For Grades 9-12 , week of Dec. 09, 2019

1. Impeachment

The U.S. House of Representatives is moving forward this week toward a vote to impeach President Trump in an effort to remove him from office. Impeachment of a president is a rare and historic move —just two presidents in history have been impeached (with a third resigning before an impeachment vote). The House Judiciary Committee, which held hearings on impeachment last week, is debating what charges should be included in any articles of impeachment it would send to the entire House for a vote. If the entire House votes to impeach the President, a trial would be held in the U.S. Senate, with the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court presiding. The impeachment debate has reinforced harsh divisions between the nation’s Democrats and Republicans. The Democrats now control the House, and based on testimony and evidence, believe Trump has abused the power of his office for personal gain. The Republicans argue he has done nothing that would warrant removal from office. Since Republicans control the Senate, it is unlikely Trump will be removed from office. The impeachment process is generating great debate in Washington and around the country. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the latest developments. Use what you read to write an editorial giving your view on the charges being made against the President and whether you think he should be impeached.

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. Synthetic Dissections

Dissecting animals has long been a part of biology classes, but many students today find the procedure disturbing or gross. At a high school in the state of Florida, a new program is allowing students to get dissection training without killing or cutting up a creature that was once alive. At J.W. Mitchell High School in the city of New Port Richey, students are dissecting artificial frogs that look and feel like the real thing. The frogs were developed in partnership with the SynDaver company, which designs and builds synthetic human and animal models for surgical training, anatomy education and the testing of medical devices. The synthetic frogs are almost identical to real female frogs, including their size, texture, skin, and organs, CNN News reported. The switch to synthetic frogs drew praise from the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The use of artificial frogs for dissections is an example of an innovation that changes the way students learn. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another innovation that is changing the way students learn or are taught. Use what you read to write a paragraph detailing how the innovation is an improvement in learning for students. In your assessment, also consider any downside to the innovation.

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.

3. Healthy Soundtrack

Coral reefs are complex ocean habitats that attract fish and other creatures. But when living corals die off due to global warming and “bleaching” events, other species move away from the reefs. To lure those species back, researchers working on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef are trying an unusual approach. They are playing the sounds of healthy reefs on ones that have died out to see if the soundtrack will attract fish and other sea life. Early results have been promising, according to a study published in the science journal called Nature Communications. Researchers found that twice as many fish flocked to the dead coral patches where healthy reef sounds were played compared with the patches that had no healthy sounds. Significantly, fish attracted to the sounds tended to stay at the reefs. The use of soundtracks to revive coral reefs is an example of an effort to deal with the effects of global warming. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another effort to address global warming. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor explaining how this effort could help other areas or communities deal with the effects of global warming.

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. Pioneering Pilot

All over the world, women are breaking barriers that previously blocked them from success. In the Asian nation of India, a female pilot has broken a longstanding barrier by becoming the first woman to become a pilot in the Indian Navy. “It’s a very big thing,” Sub-Lieutenant Shivangi told CNN News. “It’s a big responsibility for all of us and I know that I have to do well.” The 24-year-old Shivangi, who goes by one name, completed basic training in 2018 at the Indian Naval Academy and was chosen to train with an Indian naval air squadron. In her new role she will fly transport and reconnaissance aircraft. While Shivangi is the first woman to become a pilot in India’s Navy, the nation’s Air Force has enlisted women as pilots since 2016. In May this year Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth became the first woman to qualify for Air Force combat missions. In every career field, women are achieving success and re-writing history. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a woman achieving success or making history in a career. Use what you read to write a poem, rap or rhyme telling the story of this woman and why her success is important. Share with the class.

Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.

5. Tribute to a Sister

Elena Delle Donne is a WNBA basketball star, a two-time league MVP and a key member of the Washington Mystics team that won this year’s WNBA championship. She also is an outspoken advocate and supporter for her older sister Lizzie, who was born blind and deaf with autism and cerebral palsy. When in college, Delle Donne transferred from the University of Connecticut to the University of Delaware to be near her sister and her family’s home in the state, and she later she requested a trade to the Wizards from the Chicago Sky for the same reason. Now she has paid tribute to her sister in an ad for the Nike shoe company. “My sister is the inspiration for all of my choices,” Delle Donne says in the ad, which will run during NBA games this winter. “She gives me strength. Everyone thinks I carry her. But she’s the one carrying me.” People inspire others in many ways. As a class, use the newspaper or Internet to find and talk about people who are inspiring others. Then think of someone who has inspired you in a big or small way in your life. Write a thank you letter to the person telling him or her how they inspired you, how that helped you and how you would like to share that inspiration with others.

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