, week of
Sep. 17, 2012
1. White House Revolving Door
The third time evidently was the charm, as the old saying goes. On September 20, 1881, Chester Arthur became the third president to serve within a one-year period. The year 1881 began with Rutherford Hayes in office. He handed the reins over to James Garfield on Inauguration Day in March. In July, Garfield was shot. He died on September 19, and power passed to Arthur. The U.S. Constitution spells out how power is transferred should a president die in office. It also sets limits on how long presidents can serve. After Franklin D. Roosevelt died during his fourth term, an amendment was made to the Constitution saying presidents can serve only two terms. Find a newspaper or online article about term limits. Are any candidates talking about term limits in this election? As a class, debate the merits of term-limit laws.
Common Core/National Standard: Coming to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study.
2. Election 2012: Get Out the (Mock) Vote!
Every day, the presidential election gets nearer. From now until Election Day on November 6, students everywhere will be learning about issues addressed through articles in the newspaper or online. The Associated Press, for example, has written a very helpful article that outlines the candidates’ stands on top issues. Foreign policy is one of them. Republican candidate Mitt Romney supports using military force against the Middle East nation of Iran, agrees Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, says Russia is the top political foe of the United States and China is a currency manipulator. President Barack Obama opposes a military strike on Iran by the U.S. or Israel, wants to work toward persuading the president of Syria to step down in that Middle East nation, chastised Israel for building developments in disputed Palestinian areas and opposes labeling China as a currency manipulator. As a class, find and read articles on the candidates’ positions on foreign policy. Then organize a classroom mock election. Divide the class into two groups, with one group being the Republicans and other the Democrats. Over the next several weeks, discuss and debate the positions of the candidates on foreign policy.
Common Core/National Standards: Gathering information from multiple print and digital sources; using search terms effectively; effectively engaging in a range of collaborative discussions.
3. Lebanese Superhero
Geoff Johns wanted to see a superhero who looked more like him. Luckily, the Detroit native, who is of Lebanese descent, writes the “Green Lantern” comic books. So Johns recently introduced a new hero, Simon Baz, who also is of Lebanese descent and from Dearborn, Michigan, according to the Detroit Free Press. Many Detroit and Dearborn landmarks can be seen in the new comic book, Johns said recently at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, where he had done some of his research for the new character. Dozens of young people showed up at the museum to meet the author and learn about writing comic books, which first interested Johns when he found a box of them in his grandmother’s attic. Find the newspaper comics and get inspiration to create your own comic strip. Draw and write a week’s worth of panels for your strip.
Common Core/National Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task, purpose and audience; adding drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.
4. Gale Forces
Anywhere you live, there’s lots of wind. And the Earth could run on wind alone, two new studies say. Two different U.S. science teams have determined that current wind-turbine technology could produce hundreds of trillions of watts of power – more than 10 times the amount the world currently consumes, according to an Associated Press story. In addition, the story noted that wind power doesn’t emit heat-trapping gases like those produced when you burn coal, oil or natural gas to create electricity, and that would be better for the environment. Other people say that while wind power may be better environmentally, it wouldn’t be economically feasible and would require a great deal of land. It also would dramatically increase the number of transmission lines in the world. Find a newspaper story about power and energy alternatives. Or find one online. As a class, discuss the pros and cons of the alternatives featured in the stories you find.
Common Core/National Standard: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
5. Fighting the Cartels
Mexican cartel groups are gaining power and ingenuity in their efforts to distribute illegal drugs. No longer are they using speedboats under the cover of night to transport drugs to the United States. Instead, they are submerging. The cartels are using diesel-powered submarines that are hard to detect to transport cocaine, according to an Atlantic Wire article. The U.S. Coast Guard thinks as much as 500 tons of cocaine is getting through a year. Find a newspaper story about Mexican drug cartels and their effect on Mexico and the United States. Or find one online. Write a newspaper editorial outlining how the nation should deal with the problem of drug smuggling.
Common Core/National Standard: Writing arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts.