For Grades 9-12 THE WEEK OF Apr 19, 2021

1. Earth Day Summit

Every year the world celebrates Earth Day on April 22 with efforts to fight pollution, slow down global warming and preserve habitats for the world’s wildlife. To mark the occasion this year, President Biden is hosting a “virtual summit” with more than 40 world leaders to discuss ways to address climate change and slow down global warming. The goal of the summit is to get leading nations to commit to reducing warming by cutting carbon emissions created by burning fossil fuels in cars, trucks, factories and other businesses. To set an example for other nations, the President is expected to outline plans for the United States to reduce carbon emissions by the year 2030. Japan, South Korea and Canada are also expected to reveal plans for reducing carbon emissions. The focus on reducing carbon emissions fits well with the theme of this year’s Earth Day, which is “Restore Our Earth.” President Biden’s climate summit is getting a lot of attention this week. In the newspaper or online find and read stories about which nations are taking part, what they are saying and plans they are proposing. Use what you read to write an editorial outlining the most effective ways the United States can take the lead in getting nations to reduce carbon emissions and global warming.

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. Groundbreaking Winner

The Masters golf tournament is one of the most competitive in the world, and every year great golfers make history there. This year Hideki Matsuyama made international history, becoming the first Asian-born man to win the tournament in Augusta, Georgia. Matsuyama won by one stroke, holding off second-place finisher Will Zalatoris, who was making his first appearance in the tournament, and Xander Schauffele and Jordan Spieth, who tied for third. The win made the 29-year-old Matsuyama a national hero in Japan, which has a huge fan base for golf. Asked if he is now Japan’s greatest golfer, he declared “I cannot say that I am the greatest. However, I’m the first to win a major [tournament], and if that’s the bar, then I set it.” By winning the Masters, Matsuyama earned a purse of $2,070,000. Athletes are constantly rewriting the history books in sports. In the newspaper or online find and closely read a story about an athlete who has done this. Use what you read to write a sports column detailing what the athlete has done, how this achievement can inspire young fans and how the achievement has changed the athlete’s stature or reputation in his/her sport.

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.

3. That’s Over-Enrollment!

Over-enrollment is a problem that colleges worry about at this time of year in the fear they will admit more students than they have space for. No one has ever had an over-enrollment problem like the one experienced by the University of Kentucky this spring. Due to a computer glitch, the university sent out 500,000 acceptances for a program that usually accepts only three dozen students a year. Most of the high school seniors who were accepted had not applied to the management program in Kentucky’s College of Health Sciences, and many had never applied to the university at all. The university quickly corrected the mistake in an email, blaming it on a “technical issue,” WLEX-TV reported. Mistakes by people or institutions can sometimes have humorous results. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story involving a humorous mistake. Use what you read to tell the story and effect of the mistake in the form of a humorous limerick poem. Or write several limericks about the mistake from the perspectives of different people involved. Use the Internet to review how limericks are written if necessary. Share limericks and read them aloud.

Common Core State Standards: Demonstrating understanding of figurative language; applying knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts; reading prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate and expression on successive readings.

4. Wildlife Bridge

In many places around the country, communities are looking for ways to improve wildlife habitats and reduce the impact of human activities on animals. In the City of San Antonio, Texas, officials have spent $23-million to build a bridge between two sections of a 330-acre park and spare wildlife the dangers of crossing a six-lane parkway. The wildlife bridge connects the two sections of the Phil Hardberger Park, which used to be a dairy farm cut in half by the heavily traveled Wurzbach Parkway. Now, instead of facing the risks of cars and trucks, species like deer, bobcats and coyotes can travel over the naturally landscaped bridge and explore an enlarged environment. So can people, because the bridge gives them access to a bigger park. People and communities do many innovative things to help wildlife. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about innovative things different communities have done. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, outlining an innovative way your community could help wildlife. 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. She’s the Bomb (Miler)

As world records go, it has to be one of the oddest descriptions ever: Fastest Mile Run by a Woman Dressed in a Bomb Disposal Suit. Nevertheless, a U.S. Army captain now holds that Guinness World Record. Captain Katie Hernandez, the company commander of a bomb disposal unit based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, recently ran the mile in 10 minutes and 23 seconds, besting the 2013 record held by Army First Lieutenant Ashley Sorensen by 43 seconds. The men's record is 7 minutes and 24 seconds, set by British runner Mark Gibbs in 2017. Hernandez’s feat is made more impressive by the fact the bomb disposal suit weighs 84 pounds, with the helmet alone weighing 12 pounds. The Guinness organization keeps track of many odd and unusual world records. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about some of them. Pick several and brainstorm an idea for a documentary film exploring why people choose to set unusual or odd records. Write out questions you would ask these record-holders. Then write an outline for your documentary, including images you would use. With family or friends, discuss which record-holder you would focus on in the opening scene of your documentary — and why.

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.