John Hunter's fourth-graders are remarkably successful at resolving world crises peacefully.
Hunter, 57, has been teaching for more than three decades. He wanted to get his students to think about major world issues, so he invented the World Peace Game. Students are divided into countries, and then given a series of global crises — natural disasters, political conflicts — that they have to solve.
2011 was a year of intense and compelling news stories: from the Arab Spring, to the nuclear disaster in Japan and the killing of Osama bin Laden.
It's often assumed that people bury their heads in frivolous news when hard news is too much to take. NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik says that this year media consumers embraced the hard news.
"They were often transfixed by it," he tells Weekend Edition Sunday host Audie Cornish.
Turns out some of those dour security officers who make you take your shoes off at the airport have plenty of Christmas spirit. Travel isn't usually a highlight of the holidays, but at Los Angeles International Airport some of the Transportation Security Administration workers enjoy the season so much they sing.
True to its duties, the LAX TSA Chorus isn't joking. Its singers are actually TSA employees who don Santa hats during the holiday season and perform in the middle of the airport.
NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro has spent much of this year covering the uprising and civil war in Libya. As she and her Libyan colleagues drove through the streets of Tripoli this week, they often found themselves listening to a legendary American country music song. The lyrics about changing fortunes seemed to ring true for Libya, as she tells us in this reporter's notebook.
LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: If every conflict has a theme song, then Libya's for me is as unlikely as it is fitting.
Off the northeastern tip of North America on Newfoundland lies a stretch of the coast known as the graveyard of the Atlantic. The rocky shoreline has sunk hundreds of ships. Reporter Emma Jacobs traveled to the red and white lighthouse on the tip of Cape Race that still warns ships away from the coast.
EMMA JACOBS, BYLINE: The day I visited in late fall was the kind of day the Cape Race lighthouse was built for. Twenty-foot swells rolled in towards the point through a thick fog.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. President Obama is in Hawaii with his family today. Yesterday, just before leaving Washington, D.C., he signed a bill to extend the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits for two months. It was a political victory for the president and for Democrats who had made extending the tax break a priority.
For Republicans in the House of Representatives though, it may have marked a political defeat. NPR's congressional correspondent reporter, Tamara Keith, has more.
Schools across the country are on break this week, meaning that millions of students don't have to think even about algebra - or are they just missing the algebra that's all around them? We're joined now by our Math Guy, Keith Devlin of Stanford University, who joins us this week from member station KJAU in Boulder, Colorado. Keith, thanks so much for being with us.