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for Grades 5-8

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For Grades 5-8 , week of Jan. 08, 2024

1. PRESIDENT STEPS DOWN

Harvard’s first Black president, Claudine Gay, has resigned amid controversy over her comments during the Congressional investigation into antisemitism on the Ivy League campus. She’s also now facing accusations of plagiarism for her scholastic works. The accusation, shared in the Washington Free Beacon—a conservative online journal—notes 47 examples of plagiarism, while a Harvard investigation noted inadequate citations in her dissertation and at least two published scholarly articles. The complaints in question don’t relate to the big picture of her research, but instead technical language that is similar in structure and word choice to other published papers. Read more about the accusations against Gay and how she and Harvard have responded to the allegations. Then, write an article summarizing the currently known facts.

2. RUMOR MILL

Princess of Pop Britney Spears addressed rumors that she’s releasing a new album soon, clarifying that she will never return to the music industry. The artist hasn’t released a new album since “Glory” in 2016, though she says she’s ghostwritten for other artists and will continue to do so. She previously said that under the 13-year conservatorship, in which her father had control of her life and finances, he took more than $36 million that she made from her music. Write an article recapping the history of Spears’ conservatorship and how it may have affected her view of the music industry.

3. MINIMUM WAGE BUMP

Almost ten million workers will start getting better paychecks this year as 22 states raised the minimum wage rate starting on January 1, and three additional states will raise their minimum wages later in the year. On top of the statewide increases, another 38 cities and counties are also increasing their minimum wages. California, New York, and Washington increased their baseline pay to $16 an hour. The federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 an hour, which it’s been since 2009; inflation has increased 40 percent since then. The increases will affect women and people of color more than others—about 60 percent of workers who will benefit from the higher rates are women, while 11 percent are Black and 40 percent are Hispanic. Think about how the minimum wage rate affects different aspects of the economy, especially with states having such a wide variety of minimum wages over the federally mandated minimum. Look up the minimum wage in your state, including whether it’s changing or not in 2024, and write a short article explaining how that affects people in the state.

4. THE LAST QUEEN

The only queen in the world has announced she will give up her throne this year. Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II is the longest currently serving monarch in Europe, having taken the throne in 1972, but the 83-year-old decided the time has come for her to step down. She will hand the crown to her son, Crown Prince Frederik, who will rule as King of Denmark and head of state for Denmark, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands. Queen Margrethe was thirteen years old when Danish law changed to allow a woman to take the throne, and she went on to become one of the world’s only female reigning monarchs—alongside Queen Elizabeth—for many years. Read about Queen Margrethe’s and Prince Frederik’s history as monarchs. Then, write a brief summary of her time as queen and what the country can expect from their future king.

5. SPORTS DEAL

The NCAA and ESPN reached a new media rights deal less than a year after the NCAA women’s basketball, softball, and volleyball championships drew record-breaking TV ratings. Under the new agreement, ESPN will cover all 40 championships, more than half of which are for women’s sports, for the next eight years. The $115 million annual fee was almost three times the current contract, which is evidence of the rising popularity of women’s college sports in particular. How could the performance of women’s sports over the past year have affected the new ESPN-NCAA deal? Why do you think women’s sports haven’t seen the same popularity as men’s until recently—and why has that started to change? Write an article giving your opinion on the topic.