1. Scooter Risks
Electric scooters are growing in popularity all over the country. They also are putting people at risk. A new study of scooter users in Los Angeles, California found that more people were injured riding stand-up scooters over a one-year period than were injured by riding bicycles or traveling on foot. Scooter use has jumped because rental companies like Lime and Bird now offer them in large numbers in many communities. Users often have little or no training riding scooters, leading to accidents and injuries, the researchers said. About 30 percent of the injured had fractures, and just over 40 percent were treated for head injuries, the study found. More disturbing, more than 94 percent of people observed using scooters were not wearing helmets, the researchers said. As electric scooters grow in popularity, safety issues are getting more attention. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about another activity for which safety is an issue. Use what you read to brainstorm a one-minute TV ad to inform people about key safety issues for this activity. Write text for your ad and choose images to illustrate it. Read your ad aloud and time it to make sure it does not run longer than one minute. Present it to the class.
Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
2. An App for Prayer
As world leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has taken many steps to modernize ways the Church connects with members. Now, in an effort to reach young people, the 82-year-old pontiff has introduced a Click To Pray app to allow users to engage in communal prayer through their iPhones. “The Internet and social media are a resource of our time,” the Pope said when introducing the app this month during a Sunday service from St. Peter's Square at the church headquarters at the Vatican. The Pope previously has called the Internet a “gift from God.” The app allows users to follow prayers from Pope Francis, offer comments or share prayers of their own. It is also an example of technology being used in a new way to help people. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another new use of technology. Use what you read to write a short consumer column, describing how this new use is an improvement over the way things were done previously.
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. Cockroach Power
Most people want nothing to do with cockroaches, which can contaminate food and spread bacteria that cause diseases. In the Asian nation of China, however, these insect pests are being used in an innovative program to dispose of food waste. In at least three communities, food disposal plants have been set up to use the tremendous appetites of cockroaches to consume leftover foods. The plants employ millions of cockroaches to eat food waste trucked in from nearby cities, saving the communities the expense of disposing of waste in landfills. The early success of the programs has led to plans to expand the concept in new locations, Reuters news reports. The use of cockroaches to dispose of food waste is an innovative approach to solving a problem. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another innovative approach being tried to address a situation. Use what you read to write a short editorial, analyzing the effort, what it has already achieved and its prospects for success long-term.
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.
4. An Explorer Rediscovered
Captain Matthew Flinders was once a famous explorer for the European nation of England. He sailed around the continent of Australia in the southern Pacific Ocean and was responsible for getting Australia included on British maps. Flinders died at age 40 in 1814, and was buried at St. James Burial Ground in the city of London. But then his story took a bizarre turn. His grave was moved when St. James was remodeled in the mid-1800s, and no one knew where it went. More than 200 years after his death, another renovation has solved the mystery. Workers excavating for a high-speed rail project overlapping the burial ground have found Flinders’ final resting site, the Washington Post newspaper reported. There was no doubt it was the captain’s grave, archaeologists said, because a lead breastplate found on top of his casket had an inscription that could still be read. It identified the coffin as that of Captain Flinders. Archaeologists often make discoveries that shed new light on history. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an archaeological discovery. Use what you read to write a paragraph detailing the discovery and explaining why it is important.
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.
5. Seven Baby Cheetahs!
Cheetahs are the fastest land animals in the world. They also are endangered in the wild on the continent of Africa and vulnerable in other regions. As a result, the future of cheetahs may depend on preserving them in zoos and wildlife reserves. A zoo in the city of Richmond, Virginia certainly is doing its part. The Metro Richmond Zoo has announced that one of its female cheetahs has successfully delivered seven healthy babies! The cheetah septuplets are a rare occurrence, happening only one percent of the time when cheetahs give birth. The mother of this litter is Vaila, a second-time mother. The father is Kalu, a first-time dad. This is the second time Vaila has given birth to septuplets. Unfortunately, two of the babies didn’t survive in her first litter. This time, all the cheetah cubs are healthy and growing fast, the zoo says. All over the world people are taking steps to help endangered species. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one effort. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, telling what is being done to help to help the species and why it is important.
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.