World News Lessons
Life and Learning
• International Literacy Recognition...Literacy is defined as 'the condition or quality of being literate, especially the ability to read and write.' Reading may seem automatic, like breathing. However, becoming literate is a lifelong process that begins when adults read to you as a baby and continues throughout school when you learn new strategies for reading more effectively. Reading is a compilation of skills. Each year, International Literacy Day is observed on September 8th. International Literacy Day recognizes the vital skill that opens up a world of information to those who are literate. International agencies, such as the United Nation’s UNESCO, work to increase literacy rates and promote literacy worldwide. One important way to acknowledge the importance of literacy is to become more aware of your own habits as a reader and to strengthen your own reading skills. Even though we observe International Literacy Day in September, reading and literacy should be an important priority EVERY day of the year!
• Nelson Mandela - A Man for all Nations...Nelson Mandela, now 94, has dedicated his life to end apartheid and to nurture racial reconciliation in South Africa. Like Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr., Mandela is considered the leader of a movement and is often described as the Father of South Africa’s democracy. Discover more about Nelson Mandela’s life and what makes him unique in all the world.
• Tsunami! Disaster in Japan...Magnitude 9.0! The massive earthquake ruptured the earth's crust March 11, 2011 at 2:46 pm (Japan Standard Time JST) just off the east coast of Honshu, Japan. As if the earth-shattering quake and aftershocks were not enough, a wall of water the height of a two-story house slammed onto the coast. The tsunami washed cars, parts of buildings, and other debris inland causing such a vast amount of damage, the world could only watch in horror at the catastrophe. And then the nuclear power plants sounded their alarm. The facilities had been compromised and radiation was leaking. What happened in Japan? What can we learn from this disaster? What if it happens here?
• 100 Years Later: R.M.S. Titanic...The RMS Titanic was at first a triumph, the largest passenger ship of its time, replete with innovations and lavish features. Many of Europe and the United States’ wealthiest people flocked to its inaugural voyage; it was the place to be seen. In its final hours, as over 1500 people perished amid frigid temperatures and an astonishing lack of lifeboats, it became a tragedy of unimaginable scope. It stands as one of history’s deadliest maritime disasters.
Science and Discovery
• Exoplanets...Scientists are discovering hundreds of planets. They are looking for those with conditions that are potentially habitable for life - Exoplanets!
• Into the Deep...On Sunday, March 25, 2012, filmmaker and explorer James Cameron made the journey to Challenger Deep. Found at the southern end of the Mariana Trench, Challenger Deep is the deepest known point of the ocean; it lies seven miles below the water’s surface. There is much to explore here. Bathed in darkness, brutally cold, and under extraordinary pressure, this is not a welcoming environment. Challenger Deep has been visited by only two other men in history. Jacque Piccard and Don Walsh traveled to the ocean depths in 1960.
• Drones - Surveillance from Above...Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), otherwise known as drones, are increasingly on the top of the national controversy list. While use has been traditionally military-based overseas, their use and importance domestically has been realized by many groups. Drones can serve many purposes providing efficient feedback with no risk to human life but many citizens question the legality of aerial surveillance without restrictions and rules.
• Have a Heart...or a Kidney, Lung, Liver...The human body is an amazing machine. It is a balance of countless cells, inter-connected systems, and complicated chemical reactions. But what happens when an organ stops doing its part? What do you do when your heart fails to pump blood efficiently? Or, your kidneys stop removing the waste from your blood? Today, organ transplants provide thousands of patients with hope; however, that was not always the case.