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For Grades 9-12 , week of Aug. 01, 2016

1. Concealed-Carry Not a ‘Right’

The U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment does not guarantee the right to carry concealed weapons in public, a federal court in San Francisco, California has ruled. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 7-4 decision, upheld a California law imposing stringent conditions on concealed-carry permits. The law requires “good cause” for granting a person a permit to carry a concealed weapon, such a job in which security can be threatened. The law has been sharply criticized by gun advocates as violating the constitutional right to bear arms. An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is being weighed. Efforts to regulate gun ownership have sparked debate all over the country. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about efforts to change or tighten gun regulations and the reaction they are generating. Use what you read to write an editorial for the newspaper, giving your opinion on whether gun laws should be changed, and why.

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. Street Characters Reined In

New rules have gone into effect this summer confining street performers in New York City’s Times Square to designated painted rectangles. The color-coded zones are meant to rein in pushy performers, panhandlers and sales people who have flooded the area and annoyed tourists. The boundary restrictions apply to anyone performing a service in which money may be exchanged, including performance artists, costumed characters who pose for pictures for tips, and vendors selling tickets for bus tours or comedy shows. Times Square is one of New York City’s busiest tourist areas and the city wants to make sure tourists enjoy the experience. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about another tourist attraction. Use what you read to create a list of rules and regulations you would set to ensure that tourists enjoy the attraction. Share and discuss with family and friends.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; 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.

3. Vegas Going Big League?

For years, Las Vegas, Nevada, has been the largest American city without a major-league professional sports team — but that’s finally changing. In its first expansion in 16 years, the National Hockey League has added Las Vegas to its roster of 30 league franchises. And that could just be the beginning. If the city builds a new domed stadium, it could become the new home of the National Football League’s Oakland Raiders, who may be leaving their Northern California city. Because legalized gambling has been the leading industry in Las Vegas, professional sports had kept its distance in the past. Now, however, casinos, lotteries and pay-to-play fantasy leagues like FanDuel and DraftKings, have brought sports wagering to nearly every state. As a result, pro sports leagues have relaxed their wariness of Vegas, whose economy has diversified into fields other than gambling and entertainment. Nineteen NFL stadiums are already near casinos. Professional sports teams are big businesses and have great economic impact on areas where they locate. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about ways pro sports teams benefit their areas. Then use what you read to design a poster highlighting the economic impact of pro sports teams. Be sure to include specific arguments and statistics to support your points.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

4. Longtime Icon Quits GOP

Opinion columnist George Will is a Pulitzer Prize winner and a longtime spokesman for conservative Republican politics. But Will has announced he is changing his voter registration from Republican to “unaffiliated” and is urging all Republicans to reconsider supporting the party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump. “This is not my party,” he has declared, adding that efforts to block Trump’s nomination came “too late” so Republicans should “make sure he loses.” He told the PJ Media political website that a “President Trump” unopposed by a GOP-controlled Congress would be worse for the country than Democrat Hillary Clinton having to work with a Republican Congress. The presidential race is heating up and coverage of Trump and Clinton is growing more intense. In the newspaper, find and closely read stories about the candidates. Then use what you read to write an editorial or opinion column summarizing the key issues in the news this week.

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.

5. A No-Swimsuit Pageant

Is it possible there could be a beauty pageant without a swimsuit competition? There was this year, because the Miss Teen USA pageant went swimsuit-free Saturday night. Instead, the 51 women were judged in a brand-new “athletic wear category” designed to show off the contestants’ athleticism. Officials of the sponsoring Miss Universe organization say the purpose of the change was to be less exploitative than parading contestants around in swimsuits and to focus more on physical fitness to “celebrate women’s strength, confidence and beauty.” Attitudes about women are changing in all kinds of fields in the United States and around the world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about how changing attitudes have opened up new opportunities for women. Or read stories about women who are changing the way people think of women in different fields. Use what you read to draw a series of comic strips for the newspaper, illustrating the effects of some of these changes.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; 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.