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for Grades 9-12

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For Grades 9-12 , week of Oct. 24, 2022

1. More Change in Britain

Politics in the United States can be pretty unpredictable, but in the European nation of Great Britain it is even wilder. Unlike the U.S., where the president serves a set four-year term, the prime minister of Britain can step down or be removed from office at any time. Last week, Prime Minister Liz Truss resigned from office after a series of missteps that left her administration in disarray. Her resignation after just 45 days in office gives her the unflattering distinction of having had the shortest term as prime minister in the 300-year history of prime ministers in the nation. Now Britain’s Conservative Party is faced with the task of choosing a third prime minister in just eight-weeks’ time. The decision could come as early as this week. Truss was the third woman to serve as Britain’s prime minister, following the legendary Margaret Thatcher (1979–1990) and Theresa May (2016–2019). Prior to her resignation, the shortest term of a prime minister occurred 195 years ago, when George Canning died after just 119 days in office. The United States has no closer ally in the world than Great Britain, so any change in leadership is of great importance to the U.S. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about how American leaders are reacting to the change in leadership in Britain. Use what you read to write a short editorial outlining what you think should be America’s biggest concerns.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

2. Asian American Hero

Starting when she was 14, Anna May Wong appeared in more than 60 films as one of America’s first Asian American movie stars. Now the groundbreaking actress is getting wide attention again. She has been selected by the U.S Mint as the first Asian American to appear on a U.S. coin. Wong, who died in 1961 at the age of 56, is now featured on U.S. quarters as part of the Mint’s American Women Quarters Program. The Mint will issue about 300-million quarters honoring Wong, who was a trailblazing actress but also experienced stereotyping and discrimination as an Asian American in the predominantly White film industry of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. While she was one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood, Wong was prohibited from playing romantic roles due to laws and rules preventing people from different races from kissing on screen, the New York Times newspaper reported. Wong is the fifth American woman honored this year in the Women Quarters Program. The first was African American poet Maya Angelou and the second was Astronaut Sally Ride. Asians are America’s fastest growing ethnic group, and Asian Americans are making great contributions in more and more career fields. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about two Asian Americans who are making contributions and finding success. Use what you read to write a paragraph or short paper comparing their skills, their journeys to success and any obstacles they faced. Share with the class.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking.

3. A Star’s Special Team

Quarterback Jalen Hurts is making history in the National Football League this season, leading the Philadelphia Eagles to a 6-0 start and the best record in the league. He also is making history off the field, working with an all-female management team to guide his investments, marketing and business decisions. Leading his team is NFL agent Nicole Lynn who signed on with Hurts right after he played his last college game for the University of Oklahoma in January 2020. Since then his team has expanded to include four additional women who handle everything from media relations to marketing to brand and client services. “I’ve put a lot of trust and faith in a female-driven team,” he told Sports Illustrated magazine. “The agent world in the NFL, and all sports, is very male-dominated, but Nicole was really on top of her stuff. She was prepared. She knew what she was talking about. She was hungry. And she was determined. And I feel that determination like that never rests.” Both Jalen Hurts and his agent Nicole Lynn feel that determination is a hugely important character trait. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about other people for whom determination has played a key role in their success. Write the word DETERMINATION down the side of a sheet of paper. Use each letter to begin a phrase or sentence telling how determination has played a role in the success of the person you read about — and for you.

Common Core State Standards: Organizing data using lists, concrete objects, pictures, tallies, tables, charts, diagrams and graphs; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

4. Grizzly Attack

College athletes know all about teamwork and sticking up for each other during “do or die” moments in games and matches. Two wrestlers from a small college in the state of Wyoming faced a real-life do-or-die moment, and the way they helped each other allowed them to survive a fierce attack by a grizzly bear. Brady Lowry and Kendell Cummings, who wrestle at Northwest College in Cody, Wyoming, were searching for antlers shed by deer and elk near Yellowstone National Park, when they encountered the grizzly on the trail. The bear charged Lowry, tackling him and biting his arm so badly it broke. As the bear shook and mauled his teammate, Cummings launched a charge of his own, yelling, kicking and hitting the bear and pulling its fur, the Daily Beast news site reported. The bear then turned on Cummings — twice — tackling him, gnawing on him and delivering puncture wounds to his head and face. The grizzly then retreated, and Cummings and Lowry were helped by two other teammates to get to safety. Though he was badly injured in the incident, Cummings said he would do the same thing again. “I didn’t want to lose my friend. It was bad,” Cummings told the Deseret News newspaper. “There was a big ol’ bear on top of him. I could have run and potentially lost a friend, or get him off and save him.” Close encounters with wild animals can often pose great dangers to people. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about such encounters and how people survived. Use what you read to write a wildlife column, offering tips to people on how to survive dangerous encounters with wild animals.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; citing textual or visual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

5. Big Time Shooter

At 240 pounds and nearly seven feet tall, the basketball player known as CUE could fit right in with the National Basketball Association. Except CUE isn’t exactly a player, even while gaining worldwide attention as a shooter. CUE is a robot, powered by artificial intelligence. And that has enabled it to set world records for making consecutive shots. CUE first gained attention by hitting 2,020 free throws in a row before the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. It since has expanded its range to three-point shots and shots from half court and beyond, CNN News reports. CUE’s accuracy is made possible by a sensor in its chest, which calculates the exact angle and power required for each shot to go in. Its programmers from the Asian nation of Japan say it is “almost 100 percent” accurate on free throws, 98 percent on three-pointers and better than 60 percent on half-court shots. Programmers now are working on teaching CUE to dribble, so that it can more closely mirror the movements of human players. Watch out NBA! Robots are being used by businesses and people to do many new things. In the newspaper or online find and closely read a story about one new use. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend, telling what the robot is used for, how that is different from the way things were done in the past and why that is an improvement.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.