, week of
Oct. 12, 2015
1. Macy’s Will Close Stores
Macy’s is one of the most famous chains of department stores in the United States, but it will be closing 35 to 40 stores early next year. Which stores will close has not yet been decided. Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, Macy’s has 770 Macy’s stores, plus another 115 stores operating under the Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury names. In the last five years the company has closed 52 stores, while opening 12. Employees of stores that close may be offered positions at nearby locations. Businesses often have to make changes to make enough money to remain profitable. As a class, discuss what kinds of changes might be made. Then pair off with a partner and study ads in the newspaper for stores that sell products you like. Imagine one of these stores needs to make changes to get more business. Write a paragraph describing things the store could do to get more business. Then design an ad to announce these changes.
Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.
2. Dust in Your Home
Dust in your home can reveal a lot about you, and even about your pets. Researchers report in a science journal called Proceedings of the Royal Society B that microbes in dust particles contain clues about the residents of a home. Because bacteria and fungi can enter a home through leaves and soil brought in on shoes, scientists can tell where a home is located. On top of that, bacteria in the dust may indicate whether occupants are male or female, and what kind of pets they have. Scientists can learn about a place by studying materials found there. In the newspaper or online find and closely read a story about an outdoor place. Or find a photo of an outdoor place and closely study it. Use what you read to draw a series of comic strips showing things scientists could learn by closely studying the place in the story or photo.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
3. More Time for Lunch
In schools with short lunch periods, children eat less and throw away more than in schools where more time is allowed, according to a study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Giving kids enough time to eat appears to play an important role” in their selection and eating of “appropriate food,” the study’s lead author noted. The researchers urge parents to “push for longer lunch periods, more lunch lines, automated point-of-sale equipment, anything that will get the kids [to] spend more time eating.” As a class, discuss how important it is for students to eat a healthy lunch. Then search food ads in the newspaper and online to draw up a menu for three healthy school lunch meals. Make sure your meals include fruits and vegetables. Finish by writing a sign for each meal that would make kids your age want to eat it. Share ideas as a class.
Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
4. Goats Bothering Hikers
In the state of Idaho, wild mountain goats have become a problem for hikers. The reason is that hikers have been offering food to the mountain goats, even allowing them to eat from their hands. As a result, some goats have become so aggressive that the U.S. Forest Service had to temporarily close a hiking trail in the Scotchman Peak Wilderness Area. How aggressive have the goats been? There have been reports of goats trying to head-butt or charge hikers and one hiker was bitten. Seeing wild animals up close can be fun, but people need to remember the animals are not tame like pets. In the newspaper, find and read a story about a wild animal, or study a picture of a wild animal. Use what you read and additional research to design a poster offering safety tips for people who get close to the animal. Cut or print out images from the newspaper to use on your poster.
Common Core State Standards: Integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
5. Snowmelt at Lowest Levels
When the snow melts in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, it is an essential source of water for the drought-stricken western state. But a new study in the science journal Nature Climate Change shows that “snowmelt” in the mountains is at its lowest levels in at least 500 years. Snowmelt from these mountains fills reservoirs that provide a third of all of California’s drinking water, as well as water to generate electricity and fight wildfires, which were particularly bad this summer. Climate experts expected this situation “but we certainly didn’t expect it to be the worst in 500 years,” one scientist said. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about the lack of water in the state of California. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor of the newspaper, offering suggestions on ways people could use less water during the shortage.
Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.