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for Grades 9-12

Dec. 17, 2018
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For Grades 9-12 , week of Oct. 30, 2017

1. Carrying

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms, and millions of Americans exercise that right every day. According to a new analysis of a national survey of gun owners, about 3 million people carry loaded handguns with them every day, mostly for protection. About 9 million people said they carry loaded handguns at least one a month. The study was based on information from the National Firearms Survey, and was published in the American Journal of Public Health. Four out of 5 of those who carry loaded handguns said personal protection was the prime reason. Nearly 6 percent reported being threatened by another person with a firearm at least once in the past five years. There has been much debate across the nation about whether people carrying firearms makes communities safer or less safe. Divide into two teams and use the newspaper or Internet to closely read stories about the issue. Then stage a class debate, with one side arguing that carrying firearms makes communities safer and the other arguing it makes communities less safe. Take a vote at the end.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.

2. Marijuana Degree

With more and more states legalizing medical or recreational marijuana, the herb is getting closer attention across the nation. Now Northern Michigan University has become the first university in the United States to offer a college degree for the study of the formerly illegal drug. The university’s 4-year Medicinal Plant Chemistry program focuses on the laboratory analysis and chemistry of cannabis and the marketing and legal challenges of the medical marijuana industry. Courses include such subjects as organic chemistry, plant physiology, botany, accounting, genetics, physical geography and financial management. Twenty-nine states have now legalized medical marijuana and eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized small amounts of marijuana for adult recreational use. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about how states and communities are dealing with issues related to legalized marijuana. Use what you read to design a website offering information that communities would want or need. Design the home page to show categories of information you want to highlight. Pick an image to illustrate each category. Then write headlines and text blocks for each category.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic.

3. Community for Future

Google started as an Internet company and has built itself into a worldwide economic power. Now it wants to build something else — a futuristic city neighborhood. A subsidiary of Google’s parent company is teaming with the city of Toronto, Canada, to build a neighborhood that could be a model for city life in the 21st century. The Sidewalk Labs subsidiary has announced it will spend $50 million for the initial planning for the development along Toronto’s waterfront. Sidewalk Labs says the neighborhood will be built from “the Internet up,” with high speed communication networks and low-bandwidth connectivity for sensors that will monitor pollution, noise and other factors. The company says it will use technology to reduce pollution, improve commute times, decrease landfill waste and even improve the weather. New development is taking place in many cities to meet future needs of businesses and residents. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one such development. Use what you read to write a business column describing the most important ways the development will benefit businesses and residents in the future.

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. High Pollution Costs

From dirty air to contaminated water, environmental pollution is a problem all over the world. It kills more people every year than all wars combined, and also more than smoking, hunger or national disasters, according to a newly released health study. According to the study in The Lancet medical journal, pollution is responsible for one of every six premature deaths in the world, and costs nations $4.6 trillion in health costs, lost wages and productivity. The vast majority of pollution-related deaths — 92 percent — occur in low- or middle-income countries, the study found, with the people of Asia and Africa most at risk. Pollution takes a toll on communities in many ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one case in which pollution is affecting a community or the environment. Use what you read to design a poster illustrating the impact pollution is having. 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. Obama Elementary

All over the nation there has been debate about the ways communities honored leaders of the Confederate states from America’s Civil War. Monuments to Confederate leaders have been removed, and there have been calls to change the names of buildings, parks and other sites named for figures from the Confederacy. In Jackson, Mississippi, the local school board has given parents the right to choose, and they have made a dramatic decision. Davis Elementary School, which was named for Confederate President Jefferson Davis, will be renamed for President Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president. Ideas for a new name for the school were submitted by students, staff and community members, and Obama was the overwhelming choice in a vote of the school community. The school, which is 98 percent African American, will open as Barack Obama Elementary School next year. Communities often choose to honor people by naming buildings, bridges, highways or parks after them. In teams or pairs, use the newspaper or Internet to find and closely read stories about someone you feel deserves to be honored by your community. Use what you read to write a proposal to the leaders of your local government to name a building, bridge, highway, park or school after this person. Use evidence from your reading to support your proposal.

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.