, week of
Apr 27, 2015
1. At 21, on Top of Golf World
At age 21, Jordan Spieth got to wear the green jacket. To earn that right, he beat out the world’s best golfers to win the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia. Closing with a two-under-par 70, the University of Texas student set several records at the tournament. He is the first wire-to-wire winner in the tournament since 1976, and the fifth overall (others include all-time greats Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus). The green sports jacket is traditionally worn by the tournament winner in ceremonies honoring the top finisher. Spieth also earned a lot of money by coming in first — $1.8 million for this year’s tournament. Young athletes are making news in all sports (the top ranked woman in golf is just 17). In the newspaper closely read a story about a young athlete who is finding success this spring. Use what you read and prior knowledge to write a paragraph describing the skills and attitude of the athlete that have made him/her a success.
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.
2. No Sign of Life Elsewhere
Some scientists have been predicting that in the near future, astronomers will find signs of life beyond Earth, but a new study is not very encouraging. After surveying tens of thousands of galaxies, researchers from Pennsylvania State University have turned up no sign of alien civilizations in space. “Either they don’t exist or they don’t use enough energy for us to recognize them,” a researcher concluded. Other experts searching for extraterrestrial intelligence says the amount of energy used may not be the best measure of alien life. “It’s absolutely not time to stop” searching, one astronomer cautions. “It’s time to improve the sensitivity and specificity of these searches.” Searching for life in space has been a goal for many missions by America’s NASA space agency. With the newspaper or the website www.nasa.gov, find and read a story about a mission contributing to the search for life in space. Write a summary of the mission’s goals, and what its findings could contribute to scientific knowledge about space life.
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.
3. ‘Morning People’ Healthier
Early to bed and early to rise may not make you wealthy or wise, but a new study indicates it’s definitely good for your health. Researchers report in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism that “morning people” are significantly less likely than night owls to have diabetes and metabolic syndrome — high blood sugar, excess fat around the waist, abnormal lipid readings. This, they speculate, may be because many people who stay up late often eat snacks. Consuming more calories after 8 p.m. and exposure to artificial light can affect metabolism that controls weight, the researchers note. Health and fitness are often in the news because they are topics that affect everyone. In the newspaper or online, find a story about a health or fitness issue that affects families or people your age. Read the story closely. Then design a poster highlighting key points people should know. Give your poster an eye-catching headline and write a complete sentence summarizing each point.
Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
4. Pollution & Schools
The governor of Washington State is proposing a new charge on gas emissions from oil refineries, power plants and other industries that are believed to add to air pollution and climate change. But unlike other states, Washington would use the estimated $1.3 billion that would be raised the first year to support education of students and transportation projects, under Governor Jay Inslee’s plan. Most states that impose fees for emissions use the money for climate or energy projects. By linking the proposal to issues people care about, Inslee hopes to win added support for one of the nation’s most ambitious environmental programs and address the state’s need to provide more funding for schools. Funding public education is a challenge facing many communities. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about debate or discussion of school funding. Use what you read to write a short editorial detailing your views on what would be a good approach in the case you read about.
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.
5. Muslims in the World
Christianity has long had the most followers among the world’s religions, but the number of Muslims is growing so fast they will match Christians by the year 2070 and outnumber them by the end of the century. This, according to a Pew Foundation report on global religions, is because Muslims have more young followers and young people have the highest fertility rate. Some futurists have predicted the withering away of religion, but according to the Pew study, religious followers are younger and have more children than non-religious, secular people. In the United States, secularism continues to grow, with those claiming no religion expected to be a quarter of the population by 2050 and Christianity’s share declining to 66 percent. Churches, mosques, temples and other religious institutions are active in the community in many ways. In the newspaper or online, find and read about one example. Write a letter to the editor of the newspaper calling attention to the group or institution’s activities and detailing how they benefit the community.
Common Core State Standards: 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.