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Archive for the ‘SIRS Issues Researcher’ Category

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.

 

6 Benefits of Teaching Controversial Political Issues to Students

This is the first in a series of articles on teaching controversial political issues to students.

6 Benefits of Teaching Controversial Political Issues to Students


Political polarization is growing, and schools are not immune. Political divisiveness, which has been simmering in schools for a while now, boiled over during the 2016 presidential election and exposed a major problem: students struggle to talk civilly about controversial political issues. Headlines chronicling this problem are everywhere. Last October, administrators cancelled a mock election at an elementary school because they feared divisive talk. This month, Middlebury College students resorted to violence to block a controversial speaker because his viewpoints differed from their own.

Teachers, facing pressure from parents and school administrators, are now questioning whether they should be teaching controversial political issues, which have long been a part of the curriculum. According to a 2016 Southern Poverty Law Center survey, more than half of K-12 teachers reported an increase in uncivil political talk among their students, and over 40 percent said they were reluctant to teach about the 2016 presidential election.

So, we are left with one question: Should teachers cover controversial political issues in the classroom?

Let’s take the long view and turn to facts grounded in research. Diana E. Hess and Paula McAvoy, co-winners of the 2017 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award, published The Political Classroom: Evidence and Ethics in Democratic Education in 2014. The book presents findings from their landmark four-year study on the teaching of controversial political issues in the classroom, including observations and interviews of high school teachers and their students. Hess and McAvoy found that students want to indeed learn about controversial political issues. They also found that teaching controversial political issues has real benefits for students, even—or especially—in these politically polarized times.

Here are six benefits of teaching controversial political issues to students:

  1. Engagement. Students participate more, especially when they are encouraged to be a part of class discussions.
  2. Political Literacy. Students stay more informed about controversial political issues.
  3. Tolerance. Students respect and understand other viewpoints.
  4. Confidence. Students grow more confident in holding their own viewpoints and discussing politics in general.
  5. Civil Discourse. Students learn to engage in civil discourse.
  6. Political Participation. Students vote more often later in life.

Of course, teaching controversial political issues does not come without risks. Educators face challenging ethical decisions, along with a partisan political climate. Some students may be sensitive about certain issues because they are affected in their own lives. Students need a safe environment and guidance, and teachers need to be clear about their expectations, including what is acceptable and respectful behavior. These concerns cannot be ignored.

But political divisiveness in schools doesn’t mean educators should stop teaching controversial political issues. It means educators should be teaching them more. Debating controversial political issues civilly isn’t innate. It is learned. If students are not taught to engage civilly in political debates, they cannot be expected to do so as adults. Students in Hess and McAvoy’s study demonstrated a remarkable level of maturity and intellectual growth because it was expected of them. If today’s students learn how to deliberate and discuss, they will become adults capable of civil discourse. Imagine that.

Future posts in this controversial political issues series will address other considerations, including the aims of teaching political issues, ethical issues of teaching political issues, and rules to promote civil discourse.

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The Political Classroom: Evidence and Ethics in Democratic Education is available on ProQuest Ebook Central or wherever books are sold.


SIRS Issues Researcher is a pro/con database that helps students understand today’s controversial political issues with editorially selected analysis and opinions that cover the entire spectrum of viewpoints.

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

New Leading Issue: Job Automation

Job Automation Leading Issue via SIRS Issues Researcher

Job Automation Leading Issue via SIRS Issues Researcher

Debating Job Automation

What does the future of work look like? As technology increases, it has become evident that our world is changing. Robots are being used in place of workers in factories, service industries, the military, the medical field, and more. Is there a way for robots and humans to work alongside each other in harmony? The debate continues. Some say the automation of jobs will lead to the creation of better job opportunities. Others say automation is just the start of a worldwide unemployment crisis. Should the government provide a basic income if robots replace workers? These are just some of the pro/con viewpoints students can debate and analyze with SIRS Issues Researcher’s Leading Issues.

Our new Job Automation Leading Issue highlights the key points surrounding the automation of work and the industries impacted, offers pro/con arguments, a timeline of events, critical thinking questions, helpful websites, and editorially-selected articles and media to kick-start students’ research.

Credit: White House Press Release [Public Domain]

Credit: White House Press Release [Public Domain]

Resources in our Job Automation Leading Issue include:

  • Humans vs. Robots: This National Public Radio podcast explores how humans and robots will coexist in the future.

Want to know more about Leading Issues? Contact us for complete access to SIRS Issues Researcher today!

Is your classroom studying the future of automation? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest.

New Leading Issue: Private Space Sector

Private Space Sector Leading Issue via SIRS Issues Researcher

SIRS Issues Researcher’s new Leading Issue: Private Space Sector is out of this world!

The future of space travel is taking off with private companies. This action-packed Leading Issue will help students explore how the private sector is launching reusable rockets, hauling cargo to the International Space Station, and providing useful services to NASA. The private sector also wants to make space tourism happen by 2020.

Students don’t have to wait until college and career to gain experience with space science! Besides delving into the Private Space Sector Leading Issue, students can also learn about the space industry through hands-on experience. Explore the links below for opportunities for students to gain knowledge and experience with NASA and private sector programs.

 

NASA Programs:

  •  NASA Education’s page includes a wealth of knowledge for students and teachers through STEM education. Guidance for education includes an A-Z list of projects, design challenges, and opportunities for students to interact with NASA.
  • Current Opportunities for Students is also included in the NASA Education website. This page provides webcasts, contests, and lectures. It also lists scholarship and intern possibilities.
  • United Launch Alliance provides cost-effective launch services for NASA. They also provide an educational page on their website dedicated to students with rocket terminology and fun facts. Students can register to compete for a CubeSat satellite launch or look into the Intern Rocket Program.
  • Student Launch is a competitive rocket launching competition designed for students to learn the importance of teamwork while building a cost-effective reusable rocket. This NASA-conducted engineering design challenge provides resources and experiences for students and teachers.
  • SystemsGo is a NASA-endorsed program that helps students design rockets using STEM and teamwork. The site offers everything from educational video resources, launch events, and even how to start an aerospace program at school.
High school students from Texas participating in the SystemsGo aeroscience engineering program launch rockets in Willow City, Texas.

High school students from Texas participating in the SystemsGo aeroscience engineering program launch rockets in Willow City, Texas. Image via Ralph Arvesen on Flickr.

 

Private Sector Programs:

  • SpaceX‘s FIRST program awards students with scholarships as well as a chance for 10-15 high school seniors to become interns. Other programs include building and battling robotics for older students and a LEGO robot challenge for kids ages 9-14.
  • Virgin Galactic offers a Global Scholarship and Mentoring Program for students interested in STEM education.
  • Blue Origin offers an Astronaut Experience. Sign up for an experience on the New Shepard space vehicle.

How are your students exploring space science? Drop us a line in the comments section below or Tweet us at #ProQuest!

Spring Ahead?: The Controversial History of Daylight Saving Time

Spring Flowers

Photo credit: Mukumbura via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

 

It’s time to spring ahead! At 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 12, most of us in the United States—unless we live in Arizona or Hawaii—will move our clocks forward one hour. While many people appreciate the extra hour of sunlight at the end of the day, just as many probably dread heading to work and school in the dark before sunrise.

Daylight Saving Time was first used to conserve energy during World War I. Today, more than 70 countries use Daylight Saving Time in at least part of their country. Researchers may be surprised to learn that Daylight Saving Time has such a confusing and complicated history in the U.S. and that there are many arguments for and against its use. Those in favor of DST argue that it saves energy, encourages more physical activity, and reduces accidents and crime. Opponents of DST say that it is economically disruptive, particularly to farmers, and dangerous for children who have to walk to morning bus stops in the dark.

Here is a brief timeline of legislation regarding time zones and Daylight Saving in the U.S.:

1784: Benjamin Franklin suggests the concept of daylight saving as a way to use fewer candles.

1883: American and Canadian railroads establish national time zones to end the confusion of dealing with thousands of different local times.

March 19, 1918: Congress enacts a law to establish standard time zones and sets summer Daylight Saving Time to begin on March 31, 1918.

1919: The Daylight Saving Time law is repealed due to its unpopularity. It remains a local option and is continued in a few states and in some cities.

1942-1943: President Franklin Roosevelt institutes year-round Daylight Saving Time, also called “War Time”, during World War II.

1945-1966: There is no federal law regarding Daylight Saving Time so states and cities are free to choose when it begins and ends. This becomes a source of confusion, especially for the broadcasting industry, railways, airlines, and bus companies.

1966: President Lyndon Johnson signs the Uniform Time Act of 1966 which calls for Daylight Saving Time to begin on the last Sunday of April and to end on the last Sunday of October. The law allows any state that doesn’t want to use Daylight Saving Time to pass a state law exempting themselves.

Jan. 4, 1974: President Richard Nixon signs the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act of 1973 in an effort to conserve energy during the 1973 Arab oil embargo. Daylight Saving Time begins on Jan. 6, 1974 and ends on Oct. 27, 1974. Daylight Saving Time then resumes on Feb. 23, 1975, and ends on Oct. 26, 1975.

1986: Congress passes a law declaring that Daylight Saving Time in the U.S. begins at 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday of April and ends at 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday of October.

2005: The Energy Policy Act of 2005 extends Daylight Saving Time in the U.S. beginning in 2007.

2007: The Energy Policy Act of 2005 goes into effect with Daylight Saving Time beginning at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday of March and ending at 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday of November.

Find student resources about Daylight Saving Time with these websites, articles, and Research Topics from SIRS Issues Researcher and eLibrary:

Daylight Saving Time

Does Daylight Savings Actually Save Energy?

It’s Not Just a Matter of Time

Research Topic: Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time Research Topic Screencap via ProQuest eLibrary

Daylight Saving Time Research Topic Screencap via ProQuest eLibrary

Challenge Your Students to This Women’s History Quiz!

How well do you know U.S. women’s history?

To celebrate Women’s History Month, take this Playbuzz quiz to see if you can pair up the correct state with an event in U.S. women’s history. Each question is based on facts taken from SIRS Issues Researcher timelines, including the one for our Women’s Rights Leading Issue.

(If you can’t view the matching game below, you can access it on PlayBuzz.)

What are you doing with your students to celebrate Women’s History Month?

Tweet us at #ProQuest or comment below!

Red Cross Month Offers Learning Opportunities

March has been designated as Red Cross Month by every U.S. president since World War II. The American Red Cross is a charitable organization committed to providing care to people in need. The humanitarian organization’s mission is to prevent and relieve suffering. It depends on volunteers and generous donors to support its lifesaving programs and services. March is the perfect time to educate your students about the history of the American Red Cross, the services it provides, and the volunteer opportunities available.

American Red Cross Truck

American Red Cross Truck
By Ibagli (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The American Red Cross was founded on May 21, 1881, in Washington, D.C. by Clara Barton. Clarissa Harlowe Barton worked as a school teacher and as a recording clerk at the U.S. Patent Office in Washington, D.C. During the Civil War, she provided assistance to the soldiers by bringing them supplies and offering them support. When she visited Europe after the Civil War, Barton was introduced to the global Red Cross network in Geneva, Switzerland. After she returned to the United States, Barton lobbied for an American Red Cross and for U.S. ratification of the Geneva Treaty.  The treaty was signed by President Chester A. Arthur on March 1, 1882, and ratified by the U.S. Senate on March 16, 1882.

Clara Barton

Clara Barton
Mathew Brady [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Clara Barton became the first president of the American Red Cross. She led the organization for 23 years. During Barton’s tenure, the American Red Cross conducted its first disaster relief efforts domestically and abroad, cared for American soldiers during the Spanish-American War, and successfully campaigned for the inclusion of relief work in peacetime.

Today, the American Red Cross is focused on five key areas:

Disaster Relief: Every year the American Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters in the United States, ranging from home fires to hurricanes. Disaster victims are provided with food, shelter, and health and mental health services.

Lifesaving Blood: The American Red Cross is the “largest single supplier of blood and blood products” in the United States. Every year, approximately 4 million people support the American Red Cross by donating blood, helping to provide over 40% of the nation’s blood supply.

Supporting U.S. Military Families: The American Red Cross assists members of the military, veterans, and their families by helping them plan for, manage, and respond to the unique challenges of military service.

International Services: The American Red Cross provides assistance to disaster victims around the world, invests in disaster preparedness, reconnects families who have been separated by disaster and international war, helps vaccinate children against measles, and educates about international humanitarian law.

Health and Safety Services: The American Red Cross is the leading provider of safety and health courses in the United States. Such courses include CPR, Lifeguard training, and First Aid. Every year, over 9 million Americans take park in the organization’s training programs, including educators, first responders, and babysitters.

Being young is not a barrier to volunteering at the American Red Cross—approximately 25% of the organization’s volunteers are 24 years old or younger. The American Red Cross offers many opportunities for youth to have diverse and new experiences, serve the needs of their communities, and gain leadership skills. Some volunteer opportunities for young people include hosting a blood drive, distributing disaster preparedness information, assembling comfort kits for disaster victims, and fundraising activities.

Students can also start or join a Red Cross Club. Red Cross Clubs give students a chance to connect with their peers while helping their community. Students who volunteer with the American Red Cross are able to make a meaningful impact in people’s lives, maximize their talents, learn life-saving skills, and improve their resumes.

Will you or your students be participating in any activities to celebrate Red Cross Month? Leave us a comment or tweet us using #ProQuest.

To learn more about the American Red Cross, explore these websites available in SIRS Issues Researcher and this ProQuest Research Topic available in eLibrary:

American Red Cross

Clara Barton’s House: Home of the American Red Cross

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement Research Topic

Public Libraries Offer Services to Refugees

Edible Alphabet Students

Students of an English-as-a-Second-Language program called Edible Alphabet, offered by the Philadelphia Free Library’s Culinary Literacy Center (photo used with permission by Liz Fitzgerald, Administrator, Culinary Literacy Center)

According to the U.S. State Department, America has accepted more than three million refugees since 1975. Last year, the U.S. welcomed 84,995 refugees from around the world. Currently, there has been a torrent of court filings over President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel to the U.S. from seven majority-Muslim countries. While courts have temporarily blocked Trump’s travel ban, the issue is far from being resolved and may even reach the U.S. Supreme Court. As an editor for SIRS Issues Researcher who works on the Immigration Leading Issue, I am following the multiple angles of this issue closely. Regardless of varying opinions on the current controversy, once refugees enter the United States legally, they often need assistance. I have always been impressed with the amazing services libraries offer the community. So I was curious as to what role libraries play in welcoming refugees who legally enter the United States.

Citizenship Corners

I have learned that libraries across the nation have often been a welcome spot for refugees and immigrants. Through a wealth of immigration services and programming, libraries play an important role in raising awareness about the naturalization process and the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship and in helping refugees and other newcomers to the U.S. participate in the broader society.

Since 2013, the Institute of Museum and Library Services has partnered with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to help libraries assist refugees with immigration and citizenship information and resources. As a result of this partnership, hundreds of public libraries have set up areas known as “Citizenship Corners,” which include free brochures and immigration forms.

In addition, in 2015, the American Library Association’s Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table issued Guidelines for Outreach to Immigrant Populations. These guidelines for library services and programming offer ideas on how to help immigrants adjust to life in their new homeland while preserving their cultural and linguistic heritages.

Free Legal Help, Cooking Classes and More

Two such libraries that are helping immigrants and refugees are the Brooklyn Public Library and the Free Library of Philadelphia.

The Brooklyn Public Library offers programs for immigrants in many languages and includes citizenship classes and study groups, bilingual family arts and culture programs and courses to help immigrant businesses succeed. Additionally, the library’s immigration services include free immigration legal help with the Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC). IJC Fellows hold office hours at select branches to help immigrants file applications for citizenship and green cards as well as offer other legal support.

In addition to offering a myriad of immigration and naturalization resources, events and classes, the Free Library of Philadelphia also offers a unique six-week course via their Culinary Literacy Center called Edible Alphabet. The program uses food as a way to unite people from different cultural backgrounds and helps immigrants learn English through cooking lessons. According to Liz Fitzgerald, the Administrator of the Culinary Literacy Center, the meals they prepare include a smoothie, carrot coriander soup, panzanella, pancakes, pasta primavera, and chana masala. The library partners with a non-profit organization called the Nationalities Service Center (NSC), which has been helping immigrants and refugees in the Greater Philadelphia area since the 1920s.

Tell Us Your Story

Does your library offer services to refugees? If so, drop us a line in the comments section below or Tweet us at #ProQuest!

What’s New & Trending in SIRS Issues Researcher

The Leading Issues pro/con framework helps students pick a topic and understand its context with overviews, essential questions, statistics, global perspectives, viewpoints, supporting arguments, and critical thinking prompts. Editors hand-select all of the content, ensuring that student researchers find the most appropriate, relevant, and valuable information available. Every Leading Issue contains a highly-relevant results list where students can gather supporting evidence through articles, statistics, images, and websites.

Keep research fresh and engaging with these new Leading Issues:

Heroin Abuse: Should cities open supervised injection sites for heroin addicts?

Job Automation: Should employees be worried about losing their jobs to machines?

Private Space Sector: Does the future of space travel lie with entrepreneurs?

Heroin Abuse Leading Issue in SIRS Issues Researcher

And here are some Leading Issues #trending in the news:

Health Care Reform: Should there be more government involvement in health care in the U.S.?

Keystone Pipeline: Should the U.S. government approve the Keystone XL Pipeline?

Illegal Immigration: Should immigrants who are in the country illegally be allowed to remain in the U.S.?

International trade: Are free trade agreements beneficial?

Media Bias: Do the mainstream media have a liberal bias?

Social Media: Do the positive aspects of social networking sites outweigh the negatives?

Taxation: Should offshoring tax loopholes be closed?

Which Leading Issues topics are most popular with your students? Let us know in the comments or tweet us with #ProQuest. 

ProQuest Guided Research products equip students to think critically about current issues. Free trials are available.

Poll: Should More Be Done to Regulate Fake News?

Strengthening information literacy skills is one way to fight the spread of fake news. However, according to a recent Pew Research poll, many Americans also believe that social media sites, search engines, and the government have a responsibility to stop fake news. Facebook, widely criticized for its role in spreading fake news, recently announced efforts to tackle the problem. Critics, though, argue that this approach could lead to censorship.

The “That’s Debatable!” poll, a popular polling feature in SIRS Issues Researcher, has been asking users all month whether fake news should be regulated. So far, users have overwhelmingly voted yes: fake news should indeed be regulated. What do you think? Should social media sites, search engines, and the government regulate fake news? Or is it the responsibility of news consumers to identify fake news on their own? Take our poll, and tell us what you think.

Are your students equipped with the information literacy skills to identify fake news? ProQuest Guided Research products equip students to learn information literacy skills. Free trials are available.

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