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For Grades 9-12 , week of Apr 17, 2022

1. Lockdown

The coronavirus epidemic has put cities around the world under great pressure. Nowhere is that pressure being felt more than in the Asian city of Shanghai. Shanghai, which has a population of 25-million people, is China’s second largest city, and for more than four weeks it has been locked down in an effort to control the Covid 19 coronavirus. No one is allowed to leave their homes or apartments. They must line up for daily virus testing. Stores are closed and shelves are bare. The only food comes from government deliveries and must be rationed. Located on China’s east coast on the Yellow Sea, Shanghai has China’s worst outbreak of Covid 19. But it is not alone. CNN News reports 45 other Chinese cities are in full or partial lockdown. China, the United States and other nations are still working to control the spread of the coronavirus. In the U.S., the city of Philadelphia became the first to re-instate mask requirements for indoor activities last week and others are monitoring a rise in cases. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about new developments in the battle to control the coronavirus epidemic. Use what you read to write a short editorial outlining the most important information communities must consider when making decisions about future steps to take.

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. ‘Imagine’

Artists, musicians and performers of all kinds are stepping up to support the people of Ukraine against the invasion of Russian troops. To show his support, singer and musician Julian Lennon did something he has never done before. He performed his father John Lennon’s iconic song “Imagine” in support of the #StandUpForUkraine fundraising effort, which was organized by the nonprofit Global Citizen group. Lennon performed “Imagine” for a fundraising event in Warsaw, Poland that raised $10-billion in pledges for Ukrainian refugees. John Lennon, who became famous as a member of the 1960s super group The Beatles, released “Imagine” in 1971 after the band broke up. The song asks listeners to “Imagine all the people / livin’ life in peace” and seemed appropriate for a time when “unimaginable tragedy” has gripped Ukraine, Julian Lennon said. “As a human, and as an artist, I felt compelled to respond in the most significant way I could,” he said. All over the world, artists and musicians are using songs to call attention to the war in Ukraine, other violence and hopes for peace. As a class, talk about songs you might choose to do this. Then re-write the words to a song you like to call attention to the war in Ukraine. Share or perform it for the class.

Common Core State Standards: Identifying multiple language conventions and using them; recognizing nouns, verbs and modifiers; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.

3. Threat to the Amazon

South America’s Amazon rain forest is often referred to as the “lungs” of the Earth because it produces 20 percent of the oxygen in the world’s atmosphere and removes millions of tons of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through the process known as photosynthesis. The Amazon’s ability to produce oxygen and remove carbon dioxide may be undermined in the future, however, by people cutting more of its trees for materials and development. Especially in the nation of Brazil, which controls two-thirds of the Amazon’s territory. A new report from Brazil indicates that tree-cutting and deforestation are proceeding at a record pace in 2022. According to the report, 363 square miles of forest were cleared in Brazil between January and March this year, the largest amount recorded since deforestation rates started being monitored in 2016. In the same time period last year, just 221 square miles were cleared, CNN News reports. Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro wants to develop the Amazon to help the Brazilian economy. The Amazon rain forest is hugely important to Brazil, but also to other nations. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about why the Amazon is important to other nations and the world. Use what you read to write a science column outlining the importance of the Amazon. Share with the class and discuss.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

4. Business Help

Building a business requires a lot of hard work. It also requires support and the right connections. In the city of Detroit, Michigan, the Gomez family were ready to work hard when they launched their Detroit Salsa Company six years ago. They got support and a very helpful connection when they met Jim Danoksy, owner of a local pizza restaurant. The Gomezes were looking for kitchen space to rent once a week, and Danoksy offered his — rent free. “I didn’t need it, and they needed as much help as they could get,” Danoksy told local TV station WXYZ. For 6 years, the Gomez family members came in at 4 in the morning to use Danoksy’s kitchen, building their business to where it now serves 20 stores in the Detroit area. It couldn’t have happened without Danoksy’s generosity, said Ray Gomez, owner of the salsa company. “I just think very few people would have done what he did for us.” Businesses often need help getting started and face many challenges. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a new business or someone starting a business. Use what you read to write a business column detailing what challenges this business faces and what kind of help it needs to succeed. Include who is in the best position to provide that help.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

5. Wind Energy Dangers

Wind energy has gained a lot of support among environmentalists as an alternative to burning fossil fuels like oil or gas that contribute to global warming. But there is a downside to wind energy that environmentalists and wind companies have not figured out how to correct. Wind farms and the blades on their windmills pose a risk to birds that live near them — particularly big birds of prey like hawks, bald eagles and golden eagles. This month a major wind energy company acknowledged the risk that wind farms pose to birds when it pleaded guilty to killing at least 150 eagles at its wind farms. The ESI Energy company also paid an $8-million fine and agreed to spend up to $27-million on measures to “minimize additional eagle deaths and injuries,” the New York Times reported. The company was sentenced to probation for five years, during which it must follow an eagle management plan. Businesses often have to deal with the impact of their activities on wildlife or the environment. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a business addressing its impact. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, addressing what the company has done and whether it is sufficient or appropriate for dealing with the problem.

Common Core State Standards: Citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.