, week of
June 27, 2016
1. Painkillers Over-Prescribed?
Addictive prescription drugs are being over-prescribed, a group of medical experts contend, and changes are needed to reduce the number of prescriptions hospitals are writing to reduce patients’ pain. Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, an organization representing more than five dozen nonprofit groups and medical experts, wrote a letter to the commission that accredits hospitals to appeal for a change in the procedures and policies hospitals have for managing pain. Deaths linked to abuse of prescription opioids are at an all-time high and increasing, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Opioid addiction is a growing public health problem in the United States. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about opioid addiction and steps that are being taken to deal with it. Use what you read to write a short editorial, giving your view on what steps would be most important for government leaders, health officials and communities to take.
Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
2. Pentagon Still Using Floppy Disks
The federal government is squandering its technology budget by spending money to maintain outdated computer systems in critical areas ranging from nuclear weapons to Social Security, a congressional investigation has revealed. About three-quarters of the $80 billion budget is being used to keep aging technology running, and the ever-increasing costs are shortchanging efforts to modernize. The White House wants to replace systems dating back more than 50 years, but the Government Accountability Office says the government is spending much too little on modernization. As a graphic example, the study notes that floppy disks are still in use at the Pentagon for military computing. Changes in technology have greatly enhanced what people can do with computers. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about technology and computer advances that have changed how people work and communicate. Use what you read to create a multi media presentation for the class, outlining three important technology advances and the dangers of not upgrading systems to take advantage of them.
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; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.
3. Warsaw Ghetto Heroes
In the European nation of Poland, government leaders held ceremonies to honor the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising on the 73rd anniversary of the milestone World War II event. In the uprising, young Jews took up arms to fight the German occupiers during World War II, rather than be transported to Nazi death camps. At the ceremony in front of the Warsaw Ghetto memorial, Polish President Andrzej Duda hailed the “heroes who wanted to fight for freedom, and even though they knew they would die, wanted to die in battle with a raised head.” The uprising occurred as the Nazis were wiping out the walled ghetto’s last 75,000 residents by sending them to death camps. The Warsaw Ghetto fighters are considered heroes because they demonstrated great bravery standing up to the Nazis despite great odds against them. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another person or group that has done something heroic. Use what you read to design an award to honor this hero or heroes. Then write a short paragraph summarizing the heroic actions to be attached to the award.
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; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
4. Sleep Issues, Risky Behavior
High school students who get too little (or too much) sleep are more likely to drive drunk or take other risks, researchers for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned. The CDC study is based on anonymous, in-school, paper-and-pencil surveys of more than 50,000 American students. CDC does not speculate on why this is so, but the link between sleep and injury-causing risks is “really surprising and … worrying,” the study’s lead author said. The CDC study on the effect of high school sleep habits was based on a survey of students about their behaviors and activities. In groups, use the newspaper and Internet to read about other high school behavior issues that could be explored through a survey of students’ experiences. Write a paragraph stating what information would be important to learn from students about the issue. Then write 10 questions you think would get the answers that would provide valuable information. Share and discuss as a class. Or conduct your survey with students in another class.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; 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; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
5. Zoo Kills Gorilla to Rescue Child
It was “a very sad day” at the Cincinnati Zoo when a 4-year-old boy fell 10 to 12 feet into a moat and was grabbed by a 450-pound gorilla. The silverback gorilla named Harambe picked the boy out of the water and started dragging him around, creating what appeared to be a “life-threatening situation,” zoo officials said. To protect the boy, a special response team shot and killed the 17-year-old gorilla. The boy was unharmed. The “very strong” gorilla didn’t appear to be attacking the child, but was highly agitated, and no one could be sure of the boy’s safety. It was “a tough choice, [but] the right choice,” the zoo’s director said. The killing of Harambe prompted extensive protests from animal rights supporters and endangered species activists. As a class, use the newspaper and Internet to find and closely read stories about the killing of Harambe. Then stage a class debate, with one side taking the position that the zoo made the right decision and the other side arguing that other steps should have been taken. Take a vote of the class at the end of the debate and write up the results in the form of a newspaper news story.
Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.