Social Studies

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Nature's First Defenders: Video | Nature Works Everywhere

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Indigenous people—nature’s first defenders—play a vital role in sustaining our planet. This video, along with the accompanying Nature's First Defenders teacher's guide and lessons, enables students to understand that role and to explore the many perspectives and issues involved in conservation, including how we relate to nature, how culture influences our points of view, what tools we have to be engaged in the conversation, and how we might address and reconcile differences.

 

Changes to the People and Culture | Children of the Amazon: Part 3

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A visit to the town of Cacoal shows just how much the Amazon has changed over the last few decades, and how the influx of manufactured goods, materials, and beliefs has impacted the indigenous community. See how the old traditions have been shaped by this new influence, and through the lesson plan below, explore the difference between things that we want and things that we need.

Arctic Thaw | PBS Newshour

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Alert students to the environmental crisis in the Arctic with this PBS NewsHour video and educational resource from September 18, 2013.  Glaciers in the Arctic are now melting at a faster pace than they were only a few years ago, damaging wildlife habitats and opening up potentially dangerous new shipping lanes.

Climate Wisconsin | Birkebeiner

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Having skied every Birkie, a cross-country ski event, since it started in 1973, John shares his experience and how the race is being threatened by climate change. This multimedia video produced by the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board follows John Kotar through the 2010 American Birkebeiner cross-country ski race from Cable to Hayward, WI.

Climate Wisconsin | Great Lakes Shipping

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Learn how water level and shipping season affect the amount of cargo a ship can carry in this multimedia video produced by the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board. Come aboard with Pilot Randy Hayes on the Isa, a Great Lakes cargo ship carrying steel to the Port of Milwaukee, and explore the impacts of climate change on Great Lakes shipping.

NOVA: Becoming Human | Diatoms Measure Climate Change

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Learn how scientists used the fossils of one-celled aquatic organisms, called diatoms, to understand ancient climate conditions in eastern Africa, in this video from NOVA: Becoming Human. White layers of a rock formation consist of deep-water diatoms and darker layers consist of shallow-water diatoms; the scientists interpreted the alternating layers in the formation to mean that a massive lake appeared and disappeared many times in their study area. If this part of Africa indeed experienced wet and dry periods over time, this supports a new idea that suggests climatic variability may have shaped human evolution.

This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

Yukon Kings | Global Oneness Project

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Students watch a short film, Yukon Kings by Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee, about the challenges facing Ray Waska, a Yupi’k fisherman, and his community as the fish stocks of Alaska’s Yukon Delta diminish.  

In this lesson, students learn about how the cultural traditions of Native Alaskans are linked with local ecosystems. Students debate the need to respect and protect tradition vs. accepting change. Reflective writing prompts are also included for students to demonstrate their understanding of the story.

 

How Did Human Civilization Spread? | Habitat Earth

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Historic population and cropland data illustrate the relationship between the spread of human civilization and agriculture on Earth between 10,000 BCE and 2,000 CE.

Explore more compelling data visualizations from the California Academy of Sciences.

Weather and Climate Change

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The topics of weather and climate change were studied by several members of the team. Megan Sunderman Noojin, a UAB graduate student, discusses her research on climate change and its effects on Fijian life. The shells brought back by the team date from A.D. 1300 to present day. Undergraduate Ashley S. Wilson discusses the damage and recovery from the hurricane that devastated Fiji in March 2010, just a few months before the UAB expedition. The storm was a Category 4 and battered Fiji for four days, destroying more than 50 homes, damaging crops, and ruining the fresh water supply.

When Did the First Americans Arrive?

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Who were the first Americans, when did they arrive, and from where did they come? With limited evidence, scientists have long proposed a hypothesis that linked the migration route and the timing of the migration these ancient people to the end of the last ice age. However, new evidence suggests that this widely accepted hypothesis needs revision. This video segment adapted from NOVA describes how archaeologists are using this new evidence to develop a better understanding of the founding of the Americas.

Colorado Towns Struggle for Control over Fracking | PBS Newshour

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Update your students on the controversy surrounding fracking with this video and educational materials from PBS NewsHour from September 8, 2014. We suggest using the interactive website ExploreShale.org to engage and support student learning about process of fracking. Check out more teaching resources at PBS NewsHour Extra

Preserving a Mummy | Egypt's Treasure Guardians

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Learn the basics of archaeological restoration as the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) Conservation Centre lab team examines and opens a wooden sarcophagus with a mummy inside. The wood will require work—salts removed, paint restored. Conservators inject chemical fillers into cracks and attach loose flakes with acrylic. This sarcophagus and mummy are just two of 50,000 objects the Centre will restore before GEM opens to the public.


 

West Virginia | Three Rivers: The Bluestone, Gauley and New

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3 Rivers: the Bluestone, Gauley, and New documents the economic, social, and political impact of the rivers on Southern and Central West Virginia.  Included in Teachers Resources is a cross-curricular unit which addresses the West Virginia Content Standards and Objectives for 8th grade West Virginia Studies.  The video is divided into 4 chapters: Introduction, Bluestone, Gauley, and New.  Curriculum is available under the Resource tab by the content area.

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