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Who in the World Is....?


-- Language Arts
-- Current Events
-- Government



Brief Description

This race for discovery engages students as they learn to quickly scan a newspaper for relevant information.



  • learn to scan the newspaper for relevant information.
  • become acquainted with the sections of the newspaper.
  • learn to summarize what they have learned.
  • Keywords

    newspaper, main idea, skim, scan, reading for details

    Materials Needed

  • A daily newspaper per student or team of 2-4 students. Note: Many newspapers will provide free copies for classroom use. (Alternatives: Have students bring in from home the newspaper for the day before. Or have your teacher colleagues bring in their newspapers and place them in your mailbox; you should be able to get a handful of newspapers in that way, which will be enough to use with 5 or 6 small groups of students. The newspapers used might, in turn, become a lesson in recycling.)
  • paper and pencil
  • The Lesson

    About the Activity
    Explain to students that each day you will provide the name of a person in the news. This activity is a race to find the correct name and summarize why the person made the news. Teams of students earn points for providing the first correct response.

    The Activity
    This activity is a good one with which to start the day or the afternoon. When students come into the classroom, they immediately look to the board, where you have written the question Who in the world is_____? Each day, a different name appears in the blank. The name might be that of a scientist, sports figure, government personality, or local citizen.

    • If each student has a newspaper, this becomes an independent activity. Each student searches for the correct response to the question.
    • If groups of 2-4 students share a single newspaper, each student takes a section of the paper and begins to hunt for the answer to the question.

    Once a student or team has found the name they are looking for, they need to identify the page on which they found the information and the reason why that person is in the news. (The name might even be a familiar one; but students still need to identify why that person is making news today.) Students should write two or three sentences to summarize the reason the persons name is in print. The first student/team to respond with the correct answer earns a point. Points might accumulate for a month or more. Prizes might include an extra recess, a shortened assignment, or whatever the teacher desires.

    Adapting the Activity

  • The difficulty-level of the hunt can be easily controlled by the teacher. The teacher can make the hunt more difficult as students become more adept at scanning the newspaper for information.
  • This activity can also be adapted for younger grades. The name chosen for younger students could be more prominent, or perhaps it can be found in the first paragraph of an article.
  • If desired, animal names can be included. Of course the question will need to be varied; instead of asking Who in the world?, the question might become Where in the world? or What in the world?
  • Vary your questions/choices so students learn to look in several different sections of the newspaper.
  • Assessment

    Students or teams will be assessed on their success in scanning for the answer and for their teamwork. A correct account of the person's reason for mention in the newspaper (or job or contribution) is required for points to be awarded.

    Submitted By

    VaReane Heese, Springfield (Nebraska) Elementary School

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