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For Grades 5-8 , week of June 26, 2023


After a several-day search of the Atlantic Ocean, the US Coast Guard announced that the submersible carrying five people to the wreckage of the Titanic broke apart in the water. Search crews found parts of the sub’s hull, nose cone, and more, implying that the pressure from diving that deep into the water may have caused the vessel to explode. In your newspaper or online, read accounts of the search in the days leading up to the findings. Write a timeline of events and note how the facts of the story evolved over time.


Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to censure California Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat, for spearheading the investigation into former President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. He was the chair of the Intel Committee at the time that he led the first impeachment effort against Trump. Schiff is currently running for one of California’s Senate seats and called the accusations that he misled the American public “false and defamatory.” He will now be referred to the House Ethics Committee for a probe into his actions. Schiff is one of 25 members of the House of Representatives to be censured. Research a few of the others, including recent member Rep. Paul Gosar who was censured in 2021. Compare the actions of a few of the censured representatives and write a short summary of how they could affect the American people.


Recent data shows scores in reading and math have declined dramatically. Among 13-year-olds, reading scores are at their lowest since 2004 and for math, their lowest since 1990. The likely culprit: Covid-19. Middle schoolers are still making up for lapses in learning during the 2019-2020 school year that was interrupted by the global pandemic shutdowns. While vulnerable populations saw greater decreases, there were notable declines regardless of race, gender, and location. Write out a plan you would suggest to help bring testing scores up and make up for lost learning during the pandemic era.


Justice Samuel Alito is the latest Supreme Court justice facing scrutiny for undisclosed trips he took. Previously, Justice Clarence Thomas was under fire for secret luxury trips paid for by billionaire Harlan Crow. Now, Alito is in a similar situation for a 2008 trip with Paul Singer, a hedge fund billionaire who has appeared in front of the Supreme Court on numerous occasions. Alito did not disclose the trip, as he was required to do by federal law. Write an opinion article discussing your opinion on justices accepting gifts of this nature and how it could affect trust in the country’s highest court.


After hundreds of Pakistani, Syrian, Palestinian, and Egyptian migrants were shipwrecked in the Mediterranean Sea, a $175 million yacht was able to rescue 100 of the 750 people thought to have been in the water. Greek authorities repeatedly declined to help the overcrowded boat until it was too late. Read in your newspaper or online about the migrant boat and write an article comparing the response to that for the missing submersible near the Titanic shipwreck.