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Burning Questions: Sharks and ice cream.


Today I’m having my students analyze and evaluate the article from the Chicago Tribune:

Report: Media use by teens, tweens grows to 53 hours a week

Cell phones, computers, MP3 players consuming more of youths’ time.

I remembered an anecdote (short memory/story) from my master’s program, where the following information is given: The rise of shark attacks is correlated to the rise in ice cream sales.

I shared this. The usual responses: well, maybe people taste or smell better after they’ve eaten ice cream, so sharks are more attracted to them. We finally agreed the two facts are mutually exclusive; perhaps it was due to the fact that people go to the beach in the summer time, buy more ice cream, and in turn, may get attacked by sharks because more people are in the water.

So, here was the question, with the caution — do not assume anything. Think. Evaluate. Consider. What is “off the page?”

Media consumption is even heavier in minority families such as Seymore’s — a trend unaffected by a child’s age, socioeconomic status or parents’ education. African-American and Hispanic youths favor TV over mobile devices, posting nearly six hours of tube time a day compared with 3.5 hours for their white counterparts.

Do you think this affects test scores? Why or why not? And, how do you find what those test scores are? And, with the information you find, what should teachers do with that information?