For Grades 9-12 , week of June 29, 2020

1. TikTok Teens

Did TikTok teens and K-Pop fans prank the President of the United States? They claimed to have done just that after a campaign rally President Trump staged in Tulsa, Oklahoma drew thousands fewer people than his campaign had predicted. TikTok users and fans of Korean pop music said they had used TikTok and other social media sites to request thousands of tickets they never planned to use for the rally, fooling the President’s team into thinking far more people were coming than actually showed up. Users said fans registered under false names and telephone numbers and then deleted the requests after a day to avoid detection. Campaign officials had said before the event that they had gotten “millions of requests” for tickets, only to discover that just 6,500 people showed up at Tulsa’s 19,000 seat arena. They said other factors such as fear of the coronavirus may have played a bigger role in depressing attendance. Regardless of whether TikTok actually caused that shortfall, the episode demonstrated yet again how social media is evolving as a communications tool. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about teens or adults using social media in creative ways to call attention to something or achieve a goal. Use what you read to write an opinion column analyzing the positive or negative effects of such efforts.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

2. Youth Being Heard

From environmentalist Greta Thunberg to the Parkland High School shooting survivors, young people are making their voices heard on important issues around the world. In the city of Nashville, Tennessee, this month, they did so by organizing a peaceful Black Lives Matter march that drew 10,000 teen and young adult protesters — one of the largest social justice protests ever in the city. More remarkably, the march was put together in just a week and went off without a hint of trouble. The organizers were six teen women ages 14 to 16 who called themselves Teens for Equality, the New York Times newspaper reported. They had never met in person when they started organizing the march on Twitter and social media. They didn’t know how many people would show up and were “astonished” at the large turnout of teens and young adults. “As teens, we feel like we cannot make a difference in this world,” said 15-year-old organizer Zee Thomas, “but we must.” The Tennessee teens who organized the Black Lives Matter march in the city of Nashville made an impact on their community. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about other teens having an impact on their communities. Use what you read to design the home page for an informational website showcasing “Teens Making a Difference.” Decide what categories to feature on the home page, and pick an image to illustrate each. Then write headlines and text blocks to explain each category.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic. they need.

3. Snag for Wind Power

Many people want to help the environment, but what happens when environmental goals conflict? In the state of Ohio, such a conflict may derail a proposal to build a large wind farm to generate electricity. The proposed wind farm would be built over the waters of Lake Erie and reduce Ohio’s reliance on fossil fuels such as gas and oil, which contribute to global warming. But it is being opposed by wildlife groups who feel it could be a hazard to migrating birds ranging from ducks to tiny warblers. The project, called Icebreaker Wind, had initially gotten approval from the Ohio Power Siting Board, but the board recently surprised everyone by requesting that the developer conduct radar studies of bird traffic over the site near the city of Cleveland. More significantly, the board said the windmills for the project could not operate at night for fear migrating birds would collide with their blades. Environmental issues often can have an effect on public or private projects planned for communities. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a situation in which this is happening. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor giving your view on issues being raised, and how they could be resolved.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

4. A Mercury Museum

Music fans in the United States and around the world know Freddie Mercury as the lead singer of Queen and subject of the 2018 movie “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Few know that he didn’t grow up in England, where Queen got its start. He actually was born on the island of Zanzibar, off the coast of the nation of Tanzania in eastern Africa. Now, to tell that part of Mercury’s story, Zanzibar has established the world’s first Freddie Mercury Museum in the Stone Town neighborhood where he spent his earliest years. Housed in Mercury’s childhood home, the museum features a piano he once played, childhood photos and a cache of materials chronicling his career, CNN News reports. The museum also offers tours of sites in Stone Town that Mercury would have frequented as a child. Mercury, who died in 1991 at age 45, spent much of his childhood in Zanzibar, until his family moved to England when he was a teenager. Museums often are created to celebrate the lives of famous people. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about a famous person (alive or dead) whose life and achievements deserve attention in a museum. Use what read to write a personal column detailing why you think this person deserves a museum, what the museum would contain and why people would find it interesting.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

5. What a Race!

With the coronavirus epidemic shutting down much of America this spring, many have felt life has been turned upside-down. Nowhere has that been felt more than in the world of horse racing. The Belmont Stakes race, which usually is the last race of the three races in the Triple Crown competition, went first this year, and instead of being the longest of the three races it was the shortest. Still, the race for three-year-olds went on at Belmont Park in New York State, even though there were no spectators in the stands and all the jockey riders wore face masks. Winner was Tiz the Law, who came from behind in the stretch run of the mile-and-one-eighth contest to win by four lengths. Tiz the Law is the first New York-bred horse to win the New York-based Belmont since a horse named Forester won in 1882. The remaining races for the Triple Crown — the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness — will be run this fall. The Belmont Stakes was one of the few sports events not to be canceled this summer. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about other sporting events that are taking place as the world emerges from the shutdown of the coronavirus. Use what you read to discuss changes being made in the sports world due to the virus. Talk with family or friends about how entertaining you think sports can be without live audiences.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.