Weekly Reader Connections

Teacher Guide: Lesson 8.4

The Weekly Reader Connections feature on Kids' Place Houghton Mifflin Math provides your students with additional information about the topics that appear in the Curriculum Connection feature in their student books.

The article “Does School + More School = Smarter Students?“ alerts students to the ongoing controversy about the length of the school year. Before having students read the article, ask them to brainstorm some advantages and disadvantages of having a longer school year. After students have read the article, have them compare their own thoughts on the subject with the experts' opinions. If time allows, point out that students in the United States attend school for fewer days than do students in many other developed countries, as evidenced by the data in this table.

Country Days
United States 180
Japan 243
Netherlands 200
England 192
Switzerland 191
New Zealand 190
France 185

The Word Wise activity asks students to consider why diversity, safety, and ethics have become the new topics being taught in schools. After students have recorded their ideas, engage the class in a discussion about the importance of increasing students' awareness about these topics. You may wish to point out that none of these topics is actually “new,“ but that changing conditions throughout the world and within your community may suggest the need to focus on them in new ways.

Provide students with the number of days in your school year for their use in the Data Hunt activity. Also, make calendars available to them for their use in planning an extended, 195-day school year. (If your school prints school-year calendars, provide copies of these for students' use.)

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade 6