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New materials from Miami University’s Fighting With Food project focuses on the process of inquiry and helps teachers engage their students in the topic of toxicants and the role nutrient dense foods in helping to combat their effects with a new graphic story style format.

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Be a Butterfly Hero
Help Save the Monarch Butterfly

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For Grades 5-8 , week of May 18, 2015

1. ‘This Is the Pope’ — Click!

If you got a phone call from someone identifying himself as Pope Francis, you’d suspect a hoax, right? An Italian man got two such calls and, suspicious of course, hung up each time. But it really was His Holiness, the world leader of the Catholic Church. On the third call, the Pope invited the man and his wife to a public audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Church’s headquarters in Vatican City, where he hugged the couple and assured them he dialed the call himself. The man is ailing, and Pope Francis has been calling people he’s heard were unwell. Vatican City is an area within the Italian city of Rome. Pope Francis is coming to the United States this fall and will visit the cities of New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the Pope’s U.S. trip and what he will be doing in each city. Write a paragraph summarizing one thing he will do and why it will be newsworthy to Catholics and other readers.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

2. How Safe Are Hand Sanitizers?

Those antiseptic sanitizers that hospital personnel use to disinfect their hands may not be as safe and as effective as generally believed. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has asked manufacturers to present additional data about them, especially information regarding long-term effects on the skin. The FDA still recommends use of sanitizers, hand washes and surgical scrubs to prevent the spread of hospital infections, however. The new sanitizer guidelines — which could cost manufacturers millions to comply with — will require that data be collected on potential effects on human hormones and possible contributions to antibiotic resistance of different bacteria. Health and safety issues are often in the news. With the newspaper or Internet, find and closely read a story about a health or safety issue that affects kids your age or families. Use what you read to design a poster or newspaper ad highlighting key points families should know. Give your poster/ad an eye-catching headline and share with the class.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

3. 800,000 Children Displaced

About 800,000 children have been forced from their homes in the African nation of Nigeria by the Boko Haram uprising, the Unicef agency of the United Nations reports. Many have been separated from their families, subjected to abuse and even been forced to marry or to fight with armed groups. The number of refugee children in the region in the northeast part of the country has doubled in a year, the Unicef said, with children accounting for about half of the 1.5 million people made homeless. Boko Haram is a fundamentalist Islamic group fighting against western influence in the nation located on the west coast of Africa on the Gulf of Guinea. The Boko Haram uprising has created a humanitarian crisis in Nigeria because of the large number of people forced from their homes. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the humanitarian needs of people in Nigeria. Use what you read to write an editorial outlining ways you think the United States and other nations could help the people of Nigeria who have become refugees.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; closely reading what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

4. Gisele’s Final Walk

Supermodel Gisele Bundchen is now an ex-supermodel. Her walk down the runway of a fashion show in Sao Paulo, Brazil was her final one, the 34-year-old mother of two announced. She hopes to continue working in the industry, both in her native Brazil and elsewhere. Her husband, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, was in the front row at her final walk, which ended her 20-year career as a fashion sensation. She has been the world’s highest-paid model, out-earning even her husband, and she also designs her own line of flip-flops and lingerie. Outside the fashion world, she is a designated Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme and supports other environmental and charity causes. When people retire from a career in entertainment, fashion or sports, they often look for new challenges in business or non-profit work. Because they are well known, they are in a special position to call attention to causes, issues or business ideas. In the newspaper, find and read a story about a well known person from entertainment, fashion, sports or another field. Then pretend you want to involve this person in a non-profit or business project. Write a business letter to the person, detailing why he/she should get involved and how the person’s reputation would be a boost to the project.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; closely reading what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

5. New Sea Drilling Rules

The Obama administration will impose a major new regulation on offshore oil and gas drilling in an effort to prevent the kind of explosion that caused the catastrophic BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico five years ago. It’s expected to tighten safety requirements on blowout preventer devices like the one that malfunctioned in 2010, resulting in 11 deaths and millions of barrels of oil flowing into the gulf. At the same time, the administration has opened up vast new areas of federal waters to drilling in the south Atlantic Ocean off the U.S. coast, infuriating environmentalists. Oil spills are a major concern to environmentalists, because they can cause great damage to wildlife and habitats in a short time. In the newspaper or online, find and read about another risk faced by wildlife and habitats. Write an outline for a public service TV ad that would educate the public about the risk, and offer suggestions on how to reduce the risk. Include visuals you would use in your ad in your outline.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.