Social Studies

Computer Science (X) - Social Studies (X) - High (X)

How is Jurassic Park A Commentary on Capitalism? | PBS Idea Channel

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It doesn't matter if it was intended or not: the film Jurassic Park (as does its source book) accurately illustrates investment and risk, money as motivation, negligent management of capital, and profit as the ultimate end goal. But can anything in our culture avoid this metaphor of capitalism? By stepping back and looking at all media in our culture, we can see echoes of the capitalism theme everywhere.

How is Ms. Marvel Changing Media for the Better? | PBS Idea Channel

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Popular media generally has a problem with representation. Fictional worlds are often designed by and for straight white males, and this can subtly affect how audiences view the real world. Comics are no exception, portraying muscular white males, or exaggerated expressions of the female form. But those traditions are being broken. One of the most exciting new characters breaking this mold is the new Ms. Marvel: Kamala Khan. Kamala is a teenage Pakistani-American Muslim girl, a far cry from the comic pantheon of Captain Americas and Supermans. So is Kamala a step in the right direction for media representation? 

How Mighty is Taylor Swift's Pen? | PBS Idea Channel

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Join us for a discussion about Taylor Swift. The mega-popstar seems to be at the top of the music industry lately, with her killer new album 1989, her decreeing of Spotify's deficiency, and her general awesomeness and authenticity. Connected to that authenticity, much has been noted about Swift writing her own music. Could her power of the pen be the very source of her industrial power? 

Is YouTube Making Us Smarter? | PBS Idea Channel

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Did you know there's a place where you can learn just about anything you'd like? It's true! It's called YouTube! Sure, YouTube has hundreds of thousands of hours of deliciously time-wasting content, but it's much more than just a black hole of pet videos and funny clips. If you know where to go, YouTube has some of the best educational content on the planet! Although watching Kahn Academy all day might be a bit dry, the creativity of YouTube creators has allowed "education" to be transformed in a variety of amazing and engaging ways. YouTube probably won't replace schools anytime soon, but it's a pretty awesome alternative. 

Why Are There So Many Super Hero Movies? | PBS Idea Channel

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The past fifteen years have produced a plethora of superhero films. It's hard to even remember a time before Batman, Spiderman, and Captain America dominated the summer box office. So, are movie studios just lazy and out of ideas? Or is something else going on? Superheroes are authority figures who put their world in order. They are also the products of the culture from which they originate. So what does it say about our cultural state of affairs that we willingly consume six or more superhero flicks a year? 

Why Do We Hate Selfies? | PBS Idea Channel

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Despite being possibly the world's most annoying habit, selfies are undeniably a major part of modern visual language. They may be the lowest common denominator of the art of photography, but they are also a legitimate form of communication ("a picture is worth a thousand words" comes to mind). But maybe all the hate comes from a confusion about what selfies actually are! Is it possible they're not actually "photographs" but a totally different form of communication? Could they even be important and meaningful? 

Will Kickstarter Replace Hollywood? | PBS Idea Channel

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You may have heard about the recent overwhelming success of the Veronica Mars movie Kickstarter, or you might have contributed yourself. This is a big moment for fan communities, with Kickstarter giving them the opportunity to challenge the closed gates of the Hollywood system. Although its funding is nowhere near the amount Hollywood invests in moviemaking each year, crowdfunding is a much better indicator of what the audience wants to see, the one area in which Hollywood has failed in time and time again.

Yule Tube! | PBS Idea Channel

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Happy Holidays from your friends at Idea Channel! The yule log is a fascinating tradition, isn't it? Three-plus hours of footage of a burning log - a holiday symbol of home and family - first broadcast in the 1960s for poor city folk without fireplaces of their own. This simple, beautiful, long-form programming is a holiday miracle! 

Presenting Princess Shaw | Lesson Plan Clips

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“A free culture is one where everyone thinks of themselves as a voice in a huge choir, whose power and beauty comes from its size and diversity—where the many don’t bow to the few and the few aren’t responsible for the many.” 

- A definition embraced by the Free Culture Movement

This lesson will explore creativity and self-expression and the ways online culture has created new forms of artistic expression. Sharing and using online content in creative and new formats raises numerous ethical dilemmas regarding conditions and permissions, making it a ripe topic for classroom conversations. Through the lens of the free culture movement (sometimes identified as the open source movement or remix or hacker culture), students will explore how freely sharing music and other kinds of art on the Internet works with the notion that new art emerges from collaboration and iteration. Specifically, in the example of this film, an original song written and published on YouTube by Samantha “Princess Shaw” Montgomery is built upon by Israeli sound artist Ophir “Kutiman” Kutiel to create something new and different that is then shared and celebrated around the world. 

Gator Farm | America's Heartland

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Cattle, horses, or pigs are usually what you think of when you think of livestock. Well, in Florida this farm raises Alligators. Take a look at this unique niche farm and how they operate. 

Niche Farming | America's Heartland

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Learn how agriculture is feeding the demand of the country's growing diversity. Visit one of the county's successful niche farming operations. Over 3-dozen varieties of crops are grown here, tailored to a fast growing ethnic market. 

Walnuts - Health & Harvest | America's Heartland

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Come along for the California walnut harvest. Learn all about the harvesting process, and about the nutritional benefits of this healthy nut!

Global Gardens: Video | Nature Works Everywhere

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Urban gardens are powerful tools that can help grow healthy food, reduce our carbon footprint, and increase the overall health of our city environments. By creating a small, contained habitat for plants, pollinators, and other creatures, these tiny garden ecosystems actually contain a huge diversity of animals. This video explores the role that urban gardens can have on an individual, a local, and on a global scale.

Find a lesson plan here to accompany this video.

Rivers, Roads, Rails, and Air | The Decline of Railroads and Streetcars

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Discover how the building and use of railroads declined due to the popularity of automobiles and trucks. One effect was the development of regional and short line railroads that served smaller communities. Several larger cities used local electric streetcars until the automobiles took over.

Rivers, Roads, Rails, and Air | In Mid-continent and “The Holy Dog”

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Discover how transportation has affected every step of North Dakota history. North Dakota’s position in the center of North America has always made transportation a challenge with even the earliest peoples seeking ways to cover large distances of land. The arrival of horses to the Northern Plains had a radical effect on the Native American culture and way of life.

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