Most Read on Newsela Last Week

Here are the top three most read articles on from the past week:

3. Jury decides on death penalty for Boston Marathon bomber Tsarnaev

After 14 hours of deliberations, a jury decided to sentence Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death for his role in exploding two bombs at the Boston Marathon in 2013. The bombs killed three people and injured more than 250 others.


The jurors on the Tsarnaev case had a very difficult decision to make. You can challenge your students by asking them to answer these discussion questions about the article:

  • Since this is a controversial issue, after reading this article, is there evidence that the author supports one side or the other?
  • The jury had to come to a unanimous agreement. Putting yourself in a juror’s shoes, what are some of the points you think the jurors discussed in making their decision?

2. Scientists make discovery about pop music’s evolutionary history

Scientists programmed computers to evaluate 17,000 pop songs going back a number of years. They found that “experts” are wrong when they say all new music sounds the same.


This article deals with an element of pop culture that many students are interested in — music. Ask your students to think critically about the article using these discussion questions:

  • After reading this article, how would you respond to someone saying, “Pop music all sounds the same”?
  • Based on the findings in the article, how do you think this will affect the future of music?

1. Astronomers nail down distance to the earliest galaxy yet

A team of astronomers discovered the earliest, most distant galaxy yet, located a record-breaking 670 million years from the Big Bang.


This astronomy story will fascinate curious minds. Get your students thinking about this real-world issue with these questions:

  • What do you find most surprising about galaxies?
  • What are some of the challenges scientists or astronomers face in their research?

Did your class raise any other interesting points? We’d love to hear them. Tweet us at @Newsela with your insights.