Social Studies

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NOVA: Percy Julian: Forgotten Genius | Getting an Education

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Learn about the education of chemist Percy Julian. Julian's early educational years paralleled an educational movement that prepared African Americans for industrial jobs, the growing white supremacist movement, and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan. Julian would eventually move north, and finally to Europe to earn his Ph.D. Explore more about this topic, from the NOVA program Percy Julian: Forgotten Genius.

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

Preserving the Forest of the Sea

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The University Herbarium at the University of California - Berkeley boasts one of the largest and oldest collections of seaweed in the United States, dating back to the time of the U.S. Civil War. Kathy Ann Miller, a curator at the herbarium, leads a massive project to digitize nearly 80,000 specimens of seaweed collected from the west coast of North America. When the project is finished, researchers from around the world will be able to go online and see the digital photographs along with collection information and a map of where the seaweeds were originally collected. 

Five Years Later, What Were the Effects of the BP Oil Spill?

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Explore the long-term effects of the BP oil spill off the coast of Louisiana with this video and educational resources from PBS NewsHour from April 20, 2015.

Kenya Takes on E-Waste Problem

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Used electronics are one of the fastest growing sources of waste globally, and it is estimated that 15,000 tons of used computers and mobile phones are shipped to Kenya every year. Today, Kenya is trying to tackle the problem by building the country’s first electronics recycling hub.

Use these PBS NewsHour resources to inform students about the massive e-waste challenge created by the United States and other developed nations and how countries like Kenya are capitalizing on it.

Burlington is First U.S. City to Hit 100 Percent Renewable Energy

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Find out how Burlington, VT is using 100 percent renewable energy with this video and educational resources from PBS NewsHour from February 1, 2015.

Can Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes Help Fight Disease? | Above the Noise

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In the last couple of years, the mosquito species Aedes aegypti has garnered perhaps the most attention, at least in parts of the U.S. where it resides. It’s the one that can transmit a generous selection of very nasty diseases including Zika, yellow fever, dengue and chikungunya. In an effort to control these mosquito populations and reduce the spread of mosquito-borne diseases, some scientists at the British company OXITEC have turned to genetic engineering. Host Myles Bess dives into the science and policy surrounding the use of genetically engineered mosquitoes to combat mosquito-borne diseases.

Which Comes First, Hydrogen-Powered Cars or the Fueling Stations?

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Learn about the cars of tomorrow and hydrogen power with this PBS NewsHour video and educational resource from May 21, 2014. After spending more than a decade and billions of dollars on developing zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, carmakers are planning to release their models in California. But despite the state’s large demand for cars and tough air quality standards, California lacks a network of fueling stations.

Obama Vetoes Keystone Pipeline Expansion

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Go inside the debate over the Keystone Pipeline expansion with this video and educational resources from PBS NewsHour from February 24, 2015.

Solar Energy Debate in Nevada Heats Up | PBS NewsHour

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Hear why solar energy has become a hot topic in sunny Nevada with this video and educational resources from PBS NewsHour from February 27, 2016.

Is Marijuana Actually Medicinal? | Above the Noise

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With the results of the 2016 election, use of medical marijuana is now approved in 28 states, plus Washington, D.C., but the plant itself is not approved as medicine by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It still remains federally illegal. Under the Controlled Substances Act, the federal government classifies marijuana as a schedule I drug-- which is a category reserved for the most dangerous drugs, drugs that do not show any medical benefit. This classification makes it difficult for researchers to study, because drugs in this category are very tightly regulated. Host Myles Bess explores the research surrounding medical marijuana and discusses some of the challenges researchers face in studying it.

Nasal Spray May Be Lifesaver for Snake Bite Victims

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Snakes! Show your students how applied science works with this PBS NewsHour story on treating snake bites from June 19, 2014. Although snake bites are rarely fatal in the United States, every year about 100,000 people die worldwide after being bitten by venomous snakes. A California doctor has developed a nasal spray treatment that halts paralysis before they reach a hospital.

Pourquoi Stories | Jakers!

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This video segment from Jakers features a storyteller who tells a Pourquoi story about a spider. Pourquoi is the French word for "why". Pourquoi stories try to explain in an entertaining way why something happens or why things are the way they are, especially in nature. This lively story is about Anansi the Spider, a popular character in African folklore. We hear an imaginary tale that tries to explain why the lowest part of a spider's body is so big. Could it really be because of the plan the greedy spider Anansi came up with to eat two feasts in one day?

Puppy Walker

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In this segment from Zoom into Action, Brett trains puppies to be seeing-eye dogs. He volunteers as a puppy walker for the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind. He is working with a puppy named Arty for one year. His job is to socialize Arty and teach him to follow commands. At the end of the year, Brett has to bring Arty back for more training so he will be ready to work with a person who has a visual imparity. Brett knows his work is for a very good cause. When it’s time to give up the puppy, he isn’t too disappointed.

Trackers

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This WILD TV segment introduces John Stokes, and some friends, who are a part of the Tracking Project in New Mexico. A tracker reads the prints on the ground made by an animal or person. Mr. Stokes teaches us how to be trackers in this clip. To be a tracker, you must move slowly, be very quiet, and stay downwind of whatever you are tracking. We also learn how to make a tracking stick, which can help get even more information.

Historical Document Research | History Detectives

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History Detective Tukufu Zuberi investigates a letter which indicates that thirty years before John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln, Booth’s father threatened to kill another sitting president, Andrew Jackson. The letter to Jackson reads, “You damn’d old scoundrel… …I will cut your throat whilst you are sleeping.” It’s signed “Junius Brutus Booth.” The writer insists Jackson pardon two men who were sentenced to death. Why did the fate of these two men enrage such fury? Was the Booth letter a hoax? Or does assassination run in the Booth blood?

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