Yak’s Corner
A print and online children’s news magazine published on 30 Thursdays from September through May for Michigan kids ages 6-13. Each eight-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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For Grades 9-12 , week of Sep. 11, 2011

1. The Cost of Weather

Weather disasters carry a big price tag. This year alone, a record 10 weather-related disasters in the United States have caused at least $1 billion in damage each. According to an Associated Press article, damages from Hurricane Irene alone could reach more than $7 billion. Early flooding in the Midwestern states caused $2 billion in damages. Later flooding of the Mississippi River resulted in damages of nearly $4 billion. Tornadoes have wreaked havoc, causing $22.5 billion in damages. Heat waves and blizzards caused damages totaling $7 billion. The human cost of these and other events also has been high. More than 300 people have lost their lives because of the weather this year. Find a newspaper article about severe weather and its impact on communities. Discuss as a class the repercussions of the storms.

Learning Standards: Describing the damage resulting from and the social impact of severe weather; engaging peers in constructive conversations about topics of interest or importance.

2. It's a Mystery to Me

Agatha Christie, a famous mystery writer, was born on September 15, in 1890. She lived to be 86, and during her lifetime she wrote more than 70 novels. She is one of the best-selling authors of all time. In honor of Ms. Christie, find a picture in today's newspaper that interests you. Use the picture as a place for a mystery story and write the opening paragraph. Then design a "book cover" for your story. Be sure to give it a title.

Learning Standards: Using the English language effectively; using aspects of the craft of the illustrator.

3. Remembering Flight 93

Mark Bingham. Todd Beamer. Jeremy Glick. Tom Burnett. They were four outstanding athletes, all standing over 6 feet, 2 inches tall and ready to roll. When they realized United Airlines Flight 93 had been hijacked, many passengers - including Glick, Burnett and Bingham - began using cell phones and Airphones to call their loved ones. They learned about the attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York City. The four men knew they needed to intervene immediately. They put together a plan that would use their strength and skills to overcome and take down the hijackers. "Let's roll," they said before rushing down the aisle of the plane. During the scuffle to regain control of the Boeing 757, it crashed into a field near Stonycreek Township in Pennsylvania. All those on board, including the four hijackers, were killed. Find newspaper stories and photos that commemorate the events of September 11. In groups of four, talk about the stories and photos and use them to create a 9/11 memorial Power Points. Share Power Points with the class.

Learning Standards: Producing a variety of written, spoken, and multimedia works; engaging peers in constructive conversations about topics of interest or importance.

4. Get Moving!

The annual High School Athletics Participation Survey has shown that more high school students are playing sports. This trend of growing participation has been going on for the past 22 years, according to an article in U.S. News magazine. "More than 7.6 million students played sports during the 2010-11 school year, an increase of nearly 40,000 students compared to the previous year," the article said. An estimated 55.5 percent of all high school students play a sport. The most common sport is basketball, and football has the most participants. Girls lacrosse is the fastest growing sport, and girls now account for 41 percent of all student athletes. Search the newspaper sports section for a story about a sport you would like to learn. Write an essay on how playing this sport could improve your health, fitness and/or self-esteem.

Learning Standard: Explaining the physical, academic, mental and social benefits of physical activity and the relationship between a sedentary lifestyle and chronic disease; writing fluently for multiple purposes.

5. Who Sees the Pattern?

In 2008 the Atlantic Coast Conference chose Mark Herzlich, a Boston College linebacker, as defensive player of the year. The next year a diagnosis of bone cancer derailed his football career during his junior year. He bounced back in 2010 and had 65 tackles, forced two fumbles and intercepted four passes for the Boston College Eagles, according to an Associated Press article. Now, the New York Giants are giving him a chance to play in the NFL. Find a newspaper feature article. Identify its organizational pattern (cause/effect, problem/solution, compare/contrast) and summarize it.

Learning Standards: Understanding the organizational patterns in informational texts; reading fluently for multiple purposes; responding to a variety of written, visual and electronic texts.