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Stamps Are Making News


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Subjects

Arts & Humanities
--Language Arts
--Visual Arts
Mathematics
--Arithmetic
Social Studies
--Current Events

Grades

Grades 2-up

News Content

The price of stamps is going up; 15 Star Wars stamps are coming soon too.

Anticipation Guide

Before reading, ask students if they know how much it costs to send a typical letter (1 ounce, first-class) through the mail. How many of them know that it costs 39 cents to send a letter? Before students read this weeks News for Kids article, you might share this information about how the costs of mailing a letter have changed over the years:

Year Cost
1917 2 cents
1932 3 cents
1958 4 cents
1963 5 cents
1971 9 cents
1974 10 cents
1975 13 cents
1978 15 cents
1981 20 cents
1985 22 cents
1988 25 cents
1991 29 cents
1995 32 cents
1999 33 cents
2001 34 cents
2002 37 cents
2006 39 cents

News Words

Next, introduce these words that appear in the News Word Box on the students printable page: released, issue, anniversary, future, increase, and decrease. Discuss the meanings of any of those words that might be unfamiliar. Then ask students to use one of those words to complete each of these sentences:

  • Do you think there has been an _____ in the amount of violence on TV? (increase)
  • If the customer is unhappy, we will be happy to _____ a refund. (issue)
  • My aunt and uncle celebrated their wedding _____ by taking a cruise. (anniversary)
  • The bank robber will not be _____ from jail for at least 25 years. (released)
  • In the not-too-distant _____, scientists hope to build a community on the moon. (future)
  • If company owners decide to _____ the number of hours that workers work, my sister wont be able to afford to pay her bills. (decrease)

    Read the News

    You might use a variety of approaches to reading the news:

  • Read aloud the news story to students as they follow along.

  • Students might first read the news story to themselves; then you might call on individual students to read sections of the news aloud for the class.

  • Photocopy the news story onto a transparency and project it onto a screen. (Or use your classroom computer's projector to project the story.) Read the story aloud as a class, or ask students to take turns reading it.

  • Arrange students into small groups. Each student in the group will read a paragraph of the story. As that student reads, others might underline important information or write notes in the margin of the story. After each student finishes reading, others in the group might say something -- a comment, a question, a clarification -- about the text.
  • Click for a printable version of this weeks news story Stamps Are Making News.

    More Facts to Share

    You might share these additional facts with students after they have read this weeks news story.

  • The 15 new Star Wars stamps are being issued on a single sheet that resembles a movie poster. Post office customers, stamp collectors, and Star Wars fans are voting online now at www.uspsjedimaster.com for their favorite Star Wars stamp. The online voting page states that people must be 18 years of age or older to vote.
  • The first movie in the Star Wars series was released in 1977. Two more movies followed: The Empires Strikes Back in 1980 and Return of the Jedi in 1983. More recently, three prequels to those films were released:
  • Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)
  • Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002)
  • Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) Since the release of those prequels, the original Star Wars movie is now known as Episode IV: A New Hope.
  • The Forever stamp will always be valid as first-class postage on standard envelopes weighing one ounce or less, regardless of any subsequent increases in the first-class rate. A Forever stamp bought now for 41 cents can be used next week, next year, or in 20 years. But when the price of a first-class stamp rises, the cost of newly purchased Forever stamps will go up too. No price is printed on the Forever stamp, since it will always retain the value of a first-class stamp. The Forever stamp art depicts the Liberty Bell, which is one of the most recognizable symbols of American independence.
  • Under the current rates, letters heavier than one ounce can be sent by adding 24 cents for each additional ounce. When the new rates take effect on May 15, each additional ounce will cost just 17 cents.
  • The cost of mailing a postcard will increase by 2 cents, to 26 cents; the Priority mail rate will increase from $4.05 to $4.60; and the Express mail rate will go from $14.40 to $16.25. Prices for mailing newspapers and magazines will increase too, but those rate increases will not go into effect until July15.

    Comprehension Check

    Check student comprehension by asking some of these questions:
    Recalling Detail

  • When will the price increase for mailing letters go into effect?
  • (May 15)
  • How much more will it cost to mail a letter?
  • (2 cents more)
  • How many stamps will be issued in the Star Wars series?
  • (15 stamps)
  • When do the new Star Wars stamps go on sale?
  • (May 25)
  • How much does the new Forever stamp cost?
  • (41 cents)
  • For how long can the new Forever stamp be used to mail a letter?
  • (forever)
  • When was the last time the cost of mailing a letter was increased?
  • (in January 2006)
  • Think About the News
    Discuss the Think About the News question that appears on the students news page. You might use the think-pair-share strategy with students to discuss this question. If you use this strategy

  • First, arrange students into pairs to discuss and list responses to the question.
  • Then merge two pairs of students together to create groups of four students. Have them discuss and add to the ideas they generated in their pairs.
  • Next, merge two groups of four students to form groups of eight students. Have students create a new combined list of ideas.
  • Finally, bring all students together for a class discussion about appropriate concepts for new stamps.

    Follow-Up Activities

    Math. Share with students the chart in the Anticipation Guide section of this lesson. Have students "do the math" to figure out how many years passed between increases and/or how much the price increased each time?

    More Math. Under the current rates, letters heavier than one ounce can be sent by adding 24 cents for each additional ounce. When the new rates take effect on May 15, each additional ounce will cost just 17 cents. Create a chart like the one below and have students fill in the new rates. On your chart, leave the Cost column blank; we have filled in the new rates in italic type.

    Weight Cost
    1 ounce 41 cents
    2 ounces 58 cents
    3 ounces 75 cents
    4 ounces 92 cents
    5 ounces $1.09
    6 ounces $1.26
    7 ounces $1.43
    8 ounces $1.60
    9 ounces $1.77
    10 ounces $1.94

    Graphing. The 1993 Elvis stamp continues to hold court as the most popular stamp of all time, with more than 124 million collected. The chart below shows the top-ten collected commemorative stamp series. Introduce to students the free and easy-to-use online Create a Graph tool. Have students create graphs to show five or ten of the top-collected commemorative stamp series.

    Commemorative Stamp Series Year Number Sold
    Elvis Presley 1993 124.1 million
    Wonders of America 2006 87.5 million
    Wildflowers 1992 76.1 million
    Rock & Roll/Rhythm & Blues 1993 75.9 million
    DC Comics Super Heroes 2006 73.0 million
    Greetings from America 2002 71.4 million
    Insects and Spiders 1999 61.0 million
    Art of Disney: Romance 2006 57.2 million
    Legends of Baseball 2000 53.9 million
    Art of Disney: Celebration 2005 52.8 million

    Art. After students have answered the Think About the News question on the printable news story page, have them design the stamp they have chosen to create.

    Assessment

    Use the Comprehension Check (above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News questions on the news story page or in the Comprehension Check section.

    Lesson Plan Source

    Education World

    National Standards

    National Standards

    FINE ARTS: Visual Arts
    GRADES K - 4
    NA-VA.K-4.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
    NA-VA.K-4.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
    NA-VA.K-4.4 Understanding the Visual Arts In Relation to History and Cultures
    NA-VA.K-4.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
    GRADES 5 - 8
    NA-VA.5-8.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
    NA-VA.5-8.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
    NA-VA.5-8.4 Understanding the Visual Arts In Relation to History and Cultures
    NA-VA.5-8.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NA-VA.9-12.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
    NA-VA.9-12.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
    NA-VA.9-12.4 Understanding the Visual Arts In Relation to History and Cultures
    NA-VA.9-12.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines

    LANGUAGE ARTS: English
    GRADES K - 12
    NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
    NL-ENG.K-12.3 Evaluation Strategies
    NL-ENG.K-12.6 Applying Knowledge
    NL-ENG.K-12.8 Developing Research Skills
    NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

    MATHEMATICS: Number and Operations
    GRADES Pre-K - 2
    NM-NUM.PK-2.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates
    GRADES 3 - 5
    NM-NUM.3-5.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates
    GRADES 6 - 8
    NM-NUM.6-8.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NM-NUM.9-12.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates

    SOCIAL SCIENCES: U.S. History
    GRADES K - 4
    NSS-USH.K-4.3 The History of the United States: Democratic Principles and Values and the People from Many Cultures Who Contributed to Its Cultural, Economic, and Political Heritage
    GRADES 5 - 12
    NSS-USH.5-12.1 All Eras

    TECHNOLOGY
    GRADES K - 12
    NT.K-12.1 Basic Operations and Concepts
    NT.K-12.3 Technology Productivity Tools
    NT.K-12.4 Technology Communications Tools
    NT.K-12.5 Technology Research Tools

    See recent news stories in Education Worlds News Story of the Week Archive.

    Article by Ellen Delisio and Gary Hopkins
    Education World®
    Copyright © 2007 Education World

    04/25/2007


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