take. 
  • In an article about Seattle's campaign against plastic bags, critics refer to the 20 cent charge per bag as a "tax." How might that word choice be biased in this case? It puts the initiative in a negative light; people don't generally see taxes as something positive. 
  • The Washington, DC, 5 cent fee for plastic bags is mentioned in an article entitled "Cities Find New Ways to Reach Into Your Wallet." How might the title impact readers' opinions of the fee? The headline might give people the impression that the initiative is the result of greedy city officials taking advantage of hardworking citizens
  • If you wanted to find unbiased information about the pros and cons of plastic bags, where might you look? Reference materials such as Wikipedia or the results of an independent study on plastic bags. 
Learning Tips: Analysis of Media

Game of the Week

King Kong's Prime Numbers Game

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