What happens when your smart home technology takes on a life of its own? Check out or download the student guide (.doc or .pdf) below.
Imagine sitting in your living room and hearing a mysterious voice on your Amazon Ring or Google Next speakers! How do you think this could happen?
Check out this article on the Tampa Bay Times NIE Front Page Talking Points: What Consumers Need to Know About Security Camera Hacks. Based on the title, what do you think you will learn? For example, what is a hack? For example, have you heard about people hacking into computers and taking control of data? What do you think that has to do with security cameras? While you read, take note of things you think a consumer needs to know about security camera hacks.
What did you discover? How does this information impact you as a consumer? What did you learn? Based on what you learned, would you choose to buy or not to buy? Why? What is the opportunity cost of your decision?
Conduct some online research about security cameras. How does research impact buying decisions?
Now check out the news video about the same story. While you watch, take more notes.
Here are three different perspectives from stakeholders:
Ring (the company) says: "Ring believes when communities and local police work together, safer neighborhoods can become a reality." -- Yassi Shahmiri, company spokeswoman
Critic (a technology expert) says: "Ring should be shut down immediately and not brought back. The privacy issues are not fixable with regulation, and there is no balance that can be struck. They are simply not compatible with a free society." – Max Eliaser, Amazon engineer
Journalist says: "I spent a couple weeks using an Amazon Ring doorbell camera. I didn't like how it made me feel about my neighborhood, or how i thought it might make my neighbors feel about me." – Max Read, New York magazine writer and editor
Which perspective do you think most fits the evidence you found in the article, video, and other online research you conducted? Do you agree with any of the three perspectives or did you create your own perspective, based on the evidence you found? You can use the graphic organizer below to build an argument. Then, you can either write an argument essay/blog post or have a debate with some friends or family members.
Extension: What do you think the government's role should be in these types of issues dealing with consumer products?
In a world of online sources, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish the COVID-19 facts from the fake. Check out the student guide that you can use with the resources in this post.
Have you heard rumors about COVID-19 cures? Check out this news video of the week from Tampa Bay Times NIE. What happened when the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found counterfeit coronavirus test kits at the O'Hare International Airport?
What happened? Why do people create and sell fake test kits? What is your opinion about what they did? Use (and download) the OREO opinion writing graphic organizer to plan an opinion piece.
Now, check out this Tampa Bay Times article on rumors and hoaxes that are spreading coronavirus fears.
What do you think about some of the hoaxes? What are the possible consequences of these hoaxes spreading? How can you protect yourself from scammers who are trying to profit from the COVID-19 pandemic?
Did you notice that the Tampa Bay Times turned to Politifact to determine facts from fake? At the bottom of this post, we included some other Fact Checking sites you can use. What are some reliable sources in these uncertain times? If you want to have the most current and reliable information, check:Then, check out this video by student reporters at CBC:
What did you learn?
Now, conduct some of your own research online. Use the strategy recommended by reporters and researchers: Lateral Literacy. Reading laterally means checking the truth and accuracy of the source (reading laterally) before reading the article (reading vertically). Find some article about COVID-19 online and use this when you are conducting your own research!
Record new facts you learned. Also, document some of the fake news that is out there.
Now, create your own video, article, or social media post to warn people about fakes and teach them about the facts!
Additional Free Fact Checking Sites:
Check out our new blog post that discusses flattening the curve and provides an economic connection to COVID-19. Here is the student guide to view and download.
Riddle me this: What has the power to double in size every 3 days, yet it cannot be seen with the naked eye?
Answer: SARS-CoV-2, the new strain of coronavirus. (COVID-19 refers to the disease that the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) can cause; which broke out in 2019.)
Riddle me this: What lock gives more and more freedom, the stronger the lock?
Answer: A lockdown. The more people who participate in voluntary lockdowns (or “social distancing”) will provide a slower spread of disease and additional freedom from sickness. The slower the spread of any sickness, including the Coronavirus allows medical personnel to help those who need it most. Social distancing helps to “flatten the curve.”
So, what does it mean to flatten the curve, and what does it have to do with economics?
Remember the days of chickenpox? Or maybe your generation has received the vaccine shot to thwart this childhood illness that was once unhealthily considered a “rite of passage” to children until the mid 90’s. How different is this new strand of the Coronavirus to the old one, or to the common cold for that matter? Check out a quick graph from the New York Times to compare.
What surprises you about this chart? How familiar are you with these other infectious diseases? Does what you think you know match the data?
Shouldn’t we all just keep to washing our hands and staying home if we are the ones who are sick- just as we did before this pandemic? What is the big deal? How and why do medical professionals want us to flatten the curve? What curve exactly?
Reading through the article Coronavirus in Florida latest: Statewide closings, new cases, flattening the curve by Tampa Bay Times posted March 18, 2020, you can learn what is making some business owners and parents nervous as well as identify some economic issues at hand.
The end of the article hints at flattening the curve but doesn’t say how or what that infamous curve even is. If you have time, you can access their link to the suggested podcast, but you can also just keep reading here!
Take a look at how Mydel Antolin explains “flattening the curve” on CBC’s Kids News.
What does that curve look like if you had to draw it? How would you flatten that curve? Statnews provides an excellent video clip to show just what that flattened image would look like.
The best step-by-step guide on how to flatten the curve is a simulator provided by the Washington Post: “Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to “flatten the curve.” Author Harry Stevens is a graphics reporter who creates some pretty cool simulations to teach Washington Post readers just how effective “social distancing” really can be. Watch each of the four simulations and feel empowered to spread the news on just what flattening the curve is, and why all Americans should participate. Make an educated guess on where America is relative to these four simulations. What about China? What about France and Italy?
Extension: Create a political cartoon to teach younger students about flattening the curve or economic issues of the coronavirus.
“A Data Breach By Any Other Name Would Be Just As Sour”
This article-based activity includes a student guide that allows for a self-paced experience. Check out the student guide or download it below.
What is your biggest fear when it comes to owning a credit card? Making payments on time? Not trusting yourself to stay within your limits to pay your bill off in full every month? Not letting the convenience of a “swipe” get to your head and embark on an adventure filled with debt? The least of your worries should be a criminal accessing your very own private information. Regardless of what we call a “data breach”- potential identity theft is just as unnerving.
Unfortunately in our digital age, we need to be very aware and cautious when it comes to providing our personal information to others. What kind of sensitive information is super valuable to criminals? What kinds of things can someone do with that information? How can you protect yourself from being a victim of identity theft?
Read the article attached and think about what happens when data thieves steal your name, social security number and birth date?
Record a list of steps to take when your personal information has been leaked. Partner with a classmate and create a tweet (240 character count) to educate the public on what a wise consumer would do if affected by a data breach. Be sure to use the hashtag #usfFinLitBlogPost if you decide to tweet your response.
Florida Literacy Standards:
SS.912.FL.6.9: Explain that loss of assets, wealth, and future opportunities can occur if an individual’s personal information is obtained by others through identity theft and then used fraudulently, and that by managing their personal information and choosing the environment in which it is revealed, individuals can accept, reduce, and insure against the risk of loss due to identity theft.
SS.912.FL.6.10: Compare federal and state regulations that provide some remedies and assistance for victims of identity theft.
Do you know why the prince turned into a beast? He refused to help a senior citizen by giving her shelter for the night! How can you teach the Beast to be more charitable?
Use the News!
You can use these blog posts we created on cooking for charity, running for charity, and the SPCA hosting dog weddings for charity. These activities include articles from the Tampa Bay Times along with standards-based questions.
Being charitable can mean giving of your time, talent, and treasures. How can you volunteer your time? What career can you choose where you can do something to create a better world? Can you save some money to donate to your favorite cause? Did you know that donations can be tax deductible? Use the following resources to conduct research so you can create a social media campaign on being charitable.
This clip offers a great opportunity to bring in civic participation and service learning projects as well! Here are some standards connections for this post!
Created by Deborah Kozdras and Brittany Sampson