Using NewsHour Extra Feature Stories
Overview: NewsHour Extra features stories can help students identify and interpret key issues in current events. This activity anticipates one class period, but the follow-up essay might be assigned as homework, or in another period.
Warm Up: Use initiating questions to introduce the topic and find out how much your students know.
Main Activity: Have students read NewsHour Extra's feature story and answer the questions on the reading comprehension handout.
Discussion: Use discussion questions to encourage students to think about how the issues outlined in the story affect their lives and express and debate different opinions.
Follow-up: Students can write an 500-word editorial on the topic expressing their views and send it to NewsHour Extra [firstname.lastname@example.org] for possible publication.
Evaluation: Students are graded on their answers to reading comprehension questions and/or their editorial.
Wiping Out Much of U.S. Marine Life, Study Says, 6/11/03
1. What are the main oceans that surround the United States? Where are they?
2. Do you know of any environmental problems affecting U.S. coastal areas?
3. What federal agency is charged with protecting the environment? Answer: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Reading Comprehension Questions: (click here for printout)
1. What form of pollution
is the largest threat to U.S. oceans?
The largest threat to marine life, according to the report, stems from land runoff. Land runoff is a process in which contaminants, such as pesticides from farmland or chemicals from industrial areas, leak into the ground, flow into nearby rivers and streams and then wash into oceans.
2. In what ways can
human activity affect oceans?
Pollution from city streets and backyards also finds its way into coastal waters. Every eight months, more than 10 million gallons of oil from streets and driveways flows into U.S. oceans, the study says.
3. What is one way
that polluted oceans can affect human lives?
For humans, polluted oceans can add up to contaminated seafood and fewer places to swim. More than 13,000 beaches were closed in 2001 because of pollution advisories.
4. How has pollution
affected the Gulf of Mexico?
In the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida, an area once abundant with fish species, lack of oxygen related to run-off pollution has created a "dead zone" the size of the state of Massachusetts, according to the report.
5. What does the PEW
Commission recommend for improving the state of U.S. oceans?
The commission's members recommended that Congress revise and strengthen pollution laws, including regulations that limit the amount of fish commercial fishermen can catch.
It also suggested that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, an office of the U.S. Department of Commerce, become independent and open up more field offices.
Discussion Activity (more research might be needed):
1. Why is it important to protect the environment? Explain your answer.
2. Break the class into groups. Ask each group to brainstorm things a family can do at the household level to help prevent ocean pollution. Have the group present their ideas to the class.