SHMS • MAY 2017 • VOLUME 2, ISSUE 6

SChool ExAms

by Dania Mehani

I'm not not going to ask if you like exams or not. I think most of us can agree that exams can be a real pain. If you opt out, I envy you. But honestly, how important are school exams really?

What advantages can we possibly get from this two hour long test?

You walk into school as if it's a normal day. Only it's not even close to normal. For you know that ahead of you there are two long hours of sitting in a chair, taking a test, until your eyes are ready to fall asleep. What advantages can we possibly get from this two hour long test? You may be annoyed when I say this. In fact, you will be. But exams may be useful. What comes before our final exams? The NYS Exams. Honestly I don't enjoy those tests either. Only, when you think about it, the New York State exams could be good for us too. It's a good way to prepare for the final exams. Especially if you’re a 6th grader. People in sixth grade have never taken final exams in middle school. Taking them for the first time can be stressful but can prepare you and possibly give you a slight advantage for the next time you face a challenging test.

So maybe exams can have a good impact. Maybe. But personally, I can't say I like them. It's a lot of pressure to be put in a room for two hours and take a test. Sometimes I get so stressed that my mind completely blanks out from pressure. I'm not the only one who feels this way. A lot of people can agree that exams are another source of stress in their lives.

There's nothing we can do to change the school exams. We do need them even if they aren't the best thing in school. Anyways, this is simply what I think about New York State Exams and Final Exams.

Spirit Week

by Bahja Rizeq

Spirit week? It's a week made for students to show their school spirit. But this past spirt week was different. I say that because people made this spirit week seem like it wasn't even a spirit week.

In past spirit weeks, most people were excited about them and they loved the themes so they did it. But this spirit week had most of the same themes, and only one or two people participated. According to my estimate, less than half the people dressed up for sports day Friday. It might have been because it was after break but still they still had the rest of the week to do it. Overall, some might have a different viewpoint about our most recent spirit week, but for me, it was different for sure..

Click the Link Below to View Spirit Week Video

Getting Warmer

by Karina Cole

“Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is projected to cause about 250,000 additional deaths per year from heat stress, malnutrition and the spread of infectious diseases like malaria,” according to a CNN article by Jacqueline Howard. Climate change is a huge issue that seems to be constantly talked about by environmental groups and news organizations. This is because climate change is incredibly dangerous to human civilization. The Earth is quickly heating up, and soon, temperatures could be so high that some places could be unlivable. The sad thing is, some people still choose to believe that Climate Change is a hoax(1), which can make it much harder to try to fix it.

Climate change and global warming are how the Earth is getting warmer due to the emissions(2) of greenhouse gases. Specifically, carbon dioxide. We've been putting too much into the atmosphere and it causes the Earth to gradually get warmer. The reason we aren't able to fix it is because carbon dioxide is essential(3) to life on Earth. Carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere when dead organisms decompose and when volcanoes erupt. It's absorbed by plants, which use it to grow, and by the oceans, which use it to nourish(4) sea life. According to a CNN article by John Sutter, "Scientists are in overwhelming agreement that the climate is warming because humans are pumping massive quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, primarily by burning fossil fuels for heat, electricity and transportation; chopping down rainforests; and consuming energy-intensive foods like beef and lamb. Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists say we're largely to blame for global warming, according to peer-reviewed research."

Some people choose not to believe in climate change. This makes it harder to fix when there are people who believe there's no problem that needs a solution. Scientists have proven time and time again that climate change is not a “hoax” but some people still don't understand. In Jacqueline Howard’s article she writes, “The majority of climate scientists -- 97% -- agree that climate change is real and human pollution is largely responsible.” Research shows that about 13% of Americans still choose to believe climate change is a “hoax”. This may seem like a small number of people, but it's still too many.

Climate change has been affecting places all over the world but it has had a huge effect on Greenland over the years. Scientists have uncovered that the large area of ice just north of Canada has been melting for years, losing gigatons(5) of ice each year, and is now melting quicker than ever. According to an article published by Newsela.com, “During this recent time period, an average of 186 gigatons of ice melted each year. Other estimates have put that number even higher. NASA currently states that Greenland is losing 287 billion tons of ice per year.” The reason this is such a big issue is because studies show that because of Greenland melting, the sea levels have risen an inch worldwide. A Newsela article also says, "An inch may not sound like much, but spread over the entire globe it is a staggering and dangerous amount of water. If Greenland's ice keeps melting, it could lead to disaster. If the Greenland ice sheet were to melt, it would lead to roughly 20 feet of sea level rise…this could interfere with the Atlantic Ocean's water currents and circulation, which are driven by differences in temperature and saltiness. Cold salty water sinks in the North Atlantic and travels southward. This pulls more warm water north. If too much freshwater is added to the North Atlantic, however, it could slow or eventually shut down the circulation. This would have dramatic effects on Earth's climate.”

Not only could this affect the World’s sea levels, but it could also affect the polar bears living in the Arctic. With all of the ice melting, they would have nowhere to live and can't swim for very long periods of time to travel to a different part of the world. They could sadly face extinction in the future. According to an MSNBC article by Daniel Berger, “In less than 30 years, the polar bear playground in the Arctic may no longer have any ice. Researchers have been using computer models to simulate climate change, specifically to analyze how global warming could impact sea ice. According to a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters, if greenhouse gases continue to get pumped into the atmosphere at the current rate, the majority of the Arctic basin will be ice-free in September by 2040."

Climate Change is one of the biggest issues our world is facing. If we don't try to do something about it soon, we could be living in terribly hot temperatures to the point where we might not even be able to live. So, do you believe this is a real problem?

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Glossary:

1. an act intended to trick or dupe

2. the production and discharge of something, especially gas or radiation

3. absolutely necessary; extremely important

4. provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition

5. a billion metric tons

Bibliography

CNN

MSNBC

Newsela

World Health Organization

World Meteorological Organization

Deforestation

by Julianna Martin

Deforestation's Effect On Climate Change

Did you know that deforestation has a huge effect on global warming? Deforestation contributes 6 to 12 percent of annual global carbon dioxide emission. Surprisingly, trees can actually help solve the problem of carbon dioxide emission, but instead, we are cutting down millions of trees, and contributing to the problem. According to WWF (World Wildlife Fund) humans cut down 36 football fields worth of trees every minute. This is a HUGE problem, and we aren't stopping them, or trying to fix it. We need to stop this problem from getting worse. Why aren't we stopping people from cutting down all our trees and ruining our world?

What is happening to the trees?

Many trees are being cut down in controversial ways. Common methods of deforestation are clear cutting and burning down the trees. Clear cutting is cutting down every tree in a specific area. And burning down the trees is just that, people burn down all the trees and use the land. These methods leave the land barren and with no trees left. But, why? Why are we cutting down so many trees? There is actually many reasons why. Some reasons may be to make room for housing, or to make commercial items like paper, furniture, and houses, or to make ingredients that are highly prized items such as oil from palm trees. Another reason these trees are being cut down is for cattle farming, or growing crops. And sadly enough, once the land isn't as fertile as it used to be, these people move to the next area of land, leaving that one behind, and they clear cut or burn down more trees. It is just one vicious cycle of deforestation. When it all comes down to it, is the profit more important than the trees? Some of the corporations cutting down these trees think what they are doing is okay, and it isn't doing any harm. But, that is completely wrong! They are killing the Earth, and getting away with it!

How are trees contributing to global warming?

Believe it or not, trees help fix deforestation, and deforestation does the exact opposite. If you didn't know, there is a gas called carbon dioxide (CO2) and it is the number one gas contributing to global warming. Every year, 6 to 12 percent of the carbon dioxide emission is from deforestation. And according to Michael Daley, associate professor of environmental science at Lasell College in Newton, Massachusetts, the number one problem caused by deforestation is the impact on the global carbon cycle. But, how what are trees doing? It is more like what trees aren't doing. 300 billion tons of carbon dioxide, 40 times the annual greenhouse gas emission is stored in trees. This is really good, trees are holding all the carbon dioxide and helping! But, when the trees are cut/burned down, all the carbon stored in those trees are released back into the atmosphere. So not only are they releasing more carbon, we are stopping them from storing it. This is a HUGE problem, and we aren't stopping it! All these people care about is profit.

What can we do to help?

We can fix this! It will take lots of work, but it is possible. But, if we don’t stop now, it might be too late though. NASA says that if deforestation continues at this rate, the world’s rainforest will be completely depleted in as little as 100 years. This meaning that that every rainforest will be gone, in this little amount of time. People believe that the solution to deforestation and the carbon emission is to just plant trees. This will help, but it can't turn back all of the damage we have done. Some people also say that if we spread more awareness of this problem, that could also help because more people would care and people would be willing to help end deforestation once and for all. So we need to help and spread awareness, and plant trees. We cannot lose our world so some people can make a profit!

Why haven't we stopped this already? Deforestation is a major problem in the world and it must be stopped. We are running out of time before we ruin the earth and we can't turn back what we did. We need to stop this before it is too late. We must all work together to save the world. Will you join, and help?

Sources:

● David, Laurie & Gordon, Cambria. “The Down to Earth Guide to Global Warming”. New York, New York: Orchard Books, September 2007.

● Bradford, Alina. Planet Earth, Life Science. Published March 4, 2015. Accessed March, 2017. http://www.livescience.com/27692-deforestation.html

Animal testing in your oWn backyard!

by Zoe Tyson, Hanna Tryloff and Hannah Schroeder

Imagine being born into the world, but your world is a dark room. Imagine being taken to labs, being worked on and you can't understand why. It's the only world you know. Dark. Scary. Cruel. This is the life of millions of animals. Dogs, cats, sheep, mice, rats, pigs, rabbits, chimpanzees, monkeys, hamsters, kittens, birds, and other animals are subjects to awful testing. They are tortured every day, and no one seems to care. Left alone in the dark, they can only hope someone will stand up for them.

Animal testing is any scientific experiment or test in which a live animal is forced to undergo something that is likely to cause them pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm. Some animals have permanent effects like blindness, cancer and mental issues that can cause them to hurt themselves. Can you imagine what that would be like? This is a very big problem because, first of all, it takes lots of money to conduct research like this with animals, much more than if we tested it on something else. Also, endangered(1) species have the risk of becoming extinct. What's more scary, is animals that aren't endangered may become endangered, and this would affect us because it would disrupt the food chain.

More and more animals are dying or on the verge of dying. If you don't feel bad yet take a look at some experiments that require the animal to die as part of the test. For example, regulatory tests for botox(2), vaccines(3) and some tests for chemical safety are essentially variations of the cruel lethal Dose 50 test in which 50% of the animals die or are tortured very close to death. Also, according to the Humane Society, registration of a single pesticide(4) requires more than 50 experiments and the use of as many as 12,000 animals. Albert Einstein once said, “Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison, by widening our circle of compassion and to embrace all living creatures!”

There is a group called ARME, they rescue beagles that were tested on, and find them safe homes. People have already made a group called PETA that's helping animal testing stop or be safer. I can always buy cruelty-free products. Some people are already speaking up about what's happening because some of us don't know about what's going on. I can make a donation to help the animals that are being affected. Most importantly we could protest against companies who do this to animals, like S.C Johnson's no tear shampoo.

It's surprising that some people agree with animal testing. Students at universities, The University Of Bristol, Cardiff University, and the University Of Edinburgh, for example, keep animals and are using them for testing. Scientists claim they do this to better understand the human body. But how well can that really work? Animals, cats for example, have extremely different bodies than people. This research can't be accurate, and results have proven to cause harm to people that are operated on by doctors who use the information found by animal testers. Plus, there are many alternatives(5) to animal testing. Scientists have created computerized patient drug databases and virtual drug trials, and computer models and simulations. There are stem cell and genetic testing methods. There is microdosing, which is when you give small amounts of medicines to test. And finally, there are non-invasive(6) techniques like MRIs(7) and CT(8) scans.

Now that you understand what animal testing is, how it affects us and what we can do about it, you also understand that many innocent animals are in danger, and we need to act quick. Think of a world without fluffy bunnies, cute puppies, mice or monkeys. You wouldn't have your faithful sidekick, (your dog) you wouldn't be able to go to the zoo to see the monkeys, and there would be no such thing as bunnies, cute fluffy furballs! I would hate that. But there is hope, and we can still save some of these animals, and you can too!

Glossary:

1 Endangered means that a specific species is at a serious risk of extinction (dying off)

2 Botox is a drug prepared from the bacterial toxin botulin, used medically to treat certain muscular conditions and cosmetically to remove wrinkles by temporarily paralyzing facial muscles.

3 A vaccine is a substance used to stimulate the production of antibodies and provide immunity against one or several diseases, prepared from the causative agent of a disease, its products, or a synthetic substitute, treated to act as an antigen without inducing the disease.

4 A pesticide is a substance used for destroying insects or other organisms harmful to cultivated plants or to animals

5 Alternative means available as another possibility.

6 Non-Invasive means a disease not tending to spread

7 An MRI is a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a technique that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues within your body. Most MRI machines are large, tube-shaped magnets. When you lie inside an MRI machine, the magnetic field temporarily realigns hydrogen atoms in your body.

8 A computed tomography (CT) scan uses X-rays to make detailed pictures of parts of your body and the structures inside your body. During the test, you will lie on a table that is attached to the CT scanner.

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Works Cited:

About The Team. 2017 beaglefreedomproject.org

Animal Testing 101. Humane Society Of The United States. 2017. Peta.org

Crueltyfreeinternational.org

Dosomething.org

Neavs.org

Statisticbrain.com

Water pollution

by Zachary, Olivia, Megan, Rusul, and Julie

Stop Deforestation: Replant, Replenish, and Restore the Earth!

Also: find out how you can help us plant more trees here at Sweet Home Middle School!

Deforestation Hurts

Enough School spirit?

by Dania Mehani

Do we really appreciate school spirit as much as we say we do?

by Maia Mancino

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