, week of
Dec. 16, 2013
1. Caffeine Can Be Deadly
Energy drinks are sending tens of thousands of people to hospital emergency rooms every year, and a team of cardiac radiologists has determined why. It’s because they’re loaded with caffeine, and high caffeine consumption can cause rapid heart rate, palpitations, a spike in blood pressure, seizures and even death. Results of the research were presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that in the United States alone, emergency room cases attributed to energy drinks total about 21,000 annually. Health issues affecting teens and pre-teens make news frequently. In the newspaper or online, find a story about a health issue affecting students your age. Design a public service ad for the newspaper outlining the most important things people should know about the issue.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.
2. Slower Than Your Parents
Kids today can’t run as fast as their parents could at the same age, researchers have concluded. On average, a study has found, it takes children today 90 seconds longer to run a mile than kids 30 years ago. The Australia-based researchers link the drop in speed to weight gain, obesity and lack of regular exercise. They urge kids to do at least an hour of physical activity each day, either in organized activities or informal recreation. By doing this, they note, children can “protect their hearts as they grow up.” Physical activity can take many forms. In the newspaper, find an activity that would get kids and families moving while having fun. Draw a comic strip for the newspaper showing you and your family or friends trying this activity and getting fun exercise.
Common Core State Standards: Integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic; using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points.
3. $14 Million Book
The first book printed in English in North America is now the most expensive book ever sold at auction. Known as the Bay Psalm Book, it went for $14,165,000 to David M. Rubenstein of the Carlyle Group, an investment firm in Washington, D.C. The religious Psalm Book was one of about 17,000 published in 1640 by Puritans in Massachusetts, but only 11 are known to exist today. Rubenstein said he plans to lend the book to libraries across the country for display, eventually arranging a long-term loan to one institution. Rubenstein has bought a number of historical documents over the years, including a copy of the British Magna Carta, for which he paid $21 million. He does not “take these kinds of objects home,” the auctioneer noted. Rare items often sell for incredibly high prices. As a class, discuss types of items that could command high prices. Then use the newspaper or Internet to find a rare or expensive item you might like to own if you had the money. Write a paragraph explaining why you would like to own this item.
Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; 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.
4. Turn It Off, Get a Discount
At a restaurant in the Middle East nation of Israel, you can get a 50 percent discount on your bill if you turn off your cell phone. The owner of the Abu Ghosh Restaurant in an Arab village outside Jerusalem says the smart phone has destroyed the modern dining experience, and that maybe his experiment will be “changing the culture of eating.” Jawdat Ibrahim, who opened his restaurant in 1993 with winnings from the Illinois state lottery in the United States, admits he may take a hit financially in the short term, but he expects to benefit in the long run by attracting new customers. Limiting the use of cell phones has been tried in many places, including the United States. As a class, discuss places where cell phone use should be limited. Then write a short editorial for the newspaper outlining reasons for limiting use in public places.
Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement; writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.?
5. Delivery by Drone
In the not-too-distant future, products you order from Amazon.com will arrive at your door — delivered by a tiny drone helicopter. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos told the “60 Minutes” TV show he hopes to get the system running in five years or so, although he conceded that obstacles remain. What’s more, Amazon may not be first to try this. Domino’s Pizza, for example, has been experimenting with a “DomiCopter” concept, and a company in the Asian nation of China is testing a system “for delivering packages to remote areas.” New uses of technology make news every day. In the newspaper or online, find an example. Read the story closely and write paragraph summarizing what the technology is achieving that couldn’t be done before. Write a second paragraph predicting a future use of the technology.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.