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Main Idea

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  1. Main Idea

  2. Predict the definition of the term main idea. Model Clearly, the term main idea means ____________ because ____________. Main Idea

  3. A main idea is most important, or central thought, for an entire paragraph. Main Idea

  4. For each of the following passages, determine the main idea. Then, in a reflective sentences, justify your answer with evidence. Utilize the following model in order to compose a vivid response. Model 1. (Letter choice). Clearly, (insert the correct main idea) proves to be the passages main idea because the author states (insert your evidence here). Main Idea

  5. Determine the main idea of the following passage: 1. A penny for your thoughts? If it’s a 1943 copper penny, it could be worth as much as fifty thousand dollars. In 1943, most pennies were made out of steel since copper was needed for World War II, so the 1943 copper penny is ultra-rare. Another rarity is the 1955 double die penny. These pennies were mistakenly double stamped, so they have overlapping dates and letters. If it’s uncirculated, it’d easily fetch $25,000 at an auction. Now, that’s a pretty penny. A. The effects of inflation upon the United States economy B. The development of American currency C. The evolution of the penny throughout American history D. The worth of specific types of collector pennies Main Idea Review

  6. Determine the main idea of the following passage: 2. Before you put on that Angry Birds costume and exhaust yourself roving from door to door pandering for candy, take a minute to reflect on the tradition in which you are taking part. Halloween is believed to have come from an ancient Celtic festival dating back some 2,000 years. November 1st was the Celtic New Year and marked the end of summer to the Celts, so they celebrated on its eve by wearing costumes made of animal skins and dancing around bon fires. Over the next two millennia, this primitive celebration grew to be candy fueled costume ball that we know today. A. The proliferation of Angry Birds costumes B. The development of Halloween throughout history C. The morality of Halloween D. The origin of Halloween Main Idea Review

  7. Determine the main idea of the following passage: 3. When one hears the term “reality” applied to a television show, one might expect that the events portrayed occurred naturally or, at the least, were not scripted, but this is not always the case. Many reality shows occur in unreal environments, like rented mansions occupied by film crews. Such living environments do not reflect what most people understand to be “reality.” Worse, there have been accusations that events not captured on film were later restaged by producers. Worse still, some involved in the production of “reality” television claim that the participants were urged to act out story lines premeditated by producers. With such accusations floating around, it’s no wonder many people take reality TV to be about as real as the sitcom. A. The authenticity of reality television B. The popularity of reality television C. The morality of The Jersey Shore D. The origins of reality television Main Idea Review

  8. Determine the main idea of the following passage: 4. It is estimated that over twenty million pounds of candy corn are sold in the US each year. Brach’s, the top manufacturer, sells enough candy corn to circle the earth 4.25 times if each piece were laid end to end. That’s a lot of candy corn, but that’s nothing compared to Tootsie Roll production. Over 64 million Tootsie Rolls are produced every day! But even Tootsie Rolls have got nothing on the candy industry’s staple product, chocolate. Confectioners manufacture over twenty billion pounds of chocolate in the United States each year. Now that’s a mouthful! A. The amount of candy manufactured by several American companies B. The most popular American candy C. The history of the Brach's candy company D. The origins of Tootsie Rolls Main Idea Review

  9. Determine the main idea of the following passage: 5. Screech! When a driver pushes on the brake pedal, it initiates a process that causes the vehicle to stop in motion. You literally trust automotive braking systems with your life every time you get into a vehicle or cross at a busy intersection, but how does this process work? It begins when the pedal is pushed. At this moment brake fluid is released into the area where the braking mechanisms are. As the fluid collects, this creates a leverage, which causes a friction to be applied. If the braking system is functioning properly, this friction will create a force that will cause the wheels to stop and allow you to reach your destination safely. A. The history of automotive breaks B. The most popular American cars C. The operation of modern braking systems D. The braking system of a semi-truck Main Idea Review

  10. Determine the main idea of the following passage: 6. There are many types of lethal venom in the animal kingdom, but perhaps no stranger carrier than the platypus. The platypus is one of few venomous mammals. Males carry a venom cocktail in their ankle spurs that incapacitates victims with excruciating pain. Stranger still, the platypus is the only mammal that uses electroreception. What this means is that the platypus uses its bill to sense the electricity produced by the muscular movements of its prey. The platypus neither sees, hears, nor smells its prey while hunting but, rather, pursues it through electroreception. Perhaps most odd, the platypus is the only mammal that lays eggs rather than giving birth to live young. The platypus is an odd creature indeed. A. The habitat of the platypus B. The eccentricity of the platypus C. The development of the platypus D. The hunting habits of a platypus Main Idea Review

  11. Determine the main idea of the following passage: 7. Yellowstone National Park is mainly located in Wyoming, although three percent is located in the state of Montana. The Continental Divide of North America runs diagonally through the southwestern part of the park. The park sits on the Yellowstone Plateau, which is an average elevation of 8,000 feet above sea level. This plateau is bounded on nearly all sides by mountain ranges. There are 290 waterfalls that are at least fifteen feet in the park, the highest being the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River, which falls 308 feet. A. Plateaus located in Yellowstone National Park B. Waterfalls located in Yellowstone National Park C. A synopsis of Yellowstone National Park D. Animal species residing in Yellowstone National Park Main Idea Review

  12. Determine the main idea of the following passage: 8. Being a clown isn’t all fun and games. Rodeo clowns expose themselves to great danger every time they perform. When cowboys dismount or are bucked off of bulls at riding competitions, rodeo clowns jump in front of the bulls and motion wildly to get their attention. In this way rodeo clowns provide an alternate target, and in doing so protect the rider. So you see, sometimes clowning around can be serious business. A. A history of clowns B. An overview of a clown's routine C. An analysis of a person's fear of clowns D. The serious nature of clown performances Main Idea Review

  13. Determine the main idea of the following passage: 9. The wolverine, a medium sized mammal weighing no more than 50 lbs., has earned its reputation for ferocity with its documented ability to kill prey many times its size. The reason why wolverines have so many conflicts with other animals (including wolves, cougars, and even bears) is probably because of the wolverine’s preferred hunting style. Rather than chasing down or tricking its prey like most hunters, the wolverine prefers to take its meals directly from other hunters. So while a polar bear or a lone wolf might be enjoying a hard earned carcass, a hungry wolverine may try to take his lunch. This keeps the wolverine in plenty of fights. A. An analysis of the X-Men B. The wolverine's habitat C. An analysis of wolverine ferocity D. A summary of a wolverine battle with a bear Main Idea Review

  14. Determine the main idea of the following passage: 10. Sometime in December of 1891, Dr. James Naismith, a gym teacher at the YMCA College in Springfield, Massachusetts was trying to keep his gym class active on a rainy day. He wanted a vigorous game that would keep his students moving. After rejecting a few other ideas because they were too rough or not suited for the walled-in gym, Naismith wrote out the rules for a game with peach baskets fixed to ten-foot elevated tracks. Naismith’s students played against one another, passing the ball around and shooting it into the peach baskets. Dribbling wasn’t a part of the original game, and it took a while to realize that the game would run more smoothly if the bottoms of the baskets were removed, but this game grew to be one of the most popular sports in America today. Can you guess which one? A. A description of the weather when basketball was invented B. A synopsis of Naismith's original ideas concerning basketball C. A tribute to James Naismith D. The origin of basketball Main Idea Review

  15. Determine the main idea of the following passage: 11. What’s that humming sound? Could it be hummingbird, the only bird capable of backward flight? Hummingbirds have many unique flight habits that distinguish them from other birds. Most birds flap their wings up and down to fly, but the hummingbird moves its wings forward and backward very rapidly in a figure eight pattern. This allows the hummingbird to hover in position, fly upside down, and move about very rapidly. And while other birds have to push off with their feet to begin flying, and work their ways up to their top speeds, the hummingbird can both start flying at maximum speed and stop flying instantaneously. After you’ve seen a hummingbird in flight, it’s unlikely that you’ll mistake them for another bird. A. A description of different bird species flight mechanisms B. A synopsis of the hummingbird's habitat C. An analysis of the hummingbird's flight mechanism D. An evaluation of hummingbird diet Main Idea Review

  16. Determine the main idea of the following passage: 12. Remember, if something is worth doing, it is worth doing correctly. That said, the key to making perfect cookies is merely a matter of preparation and precision. To begin with, read your cookie recipe thoroughly before baking. Make sure that you have all of the necessary ingredients before you continue. Next, use good tools and utensils. Sometimes, the craftsperson is only as good as his or her tools. By using good tools you can minimize mistakes and improve the quality of your product. Lastly, you should use top quality ingredients. Unlike in the fairytales, you can’t turn lead into gold. If you use poor quality materials, you’ll create an inferior product. So, to make perfect cookies you should use the highest quality materials available. Bon apatite! A. People should strive to be perfect B. A synopsis of the requirements to create perfect cookies C. An analysis of proper cookie cooking temperature D. An evaluation of proper cooking tools Main Idea Review

  17. Determine the main idea of the following passage: 13. The term “machine gun” is commonly applied to any gun that is designed to fire repeatedly and in rapid succession for as long as the trigger is held down. During the course of warfare, the trigger of some machine guns may be held down almost continuously for hours to create suppressant fire (rounds fired not necessarily to kill an enemy, but to prevent them from attacking). All of this firing can generate a lot of heat, which may cause the weapon to overheat and malfunction. But this situation has been addressed in a number of ways. For one, practically all machine guns fire from an open bolt, which allows air to cool the breach between bursts of fire. Additionally, some machine guns have removable barrels, which allow hot barrels to be replaced. And some advanced machine guns even have sophisticated barrel cooling systems, which maintain a functional heat level within the weapon. As you might have concluded, a lot of brain power has gone into keeping those guns firing. A. A description of machine gun invention B. The scientific explanation explicating why machine guns overheat C. An analysis of several military strategies D. The engineering of a machine gun Main Idea Review

  18. Determine the main idea of the following passage: 14. What do you get when you cross a robot and an astronaut? A Robonaut! Robonauts are robot helpers designed to work side-by-side with astronauts. Work on the first Robonaut began in 1997, and by 2002 Robonaut B was revealed to the public. Robonaut B may have featured interchangeable lower bodies, like four-wheel mode or hydraulic legs, but scientists and engineers continued to improve Robonaut. In February of 2010, Robonaut 2 was released to the public. Robonaut 2 moved four times faster than the first Robonaut. An advanced version of Robonaut 2 was finally tested in outer space in 2011. Robonaut functioned exactly as designed. A. The mechanics of Robonauts B. The reasoning behind creating Robonauts C. The specific jobs of Robonauts D. An overview of Robonauts Main Idea Review

  19. Determine the main idea of the following passage: 15. Automation is the use of machines to reduce the need for human labor. In other words automation is when jobs done by people become jobs done by robots. Automation can be a good thing. Because of automation, clothing, cars, and other manufactured products are available at good prices and in large supply. But automation can also be a bad thing. Because of automation, there are over 700,000 robots in America alone that do jobs once performed by humans. The way of automation may not be best for humanity, but it is the course we are taking. A. The Pros and Cons of Automation B. The benefits of Automation C. The disadvantages of Automation D. An mechanic analysis of Automation Main Idea Review

  20. Determine the main idea of the following passage: 16. From airplanes to forklifts, hydraulic power is the strength behind many amazing technologies that affect our daily lives, even the breaks on your school bus, but how do they work? First, fluid is rapidly released into a chamber through a valve. As the fluid collect, the valve is slammed shut which causes a pressure spike. Because the chamber is sealed, the pressure has nowhere to go. The hydraulic mechanism channels the pressure and provides great power. And that’s how, with the help of hydraulics, Grandma can stop a car with one foot. A. A description of airplane technology B. A synopsis of forklift technology C. Instructions for break maintenance D. The mechanics of breaks Main Idea Review

  21. Determine the main idea of the following passage: 17. Many people use the words cyborg and android interchangeably when, in fact, they have different meanings. Both terms refer to beings powered by robotics, but an android is powered entirely by robots. Though androids are completely mechanical, they are designed to look like humans. They may have synthetic skin, hair, and other features, but no human organs. On the other hand, cyborgs are part human and part machine. They may have robotic hands, legs, or eyes, but all cyborgs have surgically implanted technologies that enhance their abilities. A. The strengths of cyborgs B. A comparison and contrast of cyborgs and androids C. The weaknesses of androids D. The argument that cyborgs prove more powerful than androids. Main Idea Review

  22. Determine the main idea of the following passage: 18. It is widely acknowledged fact that machines are stronger than people, but is it possible for them to become smarter than us too? Some scientists fear that it is, or so says the theory of technological singularity. In a nut shell, the theory of technological singularity says that when a computer becomes capable of improving its own capabilities, even in just the slightest way, it will go into an infinite loop, getting progressively smarter, which would inevitably lead to machines becoming smarter than people, or so the theory goes. Such gains in available intelligence might lead to huge improvements in science and medicine. Diseases could be cured and so forth. On the other hand, it could lead to the total domination of mankind by robots, which would be bad. I, for one, welcome our new computer overlords. A. An analysis of the pros and cons of artificial intelligence B. A synopsis of artificial intelligence C. Propaganda concerning artificial intelligence D. The origin of computing technology Main Idea Review

  23. Determine the main idea of the following passage: 19. Fellow Members of the Springfield Robotics Club: It has come to my attention that the workshop has been left an absolute mess on at least two separate occasions. Remember, that this is a shared space, so we must clean up behind ourselves after every meeting. It is in the spirit of keeping our club meeting space that we establish this rule: when you take a tool off the rack, put it back. If everyone puts their tools back immediately after they are done using them, there will be minimal mess to clean up, and we won’t get kicked out of the spot. So, if you like having a meeting place, put your tools back. A. A request for members to replace their tools B. A synopsis of the Robotics Club's duties C. The machination of robots D. The origins of robotic technology Main Idea Review

  24. Determine the main idea of the following passage: 20. It’s hard to imagine what things were like before there was money, but such a time did exist. During these times people exchanged goods using the barter system. The word barter means to trade. People using the barter system traded things instead of buying and selling them. So if you were a rice farmer, you would trade your rice with many people to get all of the things that you wanted or needed. Unfortunately, the people from whom you needed things might not want your rice. Isn’t it nice to just go to the store and buy candy instead of having to trade rice for it? A. The evolution of currency B. Present bartering economies C. A summary of bartering D. The exchange rate from rice to candy Main Idea Review

  25. For each of the following informational texts, determine the passage's main idea. Analyze the text; then, present your assertion in a well developed paragraph utilizing the CERCA method. Model Clearly, in (insert the article title) by (insert the author), the article's main idea proves to be (note the article's main idea). For example, the author states (record an example of evidence). Moreover, obviously, if this evidence remains valid, then (restate the main idea).While some may disagree, overwhelmingly, (restate the main idea). Main Idea Writing Activity I

  26. 1. “Pro-Russia Militants Expand Control in Several Ukrainian Cities” by Sarah Eberspacher In an eerily similar scenario to last month's Crimea takeover, masked, pro-Russia militants expanded their control in several cities across Ukraine today. Gunmen took over police headquarters in Donetsk, a small northern city, and other militants attacked nearby government buildings. While the scope of today's action was much smaller than in Crimea, it involved simultaneous attacks and modern weapons, which officials say suggests a coordinated operation. In Slavyansk, a city about 50 miles north of Donetsk, pro-Russia gunmen took over the police station and began constructing barricades around the city. Acting Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deschytsia called Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, demanding an end to the "provocative activity." NATO estimates 40,000 Russian troops are stationed on their side of the border, near the affected Ukrainian cities. Moscow maintains its stance that those forces are merely conducting military exercises. Main Idea Writing Activity I

  27. 2. “NSA and White House Deny Prior Heartbleed Intelligence” by Sarah Eberspacher Both the National Security Agency and White House issued statements denying prior knowledge of online security bug Heartbleed, following a Bloomberg report on Friday claiming otherwise. "(The) NSA was not aware of the recently identified vulnerability in OpenSSL, the so-called Heartbleed vulnerability, until it was made public in a private-sector cyber security report," Vanee Vines, an NSA spokeswoman, wrote in an email. That statement contradicts two anonymous sources, who told Bloomberg that the NSA not only knew about Heartbleed for at least the last two years, but that it had been exploiting the security breach to gather intelligence. Researchers discovered the bug last week, causing a panic as servers and websites scrambled to secure information. Aligning with the NSA, White House national security spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden also issued a statement denying early U.S. government intelligence on the bug, calling reports to the contrary "wrong." "This administration takes seriously its responsibility to help maintain an open, interoperable, secure and reliable internet," Hayden said. "If the federal government, including the intelligence community, had discovered this vulnerability prior to last week, it would have been disclosed to the community responsible for OpenSSL." Main Idea Writing Activity I

  28. 2. “'Affluenza' Teen's Parents Will Not Have to Pay the Full Cost of His Rehab Treatment” by Sarah Eberspacher Fred and Tonya Couch, whose son, Ethan, caused a 2013 Texas crash that killed four people, will not pay the full cost of Couch's court-ordered rehabilitation treatment. Couch, who turned 17 on Friday, began treatment at the North Texas State Hospital in February. The state-owned, in-patient mental health facility's rehab costs $715 per day, but the court ordered Couch's parents to pay just $1,170 per month — less than two days' worth of treatment — based on a "sliding scale." The case garnered nation-wide attention due largely to Couch's defense. Driving under the influence of alcohol and Valium, Couch veered off the road on June 15, smashing into a stalled SUV's driver and three other people at the scene. His attorneys argued the coddled teen suffered from "affluenza," and thus was not fully able to comprehend the repercussions of his reckless behavior. State District Judge Jean Boyd sentenced Couch to 10 years of probation and an in-patient rehabilitation program. "As a taxpayer, I probably feel exactly like you do," Greg Coontz, a civil attorney for relatives of one of the four killed, told the Star-Telegram. "It seems like maybe that ought to be a little different and should be addressed if there's the ability to pay. Most time, I don't know that there is. Clearly, sometimes that ability is there." Main Idea Writing Activity I

  29. 3. “Brazilian police evict 5,000 squatters” by Sarah Eberspacher Ahead of this summer's World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, officials have been trying to stamp out host city Rio de Janeiro's many favelas. More than 20 percent of the city's 6.3 million residents live in these slums, occupying abandoned land and buildings, often answering to armed drug gangs that operate under their own set of economic and organizational structures. On Friday, police got the go-ahead to clear one such favela, housing 5,000 squatters in a series of abandoned buildings. The eviction did not go smoothly. People began protesting, throwing rocks at police and shouting, "We want houses!" The officers responded with rubber bullets, tear gas and grenades. Below, images of an eviction in a city that still has many left to carry out. Main Idea Writing Activity I

  30. 4. “The NSA Reportedly Knew about the Heartbleed Bug for 2 Years — And Exploited It” by Jordan Valinsky Two anonymous sources tell Bloomberg that the National Security Agency knew about the dangerous Heartbleed bug for at least two years and regularly exploited it to gather intelligence for their own needs. Heartbleed is one of the biggest internet security flaws of all time, affecting as many as two-thirds of the world's servers and leaving many websites once considered secure open to data breaches by hackers. Researchers discovered the bug earlier this week, which prompted a mass panic and calls for everyone to change their passwords. The NSA supposedly used the bug to obtain passwords and other data that are the "building blocks of the sophisticated hacking operations at the core of its mission," according to Bloomberg. Main Idea Writing Activity I

  31. 5. Samantha Power Urges U.N. to Fight Texting while Driving by Jordan Valinsky Apparently being saddled with a number of geopolitical crises wasn't enough for the United Nations; now the global body wants to solve our texting and driving problem, too. The U.N. General Assembly held a session yesterday calling for global laws to fight the dangerous behavior. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power is cosponsoring a "comprehensive resolution on road safety." More than one million people die every year in motor accidents, most of them caused by "driver behavior" — like texting. "Too many drivers simply don't understand the danger of taking their eyes, even briefly, from the road. And while other behaviors are episodic, the use of hand-held devices is chronic. No one should die — or kill — because of a text message," she said. It's unclear how a "push for such bans will fare," argues The Weekly Standard, since driving is chaotic in less developed countries. But, perhaps a law like Maryland's, in which strict penalties are enforced for those found causing an accident while texting and driving, could be a template. Main Idea Writing Activity I

  32. 6. “The Government is Seizing Taxpayers' Refunds to Cover Old Family Debts” by Catherine Garcia Don't start dreaming about what you'll spend your IRS refund on just yet; several taxpayers are saying that their refunds are being seized by the government to cover the old debts of relatives. The Washington Post shares the story of Mary Grice, a Maryland resident who had both her state and federal refunds intercepted due to an alleged debt from dozens of years ago. Her father died in 1960, and Mary's mother and four siblings received survivor benefits from Social Security to help pay for everyday living expenses. Social Security now says that in 1977, it overpaid a member of the Grice family (they don't know who), and Mary was tapped to pay the price. "It was a shock," she said. "What incenses me is the way they went about this. They gave me no notice, they can't prove I received any overpayment, and they use intimidation tactics, threatening to report this to the credit bureaus." How did this happen? In 2011, a sentence was added to the farm bill that lifted a 10-year statute of limitations on the government collecting old debts, and the hunt for money owed began in earnest. Grice was finally able to get close to $1,500 of her refund back, after The Post inquired about her case. Although the Treasury said she owned $2,996, they initially held onto her combined refunds of $4,462. Main Idea Writing Activity I

  33. 7. “Health Officials Concerned that Deadly Bird Flu Could Soon Pass Easily between Humans” by Catherine Garcia All it would take is five gene mutations of the H5N1 avian influenza virus to potentially create havoc on a global scale. Dutch researchers are reporting that if those mutations happen, the virus would become transmissible via coughing or sneezing, just like regular flu viruses. Currently, most cases of H5N1 arise after a person has had contact with sick or dead infected poultry. To give an idea of how deadly the avian flu virus is, scientists at one point stopped conducting research on H5N1 over concerns that in the wrong hands it could be used as a biological weapon by terrorists. Of the 650 people infected since H5N1 was first identified in Hong Kong 17 years ago, 60 percent died because of the disease. Health officials have feared that H5N1 would evolve, but they are not sure if the virus is likely to mutate outside of a laboratory. "The biggest unknown is whether the viruses are likely to gain the critical mutations naturally," says Richard Webby, a virologist at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. "If they can appear readily, then it is very worrisome. If not, then there's still a major hurdle that these viruses have to get over to become human-transmissible." Main Idea Writing Activity I

  34. 9. “A Smelly California Sriracha Factory Has Been Declared a Public Nuisance” by Jordan Valinsky The smell emanating from a Sriracha hot sauce factory in Irwindale, Calif., is becoming too much for its neighbors to take in, and the town's city council is taking action. Declaring the plant a public nuisance, the council gave The Huy Fong Foods factory, which churns out 100 million pounds of the spicy sauce annually, three months to mitigate the smell — or else. Since at least the fall of last year, residents have complained to Irwindale that the factory's odors burn their eyes and cause coughing fits throughout the day. The city even won a lawsuit against the plant in November, forcing it to "partially cease operations," but it looks like the council wants more done. The unanimous vote last night was the equivalent of an ultimatum, giving the factory 90 days to reduce the odor before officials order mandatory changes. An attorney for the company said the city was "flexing its muscle and thumbing Huy Fong in the eye." Nevertheless, they are working with air quality experts to have the problem solved by June 1 — so no need to start stockpiling the sauce just yet. Main Idea Writing Activity I

  35. 10. “White House Women Earn More Than Men” by Jon Terbush There was a big to-do earlier this week when The New York Times reported that despite President Obama's condemnation of the gender wage gap, the White House had its own such problem. According to the Times, female staffers on average make 88 cents for every dollar male staffers do. Yet a subsequent investigation by Susan Crabtree at The Washington Examiner determined that almost half of the 150 highest-paid White House staffers were women. Moreover, those senior women made on average about $8,000 more than men in the same tier. The nuance in the White House numbers perfectly encapsulates why a conversation about the gender pay gap should not be reduced to single, quotable percentages. As our John Aziz explained this week, that removes important context and allows for significant misinformation. Main Idea Writing Activity I