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For Grades 5-8 , week of Apr 08, 2024

1. Solar eclipse glasses

This Monday, much of the United States will be in the “path of totality” for a solar eclipse, meaning the moon will appear to completely cover the sun for a brief time. For many outside that path, they will still have the chance to see a partial solar eclipse. One of the most important things to know about a solar eclipse is the risk to your eyes from looking at one without special protective glasses. Although the sun’s rays won’t seem as bright during the eclipse, the moments before and after totality when the moon is moving in front of the sun are very dangerous to eye health, the same way staring directly at the sun on an average day is. Even looking at the sun through an unfiltered device like a camera or telescope is dangerous. A viewer should only remove their protective glasses when the moon completely blocks the sun—the brief moments of a total solar eclipse—and put them back on before the sun is visible again. Write your own article about the solar eclipse and why it’s important for people to use eye protection, using research to back up your claims.


To see either the women’s or men’s NCAA basketball semifinal and championship games in Cleveland, Ohio, it will cost fans close to $1,000 at a minimum. The all-session package for the women’s Final Four was $710, with a total price of $965 after service fees. They’re higher than the men’s Final Four all-session pass, which is $608 before taxes and fees—though the stadium sizes are much different with nearly 20,000 seats for the women’s and 70,000 for the men’s games. From 2019 to 2024, the average ticket price for the women’s Final Four increased almost 600 percent. This year is especially attention-grabbing as Iowa’s Caitlin Clark earned the record for most points in Division I basketball history and the University of South Carolina looks to finish out an undefeated season. With so much coverage about NCAA March Madness and the Final Four, what kind of story angles can you think of that would stand out or be interesting for readers? Write down your ideas and how you would report on them, like who you would interview and what you would ask.

3. No Labels party

The No Labels group announced last week that it will not put forth a candidate for the next presidential election this November. The group said it couldn’t persuade a politically moderate candidate to run. Many Democrats worried that a strong centerist candidate would pull votes from President Biden, particularly in battleground states, leaving a bigger opportunity for former President Trump to win the election. A third-party candidate has never won the presidency; 1992 is the last time a third-party candidate placed second in any state. Often, candidates from other parties enter the primaries but don’t make it far. Do you think there’s value in third party candidates continuing to make attempts for the presidency in the United States’ traditionally two-party system? Why or why not? Write an opinion article about your stance.


Thousands of young doctors are on strike in South Korea, causing waves of issues. Surgeries and treatments to be postponed or canceled and military doctors have been deployed to public health centers to help fill some of the gaps in patient care. The reason for the strike is a proposal by President Yoon Sue Yeol aimed at addressing the shortage of physicians in the country, where there are only 2.6 doctors per 1,000 people—compared to 3.6 in countries of similar economic status. His solution is to expand medical school admissions, but those who have walked out say that he should be focused on addressing the grueling shifts and low pay that all doctors must go through for their first five years. The president’s plan would also provide more funding for health care services, particularly in rural areas. Read more about the strike in your newspaper or online. Then, write an article that summarizes both sides of the issue.


Prior to the Donald Trump era and the rise of social media as a tool for spreading information—and, therefore, misinformation—legal cases brought for defamation were relatively uncommon, especially high-profile ones. Now, defamation has become one of the only ways to bring legal action against someone for spreading misinformation. Defamation is the spreading of any false information that harms the reputation of a person, business, or organization; two types of defamation are libel, which is written, and slander, which is spoken. One of the most recent examples is the case between Rudy Giuliani and two Georgia election workers who sued for defamation over his claims that the 2020 election was stolen. They were awarded $148,169,000 in December 2023. Look up other recent high-profile defamation cases and write a short summary about what you find.