Social Studies

Science (X) - Social Studies (X) - WGBH (X) - Geography (X)

Bridging Culture, Community and Science

Icon: 
Streaming icon

CREST models an interdisciplinary approach to connecting students to their threatened communities, using technology as a tool and place-based education as a vehicle. By engaging in local projects based in the surrounding Gulf of Maine ecosystem, students learn to apply science and technology skills to support their community’s natural, social, and economic resources.

Collecting Data Below the Earth's Surface

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Underwater surfaces and subsurfaces are mapped for environmental and commercial reasons, including marine and coastal resource management, navigational charting, and oil and gas exploration. In this video segment adapted from Discovering Women, geologists employ special acoustic devices to learn what lies beneath the water...and deeper still. They hope to use the specialized maps they create to learn more about what is driving the western part of the North American plate to split apart.

Teen Maps Contaminants from a Coal Plant

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Meet Marisol, a high school student from Little Village in Chicago in this video adapted from Earth Island Institute. Hear about how she volunteered within her community and found out about the toxins produced by the local coal-burning power plant. Learn about some of the health risks associated with such pollution, and observe how she helped create OurMap of Environmental Justice, an interactive online map that includes videos, facts, and descriptions of toxic pollutants in the community.

Earth System: Drought and Air Quality

Icon: 
Streaming icon

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.

Working with Scale

Icon: 
Streaming icon

In this video segment from Teaching Earth and Space Science, eighth-grade teacher Mark Goldner discusses the importance of having his students understand scale models and maps He creates a physical model of the sizes and distances of planets in the solar system, and his students make predictions and draw conclusions from the data resulting from the model. Goldner remarks that the activity helps reveal places where the students are having difficulty working with scale.

Samoa Under Threat

Icon: 
Streaming icon

The possible effects of global warming on the Pacific island of Samoa are examined in this video segment adapted from Bullfrog Films. For many Samoans who grew up with a subsistence way of life, learning to cope with natural disasters is nothing new. But, as Penehuru Lefale—the climatologist interviewed in the video—asserts, extreme weather events appear to be on the rise, threatening the survival of a Polynesian culture that is thousands of years old.

Living from the Land and Sea

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Learn about the cycle of seasons that guides the traditional Alaska Native subsistence way of life, in this video adapted from the Alaska Native Heritage Center focuses. As the seasons change and the available resources change, so do Alaska Native peoples' hunting and gathering activities. Recognizing the interdependence of life in nature, Alaska Native groups have respect for the land, sea, and animals. They also demonstrate respect for the Elders living among them. The integration of technology, including snowmobiles and GPS, into their subsistence activities demonstrates a blending of tradition and modern ways.

Above the Clouds: Telescopes on Mauna Kea

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Astronomical research is dependent on technology that allows astronomers to see the universe. Telescopes act as giant eyes, capturing the light from celestial objects and processing it for astronomers to study. Generally, a space-based telescope will offer the clearest views of the universe. However, astronomers have found an ideal site for ground-based telescopes. In this video segment adapted from First Light, learn about recent telescope technologies and one of the best ground locations—Mauna Kea.

Tectonic Plate Movement in Alaska

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Learn how mountains, volcanoes, and earthquakes result from plate tectonics, in this video adapted from KUAC-TV and the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Animations illustrate how the subduction of the Pacific plate under the North American plate and the collision of the Yakutat block builds mountains, such as the Wrangell and St. Elias Mountains. In addition, observe how technology (such as seismometers, satellites, and the Internet) helps scientists study the movement of Earth's crust, and learn about the surprising finding that there are still aftershocks being measured decades after the 1964 earthquake.

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

Earth as a System

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Earth is a complex, evolving body characterized by ceaseless change. To understand Earth on a global scale means using a scientific approach to consider how Earth's component parts and their interactions have evolved, how they function, and how they may be expected to further evolve over time. This visualization adapted from NASA helps explain why understanding Earth as an integrated system of components and processes is essential to science education. This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

Global Warming Threatens Shishmaref

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Learn about how global warming and changing sea ice conditions affect the Alaska Native village of Shishmaref, in this video segment adapted from Spanner Films. Hear firsthand accounts about how climate change has altered the condition, extent, and freeze-up of sea ice. Understand how the local subsistence way of life relies on the presence of sea ice. Learn about how houses were relocated after a strong storm in 1997 and how erosion continues to threaten the village.