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100 Ways to use Newspapers in the Classroom

100 Ways to use Newspapers in the Classroom

Courtesy of Sharon Lipp, NIE coordinator, Fargo ND

SCIENCE
1. Collect pictures of pets from the newspaper. Mount the pet pictures you have collected. Give each of the
pets a name.
2. Find a newspaper picture of an animal you would like to be! Write a story pretending you are that animal.
3. Make a scrapbook of pictures and news stories about conservation. You might look for articles about
hunting and fishing seasons, tree planting, energy crisis, etc.
4. Make a poster from pictures, advertisements and articles showing how machines help people do different
things.
5. Make a “first” notebook. Use newspaper articles about science “firsts” or discoveries.
6. Begin a vocabulary list of science words found in the newspaper. Record the spelling, meaning and use of
each word. Some examples might be: exploration, narcotics, energy, pollution, preventative, analysis,
comet, weather, antibiotic, invention, alcoholism, theory, artificial, transplant, medicine, etc.
7. Using the newspaper, collect advertisement for products that were not available 20 years ago. Can you
identify the scientific advances that have made this product possible?
8. Find newspaper articles and pictures of accidents involving young people and: wagons, bicycles, skates,
skateboards, automobiles, motorcycles, boats, animals, etc.
9. Check today’s weather map in the newspaper. Find areas that had severe weather. Discuss how stories
such as these can help us prepare for weather emergencies.
10. Find newspaper articles, advertisements, etc., that attempt to see equipment that will help conserve
energy such as storm windows or home insulation. What claims are made about savings?

NEWSPAPERS
1. According to the index, what pages are the following found on: classified ads, amusements, stock market
listings, advice column, editorial page.
2. Find the following information: If you wanted to start a subscription to the newspaper, what telephone
number would you call and what would a year’s subscription cost? Who is the editor of the newspaper?
What wire services can you find listed in the newspaper?
3. Clip and label an example of each of the following: index, byline, cutline, dateline and headline.
4. Find a newspaper article that is about each of the following: a meeting of a government agency, a press
conference, a disaster or unexpected happening, the schools.
5. Find five stories from different cities in your state. Then find five stories from different states and five
stories from different countries.
6. Project yourself into a society in which there are no newspapers. Make a list of all the functions provided
by the newspaper, including such things as providing news, serving as an advertising medium, social
announcements, upcoming events, critical reviews, etc. How would each of these functions be met in the
newspaperless society?
7. Scan your newspaper and name some of the beats covered by reporters. If you were a reporter, what beat
would you like to cover and why?
8. Look at the weather map in the newspaper. Study the various symbols that are used to show the weather
across the country.
9. Make a chart showing examples of the vocabulary variations that appear in different sections of the
newspapers. For instance, the jargon used by the food editor and sports editor would probably be quite
different.
10. Find examples of editorials that are written to inform the reader, interpret the news for the reader,
entertain the reader, influence the reader. 2

LANGUAGE ARTS
1. Using words clipped from the headlines of the newspaper, “write” a sentence or short story by gluing the
words to a page.
2. Select a weather headline that you especially like. Write a poem using the headline as the first line of the
poem.
3. Select an ad from the personals column in the classified ads. Pretend that you know the person who might
have placed the ad and write a character sketch of him or her.
4. List all the different punctuation marks used in a news article. Read the articles aloud and notice the
influence of your voice in determining the place of punctuation.
5. Circle all the singular nouns and pronouns in a news article in red and all plural nouns and pronouns in
blue.
6. Collect pictures from the newspaper that show different facial expressions. Label each picture with
descriptive words.
7. Identify as many sets of antonyms, homonyms and synonyms as you can by scanning your newspaper
headlines.
8. Use the front page of you newspaper and draw a circle around every blend. Make a list of all the blends
you find.
9. Find newspaper examples of paragraphs written in present, past and future tenses. Be aware of paragraphs
containing clumsy shifts in tense.
10. Discuss in a theme, with specific illustrations, the employment situation or the trends in housing as
portrayed in the want ads.

MATH
1. Race through the newspaper! You have five minutes. See how many numbers from 1-25 you can find.
Circle each number as you find it.
2. Circle the largest and smallest numbers on a newspaper page. Subtract the two numbers you have found.
Add the two numbers.
3. Spend five imaginary $20 bills on five items advertised in the paper. Keep the amount of “change” you
receive from each purchase to less than $1. Record the amount of change left.
4. Cut words from the newspaper that relate to quantity. For example: all, none, many, few, fewer, more,
less, most.
5. Compute from the stock market reports in the newspaper the percentage of profit and/or loss for a specific
stock.
6. Use recipes from the newspaper. Double the recipe, halve the recipe and triple the recipe.
7. Write a word problem that uses a newspaper advertisement as its basis. Let a friend write the equation for
the problem, give it back to you, and then solve it.
8. Refer to the entertainment section of the newspaper and to find something you would like to do, and a
restaurant where you would like to eat. Determine the total cost of your outing for one person, for two and
for your family.
9. Choose any three digit and any two digit numbers from the newspaper. Do the following:
ƒ Find the product of the two numbers.
ƒ Find the sum of the two numbers.
ƒ Find the difference between the two numbers.
ƒ Find the quotient of the two numbers to the nearest hundredth.
ƒ Now, find the sum of all the answers above.
10. Read a page of the newspaper and underline words and phrases that refer to time such as: annual,
bicentennial, 90-day warranty, next week, etc. 3

CRITICAL READING
1. Choose one story from the front page of today’s newspaper. Find the answers to these questions: Who?
What? When? Why? Note the organization of details in this story. Which is the most important? Where is it
found? Does the headline highlight the most important fact? If not, where did the information for the
headline appear in the story?
2. Choose an editorial from the editorial page in the newspaper and underline each fact and circle each
opinion. Discuss the logic of the ideas and the organization and development of the arguments.
3. Clip and mount newspaper reviews of books you would like to read. List them under headlines such as:
fiction, biography, travel, autobiography, etc.
4. Go through the newspaper and make a “survival vocabulary list” of words that a person would need to
know to be a good responsible citizen in today’s world. Be sure to list the legal terms you find that we
assume all people understand.
5. Look at a feature article closely to see what words and sentences help to make you have certain feelings
about the article. Make a list of these words and sentences.
6. Clip “How-to” articles from the newspaper. Mix up the steps by cutting the article apart. (Be sure to
number the correct order on the back!) Challenge a classmate to put them in the correct order again.
7. Imagine that you are in charge of preparing a time capsule that will be opened in 200 years. Cut items that
you think would tell the most about our lives today from the newspaper.
8. Divide your paper into two columns. List all the facts from an editorial in one column and all the opinions
in the second column.
9. Locate a satirical column in the newspaper. Write an analysis of the column indicating the elements that
are used to achieve the satire (hyperbole, metaphor, simile, etc.)
10. Compile a list of words that you are not familiar with in your newspaper reading. Make a crossword
puzzle using these words with your definitions.

HOME MANAGEMENT
1. Make a chart that is divided into four parts: spring, summer, fall, winter. Cut out pictures of clothing you
would wear during each season. Paste the pictures under the right word.
2. Prepare a mobile using pictures and words taken from the newspaper depicting various groups of foods.
Examples might be: favorite foods, party foods, picnic foods, snacks, etc.
3. Draw a rough floor plan of a home. Collect newspaper pictures of furniture and appliances to fill the
home and make it comfortable. Determine the approximate cost of furnishing a home by using newspaper
ads.
4. Collect newspaper ads for home cleaning products. Prepare commercials to sell their products. Tape the
commercials to share with the class.
5. Prepare menus using food advertisements in the newspaper. Example: Christmas dinner, Italian dinner,
etc.
6. Collect newspaper articles of accidents that have happened in the home. Tell how the accidents could
have been prevented.
7. Clip pictures of toys from the newspaper. Analyze the toy for its safety, durability, cost, interest span, and
as an aid in physical and mental growth in relationship to the child.
8. Collect pictures, articles and advertisements from the newspaper that demonstrate improved methods,
instruments and chemicals for: heating homes, cooling homes, painting homes, caring for lawns, remodeling
homes. Compile this information in a housing notebook.
9. Choose healthful dinners from food advertisements in the newspaper for: growing boys and girls, office
workers, construction workers, farmers, a puppy or kitten, etc. Discuss ways in which they are similar and
different.
10. Role play a situation taken from the newspaper (Dear Abby-Ann Landers) that influences the emotional
and/or social growth of children. Determine whether this will have a positive or negative effect on the child.
SOCIAL STUDIES
1. Take a sheet of paper. Look through the newspaper and find things that happen in the city and things that
happen in the country.
2. Place news items or pictures about each state on a large outline map of the United States. See how many
states you can find in the news in two weeks.
3. Chart community crimes for one-week using reports and articles in the newspaper. Chart the type of
crime, age of the criminal, location, etc.
4. Travel by means of the newspaper. Clip pictures of a country. Find articles about the country. Then write
a story about the things you might do and see if you visited that country.
5. Write an editorial on a topic of controversy for the period of history you are studying. Study some of the
editorials in today’s newspaper before doing this activity.
6. Clip and trace a political cartoon from the newspaper. Write a new caption for the cartoon.
7. Research good and bad relationships between the United States and other countries. Try to categorize the
reason these relationships may exist.
8. Using the newspaper, give some names and titles of international and political leaders. Describe their
roles, as you understand them from articles you have read.
9. Find and read newspaper articles concerning pollution, overpopulation or major social problems. Make a
list of the various items or the social problem you have selected. List some reasons that these articles are
carried in the newspaper. Prepare a poster or write an essay telling how you would deal with solving this
social problem.
10. From the library files compare newspapers from the Civil War period, World War I and World War II.
How do these differ from newspapers today? Evaluate the content with regard to the First Amendment to the
Constitution.

JUNIOR HIGH
1. Check your local newspaper to learn the cost of classified advertisements, and then determine the cost of
different sized ads in that section. Write an ad that you would like to place in the paper and figure out how
much it would cost you to do so.
2. Using a ruler, figure out the percentage of space on a given page for ads, pictures, stories and headlines.
3. On the front page of your newspaper, circle all the numbers you can find and give the range. Determine
also the mean, median and mode.
4. Over a period of several weeks, clip articles that deal with problems and/or issues facing your local and
county government. Discuss the reason for these problems, and how the government hopes to solve them.
5. Is freedom of the press important? After reading your newspaper for several weeks, write a report on
whether or not you feel freedom of the press is vital in our society.
6. Create a bulletin board for your classroom concerning with the men and women holding positions in your
local government. Clip newspaper pictures of school board members, the city, town or village leaders and
any others you feel should be included.
7. Find a news article written in past tense. Clip it out of the paper and then rewrite it in present tense.
8. Find five different sets of antonyms in the newspapers. Clip them out, and then check with a dictionary or
thesaurus to double check your answers.
9. Create, for the index of your newspaper, a sentence summary of five news and/or feature stories you think
would be of special interest to readers.
10. Look for unfamiliar words in each week’s newspaper. Make a list of them, and when you have 20 words,
define them and make a crossword puzzle.
11. Research the area of drugs, tobacco or alcohol, and write an article that informs the local readers of the
dangers of one of the substances.
12. Look in the classified ads to find job listings for the medical/health professions. What is the median pay
range? Job requirements? Educational requirements? Benefits? Opportunities for advancement?
13. Every week, look for any ads that may claim “cures” or “amazing breakthroughs” for diseases or other
medical or cosmetic problems. Discuss these ads in class, and the persuasion techniques used to hook people
into purchasing the product or service offered.
14. Using the classified ads, find a job in one of the following areas: clerking, bookkeeping, general office,
secretarial, accounting, computer, science or stenography,. Write a letter of application for it, being sure to
include a resume.
15. Look for slogans used by businesses in your community in their newspaper advertisements. What is the
reason for these slogans? Are they believable to you? To whom do they appeal, and what propaganda device
is used? Make up five businesses and write slogans for them.

HIGH SCHOOL
1. Research the monetary unit of a foreign country, and then change the prices in 10 display ads in your
newspaper into the foreign currency.
2. Challenge your class to defy the truth that a piece of newspaper cannot be folded more than eight times.
Let them go on to try any other type of paper, from tissue to crepe!
3. Look for a grocery ad with a soft drink advertisement. Figure how many fluid ounces are in the eight
bottle carton or six pack, and break it down into pints, quarts, gallons, and liters.
4. Every week, check through the job listings and put a red X through those jobs that could not be filled by a
high school dropout. Put a black X through those that could be filled by a person with technical school or
college training. Discuss your findings.
5. Choose an editorial and read it carefully. Decide which statements or parts of statements are fact, which
are opinion, and whether or not the tone of the editorial is conservative or liberal. Watch for upcoming
issues to see if there is any reaction to the editorial in the letters to the editor column.
6. Check the salary levels for unskilled workers in your newspaper’s want ads, and compare the salaries to
those for skilled laborers or professional positions. What are the differences, and why?
7. Select a sports story that is of interest to you, and rewrite active voice sentences into passive voice
sentences into active voice.
8. On the front page of the newspaper, circle in red all forms of the verb “to be” and in blue all forms of the
verb “to have.”
9. Occasionally newspaper headlines can accidentally (or on purpose) have dual meanings. Over the period
of several weeks, clip any headlines which you feel could have more than one meaning and discuss your
reasons why.
10. Using editorials set up classroom debate team and discuss the pro and con side of the issue presented.
11. Using your newspaper, collect product and service advertisements of things that were not available 30
years ago. Discuss the scientific advancements that have made these new products and services available to
the public.
12. Clip pictures of animals and plants from the newspaper, and, on large sheets of paper, glue them into
their species categories.
13. Study the periodic chart of the elements, and then take a red magic marker and mark the appropriate
chemical symbols on articles, ads and anything else that mentions an element.
14. Clip ads that are representative of the businesses and/or industries in your community. Make a collage of
them and include any articles and pictures that may appear as well. Write a brief essay telling of the
importance and influence of the companies in your area.
15. Have a discussion of employment trends and demands in your community, based on the help wanted
section of the classified ads and any related articles.