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For Grades K-4 , week of Nov. 20, 2023

1. NEW MAPS FOR NORTH DAKOTA

With the 2024 election coming up in one year, North Dakota will have to redraw its voting district maps. A judge ruled that the maps the state redrew in 2021 minimize the voting impact of two Native American tribes in the state. The two tribes, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians and the Spirit Lake Tribe, proposed their own plan for a single voting district that includes their two reservations. Voting districts are important because each district gets a representative in the House of Representatives. The tribes successfully argued that the districts they were in would overwhelm their votes, so they didn’t have as fair an opportunity to choose their representative. Look up what voting district you live in and who your representative is. Write a short bio about them: what’s their name, where are they from, what political party do they belong to, and how long have they been in Congress?

2. NEW HAMPSHIRE SAYS NO

The state of New Hampshire has been the site of the first presidential primary election since 1920. This year, the Democratic National Committee wanted to change the primary election calendar to make South Carolina the first state. However, New Hampshire announced last week that it will hold its presidential primary on January 23, keeping it the first one after the Iowa Caucus. Officials in the state point to a state law that requires it to hold the first primary election in the country each cycle, plus the Republican calendar still puts New Hampshire first after Iowa. Because it’s violating the Democratic National Committee’s calendar, President Biden did not put his name on the ballot in the state for his reelection campaign. Look up the difference between a caucus, like Iowa has, and a primary election, like New Hampshire and South Carolina. Write a short summary of the differences and note what your state has.

3. SALTY STRUGGLES

A drought in the Midwest this summer caused problems for people whose drinking water comes from the Mississippi River. Because there was less rain, some of the thousands of tributaries, or small rivers that feed into a larger one, dried up. This let saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico take over part of the river. People in Louisiana, whose tap water comes from the Mississippi River, ended up taking salty showers and dealing with salty drinking water for months. Look at a map of the United States and identify all the states that border the Mississippi River. Then, write a short paragraph about ways the river is important to the lives of people in those states.

4. MAGIC DIVE

A teenage girl has set a Guinness World Record, combining two of her favorite things: scuba diving and magic tricks. The 13-year-old did 38 tricks in 3 minutes while under water, breaking the previous record of 20 tricks. She’s gone on more than thirty ocean dives so far and hopes to inspire people to take up scuba diving and keep the ocean clean and safe for all its plant and animal inhabitants. What are some of your favorite hobbies or activities? Look up if there are any world records associated with them and write down what you find. Share your discoveries with your class!

5. BLESSED PETS

Fewer babies are being born in Japan every year. Because of this, some people there are instead pouring love into their pets and treating them like kids. This includes a traditional ceremony that’s usually reserved for kids reaching the age of seven, five, or three years old. They’re dressed in traditional kimonos and brought to a Shinto shrine for the mid-November ceremony. Many people are now celebrating the ceremony with their pets instead, dressing their dogs and cats of those ages in kimonos and taking them to a holy place called Dog-Cat Shrine, or Inuneko Jinja, to be blessed. Write a short summary of this story and draw a picture to go along with it!