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For Grades 5-8 , week of July 31, 2023


The global food supply is still being affected by Russia’s war on Ukraine. Millions of people rely on grains exported from Ukraine, especially in Africa; last week, Russia pulled out of a deal that would have allowed Ukraine to bypass a blockade to ship grain by sea in order to keep food prices around the globe stable. At his country’s summit for African countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to ship free grain to Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Eritrea, Mali, Somalia, and Zimbabwe in the next four months, blaming the grain deal’s failure on Western countries like the United States. Read more about the grain deal in your newspaper or online. Then, write an article about how the Russian invasion of Ukraine has affected the global food supply.


Retired Air Force Major David Grusch sparked widespread interest last week when he testified before Congress that the government has evidence of “unidentified aerial phenomena” (UAPs), the technical term for what many call UFOs. Grusch said that while he worked for the government agency that operates spy satellites, he was asked by the head of a task force to identify highly classified programs related to UAPs. In doing so, he says, he discovered a decades-long program aimed at retrieving possible alien spacecraft that had crashed into Earth and reverse engineering them. He claimed the government has evidence of alien life and technology that it’s been hiding from the public. The Pentagon has since denied the allegations of a cover-up, and Grusch did not present any evidence of his claims. Write a list of questions you would ask if you had the opportunity to interview Grusch for an article or news show.


The Biden administration announced new regulations for the Department of Labor over the ongoing heat wave in the US, which poses a risk for construction and agriculture workers. The directive included hazard alerts for people in those industries, along with extra funding for water storage in states affected by drought. The alerts notify employers and employees about how to stay safe in the extreme heat, and come as at least 40 percent of the country is under heat advisories. Look up the precautions recommended for those who have to work outside during the heat wave. Then, write an article or create an informational graphic to convey that information.


The Department of Labor recently reported that there are at least 4,000 children working illegally in the United States—which is a 44 percent increase from last year and a 70 percent increase since 2018. At least 83 minors were affected by violations found at sixteen McDonald’s locations in Louisiana and Texas, where 14- and 15-year-olds were allowed to work longer than permitted by labor laws. Among those most affected are migrant children who have come from Latin America without their parents. Read more about this story online or in your newspaper. Then write an article summarizing the facts and what actions, if any, the government has requested to be taken next.


A federal judge struck down the Biden administration’s policy on who can apply for asylum in the United States, which was challenged by immigrant advocacy groups for being too strict. The administration called it crucial to stopping unlawful entries into the US from the Mexico border by disqualifying people from applying for asylum if they come into the country without an appointment at an official port of entry or proving they looked for legal protections in another country while fleeing their homeland. The challenge to the law said that foreigners who reach the US are entitled to request asylum without consideration of how they got into the country. Write an opinion article about your take on the asylum policy and whether it’s fair to migrants.