The frequency of a cricket's chirps is affected by the temperature. The greater the temperature, the more frequently a cricket will chirp. In fact, the Old Farmer's Almanac, a farming reference book, created a formula to determine the outdoor temperature based on the frequency of cricket chirps. Count the number of cricket chirps in 14 seconds and add 40. The sum is the approximate temperature in degrees Fahrenheit.
Do you know any ways of predicting the weather that don't rely on technology or the forecast? Describe any methods you know and how well they work.
The phoenix is a mythological bird that can be found in Persian, Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythologies, among others. The phoenix was said to live for at least 500 years. As it approached the end of its life, the phoenix would build itself a nest and burst into flames. When the flames were gone, a new phoenix would rise from the ashes.
The phoenix is popularly used as a symbol. What do you think the phoenix would represent? What would you have the phoenix, as a symbol, represent in a story? Explain your answer.
The phoenix often represents rebirth or renewal.
Mermaids and mermen are fabled sea creatures. They have the upper bodies of humans, but instead of legs, they have tails covered in scales. Folktales about mermaids and mermen have been around for thousands of years. Scientists have never found any concrete evidence to prove the existence of mermaids. Some believe that stories about merpeople came from sightings of real aquatic mammals like manatees and dugongs.
What is your favorite mythological creature? Describe it and explain what you find interesting or appealing about it.
"And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer."
—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
- a belief; a strongly held opinion
What convictions do you have? Why are they convictions? Use the word conviction in your answer.
Even though we use the terms as synonyms, bugs and insects are distinct from each other when it comes to biology. A bug is a specific type of insect. The distinction results from the way bugs eat. All bugs feed through a long, pointed mouthpiece. The mouthpieces are shaped almost like long, skinny beaks. Bugs use their mouthpieces like straws to suck up liquid food.
Describe an insect or bug that you like. Describe what it looks like and why you like it. Or describe your least favorite bug or insect and why you dislike it.
People and places can acquire nicknames that might describe something about them. Do you have a nickname?
Invent a nickname for your state, city, or town. Why did you choose this nickname? What does it mean?
Fly away home.
Your house is on fire,
And your children all gone;
All except one,
And that's little Ann,
And she has crept under
The warming pan.
This popular English nursery rhyme is about ladybugs. Ladybugs live in many countries in North America and Europe, and they have many different names. In England, they are called ladybirds. In the United States, they are called ladybugs. The German name, Marienkafer, translates to lady beetle. All of these names are related to the original name for the beetle: "beetle of Our Lady." The beetles were named for the Virgin Mary after they saved English crops by eating plant-destroying aphids.
Do you know any nursery rhymes that are from another country? If so, write one down. If not, research nursery rhymes around the world and share one with the class.
Wordsmiths are people who are skilled at using words. Journalists write for newspapers, websites, and other news publications. They also prepare the news for radio or television.
How are the following types of wordsmiths different from journalists? Write a definition for each, comparing them to journalists.
Playwright: a person who writes plays. Plays may be based on the news, but they need not be nonfiction.
Novelist: a person who writes fictional books. These long narratives may be based on real events.
Poet: a person who writes poetry on any topic. Poetry can reflect real-world events, but they are not required to present facts.
Speechwriter: a person who writes the speeches that others deliver. Speeches can, but do not always, report current news events.
The honeybee, common in the United States, is a social bee that lives in colonies. Honeybees collect nectar and make large amounts of honey. The honeybee is just one kind of bee. In fact, more than 20,000 different kinds of bees exist. Many species of bees are solitary. They do not live together in large hives, and they do not make honey.
What do you know about bees? Divide your paper in half and make a list of "pros" and "cons." On the "pros" list, include all of the good things that bees do. On the "cons" list, include the bad things about bees. Which list has more items? Compare your answers with the class and discuss.
The scientist's story inspired Jonah to work harder in school.
- fill someone with emotion, an idea, or an attitude
Where do you find inspiration? What inspires you? Use a form of the word inspire in your answer.
Memorial Day is an American holiday that honors the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who have died in war. Memorial Day began after the Civil War. It was originally called Decoration Day because Americans decorated soldiers' graves with flowers. The name changed after World War I to include all Americans killed in war. Memorial Day is celebrated annually on the last Monday in May.
Do you think it is important to honor the men and women who have served our country? Explain your opinion and try to persuade others to share it.
Consider the following saying:
Children should be seen and not heard.
What does the saying mean? Do you agree or disagree with it? If you disagree, rewrite the saying to reflect what you do believe.
This saying means that children should be quiet and well-behaved while around adults.
At certain times, American flags are flown at half-staff. Flying flags halfway down the flag pole signals a period of mourning. On Memorial Day, flags are flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon. The first half of the day honors Americans who have died for their country. At noon, the flags are raised to the top of their flag poles. The second half of the day honors all other American war heroes.
What traditions do you have for Memorial Day? If you don’t have any, what is one that you would like to start and why would you start it?
- the phenomenon of finding something good or fortunate without looking for it
- unexpected and pleasant or fortunate; obtained by serendipity
Use serendipity or serendipitous in a sentence.
Country music is a genre of American music that originated in the southern and western parts of the United States. It became popular throughout the nation in the mid-1900s. Instruments commonly used in country music include fiddles, guitars, banjos, and harmonicas. Country music derives from the ballads and folk songs of English, Irish, and Scottish settlers who moved to the United States. Gospel music and the blues also influenced country music.
Do you enjoy country music? If so, who are some of your favorite artists and songs? Why do you like them? If you do not like country music, what type of music do you enjoy and why?
- hard to find because there is so little of it
- the state of being scarce or in short supply; a shortage
Write a sentence or two that describes something that is scarce or is a scarcity. Use scarce or scarcity in your sentence.
Coral reefs are inhabited by fish and other sea creatures. A coral reef may look like a rock, but it is actually alive. Hundreds of tiny organisms called coral polyps make up the coral. Coral polyps live on algae. The algae produce oxygen and nutrients that the coral polyps consume. As the coral polyps grow, they divide and form a colony. The colony of coral polyps act as one organism. The colony grows and attaches itself to other colonies. Eventually, over thousands of years, a coral reef develops.
Have you ever kept pet fish in a fishbowl or aquarium at home? What kinds of fish did you have? Describe the different shapes and colors of your fish. If not, would you like to have pet fish? What kind of fish would you like to have? Why?
She makes a good leader because she can be decisive when necessary.
- having the ability to make decisions quickly
- determined, resolute
Write a few sentences about a time in your life when you acted decisively. Use decisive or its adverb, decisively, in your sentence.
All living organisms require water to survive. Liquid water is abundant on Earth. Scientists have never found liquid water elsewhere in the universe. The water that scientists have discovered on other planets is always in the form of ice.
Imagine that you live on a planet composed entirely of ice. Describe life on that planet. Include descriptions of the landscape and the other creatures that inhabit the planet.
Heteronyms are words that are spelled the same way but have different meanings and pronunciations.
- a deed or act
- to make use of
- to make use of unfairly for your own advantage
Use each word in a sentence of your own.
All sunscreens have an SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, number. Higher SPF numbers will protect your skin for longer period of time than lower SPF numbers. You should always consider how long you plan to spend in the sun and the sun's strength at different times of day. Use an SPF of at least 30, reapply every two hours, and limit sun time in the middle of the day when the sun is strongest.
What are some other ways to stay safe in the summer? List the rules you know.
The future of ocean conservation is in your hands!
Explain the expression in your hands. Write a sentence or two that includes the phrase in your hands or its opposite, out of your hands.
Something that is in your hands is your responsibility or in your care.