Science

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Up the Yangtze

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Nearing completion, China's massive Three Gorges Dam is altering the landscape and the lives of people living along the fabled Yangtze River. Countless ancient villages and historic locales will be submerged, and 2 million people will lose their homes and livelihoods. The Yu family desperately seeks a reprieve by sending their 16-year-old daughter to work in the cruise ship industry that has sprung up to give tourists a last glimpse of the legendary river valley. With cinematic sweep, Up the Yangtze explores lives transformed by the biggest hydroelectric dam in history, a hotly contested symbol of the Chinese economic miracle.

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.

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.

The Hunting Dogs of Papua New Guinea

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This video from Nature describes the history and uses of the dogs of Papua New Guinea. Men from the Akepangi tribe set out to hunt at dawn. They believe the dogs they take with them have supernatural abilities to track down prey. The dogs are called the singing dogs because they howl but do not bark. In the hunt, the dogs find an opossum in the canopy (upper layer of vegetation). The dogs are more valuable to the hunters than their bows and arrows. The tribe believes the dogs tell them where the evil spirits lie in the jungle.

Mining and the Environment | Wild Nevada

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Will mining ever become obsolete? What are some benefits of mining to the state of Nevada?  Learn some of the Pros and Cons of mining in Nevada as told to Wild Nevada by Sean Pitts, Director of the East Ely Railroad Depot Museum. Nevada’s fourth graders are expected to understand the industries in Nevada that impact them. Mining is an important industry in Nevada. However, there are controversial issues concerning mining that are important to explore, analyze, and discuss. Students will have a better understanding of the effects of mining in Nevada both economically and environmentally.

Is New Orleans Prepared for the Next Katrina?

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Find out what has been done to prepare New Orleans for the next big storm with this video and educational resources from PBS NewsHour from August 25, 2015.

When a Town Runs Dry | Global Oneness Project

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This short film, When a Town Runs Dry, documents life in Stratford, a small town in California's Central Valley. A farming community for over a hundred years, Stratford is suffering from a drought that is severely impacting the community, land, and residents' daily lives.

Currently in its sixth year of drought, the Central Valley is home to the country's most productive agricultural region, containing more than half of all the fruits, vegetables, and nuts grown in the United States. Some farmers are selling land and cutting back on farmed acreage, while others dig deeper wells to maintain crop yields. Groundwater in the area has significantly diminished due to over-use and according to the Los Angeles Times, the water table below Stratford fell 100 feet in two years. Residents are living without running water.

This film explores the drought through the eyes of three Stratford residents—a farmer, a shopkeeper, and a high school football coach. All three men prepare for an uncertain future.

In the accompanying lesson, students explore the effects of environmental change and consider the ways those changes impact community.

Gerrymandering: Is Geometry Silencing Your Vote? | Above the Noise

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Fair elections are at the heart of American democracy, but many people argue that politicians have been undermining this American ideal through the practice of what is called gerrymandering. Gerrymandering has been described as the process of politicians picking their voters instead of the voters picking their politicians. In order to really understand this concept, you need to know how voting districts work. In this episode of Above the Noise, host Myles Bess breaks down gerrymandering, and how politicians on both sides of the aisle use sophisticated software to rig the voting system in their party’s favor.

Illinois Tornadoes | PBS Newshour

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An outbreak of tornadoes blasted the Midwest over the weekend, leaving at least eight people dead and leveling entire neighborhoods. The most powerful storm cut through Washington, Illinois, Sunday afternoon with winds of almost 200 miles per hour. This Daily News Story from PBS NewsHour Extra was created on November 19th, 2013.

 

Record Snowfalls Hit Boston

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See the effects of record-breaking snowfall on Boston's communities with this video and educational resources from PBS NewsHour from February 18, 2015.

Cambodian Lake Faces Uncertain Future

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Discover the cultural and environmental importance of Cambodia's Tonle Sap Lake with this video and educational resources from PBS NewsHour from June 26, 2014.

What’s Next for Nepal’s Earthquake Recovery?

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Look at Nepal's efforts to recover from a major earthquake with this video and educational resources from PBS NewsHour from April 29, 2015.

Nepal Devastated by Deadly Earthquake

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Hear the latest updates from the site of an earthquake in Nepal with this video and educational resources from PBS NewsHour from April 26, 2015.

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.