TDIH: History and Pro/Con of Coca-Cola

Drink Coca-Cola 5 cents

Drink Coca-Cola 5 cents (1889 print)
Credit: Library of Congress [No known restrictions on publication.]

The date was March 29, 1886. Pharmacist John Pemberton was hard at work in his laboratory, brewing a concoction intended to cure various ills including headaches, indigestion, and hangovers. Instead, Pemberton created something that would go on to become one of the most popular soft drinks of all time—Coca-Cola.

Here are five facts you may not have known about Coca-Cola:

  1. The original Coca-Cola formula was made with coca leaf, which is used to make cocaine, and kola nuts, which contained caffeine. In the early 20th century, the coca leaves were removed from the formula, but the caffeine remained.
  2. In May 1886, the first glass of Coca-Cola was sold for five cents at Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta.  It was not immediately popular, generating only $50 in sales through the end of the year.
  3. Pemberton sold his formula to Ada Candler, an Atlanta businessman. Candler promoted Coca-Cola as a “delicious and refreshing” soft drink and its popularity spread.
  4. In 1899, three Tennessee entrepreneurs purchased exclusive rights to bottle and sell Coca-Cola.  Their price? Just $1. They developed the distinctive contoured bottle that is still used today.
  5. “The Pause That Refreshes” was one of the first advertising slogans used to market Coca-Cola. It appeared in an advertisement in the Saturday Evening Post in 1929. Over time, Coca-Cola’s advertising attempted to connect the brand with fun and good times, whether it was singing “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” or inviting friends to “Share a Coke.”
Woman Drinking Coca Cola

Credit: Pixabay [Public Domain]

The Pro/Con of Coca-Cola

Today Coca-Cola is one of the most globally recognized brands, but that does not translate into universally loved. Health organizations have criticized Coca-Cola for containing too much sugar and contributing to rising rates of diabetes and obesity. This has led some cities and states to consider levying a “junk food tax” on sales of Coca-Cola and other soft drinks. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took it a step further and proposed banning the sales of “super-size” soft drinks at fast food restaurants.

SIRS Issues Researcher has an entire Leading Issue dedicated to Food and Nutrition that can be used to bring the invention of Coca-Cola into your classroom today. Students can read opposing viewpoints and Essential Questions on various issues, including Junk Food Taxes, School Lunches, and Obesity. For historical background, they can also access timelines with key events related to Food and Nutrition.

Don’t have SIRS Issues Researcher? Free trials are available.


We Are ProQuest: What We’re Thankful For


Happy Thanksgiving from the ProQuest Team

Photo credit: kennymatic / Foter / CC BY

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, turkey-induced comas, long weekends, and of course, a time to reflect on what we’re thankful for in the past year. For this edition of our We Are ProQuest feature, our editors share what they’re grateful for this holiday season.

“I’m thankful for my family (which includes my pets), my friends, my job and my co-workers, my house and the community I live in, and most of all my health, which allows me to enjoy all of the other blessings I have. In October, I celebrated 10 years as a breast cancer survivor!”—Becky Beville

“I’m thankful for my family.”–Michelle Brault

“I’m thankful for having incredible friends and family. I’m thankful for the wonderful opportunities I have at work. And I’m also thankful for all the Black Friday deals I will be taking advantage of this year.”–Kim Carpenter

“I am thankful for wonderful family and friends and the Florida sunshine.”–Ilana Cohen

“Although I may not have everything I want, I have everything I need, and for that, I am grateful.”–Jennifer Genetti

“I am thankful for my wonderful husband and my two beautiful children, who surprise me with how much they learn every day. And I am thankful for my loving parents and my brother who are all such wonderful people.”—Jennifer Oms

“I’m grateful for many blessings–my home, job, health, coworkers, friends, and family. I’m especially grateful for my Mom who just moved near me after 20 years of being in separate states.”—Christie Riegelhaupt

“I am thankful for friends who have been like family, an amazing first year in Boca Raton with the best team, gorgeous weather, and the ever-lovely cortadito.”—Juliana Rorbeck

“I’m thankful for my family and friends, especially that they are all healthy.”—Jaclyn Rosansky

“I am thankful for weekends at the beach with my dogs, Loki and Scooby.”—Amy Shaw

“I am grateful for every day that I can see and feel the love and positivity in the world, and for each day that I am hopeful and happy. (I’m working toward being grateful for the days I am not those things.) I am thankful every day for my daughter, and for her wisdom and compassion. She certainly helps me in the hopefulness and happiness departments.”—Michelle Sneiderman

“I’m thankful for good health, a growing family (more grandchildren!!!) and beautiful Florida weather. I am also extremely thankful for a Chicago Cubs World Series Championship!”—Kathy Starzyk

“I am thankful for good health, good people, good food, good books, and good days.”—Jeff Wyman

What are you thankful for? Share with us! Comment below or tweet us using #ProQuest.

Leading Issues in the News: Zika

When the 2016 Summer Olympic games were awarded to Rio de Janeiro in 2009, the Zika virus was not on anyone’s mind. Instead, Rio faced concerns about crime, corruption, pollution and if the Olympic venues would be completed in time. That changed in May 2015 with the confirmation of the first case of Zika in Brazil. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the virus a public health emergency in February 2016 and warned it would continue to spread throughout Latin America and worldwide.

2016 Summer Olympics opening ceremony

2016 Summer Olympics opening ceremony. Olympic rings adorn Maracana Stadium for the opening ceremony of the 2016 Games. By Fernando Frazao/Agencia Brasil via Wikimedia Commons.

The Zika outbreak raised concerns and fears about the impact on athletes and visitors. In May 2016, a group of doctors and scientists called on the WHO to have an open discussion on the risk of holding the Olympics in Brazil. The WHO declined the request and stated postponing, cancelling, or changing the location of the Olympics would not alter the spread of the Zika virus. A number of athletes pulled out of the Olympics citing concerns over Zika. However, for many athletes, their dreams of competing in the Olympic games outweighed the potential risks of contracting the Zika virus.

Now that the Games have ended and athletes and tourists have returned to their home countries, questions remain over the long-term effects of Zika. How many people were infected with the virus? Will they transmit the virus worldwide? Researchers estimate that for every 100,000 visitors to Rio, only 3 will be infected. But that is just an estimate. Will babies who are born in nine months suffer birth defects related to Zika infection? The world will just have to wait to find out the answers to these questions.

In the meantime, you can turn to SIRS Issues Researcher for in-depth coverage of the Zika virus. Zika is given the Leading Issues treatment and asks users the Essential Question, “Should pregnancy be postponed in areas where Zika is present.” Various viewpoints and background information are provided.

Will you be discussing Zika and the Olympics in your classroom? Comment below or Tweet us at #ProQuest.

School’s Out for Summer


Bowley Elementary’s Last Day of School
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Across the nation there is a collective sigh of relief as the school year wraps up, and that sigh is not coming from the students. Another school year is in the books, and no one is more excited than the faculty and staff.

So let’s flip the script. Instead of tasking your students with that age-old assignment, “What I Did on My Summer Vacation,” I’m asking you to share your summer plans with us.

I asked some of my teacher and librarian friends about their summer plans. These were some of their responses:

“My kids and I will be taking advantage of the free admission to the Museum of Discovery and Science in Ft. Lauderdale.”—Jessica D., elementary school teacher in Palm Beach County, Florida. In the South Florida area—and throughout the state of Florida—many attractions offer teachers free admission either for the year or for the summer months. This site lists some of the discounts offered to educators in the state of Florida. What’s offered in your state?

“I’m loading the kids and the dog in the car, and we are going on a road trip to Michigan. “—Amy B. , teacher with Florida Virtual School. Memorial Day weekend officially kicked off the summer travel season, with an estimated 38 million Americans hitting the road according to the American Automobile Association of America (AAA). Those numbers are expected to remain high throughout the summer thanks to the lowest gas prices in a decade.

“Every summer I plan on relaxing and not scheduling anything, but that usually only lasts a few days before I get caught up in running errands and completing projects around the house.”—Rachael D., high school teacher in Broward County, Florida. Contrary to what some may think, it is not all fun and games over the summer. In addition to household chores, many teachers spend time preparing their lesson plans and their classrooms for the upcoming school year.

Whatever your plans this summer, stay safe and enjoy the break. Let us know what you have planned! Tweet us using #ProQuest or comment below.

Little Free Libraries

Libraries are popping up all over the country. Not the traditional libraries with thousands of books, a reference desk, computers, and more. Instead, these are Little Free Libraries. These small, bird-house like structures are filled with dozens of books, free to anyone who wants a good read.

First Little Free Library

First Little Free Library
By Lisa Colon DeLay [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Little Free Library program started in 2009 when Todd Boi of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one-room schoolhouse and filled it with books. He placed it in his front yard labeled with a sign, “Free Books.” The idea was so popular with his neighbors and friends that it spurred him to build several more and place them in various locations. The Little Free Library movement was poised to take off.

By 2011, the project had garnered national media attention and more than 400 Little Free Libraries were spread across the United States. Since then, that number has continued to grow, and today there are an estimated 36,000 libraries worldwide.

The idea is simple. Anyone is encouraged to build a library, place it in a public place and register their library on the program’s website. The Little Free Library motto of “take a book, leave a book” keeps the libraries stocked. The libraries are credited with spreading literacy and fostering a sense of community in neighborhoods, especially in areas without easy access to a public library.

For more information on the Little Free Library program, check out http://littlefreelibrary.org/

Is there a Little Free Library in your neighborhood? Comment below or tweet us at #ProQuest.

Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always.

Human Rights Day is celebrated every year on December 10, to commemorate the day in 1948 when the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The theme of this year’s observance, “Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always.” aims to promote and raise awareness of the two International Covenants on Human Rights. Together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the two covenants form the International Bill of Human Rights  which sets out the civil, political, cultural, economic and social rights that are the birth right of all human beings. The theme of rights and freedoms—freedom of speech, freedom of worship, and freedom from fear—is as relevant today as they were when the Covenants were adopted 50 years ago.

SIRS Issues Researcher’s Leading Issues covers human rights from every angle. Explore Essential Questions that include answers and supporting pro/con viewpoint articles on topics such as Universal Human Rights, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion and more. Analyze in depth by exploring a topic overview, interactive features, statistics, or global impact articles.

For even more coverage of Human Rights, turn to eLibrary. Editorially created Research Topics offer hand selected resources on topics such as Universal Human Rights and Human Rights in China, India or Iran.

How will you incorporate Human Rights Day into your classrooms and lesson plans? Comment below or tweet us at #ProQuest and let us know!

Back to School with SIRS Issues Researcher

Just in time for Back to School, SIRS Issues Researcher has been updated with more than 20 new or revised Leading Issues!

Screencap of new Leading Issues

Screencap of new Leading Issues

The new Leading Issues include topical issues such as:

  • Election 2016
  • Police and Body Cameras
  • School Lunches

Issues like AIDS, LGBT People in the Military and Targeted Strikes have been revised to keep pace with the ever changing nature of the issue.

SIRS Issues Researcher offers in-depth analysis of more than 330 current and pervasive Leading Issues. Each Leading Issue offers various components to help users understand the issue from every angle and gain context. Features include topic overviews, at issue summaries, essential questions, critical thinking questions and timelines.

Which issues will you introduce to your students this year? Let us know in the comments section or tweet us at #ProQuest.

Library Dogs Help Young Readers

Libraries have opened their doors to therapy dogs in an effort to motivate children to read. In 2006, several trained therapy dogs and their handlers in Minnesota participated in a pilot program called “PAWSitive Readers” where children read books to the dogs. After reading to the dogs once a week for seven weeks, 10 of the 14 children improved their reading scores by one grade level. Since then, similar programs have spread to libraries across the country.

Reading with Rover via ProQuest Pinterest page

Reading with Rover via ProQuest Pinterest page

Results have shown that participants in these programs not only improve their literacy skills, but also develop a love of reading. According to Therapy Dogs International, these programs are successful because the therapy dogs are non-judgmental and won’t laugh at the young readers if they stumble over their words or make a mistake. Instead, the dogs lie next to the reader and simply enjoy the attention.  This allows the child’s reading ability and confidence to improve.

The positive influence dogs have on human’s physical and emotional health has been well documented, and programs such as these are showing tangible results. A study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine in 2002 found that the presence of dogs lowered people’s blood pressure while reading aloud to a dog. The study’s findings went on to state that pets can also reduce the perception of stress. A 2011 study published by the School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University found second-grade students maintained their reading skills over the summer if they read aloud to dogs. This increased their self confidence and improved their literacy skills when they returned to school after summer vacation.

For more information on these programs or to start one in your area, check out the following resources:

Library Dogs
Therapy Dogs International
Pawsitive Steps LLC

ProQuest Connects with K12 Educators on Pinterest

ProQuest Educator Activities Pinterest Board

ProQuest Educator Activities Pinterest Board

As Pinterest usage has increased steadily over the past few years, educators have become one of the largest groups of users for the site. Teachers turn to Pinterest for lesson plans, classroom crafts, and teaching tips.

To help bridge the gap between the product and the classroom, ProQuest recently added three new Pinterest boards, specifically geared towards the K-12 user, which contain a carefully curated sampling of images found in the K-12 products.

Current Events in the Classroom contains a selection of infographics, charts and tables related to topics trending in the news. Content comes mostly from SIRS Issues Researcher.

The Educator Activities board consists of resources that can be used in the classroom, such as Science Experiments from SIRS Discoverer and eLibrary, CultureGrams Teaching Activities and Common Core handouts from SIRS Issues Researcher.

Hungry for more? Then be sure to check out the Food and Recipes board. This board includes recipes from around the globe that can also be found in the CultureGrams product.

In addition to the K-12 Pinterest boards, ProQuest also maintains a number of other Pinterest boards, containing such varied content as Training Tools, Library Quotes, and the 75th Anniversary Celebration at ProQuest.

We invite you to follow the boards and repin the content that you see fit.

Happy Pinning!

Leading Issues in the News: Animal Rights

Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby. Photo credit: BANAMINE / Source / CC BY-SA

On May 2, 2015, eighteen thoroughbreds competed in the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, with American Pharoah emerging as the victor. Known as the “Fastest Two Minutes in Sports”, the race is the first leg of the Triple Crown and is followed by the Preakness Stakes and then the Belmont Stakes. Thousands of spectators enthusiastically participate in a number of traditions surrounding the race—including drinking mint juleps, wearing elaborate hats and singing “My Old Kentucky Home”.

However, not everyone is enthusiastic about the Kentucky Derby. Animal rights activists contend that using animals for sports and entertainment can be considered animal cruelty. They claim that activities such as horse racing, dogfighting and circuses cause animals to suffer needlessly in the name of entertainment.

Through the Animal Cruelty Leading Issue, SIRS Issues Researcher examines the question of whether or not the use of animals for entertainment constitutes animal cruelty. Like every SIRS Leading Issue, the Animal Cruelty Leading Issue contains an overview of the issue, an Essential Question with answers and viewpoints, and My Analysis questions to develop critical thinking skills.

Animal Cruelty Leading Issue

Screencap of the Animal Cruelty Leading Issue on SIRS Issues Researcher

Users can also navigate to the broader Animal Rights Leading Issue for even more coverage of the topic.

What are your thoughts on the Kentucky Derby in particular and horse racing in general? Comment below or tweet us using #ProQuest.