Keep the Learning Going

We can’t wait for you and your students to pick up the May issue of Scope and read about 11-year-old Abbie Wallace, who, like a growing number of kids around the country, is saying no to birthday presents and asking friends to donate to charity instead. We love sharing stories about young people making a difference in the world with you and your students!

Here are some helpful resources for students who feel inspired to make a difference in a meaningful way but aren’t sure where to start. We’d love to hear about all the causes your students care about and support, so leave us a comment below.


4 organizations that make it easy to donate birthday presents—or time and energy on any day of the year:

charity: water

charity: water

663 million people still live without clean water in developing countries around the world. Many people must make treacherous journeys, walking for hours to gather dirty water that can make them and their family sick. Charity: water helps bring clean water to millions of people around the world. The average amount raised by one person’s birthday campaign is $770—enough money to get clean water to 38 people!


Alex’s Lemonade Stand

This organization was started by Alex Scott, who at the age of 4 created her first lemonade stand to raise money for children battling cancer. Since then, Alex's Lemonade Stand has raised millions of dollars for the cause. One way you can help is by having a birthday party—virtually or in real life—where people can donate money instead of giving gifts.


Pencils of Promise

There are 250 million children around the world who lack basic reading, writing, and math skills. Pencils of Promise seeks to help change that by raising money to build schools and support teachers and students. By pledging your birthday, you can help provide students with educational opportunities.



When you donate your birthday to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), you are helping with efforts to rescue, adopt, and care for animals. You can celebrate your birthday and your passion for animals when you create a birthday campaign with the ASPCA.

The May 2018 issue of Scope features a gripping nonfiction article that will draw your students into the fascinating world of wolves in America. We hope your students will be captivated as they explore how these fearsome and important creatures are making a comeback in the wild and the threats they continue to face.


Five resources about wolves to keep your students' learning going:


AP Photos/Seth Wenig


To Explore: Learn more about wolves on the Wolf Conservation Center website. Be sure to check out our favorite feature: the live webcams in and around the den sites of “ambassador” wolves Atka, Alawa, Zephyr, and Nikai.

To Do: Have students visit the “Take Action” page and consider supporting wildlife and wild places by joining the center’s letter-writing campaigns. Then brainstorm other ways the class could raise its voice to help wolves.


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To Watch: The TEDTalk “For more wonder, rewild the world” about “rewilding”—that is, restoring the lost natural food chains that once surrounded us, as Yellowstone National Park is doing with wolves. Alternatively, watch “Rewilding Made Simple,” an animated guide.

To Discuss: Have students discuss what "rewilding” is. How did Monbiot’s talk add to their understanding of keystone species from the Scope article “Saving America’s Wolves”?



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To Watch: the video “Photographing the wild wolves of Yellowstone,” to see photographer Ronan Donovan’s powerful work and listen to him describe the challenges and joys of documenting Yellowstone’s elusive and iconic wolves

To Discuss: Donovan quotes the author Rudyard Kipling, saying, “For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.” Ask students to consider what Kipling means. How is this idea supported in “Saving America’s Wolves”?




To Read: Journey: The Amazing Story of OR-7, the Oregon Wolf that Made History by Beckie Elgin and the novel Wolf Journal by Brian A. Connolly

To Discuss: Hold a class discussion about how these texts changed students' understanding of wolves and how these texts help us understand humans' relationship with the natural world.




To Read, Watch, or Listen: Explore these folkloric appearances of the “big bad wolf”:

Greek Aesop’s fable: “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”

English Fairy Tale: “The Three Little Pigs”

Russian Symphonic Fairytale: “Peter and the Wolf”

To Do: Have students consider how wolves are portrayed in these stories. Students can write an essay comparing how wolves are portrayed in folklore with how they are portrayed in “Saving America’s Wolves” and in some of the resources above. Alternatively, students can choose to write their own folktale portraying wolves in a different light. 

It was a deeply moving experience to put together Scope’s April 2018 nonfiction feature, “The Children Who Escaped the Nazis.” This article tells the incredible true story of a 14-year-old girl who escaped Nazi Germany through the Kindertransport, an operation that helped save the lives of approximately 10,000 children. We’ve collected four powerful resources for your students to explore after they read the article. Students may then choose from one of the culminating tasks listed at the end of this post.


Guiding Questions:
Post these questions in your classroom for students to refer to as they explore the resources.
1. Why is it important to study the past?
2. How can hatred and prejudice be overcome?


Three powerful resources to keep your students’ learning going:


1. The poem “The Leather Suitcase” by Tom Berman, who was saved by the Kindertransport that operated out of Czechoslovakia

Discussion Question:

  • What does Tom’s suitcase represent to him?



2. The quotation “First They Came For The Socialists…” from Martin Niemoller, a Lutheran minister and early Nazi supporter who was later imprisoned for opposing Hitler’s regime. After students read the quote, have them read the Scope informational text “How to Speak Up” that is paired with the play The Emperor's New Clothes.

Discussion Questions:

  • What responsibility do we have to others?
  • How much responsibility do you feel for what takes place around you: in your family, in your school, in your city, in your country, and in the world?
  • How does the idea of responsibility for others connect to this issue’s informational text “How to Speak Up”?
  • How can Niemoller’s quote be updated to reflect a current, local, national, or world issue for which you feel everyone should take responsibility? (Possible topics include bullying, environmental issues, racism, and civil rights.)



ullstein bild/Granger

3. BBC interviews with four survivors 75 years after they were sent to England as part of the Kindertransport

Discussion Questions:

  • What sticks with you most from each survivor’s story?
  • As survivors grow old, how should their stories be remembered?



4. The novel Finding Sophie and the graphic novel Seeking Refuge by author Irene N. Watts, who was rescued by the Kindertransport

Discussion Questions:

  • How does Lore’s story in "The Children Who Escaped the Nazis" compare with the stories of the characters in Watts’s books?
  • How did the three texts help you understand the Kindertransport in different ways?


Four engaging activities to choose from:

For Advanced Readers
In an essay, video, or slideshow, explain the challenges faced by children of the Kindertransport. Support your answer with details from the Scope article "The Children Who Escaped the Nazis," the Scope video "Beyond the Story: The Kindertransport," and at least two of the resources above.

For Struggling Readers
In a well-organized paragraph, explain three challenges faced by children of the Kindertransport. Support your answer with details from the Scope article "The Children Who Escaped the Nazis," the Scope video "Beyond the Story: The Kindertransport," and at least one of the resources above.

For Speechwriters
Imagine that a memorial to honor the children of the Kindertransport is being unveiled. Write a speech to be delivered at the unveiling. Be sure to explain who the children were, what they went through, and why we should honor them.

For Artists
Create a work of visual art—a painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, etc.—about the Kindertransport. Write a brief artist’s statement explaining the ideas behind your artwork.


We can't wait for you and your students to pick up the April issue of Scope and read about how 12-year-old Bella Rossborough got plastic bags banned from her hometown. We love sharing stories about young people who take action for causes they care about!

Here are some additional resources about the problem of plastic and what can be done about it, so you and your students can explore further.


For all students:


For student who want to know more about how plastic threatens the planet and what they can do to help:


1. Watch this TED Talk given by two teen sisters from Bali who got plastic bags banned on the island.




2. Read about another teen’s campaign to rid the world of plastic pollution, the “Be Straw Free” movement, in this Washington Post article.




3. Explore this webpage about the #CrushPlastic movement. Learn how plastic pollution harms marine life and what people can do to help.



4. Read the Scope story "Plastic Bags: Convenient and Cruel" about how plastic bags threaten marine animals. We're making it free and printable for a limited time!


The April 2018 issue of Scope features a Short Read about Mount Everest and how, after series of earthquakes, it may have shrunk an inch. After reading the article "Did the World's Tallest Mountain Shrink?", explore the awe-inspiring resources below to keep the learning going around the cultural obsession that is Mount Everest.



Getty Images/Alex Treadway

Resource 1: An amazing infographic about what it's like to climb Mount Everest, including audio of climbers talking about their experiences

To Do: Ask students, "Based on information in 'Did the World's Tallest Mountain Shrink?' and the infographic, would you want to climb Mt. Everest? Why or why not?



Associated Press

Resource 2: a video explaining plate tectonics and the Nepal earthquake

To Do: Have students use information from both the video and the article to explain why earthquakes rock Nepal. Why was the 2015 earthquake particularly damaging?



Getty Images/Kenneth Koh/Adventure Nomad

Resource 3: a gallery of photos and reflections from Everest climbers

To Do: Have students discuss how Freddie Wilkinson’s reflection (slide 10) relates to the section “Worth the Risk?” in "Did the World's Tallest Mountain Shrink?"



Getty Images/isoft

Resource 4: a photo gallery of the history of climbing Mount Everest

To Do: Have students choose three interesting things they saw in the photos or read in the captions. Ask students to explain why they chose those three things.



Resource 5: Roland Smith's Peak, an action-packed novel about a 14-year-old boy who gets the opportunity to become the youngest person to climb Mount Everest.

To Do: Have students write an essay explaining why people risk their lives to climb Everest based on information from the novel, the article, and any of the other resources listed above.

The March 2018 issue of Scope features a thrilling play based on Jules Verne's classic science fiction adventure 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. We've paired the play with a short informational text about deep-sea exploration today. (Did you know scientists have mapped more of Mars than they have the ocean?!) After reading both texts with your class, explore the fascinating deep-sea resources that we’ve put together below.


Essential Questions:
Post these questions in your classroom for students to refer to as they explore.

  • What makes the ocean mysterious?
  • What drives humans to explore?
  • What is our relationship with the ocean?


4 Fantastic Resources to Keep the Learning Going

1. National Geographic Video: “Creatures of the Deep”
Join explorer Jessica Cramp and her team in a submersible as they explore the waters around the Galapagos Islands in search of rare creatures.

2. Photo Gallery: Deep-Sea Creatures
As a class, view these National Geographic photographs of deep-sea creatures and read about how the animals are specially adapted to life in the harsh environment of the deep ocean.

3. Video: The Giant Squid
Have students watch this fascinating video about the science of the mysterious giant squid.

4. BBC Video: “Drowned Volcanoes”
Read a news release, explore its maps, and watch an accompanying video about the recent up-close investigation of the largest underwater volcanic eruption of the past century.       


Four engaging activities to choose from:

For Struggling Readers
In the informational text "What's Down There?" Mackenzie Carro calls the ocean “a place of great mystery.” How is the idea that the ocean is mysterious developed in the play? Answer in a well-organized essay. Use text evidence

For Advanced Readers
How accurate is the science in the play? Answer this question in an essay, drawing on the play, the informational text, and your research.

For Graphic Novelists
Choose one scene from the play to retell in the form of a graphic novel.

For Storytellers
Imagine that Nemo and the Nautilus somehow survived the whirlpool, and that Nemo is still alive today. Write a play in which modern-day oceanographers encounter Nemo and the Nautilus at sea.

Putting together Scope's March 2018 nonfiction feature, “Blood, Smoke, and Freedom”—the incredible story of Joseph Plumb Martin's life as teenage soldier in the American Revolution—we were transported to another time. We’ve collected a few of our favorite resources for your students to explore after they read the article. Your students can then choose from one of the culminating tasks listed at the end of this post.


Essential Questions

Post these questions in your classroom for students to refer to as they explore the resources.

1. Why are wars fought?

2. How are wars fought?

3. Why is it important to learn about the American Revolution?


Five resources to keep your students’ learning going:


Library of Congress

1. These 1774-1791 newspaper headlines from Boston, Philadelphia, Trenton, Saratoga, and Yorktown will allow your class to experience the American Revolution as it unfolded.



Library of Congress

2. This interactive timeline is truly spectacular! Click on beautiful images of artifacts (like this Continental bank note) to zoom, read more, and view video podcasts from the curatorial department. Artifacts span from 1750 through the Revolutionary War and all the way to 2009.



Sarin Images / Granger

3. This interactive primary document-based game takes your students on a journey to 1770 Boston through the eyes of 14-year-old Nat Wheeler, who must choose sides in the American Revolution. Once students finish the game, have them compare Nat Wheeler’s experience with that of Joseph Plumb Martin in "Blood, Smoke, and Freedom.”



4. Have students read these additional exceprts from Joseph Plumb Martin’s Diary. Then have students imagine they are fighting in the Revolutionary War and write a diary entry of their own. Students should draw on information in “Blood, Smoke, and Freedom” as well as in the resources above. Encourage students to use lots of descriptive details!



5. Take a virtual field trip with author Lauren Tarshis to the Museum of the American Revolution. Lauren takes students behind the scenes of the museum and reveals fascinating artifacts and stories from the war, including a closer look at Joseph Plumb Martin's experience. After the field trip, students can respond to these questions (scroll down for grades 6-8) as a class or in small groups.


Four engaging activities to choose from:

For Struggling Readers

In a well-organized paragraph, explain what it was like to be a soldier in the American army during the Revolutionary War. Use text evidence from “Blood, Smoke, and Freedom,” the diary excerpt “Learn to Be a Soldier,” and any of the resources above.

For Advanced Readers

In a well-organized essay, explain what it was like to be a soldier in the American army during the Revolutionary War. Use details from the article, diary, video, and resources above to support your answer.

For Historians

Why was the Battle of Brooklyn important in the American Revolution? Answer this question in a well-organized essay. Use information from the article, the video, and at least one additional source to support your ideas.

For Writers

Imagine that Joseph Plumb Martin has been asked to give a speech for George Washington’s inauguration as the first president of the United States. Write that speech drawing on information in the article, diary, video, and/or any of the resources above.

Daniel Kreher/Getty Images

Are your students as fascinated by the Darvaza gas crater as we are? Why wouldn't they be? It's a giant sinkhole that’s been ablaze for 50 years! Here are some ways that students can further explore this amazing place after they read Scope's short text about the crater.


For all students



For students who want to know more about the Darvaza crater and another underground fire


Watch this fascinating short video, which explains the history and science behind the Darvaza gas crater.



Read this Guardian article about a scientist who was the first person to explore the Darvaza gas crater. The article includes incredible photos of his journey.    

Ferex/Associated Press



Explore another long-burning fire in this Popular Science article about the town of Centralia, Pennsylvania, where an underground coal fire has been burning since 1962.

Don Emmert/Getty Images


For students who want to do more descriptive writing

Show this mesmerizing video of an extreme snowboarder barreling down a snowy mountain, then have students write a descriptive paragraph about the scene. Challenge students to drop their readers into the scene by using vivid language, sensory details, similes, metaphors, personification, and onomatopoeia.



Scope's February nonfiction feature "Escape From Slavery" tells the incredible true story of Harriet Tubman. After you and your students read this gripping article, your students can further explore the history of slavery in the United States, the life of Harriet Tubman, and the Underground Railroad through the resources we've curated below. Then, your students can choose from one of the activities we recommend at the end.


Four resources to keep your students’ learning going:

1. Virtual Exhibit: “The African American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship”
Explore this Library of Congress online exhibit in small groups. The exhibit chronicles black America’s quest for equality from slavery to the Civil Rights era through government documents, manuscripts, maps, and musical scores.

2. Primary Source: "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass"
Read an excerpt from Douglass' autobiography. Three excerpts are offered as text exemplars on pages 90-91 of Appendix B to the CCSS for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects.

3. Primary Source: Letter from Frederick Douglass to Harriet Tubman
Read this 1868 letter from Frederick Douglass to Harriet Tubman. NOTE: This text has Guided Reading Mode. Should you choose to enable Guided Reading Mode, your students will be prompted to answer guiding comprehension questions as they read.

4. Slideshow: “The Underground Railroad”
Explore four slideshows of primary sources documenting slavery, the Underground Railroad, abolition, and the challenges that runaway slaves faced in their new lives. Audio read-aloud available.


Four engaging activities to choose from:

For Struggling Readers
In a well-organized paragraph, explain how Harriet Tubman was a courageous leader. Use at least one detail from "Escape From Slavery," one detail from the video "Beyond the Story: The Underground Railroad," and one detail from one of the texts above to support your ideas.

For Advanced Readers
Why should Harriet Tubman be studied and remembered? Answer this question in a well-organized essay. Use information from the article, the video, and one additional source to support your ideas.

For Historians
Research another person who worked on the Underground Railroad. Write a work of narrative nonfiction about that person. (Use the article as a model.)

For Artists
Create a work of visual art—a painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, etc.—about the legacy of Harriet Tubman. Write a brief artist’s statement explaining the ideas behind your artwork.

We are very excited to bring you and your students the story of Sylvia Mendez and her fight against injustice in our play and video "The Fight For What’s Right.” This powerful drama brings to life the little-known story of how Sylvia and her family fought for school integration in California—and won. We hope that after you read the play as a class, you and your students will explore the additional resources that we've put together below.


Essential Questions

Post these questions in your classroom for students to refer to as they explore the resources.

1. What is prejudice?

2. What does it mean to be American?

3. What is injustice? How did the Mendez v. Westminster case help combat injustice in the United States?


Chuck Kennedy/MCT/MCT via Getty Images (Sylvia Mendez at right)

1. Listen to an interview with Sylvia Mendez and her sister.

Listen with your students to this interview with Sylvia Mendez talking to her younger sister Sandra Mendez Duran about the Mendez v. Westminster case. After listening, have students write three questions they would ask Sylvia if they could.



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2. Explore a timeline of school integration.

This timeline from Teaching Tolerance magazine traces school integration in the United States from 1849 to 2007. Ask students what the timeline reveals about segregation in the U.S.



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3. Read a movie review and watch a video.

Read a review of the documentary film Freedom Riders. Then watch this video interview with Scholastic News Press Corps’ Kid Reporter Henry Dunkelberger and John Lewis, Democratic Congressman from Georgia, about Lewis’s participation in the rides. Ask students how the Freedom Rides story relates to the Mendez family’s story.



4. Read a Scope play and watch a video.

Read the November 2016 Scope play This Is What Courage Looks Like about Claudette Colvin, a brave teen who refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, during the segregated 1950s. Then watch the accompanying video about segregation in 1950s America. Have students share what they learned and discuss what Sylvia and Claudette have in common.



 MPI/Getty Images

5. Read a poem.

Read the Langston Hughes poem “I, Too” as a class. Discuss the themes presented in the poem and how they relate to the themes of the play The Fight for What’s Right.



Extension Activity

Write or post this quote on a whiteboard. Have students sit in small groups to discuss what King means. As a class, discuss segregation and its effect on our country. Students should draw on evidence from the play and any other resources used from above.