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for Grades 5-8

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For Grades 5-8 , week of May 20, 2024

1. MEDIA LAW VETOED

Salome Zourabichvil, the president of Georgia, vetoed a bill that sparked protests in the country that straddles Eastern Europe and West Asia. The bill would have required media outlets and other non-government organizations to register as “pursuing the interest of a foreign power” if they receive more than 20 percent of their funding from abroad; a similar bill was introduced in Russia in 2012 and used as a tactic to silence media that opposes the country’s restrictive government. Georgia is also looking to join the European Union and critics of the bill felt it was against the EU’s values and could affect their bid for membership. The country’s ruling party, Georgian Dream, has a strong enough majority to override the president’s veto. Proponents of the bill say it will promote transparency, but journalists there say they are already subject to monitoring requirements and say it would only restrict the press before this fall’s elections. Read more about the bill in your newspaper or online. Then, write a summary that explains what it would do and why people are for or against it.

2. SKIN CARE CONCERNS

A new bill in California would ban companies from selling anti-aging skincare products to kids under 13 years old. The bill is meant to protect preteens from potential harms of using products that are meant for much older skin. A 10-year-old girl shared to the legislators considering the bill that she developed a rash from using products meant for anti-wrinkling and brightening. Some products can make skin more susceptible to environmental damage. Experts say the best anti-aging tactic for young people is to use sunscreen to protect the skin from sun damage that leads to wrinkles later in life. Do you think a bill like this would help protect kids from hurting their skin with the wrong products? What would you do differently to help? Write at least a paragraph about how you would address this issue to help kids.

3. CHANGING CLIMATE POLICY

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has turned the clock back on renewable energy in Florida. While the state is uniquely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, the governor recently signed a bill that halted state grant programs that promote renewable energy and energy conservation and bans the construction of wind turbines off the coast of the state. Additionally, the new bill removes requirements that Florida lawmakers consider climate change when drafting energy-related policies, purchase fuel-efficient vehicles, and use climate-friendly products. As climate change drives rising sea levels that threaten Florida’s coastal cities and creates catastrophic weather events like hurricanes, many insurance companies have pulled out of Florida, hurting homeowners and the real estate market in the state. Write an article that summarizes the new changes to Florida laws and the effects climate change has had on Florida.

4. PICTURE IT

While emojis are a fun addition to written messages, they can often be misunderstood or misinterpreted by the reader. People from different generations often interpret emojis in different ways, which can lead to confusion. Additionally, some emojis have different meanings in different cultures. (For example: The “OK” hand sign, as we know it in the US, is a rude gesture in Brazil, a sign for money in Japan, and a symbol of evil in the Middle East.) But in some ways, it can actually be a benefit—in a workplace survey, more than two-thirds of people said they felt more bonded with a coworker who understands their emoji use. In a global study, 89 percent of people surveyed said that emojis helped bridge language barriers. Write a summary of this story and include how you would suggest addressing confusion related to interpreting emojis. Use research to back up your suggestions.

5. CONGRESS TAKES ON TICKET COMPANIES

The House of Representatives have passed a bill that could help ticket-buyers in the US. The Transparency in Charges for Key Events Ticketing (TICKET) Act will require sellers to list the total cost of a ticket, including fees, and disclose whether they have the ticket in their possession. Sellers would also be required to provide refunds for cancelled events. The bill now heads to the Senate, where a related bill, also called the TICKET Act, is being discussed. The attention to deceptive ticket prices started when fans sued Ticketmaster after the platform failed to account for the massive surge in demand for tickets. Read more about this bill in your newspaper or online. Then, write an article that summarizes the TICKET Act and how it would affect consumers.