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 9-12 , week of May 30, 2016

1. Ban on e-Cigarettes

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued sweeping new rules extending federal regulation of e-cigarettes, banning their sale to anyone under 18 and requiring that adult purchasers under 26 show photo ID. It’s a controversial move. While many health experts fear e-cigarettes will hook a new generation on traditional cigarettes, others worry that a tougher approach will make it harder for addicted smokers to use e-cigarettes to quit. The new FDA regulations on e-cigarettes are an attempt to slow the growth in their popularity. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about ways government and health leaders are attempting to address the popularity of e-cigarettes. Use what you read to write an analysis of the efforts, detailing which you think will be most effective and which will have greatest public support. Share ideas as a class and discuss.

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.

2. Trump & Immigrants

With immigration a major issue in the current presidential campaign, tens of thousands of immigrants are applying for U.S. citizenship. Many appear to be motivated by fear of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, and some have told immigration advocates they are rushing plans for citizenship so they can vote in the November election. In the newspaper or online, closely read stories about ways Trump and Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders would deal with illegal immigration. Use what you read to write a short editorial giving your opinion on which candidate has the best approach to dealing with the situation — and which would best represent the views of you or your family on the issue.

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.

3. Hope for Divorced Catholics

Divorced and remarried Catholics should be able to participate more fully in church life, Pope Francis has declared in a 256-page document on marriage and family life. The document, titled “Amoris Laetitia” (“the Joy of Love”), affirms traditional marriage, but the Pope says the church should be a pillar of support rather than judge divorced and remarried people. Life is not always “perfect,” he said, and the clergy should not wield “moral laws” like a weapon. In the document, called an “exhortation,” the Pope proposed no changes to church laws and was ambiguous about whether remarried people should have access to Holy Communion (which is not currently allowed). Roman Catholicism is the largest denomination among Christians, with 1.2 billion followers around the world. Religious beliefs are often in the news, particularly when they conflict with other beliefs or with governments. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about religious beliefs in the United States or another country. Write a paragraph summarizing why the beliefs are in the news, whom they affect most, and what is likely to result from the issue in the news.

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. Threats to Press Freedom

Freedom of the press is at its lowest level in years, a democracy advocacy group has reported, “and not just in repressive societies.” Freedom House’s annual Freedom of the Press Report observes that assaults on the media have been spreading beyond chronically dangerous areas such as the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and Latin America and now are happening in much of Europe as well. Repression and intimidation of journalists are still deadliest in the Middle East and North Africa, the report states, but in the last year “journalists in much of Europe had to contend with new threats from terrorists, as well as new surveillance and security laws.” In many parts of the world, journalists are under increased pressure to display support of political leaders and at risk of violent attacks from extremist groups. In the United States, freedom of the press is guaranteed in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Scan the stories in today’s newspaper and make a list of five that might not appear if there were no freedom of the press in this country. For each, write a complete sentence or paragraph, explaining why the information is valuable to people, and how society would be weaker if it were not available.

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.

5. Obama in Flint

President Obama traveled to Flint, Michigan, earlier this month to show support for residents who have been dealing with a drinking water crisis and to “use my voice to call for change.” Flint’s water has been found to have a dangerous level of the element lead, and residents have complained that government officials ignored the problem and their concerns. The federal government is participating in the effort to deal with contamination, and the President is urging Congress to approve economic aid. “[We’re] not going to rest until every drop of water that flows into your house is safe to drink … and to bathe in …” the President said. The Flint water crisis has gotten national attention because it put the health of residents at risk. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the problem, what caused it and what is being done to correct it. Use what you read to write a summary of the situation and outlining what you think is the most important step to take next.

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.