Social Studies

Social Studies (X) - Science (X) - World History (X)

Homo Sapiens Versus Neanderthals

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Explore the origins of modern humans. Fossil evidence from Middle East caves and elsewhere has revealed some competitive advantages modern humans, known as Homo sapiens, are believed to have held over the more archaic human species, Neanderthals. For example, during the time in which the two species may have coexisted, Homo sapiens lived on high ground, from which they could survey the landscape and plan their hunting expeditions. Some scientists have theorized that the success of this strategy may have contributed to the demise of the valley-dwelling Neanderthals, who became extinct about 30,000 years ago. Adapted from NOVA.

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

Clifton Suspension Bridge

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This video segment from Building Big highlights the Clifton Suspension Bridge, one of the earliest of its kind. Though it was completed in 1864, when pedestrians, animals, and horse-drawn carriages were its main forms of traffic, its iron chain-link cables and stone piers today carry four million cars and other vehicles a year.

Architecture 2030

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Learn about efforts to protect the environment by changing the way buildings are planned, designed and constructed.

The Art of Data Visualization | Off Book

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Off Book takes a look at how the practice of data visualization has gained even more importance in this digital age. From scientific visualization to pop infographics, designers are increasingly tasked with incorporating data into the media experience. Data has emerged as such a critical part of modern life that it has entered into the realm of art, where data-driven visual experiences challenge viewers to find personal meaning from a sea of information, a task that is present in every aspect of our lives.

The Human Spark | The Art Spark

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In this video segment from The Human Spark, host Alan Alda ventures to Southwestern France where it is believed Neanderthals first made their homes in rock shelters. The crew makes their way to Cat Blanc, one of the rock shelters speculated to have sheltered not only Neanderthals, but also early humans. Horse carvings made from fifteen to twenty thousand years ago by early humans indicate that they brought with them something the Neanderthals lacked - "the human spark."

Greening the Federal Government

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Observe efforts to elevate government architecture across the country through the hiring of the best architects "of the day".

Egypt's Treasure Guardians | Full Program

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Meet Egypt's "treasure guardians," a group of archaeologists, scholars, conservators, and engineers working to guard national heritage, following years of political upheaval, by building a museum. To preserve its rich history and to tempt visitors back, Egypt is building the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM)—the greatest Egyptian monument since the pyramids! Archaeologists across the country are opening new dig sites to find artifacts for display, with the hope that teaching the public about important historical areas will keep those places protected in the future.

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.

The Beauty of Space Photography | Off Book

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Off Book explores how images of space display the grandeur of the universe. Space presents a fantastic mystery to human life. Unfathomably large with characteristics that defy our understanding, the stars have perplexed and amazed humanity for millennia. In the present, astrophysicists and astronomers are aggressively studying the universe in an attempt to solve critical scientific and philosophical questions.

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.

Sustainable Cities: Nature Based Solutions in Urban Design: Video | Nature Works Everywhere

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This video was created by The Nature Conservancy, with help from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the City of Winnipeg Water and Waste Department, and D.C. Water.

The following lesson plans are designed to be used with this video:

 

 

ZOOM | Making Recycled Paper

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Recent Environmental Protection Agency studies have shown that 0.9 metric tons of recycled paper saves 17 trees, 26,500 liters of water, 27 kilograms of pollution, 2.5 cubic meters of landfill space, and enough energy to power the average American home for six months. In this video segment adapted from ZOOM, cast members demonstrate how something that might otherwise be discarded, such as newspaper, can be recycled to create a functional or even beneficial new product.

Building Big | Arch Bridge

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The Romans were some of the most important innovators in structural design. Of their contributions, the arch and the bridges they built using an elegant shape stand out as the most creative and enduring. In this video segment adapted from Building Big, series host David Macaulay describes the forces and design features that give arches their strength.

Macro Concerns in a Nano World

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Nanotechnology is beginning to play a larger part in our lives. But environmental and health concerns about exposure to nanomaterials are mounting, sparking a growing debate about their possible regulation. This QUEST video produced by KQED, looks further into nanotechnology, as this rapidly expanding field begins to play a larger part in our lives.

ISS Anniversary | STEM in 30

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In the lifetime of today’s middle school students, there hasn’t been a day without a human presence onboard the International Space Station (ISS). This episode of STEM in 30 celebrates the 15th anniversary of continuous occupation of the space station and looks at the incredible accomplishments of the last 15 years.

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