Get the Scoop

One reason that students {definitionbot=disable}encounter difficulty when reading a news story is that they may have insufficient background knowledge of the topic. By using the News Page, related content in this website, and the EcoHealth website Glossary students can develop the skills they need to read and comprehend the news.

Materials Needed
Extension Activities
Relevant Curriculum Standards


In this activity, students will read a news story, identify what they need to know in order to understand the story, and then use EcoHealth to track down that information. Students can then demonstrate their understanding in a variety of ways.

Estimated class time:
1-2 class periods


Students will:

  • Read about an environmental issue currently in the news.
  • Identify vocabulary they need to understand the news story.
  • Identify concepts and issues they need to understand the story.
  • Use the new vocabulary and concepts they have learned to better understand what they have read.
  • Demonstrate their new understanding in a chosen format. They may be as creative as they like.


  • Internet access
  • Computer printers
  • Dictionaries, online or print, in case they wish to supplement the Glossary
  • Necessary materials for the format selected to demonstrate understanding


  1. Students can work alone or in pairs. Assign them articles from the News Page or let them choose, depending upon whether you wish to focus on a particular topic or not. (They will be working from the news source and not the summaries.)
  2. Have students print out their articles and read them. Ask them to underline or highlight words or terms that they do not know. In addition, have them mark on the text those areas where they feel they need to know more about a concept or issue in order to understand the text.
  3. Next ask them to make a list of the vocabulary they do not know and then to put into the form of questions what they need to know in order to better understand the news story.
  4. Using the links to chapters or sections of this website found at the end of each news story summary on the News Page, students should then read further about the topic, using the Glossary for vocabulary and answering the questions they have posed. They may also check the Question & Answer section as well as the website’s Google search feature to locate additional information.
  5. Either assign a format you wish the students to work in or let them choose one (e.g., essay, blog, web interview, letter to the editor, oral presentation, poster, play, pamphlet, debate) through which to demonstrate their new understanding of the topic of their news story.


  • List of vocabulary and student-posed questions
  • Finished product used to demonstrate understanding


  • If students find that not all of their questions are answered on this website, they may conduct further research online or in the library. The website contains dozens of carefully selected websites and organizations where more in-depth material may be found. Students may also write to the EcoHealth experts with questions they have about a topic that is not answered on the site. We welcome letters or notes to let us know what you and students would like to see added to the EcoHealth website.


This lesson correlates to the following: Standards for the English Language Arts of the National Council of Teachers of English.

English Language Arts, K-12, from the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English)

  • Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and non-print texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
  • Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

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