, week of
Mar. 16, 2020
1. What Can Government Do?
The coronavirus continues to have huge impact on the lives of Americans and people around the world. Colleges have shut down, travel has been restricted and events involving large crowds have been canceled. Broadway has closed its famous theaters, the NCAA canceled its “March Madness” basketball tournaments, and the Disney company has temporarily shuttered both Disneyland and Disney World. The spread of the disease has put a spotlight on what government can do to slow the virus down or address its effects on businesses, jobs and communities. Late last week President Trump declared a national emergency, making $50-billion in federal funding available to take on the crisis, cutting rules to enable hospitals to expand their ability to treat people and promising an expansion of testing. Before that he ordered a ban on air travel from the continent of Europe by non-Americans and urged Congress to provide payroll tax relief to make up for lost wages by workers. With the President’s support, Democrats and Republicans in Congress passed legislation that would provide paid sick leave for workers, free testing for the virus and other benefits. The actions of the federal government in response to the coronavirus will be felt by individuals, families and businesses across the nation. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about actions that have been taken and how states and communities have responded to them. Use what you read to write an editorial assessing how effective you think the efforts will be and what else needs to be done.
Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.
2. Historic Hockey Broadcasts
March is Women’s History Month, and this year the National Hockey League celebrated it in a truly historic way. On March 8 — International Women’s Day — the TV broadcasts of two NHL games were announced and produced by all-female crews for the first time ever. In the United States, an all-female crew worked the game between the St. Louis Blues and the Chicago Blackhawks, which aired on NBC Sports. In Canada, an all-female crew covered the Calgary Flames and the Vegas Golden Knights, for Sportsnet. For years, NHL broadcasting has been a “boys club,” the women involved said, but the all-female broadcasts showed girls and young women there now are opportunities for both sexes. “I think it’s just trailblazing,” on-air host Kathryn Tappen said. “It’s a one-of-a-kind broadcast, on a day that everybody’s … celebrating women and all the milestones women have achieved in recent years.” Women are breaking new ground in a wide range of career fields. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a woman who has done this. Use what you read to write a personal column addressing what challenges this woman faced to succeed and how those challenges were the same or different to those faced by men in the field. Connect the challenges this newsmaker faced to challenges faced by women you know to succeed in jobs or careers.
Common Core State Standards: 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.
3. Protect Those Chimps!
People who love wildlife or the environment are familiar with efforts to protect individual species or habitats. But how about behavior? For the first time, an international organization has moved to protect the activities, behavior and “culture” of a species. The species is a type of chimpanzee that lives in western Africa and has developed the ability to crack nuts using rough “tools” like stones and pieces of wood. This represents a “unique technological culture” among primates and merits protection and preservation, the United Nations body known as the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species has declared. The protection in effect will strengthen preservation of the chimps and their range in the west African nations of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Ivory Coast, CNN News reports. Chimps in other parts of Africa do not have the ability to crack nuts this way, U.N. officials said. Many species of wildlife have developed special skills or talents that help them survive. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about such species. Use what you read to design a poster showing what skills that two or three species have developed and how they help the species survive. Use images from the newspaper or Internet to illustrate your poster.
Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic.
4. THAT’S Forgetful!
When you own a car, you have to register it with the state and buy a license plate and tags that show it is registered. Most registrations are good for two or three years, and sometimes people forget to renew them. In the state of Louisiana, a driver may have set a record for expired tags. He was pulled over by police for having tags that hadn’t been renewed for 23 years! When an officer from the Slidell Police Department asked the driver why he was driving with 1997 tags, he said “I’ve been busy lately and totally forgot,” CNN News reported. There is no word on whether the driver got a ticket or got off with a warning. Odd or unusual events are often in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an event like this. Use what you read to write a limerick or humorous poem about the event. Read your poems to the class — with enthusiasm!
Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.
5. Obese and at Risk
All over the world there is growing concern about people who are overweight or obese (extremely overweight). The concern is based on medical studies that have shown people who are obese are more likely to experience health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, and even some cancers. Now the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has raised another cause for concern. A new report from the CDC has found that 42.4 percent of U.S. adults now qualify as obese, and both men and women are affected. About 9.2 percent of the adult population qualifies as extremely obese, with women outnumbering men. Both obesity and severe obesity are most common among middle-aged adults, the CDC said. Losing just 5 to 10 percent of body weight can help obese people reduce their health risks, experts said. Health and medical issues are often in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one of these issues that would be important to teens or families. Use what you read to write a personal letter to a friend or family member explaining the new development regarding the medical or health issue and why it is important.
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.
Lessons & Classroom Activities
Resources by grade level