More main idea practice

Practice figuring out the main idea of each passage below, following the three steps:

1) Topic 2) Information 3) Put it all together

main idea handout & graphic organizer

from “Split Screen View”
If you’ve ever tried to swat a fly, you know it’s hard to hit. That’s because a fly can
detect moving objects extremely well. Flies view the world through compound eyes—
eyes with multiple lenses. Each lens faces a different direction and views a small part of a
scene. The parts add up to a complete picture in the insect’s brain, which tells a fly to fly
away fast!
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From “What are Bacteria?”
Bacteria are tiny, one-celled organisms. Thousands of them could fit on the period at the
end of this sentence. They’re in the air, in dirt, in saltwater and freshwater, and on every
living thing. Some can live in ice. Others can survive in hot springs. So no matter how
much scrubbing you do, you’ll still be surrounded by bacteria. Hey—that’s no excuse for
avoiding showers, though.
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From “Technology of Food and the Battle of the Bulge”
Scientists at snack food companies are combating obesity by changing the food
themselves. This focus on food and science has created a new career. It’s called
culinology. The word is a combination of the word culinary, which means something
related to cooking, and the word technology. The culinologit combines the art of a chef
with the technical know-how of a scientist. Students studying this new field take classes
in science and chemistry. They also take cooking classes. “They will be the ones to
come up with the creative products and flavors that consumers will love,” says Johnny
McGregor of Clemson University. “They will get new products to stores quicker than
ever before.”
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From “Do You Feel Lucky?”
In many lotteries, winners can choose how to receive their money. The two main options
are a lump sum payment or a portion paid every year. Most winners choose a lump sum.
All the taxes on the money are paid at one time. The amount of the taxes depends on
the amount of the winnings. Suppose you won $10 million in a lottery. After taxes are
subtracted, you could have about $5 million left. Only half of the $10 million, you say?
Five million is still a lot of money! Other winners choose to have payments spread out
over several years. Unlike the first option, this one allows winners to avoid the temptation
of spending too much money at once. It makes the prize money more like a yearly salary.

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From “Ali Defies Critics, Challenges Berbick for Title”
Ali was one of the most unusual boxers ever to come on the scene. He moved and talked
like no other fighter ever had. He dominated the sport for years and seemed to be fearless.
Many disliked his stand against military service in the Vietnam War, but few would
dispute the courage it took to stick to his beliefs. Ali’s refusal to fight in the war cost
him his title and his right to box. But that didn’t weaken his principles. Ali accepted the
consequences, though he thought they were unfair. When he was allowed to fight again,
he didn’t demand his title back. He just got into the ring and won it back, like a true
champion. After historic losses to Frazier, Norton, and Spinks, Ali came back to beat
each of them in rematches. That is how a great fighter ignores the odds and wins three
world championships.

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From “No League of Their Own”
In the 1940s, as more and more young men were drafted to fight in World War II, team
owners became concerned that Major League Baseball parks would go bankrupt for
lack of players. In response, a group of businessmen founded the All-American Girl Professional Baseball League. But just as in the men’s teams (until Jackie Robinson
broke the color barrier in 1947), only whites were allowed to play. Black men had formed
the Negro Leagues so they could play. Three talented black women also found a home
there.

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