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for Grades 9-12

Apr 08, 2024
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For Grades 9-12 , week of Apr 08, 2024

1. SPORTS BETTING ON THE RISE

Sports betting was illegal in the United States at the federal level until just 6 years ago, when the Supreme Court made a decision that turned the issue over to states to decide. Since then, a surge in legality across the US has resulted in a sharp increase in advertisements and messaging for sports betting that viewers are subject to during a game. According to new research by CBC’s Marketplace and researchers at Britain’s University of Bristol, more than 21 percent of a sports broadcast is made up of gambling messages—equivalent to 2.8 every minute. This includes betting company logos and betting odds appearing on screen in addition to advertisements for sports betting companies like FanDuel and DraftKings. It’s brought up questions about internet gambling and how the increase in popularity has affected people with gambling addictions or problem gambling habits, where gambling negatively affects a person’s life. Write an article about the people who could be affected, both positively and negatively, by the legalization and increase in sports betting, using research to back up your claims.

2. FLAWED LEGAL PREMISE

In former President Donald Trump’s upcoming courtroom battle about the classified documents found at his Mar-A-Lago estate, prosecutors have said the judge is relying on a “fundamentally flawed legal premise.” The judge asked the lawyers from both sides in the case to write jury instructions based on two different scenarios where she appeared to accept Trump’s lawyers’ argument that he could keep the documents based on the Presidential Records Act. The law allows former presidents to keep documents that are purely personal, and prosecutors say it has no relevance to the highly classified documents found at Trump’s Florida estate. The judge dismissed the defense’s motion to throw out the case based on that premise but said that her request for the draft instructions was valid to understand both sides’ positions and the questions for the jury, not a final decision on elements of the case. Using research from your newspaper or online, write a summary of this story and the decisions the judge has made in the case so far that have caused the prosecutors public frustration.

3. DEFAMATION FOR MISINFORMATION

Prior to the Donald Trump era and the rise of social media as a tool for spreading information—and, therefore, misinformation—legal cases brought for defamation were relatively uncommon, especially high-profile ones. Now, defamation has become one of the only tools to impose legal consequences for spreading falsehoods. Defamation is the spreading of any false information that harms the reputation of a person, business, or organization; two types of defamation are libel, which is written, and slander, which is spoken. One of the most recent examples is the case between Rudy Giuliani and two Georgia election workers who sued for defamation over his claims that the 2020 election was stolen. They were awarded $148,169,000 in December 2023. Others include the families of children killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting suing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for calling the massacre a hoax, former President Donald Trump being ordered to pay E. Jean Carroll $83 million, and Dominion Voting Systems winning their suit against Fox News, also for election conspiracy claims. Research more about what defamation means and how it’s used in the legal system. Then, write an article that summarizes some of these recent cases and the ways its being used in the fight against misinformation.

4. SOUL COLLECTOR

As Russia’s war in Ukraine continues into its second year, one man has assembled a group of body collectors to help bring the soldiers who are killed in battle home to their families. By most estimates, more than half a million people have been killed since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Now, 38-year-old Oleksii Yukov has made it his mission to bring everyone—Ukrainian or Russian—home to their loved ones for proper burials. He’s even lost an eye to the work after stepping on a landmine, but still he continues to comb through rubble and debris left by the war. “I understand that I do not have enough life to finish this work of searching for the dead,” he says of the seemingly unending task. But for the families whose loved ones Oleskii has brought home, he’s made all the difference. If you could interview Oleskii for an article, news broadcast, or podcast, what questions would you ask him? Write an introduction about him and at least ten interview questions.

5. DARK ENERGY DISCOVERY

Astronomers research concepts that most of us can’t wrap our minds around, from black holes and light years to the concept of dark energy: the force that’s speeding up the expansion of the universe. For decades, astronomers have operated under the assumption that dark energy is a constant force throughout the history of the universe. This meant that dark energy would eventually push all the stars and galaxies far apart, essentially ending all life, light, and energy generated by their proximity to one another. However, results from a recent study that experts describe as the biggest and most precise survey of the history of the universe shows that may not be the case. Instead of being a constant, the new research shows that dark energy may change, getting stronger or weaker at different points in time, which changes everything scientists thought about the future of the universe. Consider the challenges of reporting on a story like this—getting the most accurate information from experts on difficult topics and having to communicate that information in a way your audience understands. Write a paragraph about how you would approach that kind of story to make sure you’re sharing accurate information in a way that makes sense to the audience.