Social Studies

Science (X) - Social Studies (X) - Animals (X) - Geography (X)

America's Grasslands: A Threatened National Treasure | Impact of Loss of Native Prairie

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In spite of being described as a “jewel, a national treasure,” America’s Northern Plains grasslands are being threatened by increasing pressures of agriculture. The area’s subtle beauty and ecological diversity and significance have not prevented large tracts of prairie from being cultivated for crops necessary to feed the nation. The key is finding the delicate balance between protecting what remains of original grasslands to preserve the ecological benefits they provide for wildlife, as well as clean air and water, and growing the crops that produce food for people all around the world.

Rhinoceros Release

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Due to unregulated hunting and poaching, the black rhinoceros has become an endangered species across the African continent. In an effort to preserve the remaining rhinos and repopulate the species, wildlife preserves have been created. The black rhinoceros now thrives in the South African National Park system. In order to spread the success of the South African preserve to other regions, rhinos from this sanctuary are being relocated to other preserves across the continent. In this video from Nature, learn about the factors taken into consideration to release the Black Rhino back into the wild.

Battle for the Elephants: The History of the Ivory Trade

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Explore the history of the ivory trade and the resulting devastation of Africa’s elephant population—from 26 million elephants in 1800 to fewer than one million today.

How Coral Grows

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The Andros Island Coral Reef Diorama at the American Museum of Natural History has been showcasing life below the ocean since the 1930s. This video from DIORAMA and SciTech Now takes a close look at coral polyps, the tiny animals that makes giant coral reefs. Meet dinoflagellates, algae that lives inside coral polyps. Footage from the 1920s and 1930s shows scientists and artists as they study, document, and even paint underwater in order to recreate this setting.

Analyze the environmental conditions that Coral reefs need to thrive using the Coral Distribution activity found in the Support Materials section below.

The Kaktovik Butcher a Whale | The Great Polar Bear Feast

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The polar bear is a special animal for the locals, and polar bears are considered to be relatives. The Kaktovik honor the bears by giving the remains of the whale to them and they watch the bears enjoy their meal from a safe distance. Around the time of the whale catch, polar bears gather one mile away from the town. They are solitary for most of the year, but gather together for the feast the Kaktovik provide.

Kaktovik is a village at the edge of the world and their traditions are essential for them. Citizens of Kaktovik are convinced that when they catch a whale there is a spiritual connection that links them to the whale.

Conflicts with Elephants | EARTH A New Wild

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Hear this first-hand account from a Sumatran farmer and his dangerous encounters with elephants. These animals, while generally not aggressive towards humans, have come into increasing conflict with farmers that compete over the same patches of forest. Use this resource to learn about wildlife management and elephant behavior.

Reindeer Castration | EARTH A New Wild

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The Sami, indigenous to Scandinavia, have practiced the husbandry of reindeer for hundreds of years. Currently, reindeer herding is illegal to anyone not of Sami descent. In this video, see a demonstration of the traditional method of reindeer castration passed down in the Sami culture for generations. Discretion is advised in viewing this content due to the mature nature of the scene.

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