, week of
Oct. 15, 2018
Global warming and climate change are having significant effects all over the world. And if nations don’t change their ways, there could be a major climate crisis as early as the year 2040. That’s the dire warning in a landmark report just released by the world’s leading scientific body studying changes in the Earth’s climate. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations said that unless steps are taken to reduce carbon pollution and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, average world temperatures could rise 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels by 2040. That may not sound like much, but the scientists said it could cause wide food shortages, more wildfires, melting of polar ice caps, flooding of coastlines and die-offs of wildlife such as coral reefs in the oceans. The report was written and edited by 91 scientists from 40 countries who analyzed more than 6,000 scientific studies. Greenhouse gases are created by burning fossil fuels like gas, oil and coal. Reducing them will require cooperation by governments, businesses and individual people. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about steps being taken or proposed to reduce greenhouse gases and carbon pollution. Use what you read to write an editorial for the newspaper, giving your view on something a government could do, something a business could do and something an individual could do.
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.Goodbye, Chief Wahoo
For 71 years, the mascot of the Cleveland Indians baseball team has been a smiling cartoon figure known as Chief Wahoo. But when the Indians were eliminated from the American League playoffs this month, Wahoo’s run came to an end. The team has announced it will no longer use the red-skinned character as its mascot and will replace him in the team logo with the letter C in a blue block. The move comes after years of protest that the cartoon figure was a racist depiction of Native Americans. Some critics think the team should also drop the name “Indians,” because its use shows disrespect for Native Americans. Changes in attitudes have forced sports teams, colleges, communities and others to re-examine things they have done in the past or traditions that have existed for years. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about organizations doing this. Share what you read and discuss as a class. Then work together to draft guidelines for communities or organizations detailing when or why they should change past practices.
Common Core State Standards: Responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
The British artist known as Banksy has won fame around the world for his street art, his political activism and pranks he has thought up to attract attention. This month he outdid himself at an art auction in his native England. He put a painting up for sale, and just after it was sold he destroyed it with a shredding device hidden in the frame. The painting, titled “Girl with Red Balloon,” had just been sold for $1.4 million, an amount that tied the most ever paid for a Banksy work. Then, just after the auctioneer announced “Sold!”, the painting started scrolling down through the bottom of the frame, coming out in shreds. It is not known how Banksy triggered the shredding or whether he or a friend was in the room. Since becoming famous for his street art, he has carefully kept his real identity a secret. Oddly, the shredding may have increased the value of the painting because it is now “part of art history,” experts said. People often do unusual things to call attention to themselves or to causes they find important. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone doing something unusual to call attention to something. Use what you read to write a letter to the person, telling him or her whether you think the action brought positive attention or negative attention. Suggest other things the person could do. Share letters with the class and discuss.
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.
The study of mummies is the study of ancient history. But at the University of Pennsylvania, scientists are using the newest technology to unlock old secrets. They teamed up with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to do a high-tech “CAT scan” on the mummy of a 2,000-year-old child. The scan, which is similar to an X-ray, gave the scientists at the university’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology three-dimensional images of the bones and body of the child, who was identified as a girl from the markings on her mask. And what did they find? Remarkably, some of the girl’s organs were still intact, as were her ribs and teeth. She suffered from a curved spine and had bone markings that indicated she had had a serious illness at one point. Researchers will continue to study the results of the CAT scan before the mummy goes on display in February. In many fields, technology is being used in new ways to accomplish things. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about technology being used in a new way. Use what you read to prepare an oral report to the class detailing how this use of technology is helping people do things more effectively.
Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
Have you ever eaten something you didn’t like and exclaimed “That’s disgusting!” If you have, the European nation of Sweden has a museum for you. It’s called the Disgusting Food Museum, and it features some of the smelliest and strongest-tasting foods in the world. Items include such things as ant eggs, birds’ nests, and a fruit that has been given the nickname “vomit fruit.” Of course, some of these foods are considered special in the places they are eaten. And that is the point, according to the museum’s founder. “Disgust is always in the eye of the beholder,” founder Samuel West told the Washington Post newspaper. To show that, the museum includes several American foods that people in other places find disgusting. They include Twinkies, Pop-Tarts and even root beer. Many museums feature unusual items or collections. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a museum that does this. Use your imagination to create a billboard or newspaper ad to get people to visit. Give your ad an eye-catching headline and images. Write a paragraph to explain why the museum is worth a visit.
Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.