You are currently browsing the archives for February, 2011

Science in the News: Fuel from sunlight

§ February 28th, 2011 § Filed under Current Events, English Language Arts, High School, Middle School, Science § No Comments

Image courtesy of jouleunlimited.com

Someday drivers might fill up their gas tanks with “liquid fuel from the sun,” thanks to a Cambridge-based biotech company.

An article in today’s Boston Herald says, “Joule Unlimited claims it’s genetically engineered microorganism can secrete pure diesel that’s interchangeable with the fuel that goes into trucks.”  The company’s production process is unique because their microorganism does not require grass, algae, or corn.

Activity
Read more about Joule Unlimited in the Boston Herald article Hub firm hopes to shine with diesel from sunlight by Donna Goodison. The discuss it with your class. You can also visit the Joule Unlimited webpage for additional information.

Key Discussion Points

  • How does Joule Unlimited’s fuel compare to other forms of energy?
  • What are some positive and negative outcomes for using this type of energy?
  • What are the benefits of not needing grass, algae, or corn to produce fuel?
  • Do you think Joule Unlimited’s idea will be a success? Explain why or why not.

This activity is designed for students in grades 8-12. It can complement science, English Language Arts, and current events classes.

Please review the article prior to sharing it with your students, as the Boston Herald is written for all audiences.

If you need help finding the article for discussion, please contact Julie Burridge.

February Vacation Delivery Notice

§ February 22nd, 2011 § Filed under NIE News § No Comments

Attention NIE Teachers-- print newspaper delivery will be canceled February 21 through February 25 due to the vacation week. Delivery will resume on Monday, February 28.

The online Boston Herald Smart Edition will still be available during school vacation.

Examining Fads

§ February 17th, 2011 § Filed under Current Events, English Language Arts, High School, History, Marketing, Middle School § No Comments

Photo courtesy of sillybandz.com

My students were so crazy about Silly Bandz last year that some of them were covered up to their elbows in bracelets. Just a year later the once-coveted Silly Bandz are out; I’ve barley seen any students wearing them.

Silly Bandz are an example of fads—something we love today, but will be out of favor tomorrow. Students can examine fads, what makes them popular, and how long they might stay in the spotlight with this NIE activity.

Activity
Brainstorm a list of current fads with your class, and then have students find evidence of fads in the Boston Herald. Students can look for fads in the fields of fashion, food, entertainment or even sports. Have your class predict how long each one will last, and discuss why they are popular. Don’t forget to mention fads that were popular when you were in school!

Standard: Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases

Tip Read back issues of the Boston Herald to find even more examples of fads by using the online Smart Edition. Sign up for the Smart Edition here.

This activity is adapted from the NIE and the Common Core State Standards packet, available on the NIE homepage.

This activity is designed for students in grades 6-12. It can complement English Language Arts, current events, media criticism, marketing, and history classes.

Apply for a Free Journalism Training Program

§ February 14th, 2011 § Filed under NIE News § No Comments

The Reynolds Institute is offering a free intensive two-week journalism training program for high school teachers and staffers. Instruction is based on the core tenets of journalism and the skills needed to produce a top-notch scholastic publication.

They will select 175 teachers for the program, and the deadline to apply is March 1. Click here to learn more.

Should Schools Ban Cell Phones to Bust Bullying?

§ February 9th, 2011 § Filed under Computers and Technology, Current Events, English Language Arts, High School, Media criticism, Middle School § No Comments

Photo courtesy of bostonherald.com

This week there has been a lot of attention on cell phones and bullying in schools. On Monday the Boston Herald published a special report detailing one school’s approach to end bullying. Among other anti-bullying methods, the Hillcrest Educational Centers in Pittsfield banned cell phones.

Have your students read these two Boston Herald articles about bullying: School Talks Tough on Bullying, and Coakley: School cell ban pushes the right buttons. Then discuss the link between bullying and cell phones with your class.

Key Discussion Points:

  • How often do you see classmates using their cell phones in school?
  • What are your peers doing with their cell phones during school hours? Are they talking, texting, or using websites like Facebook?
  • Do you think cell phones play a roll in bullying? How?
  • Do you think fewer students are being bullied now than last year? Explain your reasoning.
  • How do you feel about banning cell phones in schools?
  • What do you think the solution should be? Why?

This activity is designed for students in grades 8-12. It can complement English Language Arts, current events, media criticism, and computer classes.

Please review the articles prior to sharing them with your students, as the Boston Herald is written for all audiences.

If you need help finding the articles for discussion, please contact Julie Burridge.

Print Newspaper Delivery Cancelled Feb. 2

§ February 1st, 2011 § Filed under NIE News § No Comments

Attention NIE Teachers—Print newspaper delivery to NIE schools will be canceled on Wednesday, February 2 due to the snowstorm. You will still be able to access the online Smart Edition.

Current Event for Discussion: Should we dump snow into Boston Harbor?

§ February 1st, 2011 § Filed under Current Events, English Language Arts, High School, Media criticism, Middle School, Science § No Comments

Photo by Patrick Whittemore — courtesy of bostonherald.com

This winter, students are dodging larger-than-usual snow banks to get to school—and the snow piles are getting even bigger with today’s storm. Not only are pedestrians having trouble navigating icy sidewalks, but some drivers say they can’t see over snow banks.

As we bring out the shovels again today, many of us are wondering where we'll put all the snow. Senator Jack Hart has a solution: dump it into Boston Harbor. Although it can make things safer for drivers and pedestrians, dumping snow into the harbor is an environmental concern.

Read the Boston Herald article Pol: Dump wintry mix into harbor with your students. Then discuss the issue of safety vs. environmental responsibility with your class.

Key Discussion Points:

  • What has it been like for students to get to and from school with all of the recent snowstorms?
  • What are the experiences of students who walk, take the bus, and drive to school?
  • What are the positive and negative outcomes of dumping snow in the harbor?
  • Do students think snow should be dumped into the harbor? If so, under what circumstances?
  • Do students think the snow should remain on the sidewalks? Why?
  • Can anyone offer another solution?

This activity is designed for students in grades 8-12. It can complement science, English Language Arts, current events, and media criticism classes.

Please review the article prior to sharing it with your students, as the Boston Herald is written for all audiences.

If you need help finding the article for discussion, please contact Julie Burridge.