, week of
Apr 13, 2015
1. Climate Change and China
Global climate change could have “huge impact” on China, its top weather official has warned. Zheng Guoguan says climate change could reduce crop harvests, lead to “ecological degradation” and create unstable river flows in the huge the Asian nation. Pollution also will have great impact on climate change in China. With coal burned widely in China’s economy, the nation’s ruling Communist Party has listed pollution as a top priority. Chinese leaders promise more transparency on the subject and China will participate with the U.S. and other nations in a summit meeting later this year designed to establish a global agreement to reduce emissions of “greenhouse gases” created by burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. These gases contribute to global warming and climate change. China does not have pollution regulations that are as strong as those in the United States. In teams or alone, use the newspaper or Internet to read stories about the effects of pollution on the Chinese environment, and how that affects the lifestyles of Chinese people. Write a short editorial outlining two or more steps the Chinese could take to reduce pollution and improve the environment.
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.
2. Mega-Merger for Food
When the merger of Kraft Foods with Heinz is completed, the Kraft Heinz Company will be one of the world’s largest food and beverage conglomerates, with nearly $28 billion in annual sales and a probable market value of more than $80 billion. The 3G Capital company — which owns many prominent food and beverage brands — has struck a deal to take control of Kraft Foods Inc., and working with Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway company, will merge Kraft with Heinz, which it acquired with Buffett in 2013. Heinz is a ketchup, condiment and canned goods giant; Kraft products include macaroni and cheese, Oscar Mayer meats, Planters nuts and Jell-O. When food companies merge, consumers have fewer companies to choose from for products. As a class, discuss possible effects that could have. Then write a short news story for the newspaper outlining the positive and negative effects of a big merger like the one planned for Kraft and Heinz.
Common Core State Standards: Engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
3. $20 Million Conviction
A man freed from prison in Illinois after 20 years for a murder he did not commit has been awarded $20 million in a settlement believed to be the highest ever in a wrongful conviction case. There have been larger jury judgments, but not settlements. Juan Rivera, now 42 and employed by a medical research facility, was cleared by DNA evidence of the 1992 murder of an 11-year-old girl. He was coerced into making a false confession, his lawyer had argued. DNA evidence has transformed crime-fighting and has overturned a growing number of convictions. In the newspaper or online, find and read a story in which DNA evidence or DNA testing plays a part. Write a summary of the key points of the story and how DNA testing played a role. Be sure to include a description of how DNA testing works.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; 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.
4. Artifact Returned
A rare 450-year-old astrolabe used to tell time and make astronomical calculations will be returned to the German museum from which it was probably stolen nearly 70 years ago. The device likely was taken at the end of World War II by an American soldier during the U.S. occupation of the town of Gotha. After it disappeared from the German museum, it found its way to the Toledo Museum in the U.S. state of Ohio. The director of the Toledo museum called the artifact a “one-of-a-kind scientific device,” but added that while “it’s sad to see it go … it’s not ours.” Science museums display scientific instruments and specimens to teach people how scientific research and discovery happen. In the newspaper or online, find and read a story about a science museum and items it is exhibiting. Use what you read to write a paragraph describing what visitors could learn by viewing and studying items in the exhibit.
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. More Energy Research?
A group of six top business executives has recommended that the United States make it a strategic national priority to expand energy research. The U.S. is spending far too little on this key field, they contend, and that puts at risk the long-term goals of reducing carbon emissions and making energy more available to the world’s poor. The group — which includes Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and General Electric CEO Jeffrey R. Immelt — is urging both Republicans and Democrats to work together to triple energy research spending to about $15 billion a year. At stake, they say, is U.S. world leadership in industries of the future, such as advanced nuclear reactors and coal-burning power plants that bury their emissions. Scientists and business leaders are researching ways to produce cleaner energy and more energy to meet future needs. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about energy research. Use what you read to write a paragraph summarizing key points of the research and how that will help people in the future.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; 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.
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