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For Grades 9-12 , week of Sep. 12, 2016

1. New Sport: Ax Throwing

Fans, here’s a new sport for you — ax throwing. Urban Axes, the nation’s first indoor, competitive, ax-throwing arena has opened in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Recreational ax throwing got its start about 10 years ago in Toronto, Ontario, and has built an avid fan base throughout Canada, where logging and forestry are big industries. Four entrepreneurs teamed up to bring the sport to the United States. It took about nine months to find a site, landlord and insurance provider. Before opening, the Philadelphia location conducted private tournaments in the venue — with people competing in four lanes separated by a chain-link fence. Unusual sports often attract a following among people who want to try something different. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an unusual sport. Use what you read and additional resources to design a website showcasing the attractions of this sport. Design the home page to show categories of information you want to highlight. Pick an image to illustrate each category. Then write headlines and text blocks to briefly explain each category.

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.

2. Food Rules Backfire?

In an effort to promote healthier eating, the federal government has proposed that stores that accept food stamps be required to stock more and fresher varieties of food. Some marketers, however, warn there could be an opposite effect, because convenience stores that can’t meet the requirements could leave the food stamp program. And that would mean that disadvantaged people who depend on food stamps would have fewer places to buy groceries. The standards proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) could make it too costly for a convenience store to stock all the unprocessed and perishable foods required, critics say, and stores could stop accepting food stamps. Many approaches have been tried to get people to eat healthier diets and to reduce the problem of obesity in the United States. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read about one approach. Use what you read to write a nutrition column for the newspaper, describing the approach and how successful you think it would be. Offer changes or suggestions for the program if you like.

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. Back-to-Campus Retailing

The average family with college-age kids will be spending more than $888 getting each one ready to return to campus, about half of it going for electronics, clothing and dorm furnishings. With so much money at stake, the National Retail Federation reports that some retailers are encouraging students to set up wish lists similar to wedding registries for things they would like to buy. Customers of Target stores created 136,000 of these wish lists last year, and other chains are offering similar services. At Bed Bath & Beyond, for example, a “college expert” helps students with a school-specific packing list, while Best Buy offers year-round for-students-only deals that include a discounted “Geek Squad” subscription for tech support. When students go off to college, they often are living on their own for the first time. This requires them to purchase or acquire things that they had at home as part of their family. Imagine you are going off to college. Search the ads of the newspaper and Internet for things other than clothes that you would need. Search for the best prices for each item. Write a paragraph explaining your choices and discuss as a class.

Common Core State Standards: 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; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

4. Kobe Bryant, Investor

Retired basketball star Kobe Bryant is going into business. The longtime Los Angeles Laker and a partner have established a $100 million venture capital fund to invest in media, technology and data companies. Their bets also include a home juicing company and a firm giving Chinese children a virtual American elementary school experience. Bryant, who went directly from high school to the NBA, earned roughly $680 million in salary and endorsements in his 18-year NBA career. Venture capitalists look for businesses to invest in. They usually are looking for businesses just starting out or with the potential to grow. Think like a venture capitalist and use the newspaper and Internet to read about a company you think would be a good choice to invest in. Use what you read to write a paragraph analyzing why this company would be a good investment.

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.

5. QB Won’t Stand for Anthem

Controversy is raging around San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, but it has nothing to do with his performance on the playing field. It’s about his refusal to stand for the National Anthem because of an issue that is “bigger than football,” Kaepernick said. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people …” Kaepernick said, and he’ll continue to sit until there “is significant change and … that flag represents what it’s supposed to …” What this means for his football future is unclear, but his protest has made him a lightning rod for debate. In the newspaper or online, closely read stories about the debate over Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the National Anthem. Use what you read to write a short editorial supporting or opposing his method of protest. Discuss editorials 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. .