For Grades 5-8 THE WEEK OF June 12, 2023


Florida officials have confirmed that Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration is responsible for two flights taking migrants from New Mexico to Sacramento, California. DeSantis, a Republican presidential candidate for the 2024 election, has not publicly commented on the situation himself, but the Florida Division of Emergency Management under his administration released a statement saying the migrants were taken to a nonprofit after voluntarily choosing to travel to California. In response, California Governor Gavin Newsom spoke out against the move and promised criminal and civil actions on behalf of the migrants, who California officials say were deceived. Read more about the issue in your newspaper or online. Then, write an article summarizing the events and the statements from both sides.


A crocodile at a zoo in Costa Rica produced a fetus that was 99.9 percent genetically identical to herself, which means it had no father. Instead, scientists believe the crocodile, who was kept apart from other crocodiles for sixteen years in captivity, self-reproduced. Birds, snakes, and sharks have all been known to self-reproduce, but this is the first documented instance in crocodiles. Scientists believe dinosaurs were also able to reproduce this way. Why do you think a species might evolve to be able to self-reproduce? Write down some of your ideas and discuss with your classmates.


In a surprising ruling on Thursday, the Supreme Court sided with Black voters in Alabama on a case about congressional redistributing. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the court’s three liberal justices to affirm that redistricting in Alabama was a violation of the Voting Rights Act because it was racially discriminatory. Research the history of “gerrymandering” in the United States and how it affected minority voters. Then, write a short piece explaining the context behind the Supreme Court case and its affects in Alabama, using what you learned.


Former Vice President Mike Pence announced his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election last week, followed by a CNN town hall appearance in Iowa. He positioned himself as a staunch, religious conservative, aligning himself with actions of the Trump administration while distancing himself from the former president on a personal level. In particular, he sharply criticized the president’s part in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. Research some of the other Republican candidates who have entered the presidential race. Write down how they compare and contrast with the former Vice President’s stances.


An organization called Brownsville In Violence Out led an unusual experiment in Brooklyn, New York. For five days, workers from the organization serve as the police for low-level street crime, responding to 911 calls unless there’s a major incident or an arrest needs to be made. While plainclothes officers shadow the workers for safety, they have successfully diffused situations without arrests. The partnership is meant to build more trust between police and the community by deescalating situations before they lead to violence, a movement called the “community responder model.” Write an opinion piece, outlining whether you think this model is beneficial in communities and why.