, week of
Apr 16, 2018
1. Women Are Running!
The #metoo movement has change the conversation about women’s issues across the nation. It’s now helping change the political landscape, too. Women are not just talking about change; they are running for office to bring it about. According to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, a record 309 women have filed to run for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm election. In addition, 29 women are running for U.S. Senate and at least 40 women are running for governor. Women make up less than 20% of the U.S. Congress. Out of 535 total members, there are just 22 women senators and 83 women representatives. Women are lining up to play an important role in the 2018 election. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about women running for office this year. Use what you read to write a political column exploring how having more women candidates could change the focus of debate and discussion in this year’s political campaigns.
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing.
2. Mummy Mystery
Modern science is answering more and more questions about the world, and now it has solved a mystery that goes back 4,000 years. Using DNA testing, the nation’s Federal Bureau of Investigation has identified a mummified head that had been found 100 years ago in an Egyptian tomb. The head had been separated from its body by tomb robbers, and experts had been unable to even determine if it was from a man or a woman. Now DNA testing has determined the head was that of a man who was governor of an Egyptian district in ancient times. The governor known as Djehutynakht had been buried with his wife, and scientists until now had not been able to determine if the head belonged to the governor or his wife. Genetic DNA extracted from a tooth from the head proved that the head was that of a man. DNA testing and other advances in science are having impact in professions ranging from medicine to crime-fighting. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an advance in science that has changed a career field. Use what you read to write a paragraph detailing what the advance allows professionals to do that they could not do before — and why that is important.
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.
3. Close Encounter
A bald eagle named Challenger presented quite a challenge this month for Seattle Mariners pitcher James Paxton. Playing in Minnesota for the opening home game of the Minnesota Twins, Paxton got to meet America’s national bird in a close encounter that was too close for comfort. During the opening ceremonies, Challenger was supposed to fly to the pitcher’s mound as a giant American flag was unfurled on the field. But Challenger had other ideas, and took a detour to Paxton, who was standing in the outfield after warming up. After landing on the grass, the eagle flew up and landed on Paxton’s back. With thousands of eyes on him, the pitcher kept his cool until Challenger hopped off. “I figured I'm not going to outrun an eagle,” Paxton said. Paxton pitched five scoreless innings in the game after his eagle encounter, though Seattle lost 4-2. People often have to stay cool when they are faced with an unusual situation. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a person who stayed cool or reacted well to something unexpected. Write a letter to the editor detailing how this person’s cool reaction could be a model for others.
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.
4. Earth Day
Next Sunday the world will celebrate Earth Day and the many ways that nature benefits people. But enjoying nature may have more benefits than previously realized. Recent studies have shown that living in, or near, green areas can help people live longer and improve their mental health. In most communities, parks and other nature areas provide “green spaces” that benefit people. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read about a park or nature area in your state or community. Use what you read to write a news report for local television describing benefits the park or nature area provides. Finish by suggesting ways people could improve the area.
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.
5. Runaway Train
In the Asian nation of India, railroad accidents are common — and often deadly. But few passengers have experienced the kind of terrifying ride 1,000 travelers got in eastern India earlier this month. A passenger train broke away from its engine and traveled backwards at ever increasing speeds for more than seven miles before being brought under control. As passengers screamed and prayed, engineers had to scramble to clear the tracks of other trains and to clear people from platforms at two stations as the train sped out of control. Remarkably, no one was injured by the runaway train, but seven workers for the rail line were suspended from their jobs. Police, firefighters and other safety personnel often have to deal with emergencies. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about how an emergency was dealt with. Use what you read to write an editorial for the newspaper thanking the safety workers for their actions and detailing how that benefits the community.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.