Social Studies

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

Rivers, Roads, Rails, and Air | Red River Oxcarts

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Learn about the Red River oxcarts that were the primary means of transporting goods from the Red River Valley to St. Paul.

Edison: Boyhood and Teen Years

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Find out how young Thomas Edison’s curiosity got him into trouble, and how, during his teen years, he lost his hearing but gained confidence as an aspiring inventor, in this video adapted from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Edison. As portrayed through reenactments, we learn that Edison, who had just three months of formal schooling, grew up reading and conducting chemistry experiments. His job as a newsboy on a train inspired his fascination with the telegraph. After teaching himself Morse Code so he could send and receive messages, Edison took a job as a telegraph operator at the age of 15. Through his work, and despite premature hearing loss, he developed an understanding of how the telegraph system operated and how he might improve it. He began to think of himself as an inventor. 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 Reading | Transcript

The White House: Inside Story | Kid's State Dinner

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Learn about the official Kid's State Dinner, an event that brings children with healthy recipes from around the country together at the White House to meet the First Lady and the President of the United States. 

Jack Sharkey

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Joseph Paul Zukauskas was born in Binghamton, NY in 1902. His Lithuanian heritage, and a nearly unpronounceable name, often cast him as an outsider and he learned to cope by developing a quick wit and even quicker fists.

Earth System: Drought and Air Quality

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Droughts claim more victims each year than any other natural disaster. Depending on where it occurs and how long it persists, the cost of a drought can run into the billions of dollars. Droughts cause more than economic hardship, however. As this video segment adapted from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center demonstrates, droughts have a complex web of impacts that also affect us socially and environmentally.

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

Galileo on the Moon

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Galileo used thought experiments to test many assumptions, including the notion that heavy objects fall more quickly than lighter objects when they are dropped. Lacking access to either a vacuum chamber or a planetary body that has no atmosphere, he nevertheless correctly predicted that all falling objects would accelerate at the same rate in the absence of air resistance. In this video segment from NASA, astronaut David Scott demonstrates the correctness of Galileo's prediction.

Animal Shelter Photographer

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In this video segment from WILD TV, meet Joyce Faye, an animal photographer. She visits animal shelters in the Albuquerque, New Mexico area to photograph the homeless animals awaiting adoption. There are 26,000 dogs picked up every year in Albuquerque. Faye volunteers her time and expertise taking photographs of the dogs and cats and displays them on her web site. She hopes that people will rescue an animal from the shelter and make it a pet. Faye encourages us to do what we can to make the world a better place. Even small gestures make a difference.

Lewis and Clark Minutes | Learning Expedition

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Hear NDSU Professor Mark Harvey who describes what Lewis and Clark would have experienced when first coming to the grasslands.

Lewis and Clark Minutes | Mandan Winter

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Learn how the Lewis and Clark Expedition spent the winter of 1803-04 at Fort Mandan near the earthlodge villages of the Mandan Indians.

Looking for Lincoln | All Things Lincoln

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In this video segment, from the PBS documentary Looking for Lincoln, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. visits the Lincoln Museum to see the iconic “stove pipe” hat firsthand. He then travels to Beverly Hills for a tour of the world’s largest private collection of Lincoln-related artifacts.

Looking for Lincoln | Abraham Lincoln, Attorney at Law

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In this video segment, from the PBS documentay Looking for Lincoln, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin examine Lincoln's years as a "prairie" lawyer on the Illinois circuit, and discuss how they honed and polished Lincoln's confidence, sense of fairness, and social skills.

Welcome (中国欢迎您) from the First Lady

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Join First Lady Michelle Obama as she discusses her upcoming trip to China and invites students to follow her journey.

Bill Gates Recites the Gettysburg Address

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Watch Bill Gates recite the Gettysburg Address as part of Ken Burns' challenge to all Americans to Learn the Address. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, documentarian Ken Burns, along with numerous partners, has launched a national effort to encourage everyone in America to video record themselves reading or reciting the speech. The collection of recordings housed on this site will continue to grow as more and more people are inspired by the power of history and take the challenge to Learn the Address.

Lewis and Clark's North Dakota: Retracing Lewis and Clark's Steps

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Lewis and Clark’s Journey began in St. Louis in 1803.  The Corps of Discovery proceeded northwest traveling mostly by river.  Today people follow the trail that Lewis and Clark once paved into uncharted territory.

The Gettysburg Address Mashup

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Watch President Barack Obama, Taylor Swift, Nancy Pelosi, Stephen Spielberg and more recite the Gettysburg Address as part of Ken Burns' challenge to all Americans to Learn the Address.

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, documentarian Ken Burns, along with numerous partners, has launched a national effort to encourage everyone in America to video record themselves reading or reciting the speech. The collection of recordings housed on this site will continue to grow as more and more people are inspired by the power of history and take the challenge to Learn the Address.

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