For Grades 9-12 THE WEEK OF Mar. 02, 2020

1. Super Tuesday

Tuesday this week is not just any Tuesday. It is Super Tuesday, the biggest day in the primary election schedule picking candidates for president. Fourteen states and one U.S. territory will vote on Super Tuesday, and the results will go a long way to determine who will be the Democratic nominee to oppose President Trump in the 2020 presidential election. (Republicans also will be voting but Trump has no real opposition.) States will be voting from coast to coast, and include some of the biggest in the nation. Among the top prizes for candidates are California, Texas, Virginia, Colorado, North Carolina and Oklahoma. Voters in Super Tuesday states will award 1,357 of the 3,979 pledged delegates who will attend the Democratic nominating convention in July. Much has been written about the importance of Super Tuesday in the race to determine who will be the Democratic nominee for president. Following this week’s vote, read stories about how the outcome has affected the race. Use what you read to write a political column analyzing the impact of the results, which candidates benefited most, and which may need to decide whether to continue.

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

2. A Space Pioneer

In the history of America’s space program, astronauts and flight crews have always gotten the most attention. But behind the scenes, mathematicians played a crucial role, making the calculations that guided space missions from launch to splashdown. Katherine Johnson was one of the best mathematicians the space program ever had, but it wasn’t until late in life that she got the recognition she deserved. Before computers and calculators, she performed complex calculations that put astronauts into orbit and eventually onto the moon. Johnson, who died last week at the age of 101, didn’t get national recognition until President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the country’s highest civilian honor — in 2015. She then became famous as one of the African American women featured in the “Hidden Figures” book and movie about the space program. Katherine Johnson was a pioneer and trailblazer for African American women in America’s space program. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about an African American woman who is breaking new ground in another field. Use what you read to write a short profile of this woman, highlighting her key achievements, how they could inspire others and how she could be a role model for girls and young women of all races.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

3. Triple Triumph

In high school sports, winning a state championship is a huge achievement. So how huge is it when three brothers win state championships on the same day? That’s what happened in the state of Illinois at this year’s state wrestling championships. Bilal, Sincere and Nasir Bailey of T.F. North High School outside the city of Chicago made history at the state Class 2A wrestling championships by winning state titles in three different weight divisions. Bilal Bailey, a senior, won the 160-pound division, Sincere Bailey, a junior, captured the title at 145 pounds, and Nasir Bailey, a freshman, won the 120-pound championship. They are the first set of brothers to win Class 2A championships in state wrestling history. Brothers or siblings often help each other succeed by pushing or supporting each other in special ways. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about siblings who are helping other succeed in some way. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend telling how sibling support can be important to success. Include examples of how support from a brother or sister has helped you succeed at something. Share with the class and discuss.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarizing points of agreement and disagreement.

4. Musical Operation

Doctors face many challenges when performing surgery, but none as unusual as the one faced by surgeons in the European city of London, England recently. A woman asked that she be allowed to play the violin during brain surgery to ensure she would not lose the use of her hands and the ability to play. Dogmar Turner, 53, a management consultant and orchestra member, asked surgeons to let her play so that they could monitor her hand movement and coordination during surgery. Video footage of the operation show the surgeons mapping her brain, opening her skull and getting her to play the violin as they removed a brain tumor. The video shows Turner playing scales and other musical passages with her eyes closed. “This was the first time I've had a patient play an instrument,” one surgeon said. Turner thanked the surgeons for preserving her ability to play music. “The violin is my passion,” she told Sky News. “The thought of losing my ability to play was heartbreaking.” Medical breakthroughs or achievement are often in the news. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about one such achievement. Use what you read and additional research to brainstorm an idea for a TV special telling the story of the breakthrough, what training and research were needed to achieve it and how it will affect people in the future. Write an outline for your special, including images you would use. Pick a celebrity to be the narrator for your special and explain your choice.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

5. Snowy Airlift

What do you do if you run a ski resort and the snow melts off the slopes? In the European nation of France, a resort lined up a helicopter to airlift 55 tons of snow to slopes that had gone bare. Officials said the airlift was necessary because unseasonably high temperatures had melted snow on the ground and made it impossible to use snowmaking machines, which require lower temperatures. Resort officials said the alternative would have been to close the resort and put 50-80 employees out of work, UPI News reported. Businesses face many challenges to succeed or stay open. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a business facing a challenge in your community or state. Design a PowerPoint presentation telling what challenge this business faces, how it came about and what can be done about it. Use images from the newspaper or Internet to illustrate your PowerPoint and present it to the class.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic.