For Grades 9-12 , week of June 28, 2021

1. Vaccination Donation

The G-7 nations are the wealthiest and most advanced in the world. When their leaders met in Europe this month, they made a decision that will dramatically affect the world’s poorer nations. The G-7 leaders, including President Biden, committed to donating 1-billion coronavirus vaccines to inoculate “vulnerable” populations in places such as Africa, Latin America and Asia. The United States will contribute a half-billion doses — the largest contribution of any G-7 nation and the largest single donation of vaccines in history. In addition to providing vaccines, the G-7 effort will provide aid to prevent future epidemics and upgrade health systems in underdeveloped countries. In addition to the United States, the G-7 nations include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The G-7 donations of coronavirus vaccines are expected to help poorer nations gain control of the virus. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about worldwide efforts to battle the virus. Use what you read to write an editorial outlining the greatest needs vulnerable countries have and how wealthier countries can help most.

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.

2. Coral Reef Risk

The Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia is one of the world’s great ocean habitats, supporting 1,500 species of fish, 400 types of hard coral and one-third of the world’s soft coral. The health of the reef has been declining in recent years, however, and now a prominent United Nations agency wants to have it declared “in danger.” The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is asking for the designation because Australia has not taken sufficient steps to reduce the use of fossil fuels that produce the greenhouse gases that cause climate change. In a report issued ahead of a World Heritage Meeting next month, UNESCO is urging Australia to take “accelerated action at all possible levels” to address the threat from climate change because warming of ocean water is one of the key factors in the decline of the Great Barrier Reef and others. Australia is one of the few wealthy nations that has not pledged to reach net-zero emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by the year 2050. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a major goal of nations seeking to slow global warming and climate change. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about steps nations are taking together or individually. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor outlining the most important steps to be taken.

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. Diamond Love

When people decide to get married, one of the big decisions is what to do for an engagement ring. Christian Liden of Washington State had a romantic dream that he wanted to find all the materials for the ring he would give his girlfriend, Desirae Klokkevold. But to do that he needed a diamond. So off he went with his best friend last month to Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. The park is one of the few places in the world where the public can search for real diamonds — and keep what they find. It was no sure thing that Liden and his friend would find anything of any size, but on their third day of searching they turned up a shiny pebble a bit larger than a pea, the Washington Post reported. They took it to the park office, which confirmed that Liden had found a 2.2-carat, triangular yellow diamond. Since he already had found enough gold for a ring band, plus a pair of sapphires, Liden took the diamond back to Washington State and presented it to Klokkevold. He asked her to marry him, and “of course I said yes,” she said. People often do extraordinary things for love. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a person doing something amazing in the name of love. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a short video, telling the story of this amazing love gesture. Write an outline for your video, including images you would use. Then write the opening scene.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

4. Wildfire Dangers

Summer has arrived, and it’s blazing hot in wide areas of the American West and Southwest. That is bad news for regions that were hard hit by wildfires last year. They could be hit even harder this summer. With temperatures soaring over 100 degrees in some places, trees, brush and grasses are bone dry, making them dangerously vulnerable to lightning strikes, downed power lines and careless human behavior. As a result, fire officials in California, Arizona and other states are urging residents to take extra precautions to protect themselves and their properties from fire. The great majority of wildfires — as much as 90 percent — are caused by human behavior and carelessness. In the newspaper or online, find and read stories telling how states in the West and Southwest are preparing for this year’s wildfire season. Use what you read to design a poster offering safety advice to help people reduce the risks of wildfires. Give your poster an eye-catching headline. 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.

5. Swimming for Students

All across America, people find special ways to give back to their communities. Recently, a retired teacher from the town of Immokalee, Florida, swam 12 miles around the island of Key West at the tip of Florida to raise money for needy students. Steven Becker and a friend from college set a goal of raising $5,000 from supporters to pay college tuitions for students from Immokalee, where Becker used to teach. They raised more than triple that — $16,000 — in a 12-mile swim that took them 5 hours and 20 minutes, NBC News reported. “My goal was to raise about five to six thousand dollars, which is how much it costs to send a student to a Florida college for a year” (with matching funds), Becker said. The money will be distributed by the Immokalee Foundation, which serves students in the impoverished community in southwest Florida. Scholarships can help students pay the expenses of college. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about scholarships that are available for students in your community or state. Use what you read to write a consumer column offering advice on how to find scholarships, how to apply for them and what qualifications are needed.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them.