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for Grades 5-8

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For Grades 5-8 , week of Sep. 18, 2023

1. NO E-SMOKING

Colorado Representative Lauren Boebert was kicked out of a musical performance in her home state last week and accused of disruptive behavior, including vaping in the theater. While her campaign first denied that she had vaped in her seat, surveillance video proved the theater’s claim and she issued an apology statement. She was also accused of using her phone during the show and dancing and singing loudly in her seat. Boebert made headlines when she heckled President Joe Biden during the 2022 State of the Union. How does Boebert’s activity at the show reflect on her role as a US Representative, if at all? Write a short opinion article about your thoughts.

2. TROUBLE IN TEXAS

The impeachment trial for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has reached its conclusion. Thirty senators, most of whom are Republicans, sat through the two-week trial before spending about eight hours deliberating whether Paxton would be convicted on any of the sixteen articles of impeachment in the case. The charges include bribery, corruption, and unfitness for office, stemming from allegations that he protected a political donor who was under FBI investigation. Paxton was acquitted on all charges. Read more about the charges against Paxton in your newspaper or online. Then, write a short article summarizing the allegations and the verdict.

3. LEGAL DOCUMENTATION

The state of Kansas will no longer issue new birth certificates for transgender people to reflect their gender identities based on a decision from the state Department of Health and Environment that defines gender based on the sex assigned at birth. The state already also doesn’t change the gender indication on driver’s licenses for transgender people either. Write a paragraph explaining how having a gender marker on your identification that differs from how you present yourself could create challenging situations in everyday life, like traveling or interacting with police.

4. SERIOUS SPENDING

Conservative conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was ordered to pay $1.5 billion to the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which he claimed was a hoax on his shows, after lawsuits last year. Jones has yet to pay any of the settlement, but his personal spending has drawn attention. Because he’s filed for personal bankruptcy, Jones and his lawyers file monthly financial reports, including one showed his personal spending as more than $93,000 for the month of July. A new filing from lawyers representing the Sandy Hook families requested Jones to reduce his personal expenses or dismiss the bankruptcy case that is keeping him from having to pay the settlement. Read more about the lawsuit against Jones and his personal bankruptcy case online. Then, write an article summarizing the facts of the cases.

5. AID OVERAGE

A fake story was circulating recently that the US accidentally sent Ukraine $6 billion in military aid. The origin of the story was a Pentagon announcement that said the US overestimated the value of weapons sent to Ukraine by $6.2 billion, meaning more could be sent without asking Congress for more funding. This was widely misinterpreted, including on comedian Joe Rogan’s podcast, as the US “accidentally sending” $6 billion to Ukraine, but the money has not been sent to the country and is instead still available to allocated for future aid efforts. Look up other fake news stories that have circulated recently. (The Associated Press has a section dedicated to the topic.) Choose one to read about, then write a paragraph summarizing how the misinformation came about and what the facts of the story are. Share your findings with your class.