I’m collecting challenging articles for students–got any suggestions?

by Mr. Sheehy

I’m organizing a small assignment (or series of assignments) for next year’s AP writing students where I give them a fairly challenging article and ask them to respond to its ideas. There’s a bit of word play on challenging, as the articles are (1) more difficult to read than they’re used to and (2) may challenge assumptions or understandings they have.

I’m trying to collect good ones, and while I’m not necessarily looking for anything too earth shattering, I’m also looking for more than simply interesting. Thus, while I’d love for all of us to spend a day reading through the best stories told at Outside Magazine, for this assignment I want something that will require more concentration and focus–articles where a student might have to slow down because the writer is including, for example, elements of physics or philosophy or economics. To that end, I’m trying to collect articles from a variety of disciplines, to engage those with various interests. 

Here are a few on my current list for consideration (I pulled a few from David Brooks’s annual “Sidney awards” columns):

Anyway, if any articles pop into your mind as interesting or challenging for smart high school students beginning to read and write at the college level, let me know.