, week of
Oct. 05, 2015
1. Dining Without Contact
At a new restaurant in San Francisco, California, you order, pay and receive your food and never interact with a person. It’s at a place called Eatsa, which is the first outlet in an almost-fully-automated chain with national ambitions. There are no waiters or even order takers behind a counter (in fact, there’s no counter). You order on your smart phone or on an in-store iPad, and unseen people prepare the food. It pops up in a cubbyhole that flashes your name. Restaurants are always looking for new ways to attract customers. Eatsa features a healthy menu as well as total automation. In the newspaper or online, find an ad for a restaurant that is offering something unique or unusual to attract customers. Write a paragraph describing what kind of customers the restaurant would attract. Then write a second paragraph describing an idea of your own that you think would attract customers to the restaurant.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
2. Blacks Distrust Hospice Care
In the Uniterd States, use of hospice care has been growing fast, as more people choose to avoid extensive medical treatment at the end of life in favor of care that just keeps patients comfortable. Yet African Americans have long resisted the concept. Researchers have found that while nearly half of white Medicare patients enrolled in hospice care before death, only a third of black patients did. Instead, African Americans have been more inclined to choose aggressive life-sustaining treatments and interventions, even when there is little chance of survival. Black physicians say the distrust of hospice care among African Americans can be traced to the history of U.S. health care system, which once displayed “No Negroes” signs at hospitals, performed involuntary sterilizations and turned people away because of poverty, lack of insurance or lack of a full time doctor. African Americans and white Americans have often had differing opinions about issues in the news this year. In the newspaper or online, find and read a story about an issue on which blacks and whites have had different points of view. Write a paragraph or short essay, summarizing the differences and the source of those differences.
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
3. China Reducing Military
With thousands of troops standing at attention in Tiananmen Square before hundreds of Communist Party leaders, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that more than a 10th of China’s military personnel are being demobilized. A Ministry of National Defense spokesman said later that the military will reduce its forces by about 300,000 soldiers by the end of 2017, focusing on “forces with outdated equipment … bureaucracy and noncombat personnel.” The Asian nation of China is now a world power, both politically and economically. In the newspaper or online, find and read stories about China’s growing influence in the world. Use what you read to brainstorm a short video or film highlighting Chinese influence. Write an outline for your film, including images you would use, and write the opening scene. Discuss ideas as a class.
Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
4. ‘Mayo’ Really Isn’t
“Just Mayo” is a mislabeled product, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has ruled, because it isn’t really mayonnaise. It isn’t made with eggs, the FDA notes, and has other “ingredients … not permitted by the standard of identity for mayonnaise.” That may be misleading to consumers, the FDA warned Hampton Creek Foods, based in San Francisco. The company has responded to the FDA in an effort to work out a compromise solution, but food experts say it likely will have to change its labeling. The FDA regulates foods to make sure they are safe and marketed honestly to customers. In the newspaper or online, find and read a story about the FDA commenting or taking action on a food. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, detailing the value of having the FDA monitor foods sold to the public.
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.
5. A Record Number of Sharks
A record number of sharks were observed swimming in East Coast waters this summer, and in at least one area (off North Carolina), a record number of beachgoers were attacked by them. The National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration captured and tagged 2,835 sharks in coastal waters between North Carolina and Florida, a number way up from the previous summer record of 1,831. Scientists say that warming waters are attracting many species of shark to migrate farther north and close to the shore. The number also may be larger because of federal regulations limiting commercial shark fishing. The number of sharks wasn’t the only record contained in the NOAA shark survey. Scientists also recorded the longest shark ever captured off North Carolina, a 12.5-foot-long tiger shark. The increased number of shark sightings is one effect of rising ocean temperatures due to global warming. In the newspaper or online, read about another change that has been brought about by global warming. Clip or print images and words from the newspaper to illustrate the change in an art collage.
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.