Resources for Teachers and Students
, week of
Jan. 23, 2012
1. Erupting Energy
What do you get when you combine a dormant volcano with water? Scientists are hoping the result is geothermal energy. According to an Associated Press story, a group of geothermal developers plan to pump 24 million gallons of water into the side of Newberry Volcano, which is about 20 miles south of Bend, Oregon. They are hoping that the water will rise to the surface fast enough and hot enough to be used to create cheap, clean electricity. In the past, engineers have gathered hot water or steam that bubbles near the surface and used it to spin a turbine that creates electricity, the article said. Search your newspaper for articles about energy or gas production. Or find examples online. Write a paragraph describing the different types of energy out there, and which could be the most useful to meet energy needs in the next 50 years.
Core/National Standard: Understanding energy is a property of many substances and is associated with heat, light, electricity, mechanical motion, sound, nuclei and the nature of a chemical.
2. Where in the World?
The news we read in the newspaper comes from all over the world. Find five stories that take place in different countries. Now, from memory, draw a basic map of the world that includes all the continents. Draw a star on the map on the place where you think each story takes place. Then check out a classroom or Internet map to see if you got it right.
Core/National Standard: Integrating and evaluating content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as words; drawing a sketch map of the world from memory.
3. What a Discovery!
Scientific discovery is much like building a house. One scientist will provide an idea or theory and others will build on it generation after generation. For example, the idea of gravity began with Aristotle who lived back in the 300s BCE. It was then built upon by Galileo in the 1600s, Sir Isaac Newton in the 1700s, Albert Einstein in the 1900s and Stephen Hawking today. In a Reuters newspaper article, John Brockman asked people what they thought were the greatest scientific theories of all time. A few of the theories chosen included Darwin’s theory of evolution, the idea that the universe is larger than what we can see and the theory of emergence, which says that complex things evolve from simple things. Look in your newspaper for a story about a scientist and the work he/she is doing. Write a short essay about that scientist’s work and what it could mean for people in the future.
Core/National Standard: Understanding that scientific investigations involve asking and answering a question and comparing the answer with what scientists already know about the world.
4. Then and Now
History repeats itself at times. And lately it’s been South Carolina’s time. The state’s history runs deep when it comes to state’s rights. It was there that the first shots were fired in the Civil War when the federal government wanted to change what the state felt was its right to continue slavery. It also was a hotbed of controversy during the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. And the state drew criticism from civil rights supporters recently after it passed a law requiring residents to produce a photo I.D. before being allowed to vote. Federal officials contend the requirement could disproportionately keep black voters away from the polls, according to a Reuters article. Find a newspaper article about state laws or state rights issues. Or find an example online. Using multiple sources of information, research the history behind the laws and write a research paper examining the past and present.
Core/National Standards: Gathering relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; quoting the data or information without plagiarizing
5. The Importance of Infrastructure
Two years ago this month, a devastating earthquake hit the island nation of Haiti in the Caribbean Sea south of the United States. Thousands of people were killed in the earthquake, and thousands more continue to get sick and die because of horrible conditions today. The reason is that Haiti does not have the infrastructure to prevent the spread of diseases. Infrastructure includes such things as water systems and sewage disposal plants, along with bridges, tunnels and highways. In countries like the United States, the infrastructure allows people to get rid of sewage and have clean water. Most people in Haiti don’t have a public sewage system, so they are forced to drink water that may be contaminated with sewage and the bacteria that cause the disease cholera. So far, cholera has killed 7,000 people in Haiti. The Haitian government and the Partners in Help group are providing cholera vaccinations to prevent more deaths, but in Haiti “It’s not a question … of ignorance — it’s access,” said Louise Ivers, a senior health and policy adviser with Partners in Health. As a class find and read a newspaper article about a country that lacks modern technology and infrastructure. Or find one online. Discuss what effects that is having — or could have — in that country.
Core/National Standards: Assessing why scientific, technological and medical advances have improved living standards for many, yet hunger, poverty, and epidemic disease have persisted.
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