Resources for Teachers and Students
, week of
Mar. 12, 2018
1. Football in Court
The debate over football safety has heated up all over the country due to concerns about the long-term effects of brain injuries. Now the conflict has spilled over into Family Court in the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - and pitted the parents of a 17-year-old high school junior against each other. The student's father has gone to court to prevent him from playing after sustaining three concussions in sports competition. The boy's mother believes he should be allowed to continue playing because he understands the risks. The parents are divorced, which is why the case has become a legal rather than family issue. The student, who completed his junior year of football without injury, wants to continue playing. New studies of the brains of professional football players have shown there can be long-term damage to brain tissue from playing. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about research into the long-term risks of playing football and the debate they have generated in families and communities. Pretend you have a son or younger brother who wants to play football. Use what you have read to write a personal letter to him offering advice on whether he should play. Support your arguments with data from your reading.
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.
2. Tariff Debate
President Trump believes competition from businesses in other countries hurts American companies. So he has taken action by imposing tariff taxes on steel and aluminum produced elsewhere in the world. The tariffs will make foreign steel and aluminum more expensive to buy in this country, which the President says will boost sales of materials produced by American firms. The announcement of the tariffs drew sharp criticism from foreign leaders and members of the U.S. Congress, including some from Trump's Republican Party. Critics argue that imposing tariffs on foreign goods will prompt other countries to impose tariffs on American products and start a "trade war." The President's decision to impose tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum continues to be debated in Washington and around the world. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read analysis and opinion pieces about the issue. Use what you read to write an editorial giving your opinion on whether tariffs are a good idea and how they could affect American businesses.
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.
3. Help for the Victims
When tragedy strikes in America, businesses and individuals step up to help those affected. That was the case in Las Vegas, Nevada last fall after a gunman opened fire on a country music concert and left 58 people dead. More than $31 million was donated to help survivors and the families of the people who were killed. Now the Las Vegas Victims Fund has announced how the money will be distributed. According to fund officials, the money will be distributed among 532 people who filed claims, including 157 people who were hospitalized and relatives of those who were killed. Top awards of $275,000 were distributed for people who were killed, paralyzed or experienced permanent brain damage. People hospitalized for 24 days or more were given awards of $200,000. The donations after the Las Vegas shooting are an example of people and businesses taking action to provide support. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about other fund-raising efforts designed to provide support. Use what you read to write a paragraph outlining the most important ways that the money raised could be used.
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.
4. Come to Our Wedding!
Great Britain's Prince Harry is one of the most popular members of the nation's royal family, so there was great excitement when he announced his engagement to American actress Meghan Markle. Now the engaged couple has generated even more excitement by announcing that 2,640 members of the public will get to be on the grounds of Windsor Castle to see the wedding festivities up close. "Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle have said they want their wedding day to be shaped so as to allow members of the public to feel part of the celebrations too," a palace spokesman said. "This wedding, like all weddings, will be a moment of fun and joy that will reflect the characters and values of the bride and groom." Among those invited will be 100 students from two local schools that have a "strong affiliation" with the Windsor Castle community. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are hugely popular in Great Britain and have many fans who would like to be close to them on their special day. In the newspaper or online, closely read stories about a celebrity, sports star or other leader you would like to be close to on a special day. Use what you read to write an open letter to the celebrity, telling why you would like to be invited to the event, and what you would add to the celebration.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; 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.
5. Let There Be Light
In the winter months, many people feel depressed or emotionally tired because the days are short, the weather is bad and there is less sunshine to brighten things up. This condition is called Seasonal Affective Disorder by medical professionals - SAD for short - and it is not easy to treat. Now a pair of twin sisters in the state of Minnesota have come up with an idea to help people who experience the problem. They have outfitted a bus as a "mobile rescue unit" to bring light, color and cheer to SAD people. The bus designed by Katherine and Sue York features sun lamps and other lights, bright colors, upbeat music, snacks and games. People pay $5 to sit in the bus, and users have given it positive reviews. "You feel a lot better," user Emilee Smith told the local CBS TV station. "You feel happier because there are bright colors, it's bright, there's a lot of fun stuff." The "mobile rescue unit" designed by the York sisters is an innovative approach to solving a problem. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another problem that needs to be addressed. Think creatively and come up with an innovative way to deal with the problem. Draw an illustration of your solution and write a paragraph explaining how it could help.
Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
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