Social Studies

Social Studies (X) - Middle (X) - U.S. History (X) - World History (X)

Edison: Impact of Technology on Society

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Imagine the world when electric light was first introduced, and reflect on the impact that new inventions have on ordinary people in this video adapted from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Edison. In late 19th-century America, machines were ushering the country into the modern world. But with the awe and wonder that radical change provoked, technology also brought a certain amount of anxiety to ordinary people. This resource is part of the Thomas Edison CollectionCaution: This video includes the use of the word "hell."

Click on the links below to download a customizable Student Handout, Student Reading, and transcript for this resource.

Student Handout | Student Reading | Transcript

WWII and the Tuskegee Airmen | STEM in 30

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Before 1941, there weren’t any African American pilots in the United States armed forces. The Tuskegee Airmen changed that. With the United States’ entry into World War II imminent, the U.S. Army Air Corps (the predecessor to the U.S. Air Force) decided to offer training to African Americans as pilots and mechanics. Called the Tuskegee Airmen because they trained in Tuskegee, Alabama, these airmen made a pioneering contribution to the war and the subsequent drive to end racial segregation in the American military. This episode of STEM in 30 will look at the role African Americans played during the war and how World War II changed aviation history.

Edison: Invention Laboratory at Menlo Park

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Discover how Thomas Edison’s invention laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, and the team he hired to work with him, all fit into his vision of how he would become a great inventor in this video adapted from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Edison. In late 1876, Edison opened a fully equipped 5,000 square foot innovation laboratory that would provide him and a small group of experimental assistants and skilled machinists a place to invent. With all kinds of chemicals, organic materials, scientific instruments, and shop tools available to them, the men worked day and night, intent on figuring out things that nobody had yet thought of. This resource is part of the Thomas Edison Collection.

Click on the links below to download a customizable Student Handout and transcript for this resource.

Student Handout | Transcript

Edison: Electric Light

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Discover how Thomas Edison’s team built on past innovations to develop the first successful electric light bulb in this video adapted from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Edison. Edison announced he would start work on electric light in 1878, to address the problems with existing lighting options, which included gaslights and arc lighting. While many inventors had patented versions of the most promising technology, an incandescent bulb, no bulb could yet produce light for more than 15 seconds, let alone several hours. Edison used his fame to attract the funding needed for his team to test and prototype a solution. Their efforts eventually paid off. On October 22, 1879, a bulb fitted with a filament of carbonized cotton thread burned in Edison’s laboratory for more than 13.5 hours. This resource is part of the Thomas Edison Collection.

Click on the links below to download a customizable Student Handout, Student Reading, and transcript for this resource.

Student Handout | Student ReadingTranscript

Solve a Problem | Steamboats on the Red

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Learn how the biggest hurdle in establishing a water route for trade was how to get a steamboat across the prairie from St. Paul to the Red River in this video from the Steamboats on the Red series. The solution: a contest proposed by the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce with a cash prize to the first person to get a steamboat launched and operational.

Looking at the shallow twists and turns of the Red River, it’s hard to imagine that steam-powered paddlewheel boats were once the most important transportation link between St. Paul, Minnesota, and Winnipeg, Manitoba. From the first in 1859 to the last that sank in 1909, Red River steamboats hauled thousands of settlers and millions of tons of freight across the border between the United States and Canada. Although it lasted barely 50 years, the age of the steamboat forged a commercial network between the two countries that exists to this day in the Interstate-29 corridor.

Red River Land | History of Travel | The Skies

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In the early days of the airplane people put on shows to display their flying talent.  Some notable performing aviators, male and female, were known as barnstormers and were from the Red River Valley.  Today modern jet aircraft transport people and freight all over Red River Land.

Competitive Gaming and E-Sports | Off Book

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Off Book takes a look at the world and culture of competitive gaming, which is now claiming a space similar to traditional sports. As games have increased in sophistication, they have become a medium for expressing human skill and brilliance. The result is a tier of the gaming world filled with disciplined, talented, and highly competitive players. Born out of arcade tournaments and LAN parties, the world of competitive gaming is now entering a mature, global phase.

Are Emoticons the Future of Language? | Off Book

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At times, computers and technology seem to dictate cultural norms. We increasingly use written language in place of face-to-face chat or phone calls. But the advantages of email, chat, and text in speed come with limitations in communicating emotional tone. Enter emoticons and emojis. Not just a playful supplement to language, these new tools allow for complexity in tone and emotion rarely possible in written language and provide new opportunities for creative expression.

The Voice of the South | Georgia Stories

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On March 15, 1922, Atlanta’s WSB (for “Welcome South, Brother”) became the first radio station to broadcast in the South. At that time, almost anyone who could do anything could get on the air. Radio became a source of comfort (Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s reassuring Fireside Chats), alarm (Orson Welles’ famous War of the Worlds broadcast) and escapism (adventure shows like The Lone Ranger and The Shadow).

Old Red Trail | Birth of the Interstate

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Crossing the United States before the federal highway system was in place was very difficult.  Future President Dwight Eisenhower traveled in a military expedition from Maryland to California in 1919 and took that experience with him to the White House.  He signed the Federal Highway Act in 1956, which resulted in the opening of the first part of Interstate 94 in October of 1958 between Valley City and Jamestown.  The video clip also includes discussion of how the interstate highway project was funded, its value in national defense, and secondary road improvement projects.

How Will Robots Affect Your Career Options?

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Find out how artificial intelligence could impact the future workforce with this video and educational resources from PBS NewsHour from May 20, 2015.

Design Innovation for Jet-Powered Flight: The Swept Wing

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Discover the origins of the swept wing and podded engine design, two technologies that helped engineers harness the speed potential of jet engines, in this video from WGBH and The Documentary Group. Today, most jetliners share a common design: wings that sweep back from the body of the plane, with engines mounted beneath them. This design dates back to the end of World War II, when Allied military forces discovered secret German research that had been meant to be destroyed. Swept wings delay the formation of shock waves at higher speeds, and podded engines suspended below the wings help bring wing vibration under control. Together, these technologies enabled stable flight at speeds twice as fast as those that propeller engines had previously generated. This resource is part of the Aerospace Engineering Collection.

Fusion: Testing the First Hydrogen Device

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The 1952 test of the first hydrogen device--code-named "Mike," for "megaton"--in the Pacific Ocean's Marshall Islands signaled a new era in weapons capabilities. The devastation presented in this video segment, adapted from American Experience: Race for the Superbomb, demonstrates just how foreboding the signal was. Watch what prompted then-United States president Harry Truman to speak publicly about the dangers ahead for a world in which such weapons existed.

Chastity's Story: Homelessness

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This film module spotlights Chastity’s story and building a support system for students struggling with poverty.

The Computer Industry | Georgia Stories

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Computer technology has turned the old saying, “bigger is better” on its head as computers have gotten smaller and more powerful. While the Internet was considered powerful when it was put into use, the first machines connected to it had a capacity of only 16 kilobytes of memory. Many watches and pocket calculators today have more memory than the entire Internet when it first started. Certainly the Internet has changed the way we do business.

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