, week of
Mar. 03, 2014
1. Too Much Sugar
“Too much sugar does not just make us fat,” according to a report in the medical journal called JAMA Internal Medicine. “It can also make us sick.” The report gives details on a study that links consuming higher levels of sugar in food and drinks to greater risk of death from heart disease. The report focused on “added sugars,” which were defined as all sugars in processed or prepared foods, such as sugared drinks and grain-based desserts and candy. The report did not deal with naturally occurring sugars, such as those in fruits and natural juices. Eating or drinking too much sugar in snacks, sodas or other foods can make people overweight, or even obese (extremely overweight). As a class, discuss pre-made, processed foods that have a lot of sugar in them, and how you can see how much sugar is in them by reading the food label. Then look through the food ads in the newspaper and pick out snacks that would have less sugar or would have naturally occurring sugars. Use what you find to design a new ad for the newspaper, focusing on healthy, low-sugar foods for snacks or meals. Give your ad an eye-catching headline that will get people’s attention.
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.
2. Spring Forward
Daylight Saving Time will begin this year on Sunday, March 9, at 2 a.m. At that time, people will move their clocks ahead one hour. As a class, read about Daylight Saving Time, including why it was created and what it’s intended to do. Find three things in the newspaper that are affected by Daylight Saving Time. For each, write a sentence or two explaining how it will be affected, and why that is interesting or important.
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
3. No Longer Endangered
The U.S. endangered species list continues to grow, but the Oregon chub is the first fish to be removed from it. It’s a tiny minnow found only in the Willamette River basin. The chub was listed in 1993 because it had lost habitat and was being hunted and eaten by other species. But thanks to a recovery plan that included habitat restoration, its numbers have increased from fewer than 1,000 to a current figure exceeding 150,000, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports. Endangered species face severe challenges to survive, but all wildlife species face challenges that may not be as great. In the newspaper, find a story, photo or ad that features a species of wildlife. Write the name of the species down the side of a sheet of paper. Then use each letter of the name to start a complete sentence describing the challenges this species faces to survive.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
4. A $5 Million Violin
A Stradivarius violin valued at $5 million was stolen from the concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and recovered undamaged weeks later after police were led to it by one of three suspects. The rare 1715 instrument was stolen from concertmaster Frank Almond after a performance, when someone attacked him with a stun gun as he walked to his car. The attacker grabbed the violin and drove off in a minivan. Weeks later two men and a woman were arrested, but until one of the suspects spoke up the whereabouts of the violin remained unknown. Stradivarius violins were made by the Stradivarius family in the 17th and 18th centuries in the European nation of Italy. They are considered among the world’s greatest instruments. The value of an item is not determined just by what it is worth in money. Things can be considered valuable because they are rare or beautiful, or valuable to people for other reasons. In the ads in the newspaper, find an item you would consider valuable if you owned it. Write a paragraph explaining why this would be valuable to you. Then write a second paragraph describing something valuable to your family for reasons other than money.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; 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.
5. Great Lakes Freezing Over
For the first time in at least 20 years, the Great Lakes became almost completely covered with ice this winter — with more than 88 percent of the surface covered. The last time they came this close was in 1994, when 94 percent of their surface was frozen. Sections of the five midwestern lakes harden every winter, but over recent decades, the ice cover has been smaller. This winter’s deep freeze, which seems to have reversed that trend, may help restore water levels by limiting evaporation. It also may help some wildlife that live on or near the lakes in winter. Winter weather has made lots of news all over the United States this year. In the newspaper or online, find a story about winter weather and how it has affected people. Read the story closely and then re-tell it in the form of a series of comic strips.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.