Yak’s Corner
A print and online children’s news magazine published on 32 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 Nov. 07, 2011

1. Internet Crackdown

In the United States and other countries, the Internet has given people great freedom to find information, express their views and entertain themselves. But in the Asian nation of China, the popularity of the Internet has prompted the government to tighten controls of its use – and to limit entertainment in general. Late last month, communist leaders proposed new limits on media and Internet freedoms, including curbs on instant messaging, Internet blogs, social network websites and entertainment programming on TV. Satellite television stations were ordered to show no more than two 90-minute entertainment shows each per week, and to broadcast two hours of state-approved news every evening. Find stories in the newspaper or online that show all the ways people use the Internet, texting, Twitter, social websites, television and radio to gather information or communicate with others. Use what you find to write a short essay describing how life would change if the government restricted these types of communication.

Core/National Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts and information.

2. Discussion As a class, read an article about a debatable issue in the news. Then, on your own, do some research about the issue, including different points of view people have about it. Later, discuss the issue as a class. Express your own opinion and your reasons for it. Listen to the others’ reasoning. Re-evaluate your own point of the view (you may or may not have changed your stance, or your logic). Then write a paragraph describing how you feel about the issue and your reasoning for feeling that way. Core/National Standard: Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

3. DNA in Centenarians

Scientists are trying to figure out why some people live very long healthy lives while others get sick and die earlier. One way they are doing that is by looking at the DNA of 100 participating centenarians (people who are 100 years old or older). The researchers who best decipher the complete DNA codes through whole-genome sequencing will receive $10 million as part of The Archon Genomics X Prize competition. In the newspaper find another interesting topic scientists are researching. Or find an example online. Take notes and share the basic facts with your classmates in a short presentation.

Core/National Standard: Reading and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

4. Algebra in the News Use the news to create an algebraic problem to solve. For instance, let’s say you find a story about a school board voting on something. If there are 9 people voting, you could write that A + B = 9, if A is votes “for” and B is votes “against.” If you know that 5 people voted against a measure, you could figure out how many people voted for it by solving A + 5 = 9. Make your own word problem and write the solution. Core/National Standards: Solving multi-step word problems posed with whole numbers and having whole-number answers using the four operations, including problems in which remainders must be interpreted; representing these problems using equations with a letter standing for the unknown quantity.

5. Euro Zone

The world’s economy is interconnected. The economies of European countries in the Euro Zone are connected especially closely because they use the same type of currency, the Euro. Use today’s newspaper, the Internet and other resources to find out what is happening economically in Europe. Then answer the questions below. Be sure to cite your sources.

Core/National Standards: Reading closely to determine what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from a text.

A. What is the Euro Zone and how is it different from the European Union?
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B. Greece is having an especially rough time. What is happening there?
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C. How are other countries in the Euro Zone handling the Greek situation?
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D. What do leaders and citizens in Greece say about it?
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E. What other countries seem to be a having a tough time and why?
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