Many people use the words tsunami and tidal wave to mean the same thing, but they are two separate occurrences. A tsunami is a series of waves caused by a disturbance in the ocean, such as an underwater earthquake, an underwater landslide, or a volcanic eruption. A tsunami’s waves will vary in size. They can grow to more than 100 feet by the time they reach the shoreline. Tidal waves are never that large. They occur with low and high tides, which are caused by the gravitational forces of the moon and the sun. Tidal waves are produced by the movements of the ocean water.
Have you ever experienced extreme weather or a natural disaster? If yes, describe your experience. If no, research a natural disaster and describe what happened.
An idiom is a phrase or group of words with a meaning that is different than the literal meaning of the words. For example, the idiom raining cats and dogs means it is raining very hard. It does not mean that pets are falling from the sky.
The idiom a clean slate means a fresh start. It implies that old wrongdoings are forgotten.
After our argument, we decided to forgive each other and start the new year with a clean slate.
Work with a partner to write a sentence using the idiom a clean slate.
Strawberries are grown in every state in the United States, but California grows the most. California produces about eighty percent of all the strawberry crops in the country. Approximately 2 billion pounds of strawberries come from California every year. Most of these grow during the peak season, which runs from the beginning of April to the end of May.
Describe the taste, color, and texture of strawberries or another fruit you've eaten. Use plenty of adjectives and sensory words.
Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 16, 1929, and Jackie Robinson was born on January 31, 1919. Both were inspirational African American heroes. Write a sentence about either man using the word significant.
• having, or likely to have, meaning or influence
Meteorology is the study of weather. Meteorologists study patterns, such as those of wind and temperature, to make weather predictions. They gather data using a range of tools, including thermometers, weather balloons, radar, and satellites. Then they make computer models that predict the weather based on information they've collected.
Do you think it is important to make weather predictions? Give at least two reasons explaining why or why not.
Read the sentences below, paying close attention to the words. How does the choice of words convey a precise meaning or change the tone?
1. “The meteorologist announced more snow for the weekend,” Alex beamed.
2. “The meteorologist announced more snow for the weekend,” James moaned.
Who wants it to snow? Who does not? How do you know? What does the choice of words tell you about each speaker?
Alex wants it to snow. James does not.
"Beamed" implies that Alex is happy and smiling when he finds out it will snow. “Moaned,” on the other hand, suggests that James is very unhappy about the incoming snow.
Construction of the Great Wall of China began in 700 B.C. A series of fortifications slowly formed a barrier to protect Chinese villages from invasion. The wall was maintained and expanded over hundreds of years. While about 5,500 miles of the wall still stand today, much of it has fallen apart due to age and human activity.
Imagine you went on vacation to China and visited the Great Wall. Describe your trip. What was it like to see such an ancient artifact?
• a friendly, welcoming way of treating people; making people feel comfortable and at home
Write a travel brochure for a hotel near the Great Wall of China hoping to attract tourists. Use the word hospitable.
Jackie Robinson was the first African American baseball player to leave the Negro Leagues and join an all-white major league team. He played for a team called the Brooklyn Dodgers. Fans booed him, opponents called him awful names, and even some of his own teammates turned against him. Jackie Robinson stayed strong and continued to play. He went on to help the Brooklyn Dodgers win the World Series in 1955. We remember him today as a great athlete and a hero.
Is there an athlete who is a hero to you? This hero can be someone who is famous or someone you know. What sport does the person play? What do you admire about him or her?
In the spring, many animals emerge from dens, caves, burrows, and other havens after months of hibernating.
What does the word emerge mean? What part of speech is emerge? Write your own sentence using the word emerge.
What does emerge mean?
Emerge means to come out into the open.
What part of speech is emerge?
Emerge is a verb.
Sentences will vary.
On January 31, 1865, Congress passed the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The amendment abolished slavery and involuntary servitude in the United States. The amendment marked a turning point for human rights in American history.
What is the significance of the 13th amendment? Write a letter to a member of Congress in 1865 explaining why the amendment is important.
The people of Punxsutawney, Pa., anticipate the arrival of as many as 30,000 people for their annual Groundhog Day celebration.
What does the word anticipate mean?
Anticipate means to guess or be aware that something will happen and to be prepared for it.
What part of speech is anticipate?
Anticipate is a verb.
Sentences will vary.
Blue whales are the largest animals in the world. They are also some of the loudest. They use pulses, groans, and moans to communicate with each other. In good conditions, blue whales can hear each other from up to 1,000 miles away! The ocean is dark, but whales use sound to find their way around. This is called sonar navigation.
What is the largest animal you have ever seen up close? Imagine what it would be like to swim next to a blue whale.
The portrait gave the princess a celestial air.
• to do with the sky or the heavens
• relating to or suggesting divinity
Synonyms: heavenly, ethereal
Use the word celestial, or one of its synonyms, in a sentence.
Has your class passed the 100th day of school this year? One hundred is often a noted milestone, or marker of achievement. The word centennial means a 100-year anniversary. Bicentennials indicate 200 years. Research something that has celebrated a centennial or bicentennial.
Think of something positive you could do every day for 100 days. Explain why you think it would be a good thing to do.
The doctor scrutinized the x-ray and found a small fracture that the other doctors had overlooked.
• examine or study closely
Describe something you have scrutinized recently. Explain why it called for scrutiny.
February is Black History Month, when we honor the achievements of African Americans in the United States. Frederick Douglass was a social reformer and leading orator of the abolitionist movement. He was born in February of 1818. He lived as a slave until he ran away to the northern states in 1838. He quickly joined the cause to abolish slavery. In Massachusetts, Douglass became a spokesman for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society. During the Civil War, he was a consultant to President Abraham Lincoln. Douglass held several positions in the U.S. government through his life. He published his autobiography, The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, in 1882.
Why do you think it is important to celebrate Black History Month?
To have a strong moral character means to be honest, respectful, tolerant, and hardworking.
• of or relating to principles of right or wrong conduct
• conforming to a standard of correct behavior
What other traits does a moral person have? Write three examples illustrating your own moral character.
In 1732, George Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Va. At the time, the English still ruled the American colonies. During the Revolutionary War against England, Washington led the Continental Army. Washington provided such fine leadership for the young nation that he became the first president of the United States. He was elected by a unanimous vote of the Electoral College.
Imagine your school is a country. If you could write a constitution for it, what kind of laws and rules would you choose and why?
The National Weather Service began tracking weather in 1870.
- a rail or set of rails for trains or trolleys to run on
- a path or trail
- a prepared course for runners
- to follow someone or something
Which meaning of track is used in the sentence above? Write sentences using two other meanings for the word track.
In the sentence above, tracking is a verb meaning to follow something.
In the 1800s, companies in the United States started producing commercial Valentine’s Day cards and selling them in stores. Before then, Americans made their valentines by hand. Today, the United States Postal Service mails millions of valentines each year. It is the second busiest time of the year for post offices. The busiest time is Christmas, when Americans mail more than a billion cards nationwide.
People give valentines to show friends and family their love. Write a short note to someone you care about. In it, tell the person why he or she is important to you.
An idiom is a phrase or group of words with a meaning that is different from the literal meaning of the words. What does the idiom save for a rainy day mean in this sentence?
Joe decided to save his science fair prize money for a rainy day.
What situations would you describe as rainy days?
Work with a partner to list either three examples of rainy days or three examples of other weather-related idioms. When finished, use each example in a sentence.
Save for a rainy day means to plan ahead or save something for potential hard times in the future.