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For Grades 5-8 , week of July 17, 2023


The USDA recently shared research that shows humans gave the Covid-19 virus, including the Alpha, Gamma, Delta, and Omicron variants, to white-tailed deer and it spread widely among them. There’s also evidence the virus was passed back to humans from them. The presence of Covid-19 in deer raises concerns that the virus could continue to spread and mutate among them into new variants that could continue to affect humans. Brainstorm ways that could be a problem for public health, like how it could affect vaccine efficacy. Then, share your ideas with your classmates.


A new bill in the Senate would declassify government documents about UFOs and other extraterrestrial matters. The idea is to put to rest conspiracy theories about what the government knows about UFOs; the bill has bipartisan support in the Senate and is likely to pass in the House as well. The Senate’s bill would allow 300 days for the government to organize documents on UFOs and present them to a nine-person review board who would protect sensitive collection methods while releasing information to the public. Write an article explaining why people have so much interest in UFOs and understanding the unknown.


A handwritten document found in singer Aretha Franklin’s couch after her death in 2018 has been determined to be a valid will. Family members looked for records in the singer’s home but instead of typed documents, found just handwritten notes. Still, a Michigan jury found the 2014 note to be a valid legal document that will be upheld as the singer’s last wishes. Read more about the differences between the two wills online, then summarize the facts in a short article.


Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin gave an emotional speech while presenting an award to the Bills’ training staff for saving his life when his heart stopped after an in-game hit. The training staff was awarded the Pat Tillman Award for Service at the annual ESPY Awards. (ESPY is an acronym for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly.) Because of the staff’s quick action at that fateful game, Hamlin had a better chance to recover and has now even been cleared to play football again. Read the coverage of Hamlin’s injury online, then write an article summarizing how he recovered and the award he presented at the ESPYs.


HBO earned an impressive 127 nominations for the 2023 Emmy Awards, including 27 for the final season of “Succession.” However, the September ceremony may be delayed because of the current writers’ and actors’ strike against studios and streaming services like Disney, Universal, Netflix, and Amazon. More than 170,000 workers are trying to negotiate their contracts to keep jobs from being replaced with AI technology, as well as higher pay for background actors and stand-ins. Read more about the strike in your newspaper or online. Then, write an opinion piece on how the union and studios should reach an agreement.