For Grades 9-12 , week of Oct. 17, 2011

1. An Incentive

Many people have heard the saying, "One man's loss is another man's gain." A British medical ethics group wants to put that saying to the test by offering free funerals to people who donate organs when they die to help living people. A report by the Nuffield Council argues there currently is no financial incentive for people to donate organs, even though people who donate bodies for medical research often have the cost of cremation or burial covered. Experts are hoping the new approach will increase the number of people who will donate organs like hearts or livers. Search your newspaper for articles involving medicine and ethics. Write a summary of one article.

Core/National Standard: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas.

2. Into Space!

Bill Nye the Science Guy brings science to life through video and multimedia. He attacks scientific information with humor and zeal. He makes science visually exciting and at the same time sticks to the facts. Now teens ages 14-18 will have their own chance to be a sort of science gal or guy. The NASA space agency and YouTube have joined forces to give high school students the opportunity to develop experiments that can be conducted in space at the International Space Station. The experiments must focus on biology or physics. Students who want to participate in the program not only have to come up with an experiment, but they must create a two-miniute video explaining the experiment via YouTube by December 7. Students can work alone or in groups of up to three students. World-renowned scientists will judge the experiments and choose two winners. Search the newspaper for scientific issues that might make a good experiment. Formulate an experiment that would fit the NASA program. If you like, shoot a video to submit to YouTube and NASA.

Core/National Standard: Integrating and evaluating multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media in order to address a question or solve a problem.

3. Underwear Bomber Guilty

Most terrorists armed with bombs end up dead along with other people. Not so for Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. He not only didn't die, but he went to trial this month in Detroit, Michigan. The 24-year-old Nigerian claimed to be an al-Qaeda terrorist, and just as his trial got under way he pleaded guilty to smuggling plastic explosives onto a plane going from Amsterdam to Detroit on Dec. 25, 2009. He had hidden the explosives in his underwear, but when he attempted to light them they didn't explode. Abdulmutallab said in court he was trying to avenge the killing of Muslims by trying to blow up the plane. In the newspaper, find articles about terrorism or attempts to battle terrorism. Then write a summary of key points in one article.

Core/National Standard: Writing concise arguments introducing precise claims, distinguishing the claims from alternate or opposing claims, and creating an organization that establishes clear relationships among the claims, counterclaims, reasons and evidence.

4. Nazis and Nuremburg

Sixty-five years ago, 10 high-ranking Nazi officials were executed for crimes against humanity, crimes against peace and war crimes. Two weeks before the execution on October 16, 1946, a tribunal in Nuremburg, Germany had found the men guilty. The trial lasted almost 10 months and was conducted by representatives of the United States, Russia, France and Great Britain. Criminal trials often make news. Find a newspaper article about a trial. Do additional research and write a position paper supporting the guilt or innocence of the accused.

Core/National Standard: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task, purpose and audience

5. Writing for Feeling

Hundreds of stories have been written about the death of Steve Jobs, co-founder of the Apple computer company. Writers have used a variety of words, phrasing, imagery and rhetoric in describing the person behind one of America's most successful companies. Bloggers from around the world are adding their opinions and insights about the man known as much for his black turtlenecks and jeans as his iPhones and iPads. Find articles in your newspaper written by different journalists looking at the life of Jobs. Or find examples online. Discuss as a class how different kinds of wording affect your emotions as a reader.

Core/National Standards: Determining an author's point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective; analyzing how style and content contribute to the beauty of a text.