, week of
Aug. 03, 2015
1. Sugary Drinks Tied to Deaths
As many as 184,000 deaths a year could be caused by drinking sugary beverages, according to a worldwide study conducted by Tufts University researchers. Sugar-sweetened drinks, researchers conclude, lead to an estimated 133,000 deaths from diabetes, 45,000 from cardiovascular disease and 6,400 from cancer. Of 51 countries studied, Mexico has the highest rate of death from sugary drinks, and the U.S. places second. About 76 percent of the deaths occur in low- or middle-income countries. Sugary drinks have been singled out by health experts because they can lead to obesity and other health problems. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about obesity and its effects. Use what your read to write a short editorial or commentary about steps that could be taken to reduce obesity.
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. Record Oil-Spill Cost
The BP oil company has agreed to pay billions of dollars in new money to five American Gulf Coast states affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010 that spewed millions of gallons of crude oil into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and soiled beaches, coated wildlife and polluted marshes. The explosion that caused the spill killed 11 workers on a BP oil rig. This record-breaking $18.7 billion new payment brings the total obligations agreed to by the company to an estimated $53.8 billion. Oil spills are just one hazard to the environment connected to human activities. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read another story about a threat to the environment connected to human activities. Use what you read to write a paragraph summarizing what has caused the threat and what could be done to deal with it.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.
3. A Medal, Long Delayed
More than 70 years later, John Pedevillano of College Park, Maryland, has been honored for military heroism in World War II. As a 22-year-old bombardier with six missions under his belt, he was shot down in his B-17 aircraft in 1944 and taken prisoner with his crewmates. He was freed by U.S. Army forces the following year, and now at age 93 he has been honored for his war experience. The one-time second lieutenant recently was presented the Presidential Unit Citation, with one Oak Leaf Cluster, for heroism in combat, in a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Military personnel face great risks and challenges in times of war. In the newspaper or online, find and read a story about risks being faced today by U.S. military men and women who are in high-risk missions elsewhere in the world. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a short video focusing on the risks faced by U.S. military personnel and how they are dealing with them. Write an outline for your video, including images you would use in different scenes. Finish by writing the first scene of your video.
Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; 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.
4. Bumblebees May Face Extinction
Climate change is shrinking the geographical range of bumblebees, scientists say, and that is putting the popular black-and-yellow insects in danger of extinction. While Western Hemisphere species’ northern borders remain about the same, the southern borders are moving northward due to climate change and rising temperatures. Because of this, bumblebee populations are declining and on the road to disappearing, according to a report in the journal Science. The threat to bumblebees is not due to changes in land use or use of pesticides, the report contends; “the only explanation … is that it’s [getting] too hot for them.” Climate change is having a negative effect on many species of wildlife around the world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a species affected by climate change. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor of the newspaper calling attention to the situation and offering ideas on how people could respond.
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; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
5. Filming Taliban Terror
In the Asian nations of Pakistan and Afghanistan, militant Taliban members have violently opposed vaccination efforts by world health organizations to overcome the paralyzing disease of polio. Contending that polio vaccination is a plot to spy by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, Taliban followers have killed vaccinators and threatened families seeking vaccines. A new film called “Every Last Child” documents efforts to overcome Taliban opposition in Pakistan and shows police protecting polio teams going house to house in neighborhoods where Taliban assassins cruise on bikes. Polio has been virtually wiped out everywhere in the world except in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the extremist violence has thwarted vaccination efforts. The Taliban is a fundamentalist Islamic movement that has great influence in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In the newspaper or online, find and read a story about the influence of the Taliban. Use what you read to write a paragraph or short essay about Taliban influence on local and world affairs.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; reading closely what a text (or image) says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.