Yak’s Corner
A print and online children’s news magazine published once each month from September through May for Michigan kids ages 6-13. Each 12-page issue is filled with educational and entertaining stories about places, people and events in Michigan and around the world. The Yak’s Corner online page also includes “Yaktivities” for each issue, a Yak Art Gallery, student writing and more.

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Michigan K.I.D.S. is the Detroit Newspapers in Education (DNIE) non-profit for the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News that provides digital e-Editions of the Free Press and The News, related online and print teaching resources, and other services to schools across Michigan.

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Lessons for

Grades 1-4
Grades 9-12

Past lessons
for Grades 5-8

June 20, 2016
June 13, 2016
June 06, 2016
May 30, 2016
May 23, 2016
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Apr 25, 2016
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Sep. 28, 2015
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Sep. 07, 2015

For Grades 5-8 , week of June 20, 2016

1. College Football Lawsuits

As many as 50 class-action lawsuits are being filed by former college football players contesting how the National Collegiate Athletic Association, some football conferences, and individual colleges and universities have handled concussions. The first six lawsuits were filed by former players for Georgia, Auburn, Vanderbilt, Oregon, Utah and Penn State, seeking cash damages for lingering brain injuries and ailments ranging from loss of memory and cognitive function to dementia. Prior litigation led to a ruling that the NCAA create funds for concussion research and for testing and monitoring former players for brain trauma, but not all the players who are suing have agreed. The dangers of concussions have gotten more and more attention in recent years. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about the effects of concussions on athletes in football, soccer and other sports. Use what you read to write a short editorial giving your opinion on what steps should be taken next, and why.

Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

2. Giraffe Population Down 40%

The world’s giraffe population has fallen 40 percent in just 15 years, a new study reports — and that makes giraffes more endangered than elephants. Unlike elephants, which are threatened by a worldwide demand for the ivory in their tusks, giraffes are at risk because of local African communities that hunt them as “bush meat” to be used as food. Researchers who worked on the study hope their report published in the science journal Nature Communications “will draw attention to the need for conservation” and protection of giraffes. All over the world people are calling attention to the need to protect endangered species. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about an endangered species that needs protection. Use what you read to brainstorm an idea for a public service TV ad to call attention to the situation. Write an outline for your ad, including images you would use. Then write the opening scene.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

3. High Fat & Sleepiness

A high-fat diet may lead to daytime sleepiness, a new study suggests. Researchers report in the medical journal Nutrients that people who eat the highest amount of high-fat foods are 78 percent more likely to suffer daytime sleepiness or the nighttime sleep disruption known as sleep apnea. “Hormones and diet work together to create these effects,” the researchers noted, along with the daily “circadian rhythm” of the way human bodies behave. “The key message here is to eat healthy.” Medical studies often are in the news because they affect so many people. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a medical study that would affect students your age or families. Use what you read to write an advice column for the newspaper, detailing key points families should know about the study — and why. Discuss columns as a class.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

4. Kids’ Science Ideas

The White House is seeking innovative science ideas from the nation’s young people. President Obama has invited children of all ages to submit ideas they think could help shape the future of science, discovery and exploration. The president launched this “Kids Science Advisors” campaign in response to a suggestion from a 9-year-old at the White House Science Fair in April. Up to now, science advice for the president has come mostly from the adult Council of Advisers on Science and Technology. The more ideas the better, the President said, because science is “very important to the progress of our nation … [and will] carry America’s spirit of innovation through the 21st century and beyond.” Science and technology will be very important to future careers and the overall health of the nation. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a new idea or innovation in science or technology. Use what your read to write a paragraph explaining why this idea or innovation is important, why it is an advance over what was known or done earlier and whom it will affect most.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

5. Public Pool Risks

Swimming is a very healthy form of exercise, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning kids and families that public pools, hot tubs and water playgrounds often can be contaminated. The CDC reviewed inspections of nearly 50,000 facilities and found at least one violation in almost 80 percent of them. Of those, one in eight resulted in immediate closure (and one in five for “kiddie” wading pools). The most common violations reported were lack of safety equipment, an inadequate amount of disinfectant in the water and pool areas, and improperly controlled pH levels (which is critical for killing germs). Thousands of public pools and water facilities are forced to close each year to correct serious health and safety violations, the CDC said. Health and safety issues are often in the news. In the newspaper or online find and closely read a story about a government agency addressing a health issue affecting students, schools or families. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, giving your view on the way things are being handled.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.