Activities  Home  K-4  5-8  9-12   Geo Quiz   Vocabulary Quiz   NewsVideo   Cartoons   Talking Points  Science Webcast 



Additional Resources for Your Classroom



Find over 300 resources that include teacher guides, student supplements, teacher training modules and so much more.

Click here to access instructional material


For Grades 5-8 , week of Nov. 14, 2016

1. History in the Making

When he takes office on January 20, Republican Donald Trump will make history as the first person elected to be president of the United States without ever having served in public office or the U.S. military. Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton by winning states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania that usually have supported Democrats for president in the past. Since the election, political experts and leaders of both parties have been analyzing what issues were key to Trump’s victory and why those issues were important to voters. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories analyzing President-elect Trump’s election win. Use what you read to write a short editorial discussing what issues were most important, why they were important to voters and what lessons future candidates could draw from them. Discuss as a class.

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; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

2. Pepsi to Cut Sugar

The Pepsi company is stepping up efforts to reduce the number of sugary beverages it sells. By the year 2025, at least two-thirds of the total volume of beverages sold by the company will have no more than 100 calories from added sugars per 12-ounces, the company has announced. The move comes as government leaders in the United States and around the world are moving to tax soft drinks and fruit juices in an effort to combat the risks of being overweight or obese, or developing the disease diabetes. The number of people who are overweight or obese has become a growing health problem in the United States and other developed nations. As a result, health and government leaders are trying a variety of approaches to reduce the problem. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about such efforts. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, giving your view on approaches you think could be most effective.

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. U.S. Workers Put in More Time

Americans work more hours than workers do in almost any other nation in the industrialized world — and they take fewer vacation days. What’s more, they retire later, economists conclude in a new study. The average U.S. worker puts in almost 25 percent more hours than the average European, the researchers learned. Americans work hard to provide for their families and improve their lives. And sometimes they work long hours — or more than one job — to make ends meet. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a person working long hours or more than one job. Use what you read to write a summary of why the person is working as they do — and what that says about the challenges facing American workers.

Common Core State Standards: 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. Pollutant to Be Cut

More than 100 nations around the world have agreed to limit the use of a key group of chemicals that contribute to global warming and climate change. Meeting in the African nation of Uganda, the nations agreed to cap the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that are widely used in air conditioners and refrigerators around the world. The HFC limits will begin in 2019 for developed countries and in 2024 for developing countries. HFCs, which enter the atmosphere as greenhouse gases, are considered among the world’s fastest-growing climate pollutants by scientists. Many nations are taking steps to reduce the volume of greenhouse gases in an effort to reduce the impact of global warming. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read about an effort in a country other than the United States. Closely read the story and brainstorm an idea for a short video or film about the effort and what lessons it could offer the United States. Write an outline for your film, including images you would include. Then write the first scene in the style of a move screenplay.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

5. ‘Speak English’ Sign Gone

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Geno’s Steaks takeout restaurant attracted wide attention a decade ago when it put a sign in its counter window that declared: “This Is America/When Ordering, Please Speak English.” Now, without explanation, Geno’s has removed the sign, which was both praised and condemned in emails from around the world. Owner Joey Vento, whose father first put up the sign, said that despite his own “strong political views … it’s time to move on” after 10 years. Geno’s is one of several Philadelphia establishments popular with visitors from around the world for its cheesesteaks and other foods. The “English only” sign at Geno’s received great attention as the nation debated how to deal with immigrants who come to the country” either legally or illegally. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the nation’s debate over immigration. As a class, draft a letter to President-elect Trump outlining the approach you think he/she should take regarding immigration as president.

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; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.