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Here’s a recap of some of the biggest news stories of the year.

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You’ve probably seen it in the schoolyard, at parties, and in tons of online videos. It seemed as if everyone was doing the dance of 2018: the floss. Scholastic News spoke with 16-year-old Russell Horning (also known as Backpack Kid), who is often credited with inventing the dance. 

Scholastic News: Why do you think the floss has become so popular?

Russell Horning: I think people like the fact that it’s a little challenging. Once you get it, it’s something you can show off to your friends because not everyone knows how to do it. It looks really cool once it all comes together.

SN: How did you come up with the floss?

RH: It was something I came up with for fun. I like to experiment with mixing comedy and dance. No one really has a style like that.

SN: Do you have any tips for kids who want to learn the dance?

RH: Just have fun with it!


Marvel Studios

In a year when superhero movies ruled, one stood out from the rest: Black Panther. The movie is based on the popular Marvel Comics character. It earned more than $700 million in the United States. That made it the third-biggest moneymaking film ever in the U.S.. Black Panther is also the first major superhero movie with an African American director, Ryan Coogler, and a mostly black cast.

Chadwick Boseman starred as T’Challa, also known as Black Panther. T’Challa becomes king of the fictional African country of Wakanda. Boseman says the film is important because kids need to see characters who look like them on the big screen.

“It’s touching to me that they get to see an African character on-screen and that they identify with him,” he told the Los Angeles Times.

Boseman returned to his role as Black Panther in the second-biggest movie of the year, Avengers: Infinity War

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Photofest

Note: Figures are for the U.S. only and are rounded to the nearest million. Source: Box Office Mojo

Courtesy of the Russ Family (Whitley Russ); David Goldman/AP Photo

Most of the homes along the shore of Mexico Beach, Florida, were destroyed during Hurricane Michael.

The year’s most powerful storm, Hurricane Michael, struck the northwest coast of Florida on October 10. Heavy rain and strong winds caused major damage and led to at least 35 deaths. Whitley Russ, age 13, was at her sister’s house in Panama City, Florida, with her two sisters and her aunt. The house was not in an area where people had been told to leave. Whitley recalls when the storm hit.

“It happened quickly. Our air-conditioning unit came flying out of the living room window. Pieces of broken glass were scattered around it on the floor. That’s when I got really scared.

We heard the rain pounding down. We quickly grabbed some food and water and ran to the safest part of the house, the bathroom. The roof over the living room was shaking. Seconds later, it caved in.

Wind and rain came crashing in. My aunt slammed the bathroom door shut and we huddled together. For the next hour, I could hear glass shattering in the kitchen and living room. The wind was howling all around us. I kept thinking, “I just want to be safe.”

Finally, the shattering stopped. But we waited another hour before leaving the bathroom. I couldn’t believe my eyes. A tree lay where the living room used to be. Walls had been ripped out from the side of the house. Shelves and furniture had been lifted off the ground and had landed, soaking wet, around the yard.

Hurricane Michael had destroyed my sister’s home. But by sticking together, we survived the storm.”

Jim McMahon/MapMan®

Robert Beck/Sports Illustrated Classic/Getty Images (Chloe Kim); Kyodo News via Getty Images (Chloe snowboarding)

Every four years, the world meets some elite athletes at the Winter Olympics. This year’s Games in South Korea were no different. One of the biggest stars was Chloe Kim. At 17, she became the youngest female snowboarder ever to win Olympic gold.

Although she was born and raised in California, Kim has close ties to this year’s host country. Both of her parents are immigrants from South Korea. 

Kim rose above the competition in the women’s half-pipe. The event takes place on a course shaped like a giant pipe with the top half cut off. Competitors perform tricks as they fly high into the air. Kim wowed the crowd by spinning in the air three times. She nailed the trick two times in a row! Her skill earned her a nearly perfect score from the judges: 98.25 out of 100. 

Overall, Team USA finished in fourth place at the Olympics. American athletes won a total of 23 medals at the Games (including 9 golds). Norway led the way with 39 total medals. 

Jim Ruymen/UPI/Newscom

Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as the newest justice, or judge, on the U.S. Supreme Court on October 6. President Donald Trump chose Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who retired in July. After the president has chosen a possible new justice, the U.S. Senate must decide whether or not to confirm, or officially approve, that person.

The Supreme Court heads one of the three branches of the federal government (see below). It is the most powerful court in the country. Kavanaugh and the eight other justices settle important legal cases. They decide whether or not a law goes against the U.S. Constitution. A law that is unconstitutional must be changed or repealed (officially done away with).

Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post/Getty Images (John Roberts); EPA/JIM LO SCALZO/Shutterstock (Clarence Thomas); Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer); TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images (Samuel Alito Jr, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan); SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images (Neil Gorsuch); Alex Edelman/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Photo (Brett Kavanaugh)

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