A Year in Review: What happened in the news?
The 2016-2017 school year saw a historic U.S. election, wild weather, fidget toys, space travel and many more memorable events. Here is a look back at the year's most important moments.
A New U.S. President
One of the biggest news stories was the U.S. election. All eyes were on U.S. presidential nominees Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. Later, Trump's win over Clinton came as a surprise to many.
Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes but it was Trump who won the electoral college. On January 20, 2017, the businessman and former TV host was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.
It was not only adults voting for president. Students had their voices heard in Newsela's Students Vote 2016. Nearly 400,000 students voted across the country. Among Newsela voters, Clinton won with 57 percent of the vote.
Trump's supporters were thrilled to have a new voice in government who they hoped would represent their interests and beliefs. At the same time, Trump’s first 100 days as president were met with opposition, including his executive orders on immigration, the people he chose to be government leaders, and his push to end Obamacare.
Movies And TV
At the movies, "Moana," a Disney animated film about a young Polynesian girl exploring the seas to save her island, was a huge hit at the box office. At the Oscars, though, a different Disney movie, "Zootopia," won the award for best animated movie.
Along with "Moana," other movies with strong female leads like "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" and "Hidden Figures" broke box-office records and received award nominations.
In February, space exploration company SpaceX announced some exciting news. The company says it will fly two people to the moon next year. NASA, the U.S. space agency, says it plans to send humans to Mars by the 2030s. President Trump signed a bill in March approving billions of dollars in funding for the Mars project.
Millions of men and women marched the day after Trump was inaugurated. On January 21, Women's Marches drew massive crowds around the world. Other protests followed later in the year like A Day Without Immigrants, A Day Without Women and the Earth Day March for Science.
The Native American Standing Rock Sioux brought environmental rights into the spotlight. For months, they were supported by people from across the country in blocking the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Construction halted in December but resumed once Trump took office. The pipeline was completed in April.
The Black Lives Matter movement also continued to grow. There were more cases of police shooting unarmed African-Americans. Meanwhile, some cases from previous years were brought to court.
In October, Hurricane Matthew became the first major hurricane to hit the East Coast in 11 years. The storm caused hundreds of thousands of people across Florida, Georgia and South Carolina to lose power.
Meanwhile, on the West Coast, California finally had rain, and lots of it. After a five-year-long drought, California got the water it needed. As a result, "superblooms" of desert flowers, reservoirs of water overflowing and puzzling shark migratory patterns occurred.
For the world at large, the year 2016 became the Earth's hottest on record. According to NASA, surface temperatures in January 2016 on Earth were the warmest they have been since scientists started keeping track in 1880.
This year there was a lot of discussion of "fake news" and media literacy. Some claimed that fake news reports influenced the election. President Trump accused several media outlets of publishing fake news. Around the country, people faced challenges in determining fact from opinion and false information from the truth.
As a result, tech giants like Facebook and Google announced steps they would take to combat the spread of fake news by making it more difficult for publishers of fake stories.
Technology is coming to the rescue of the animal kingdom. New face-recognition technology can identify individual lemurs in the forests of Madagascar. By tracking the lemurs individually, the software can help conservationists protect the species and other endangered species like it.
In Russia, a network of motion-activated cameras is allowing scientists to conduct the first census, or formal count, of wild snow leopards.
The Syrian Civil War
As the civil war in the Middle Eastern country of Syria entered its sixth year, tensions escalated. By March, more than 5 million Syrian people had been forced to leave their homes because of the war. Around the world, people argued about whether to help these Syrian refugees.
In April, evidence appeared that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons against innocent civilians, killing dozens of children. President Trump responded by ordering an airstrike against Syria's government. It was the first time since the start of the conflict that the U.S. had bombed the Syrian government.
After 106 years, the Chicago Cubs baseball team broke its supposed "curse" and won the World Series game in November.
In February, the New England Patriots matched up against the Atlanta Falcons for Super Bowl LI. Quarterback star Tom Brady won another Super Bowl trophy for the Patriots.
In basketball, Oklahoma City Thunder player Russell Westbrook made history. He became only the second player in the NBA to clinch a triple-double average over the course of the season. He got double-digit counts in three basketball statistics categories: points, assists and rebounds. In other words, he scored points, helped other players score and helped retrieve the ball after he or someone else missed the basket.
Students Were Crazy About …
Inside and outside of class, students can't stop playing with fidgets. The toy, which is meant to help students focus in class, has been a hot topic of debate. Many teachers see the toys as a distraction and as a result, fidgets became banned at some schools.
Water-bottle flipping is another trend that students and teachers did not always see eye to eye on. Though it may be an annoyance for teachers, water-bottle flipping turns out to be a science.
A video went viral of a teenager named Mike Senatore flipping a water bottle at his school talent show. The secret, according to Senatore himself, is filling the bottle with just the right amount of water, a trick he says he learned in chemistry class.