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For Grades 5-8 , week of Apr 01, 2024

1. NO REDRAWING FOR SOUTH CAROLINA

Despite its district maps being ruled as unconstitutional, the state of South Carolina will proceed with the 2024 congressional elections without redrawing. The case involves South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, currently held by Rep. Nancy Mace. A three-person panel of federal judges from South Carolina determined the district had to be redrawn after the map was found to have violated the Fourteenth Amendment and essentially excluded 30,000 Black voters from the district. The Supreme Court heard arguments about the case in October but has not issued a decision in the matter yet. As a result, the same three-judge panel said it would be impractical to make changes to the maps now when the deadline for some absentee ballots is as soon as late April. Look up how congressional district maps are drawn and how it can affect voters to be moved into other districts. Then, write a summary of what’s happening in South Carolina and how it could affect the upcoming election there.

2. HIJAB WEARING IN THE N.C.A.A.

Two women in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament are bringing visibility to hijab-wearing student athletes. Jannah Eissa, who plays for NC State, and Diaba Konate of UC Irvine aren’t the first young Muslim women to wear hijabs while playing in an NCAA tournament, but with record-breaking viewership for women’s college basketball, they are representing their culture for a wider audience. Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir was the first to wear a hijab in college basketball and helped overturn the International Basketball Federation’s ban that would prevent an athlete from wearing a religious head covering. Konate moved from France to the United States for college and currently, she wouldn’t be able to play in her home country—the French Federation of Basketball prohibits “any equipment with a religious or political connotation.” If you had the opportunity to interview Eissa and/or Konate for an article, write a list of questions you would ask them.

3. BALTIMORE BRIDGE CATASTROPHE

Last week, a container ship called the Dali lost power and hit the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, causing massive damage and killing several people. The boat was traveling slowly, but because of its enormous size, the force created when it collided with the bridge was similar to that of a rocket launch. One estimate put the force required to slow the fully loaded ship over 4 seconds at 115 million Newtons, which means that could be the level of force between the bridge and ship upon impact. By comparison, the thrust at launch to put the Saturn V rocket into the air for the Apollo moon missions was 35 million Newtons. Many experts agree that a pier or bridge would not be able to withstand that kind of force, regardless of its design or the materials used to create it. Instead, they recommend bridges be protected by installing structures around it that a ship would hit first, spreading out the force and slowing down a ship in a case like this. Read more about the bridge collapse in your newspaper or online. Then, write your own article that summarizes what we know so far about what happened in this incident.

4. KARDASHIAN SUED OVER TABLE CLAIM

Kim Kardashian is being sued for claiming some of her office furniture was designed by a famous artist. In a video about her Skkn by Kim company offices, Kardashian points out tables that she says are by famous minimalist artist Donald Judd. However, the nonprofit foundation that represents the late artist’s legacy has sued Kardashian for the claim, because they say Judd did not make the dining set as she says. The lawsuit states the actual artist is Clements Design and they closely resemble Judd’s work, so Clements is also being accused of trademark and copyright infringement for being too similar to Judd’s designs. The video in question was posted in 2022 and received more than 3.6 million views on YouTube, but the lawsuit was filed last week and the video was taken down as a result. Considering all of the parties in this story, write an outline of how you would report on this topic. Include who you would want to talk to, what questions you would ask them, and how you would approach writing about this.

5. TEXAS VOTER WINS APPEAL

After being sentenced to a five-year prison term for casting an illegal provisional ballot, Crystal Mason had her conviction overturned by the Texas Court of Appeals. To be convicted of illegal voting in Texas, prosecutors must prove that a person knew they were ineligible to vote and did it anyway, which is meant to protect people from being charged over an innocent mistake. Mason was on probation for a prior felony conviction when she cast a ballot in the 2016, not realizing that she was ineligible to vote because of it. In casting the ballot, Mason signed a statement saying she had “fully completed” her sentence if convicted of a felony; the judge in the appeals case ruled that it didn’t prove she knew that being on probation made her ineligible, as she had already served her entire sentence of incarceration. The ballot was never counted in the first place, because Mason was not a registered voter. Write an opinion article about whether you think this Texas law is appropriate and reasonable. Use research to support your argument.