Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.


New way to roll: Motorized balance boards are glitzy, costly and a target of concerns

Try to spot a photo or item about a different gift that you'd like to get or give? Tell why.
Look for other safety-related coverage and tell whether it applies you or anyone you know.
Now read anything about the holiday season in your area and summarize what you learn.

Is a self-balancing electric scooter on your gift list? "They are this year's must-have holiday item, coveted by children and adults alike," The New York Times reports. The gee-whiz recreational novelty with flashy lights is a motorized board that’s also called a Swagway, hoverboard or gyroboard transporter. Prices start around $300, although buyers of the cheapest kinds say they don't last long.

The most popular type, able to reach 12 miles per hour, is a two-wheel model that's navigated by shifting body weight. The OneWheel brand, with a top speed of 15 mph and $1,500 cost, has a huge motorized wheel in the middle. Other brands include Swagway ($400 and up), Hovertrax ($1,500) and IO Hawk ($1,800; see video below.)

Justin Bieber, Lily Allen, Jamie Foxx, John Legend, basketball pro J.R. Smith and rapper Wiz Khalifa are among stars shown riding the two-wheelers that run on batteries. But the technology is so new that there are questions about safety and street use. Few stores sell them because of lawsuit concerns, so most are sold online and promoted with celebrity videos on social media. New York City bans them as unregistered motor vehicles. Riders on streets, sidewalks or parks there can be fined up to $500. London also bars their use on public streets or roads. In California, on the other hand, a law taking effect Jan. 1 allow electric board riders in bike lanes and paths if they're at least 15 years old.

Merchant says: "We're selling a few a day. We thought our main market would be kids, but we've got teens, people in the 40s, even 50s. It's definitely a hot item for Christmas." -- Andreas Rodriguez, Miami Hoverboard Rental

Teen says: "They are very cool. I know a lot of kids want them for Christmas." – Charlie Johnson, 16, of Mill Valley, Calif.

Rapper says: "I stand for our generation, and our generation is gonna be riding hoverboards." – Wiz Khalifa, stopped by police while riding in Los Angeles International Airport

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for, Copyright 2015
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