Social Studies

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MN Original | Painter Dan Bruggeman

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Learn about how painter Dan Bruggeman is interested in the places between urban and suburban; landscapes which are uniquely American. His paintings portray vignettes where humans have altered the natural environment for entertainment purposes.

As a senior lecturer of studio art at at Carleton College, Dan Bruggeman’s work bridges together concepts of art, science and history.

For more MN Original resources, click here.

Virtual Field Trip Video: China's Great Forests | Nature Works Everywhere

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Join our expert scientist Yue Wang, a conservation planning officer for The Nature Conservancy, on a virtual field trip across the world to two stunning provinces in China—Sichuan and Yunnan—where we will explore majestic forests, towering mountains, and other iconic landscapes. While examining the role these vital natural areas play in the carbon cycle and climate change, as well as the benefits of reforestation, we will learn about the magnificent creatures who call these habitats home: giant pandas, golden snub-nosed monkeys, and the elusive and odd-looking takin. 

Find a teacher's guide here to accompany this field trip.

Virtual Field Trip Video: Africa | Nature Works Everywhere

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Experience a virtual field trip to Africa to learn how locals are working together to restore forestlands, protect wildlife, and promote ecotourism, hosted by PBS LearningMedia, The Nature Conservancy, and field scientist Charles Oluchina. This event was originally recorded on Thursday, February 5, 2015.

Find a teacher's guide here to accompany this field trip.

Harvesting Herring Eggs | EARTH A New Wild

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Using a method that goes back generations, fishermen in Alaska use an entirely natural method to harvest eggs from spawning herring. Use this resource to teach about sustainable farming and customs indigenous to Alaska and Canada.

The Coastal Zone: Santee Delta (00:03:47)

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The Student Host takes a boat ride with a geologist from the South Carolina Coastal Council. They travel from a landing where U.S. Highway 17 crosses the Norlh Santee River, through the delta to the Atlantic Ocean.

Earth System: Drought and Air Quality

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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.

Virtual Field Trip Video: Wild Biomes | Nature Works Everywhere

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On this virtual field trip, you’ll travel to the lush, rain-soaked splendor of Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula and explore the urban watershed of Seattle. Then you’ll head to Arizona’s dry, desert landscape and take a tour down the Verde River, one source of water that nourishes this parched land. Join The Nature Conservancy's water scientist Kari Vigerstol to find out how geography, people, and water interact in two of America’s “wildly” unique biomes. The field trip is geared toward grades 3-8 in the areas of science and geography. Download the teacher's guide for post-viewing discussion questions and related activities. The content of this virtual field trip is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and the National Geography Standards.

The Value of Grasslands: Video | Nature Works Everywhere

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Grasslands have grown to be a massively undervalued ecosystem, but a recent surge of ecotourism in grassland systems have given the land new value. In this video, explore the balance between ecotourism and environmental stability, and learn about how people all over the world are living together with grasslands. 

The following lesson plans support this video:

 

 

Lewis and Clark Minutes | Learning Expedition

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Hear NDSU Professor Mark Harvey who describes what Lewis and Clark would have experienced when first coming to the grasslands.

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.

An Ancient Legend Teaches Climate Change Adaptation

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Today's unsustainable use of natural resources is compared to the legend of the giant Uab. Uab, a boy who grew into a giant as he ate everything around him, became so heavy that the island he lived on began to sink. His appetite caused other problems, including a change in weather patterns and damage to coral reefs. Left with no choice, the islanders eventually killed Uab. This legend mirrors what is happening today globally and in the Pacific Island region: the unsustainable use of land, marine, and freshwater resources is having unwanted effects. In response, Palau is taking steps to help conserve natural resources for future generations.

Shipping on the Great Lakes: Benefits and Consequences of Exporting Goods

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Learn how Lake Michigan is used for the shipping and exporting of goods. Lake Michigan is 118 miles at its widest point, 301 miles long and is the third largest Great Lake by surface area. Today Lake Michigan continues to be a major shipping route to and from the Midwest for freighters. 

The town of Singapore, founded in the 1830’s, was one of the first establishments on the Michigan side of Lake Michigan. This town started as an entrepreneurial town to rival Chicago or Milwaukee as a lake port. It quickly became known as a busy lumbering and timbering town.

White pine lumber was in great demand all over the Midwest until October of 1871. A couple of days after the Great Chicago Fire, a big forest fire burned the western side of Michigan near Singapore and depleted the timber supply. Singapore went bankrupt because of the weakened timber supply and became a ghost town.

With Singapore becoming a ghost town and no longer a Lake Michigan shipping port, timber and leather had to find a way to be shipped to Chicago and the Midwest. The town of Saugatuck became the nearest port on the Michigan side of Lake Michigan to ship goods across Lake Michigan to Chicago and the Midwest. 

With the decline of the timber industry, due to the forest fire, fruit farming was gaining popularity. Boats were needed to ship fresh fruit and leather across Lake Michigan.

With Lake Michigan becoming a major shipping route, this led to a decline in the fishing industry. 

The opening of the Welland Canal connecting the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean, via the St. Lawrence Seaway, had positive and negative effects on the ecosystems of Lake Michigan. 

Virtual Field Trip Video: Coastal Peru | Nature Works Everywhere

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Join fisheries scientist Matias Caillaux from The Nature Conservancy to explore the Humboldt Current Ecosystem off the coast of Peru while learning about the area’s amazing diversity and productivity. While Peru is most frequently recognized for its rainforests, mountains, and ancient Inca civilizations, it is also home to one of the most productive ocean ecosystems. 

Find a teacher's guide here to accompany this field trip.

Managing Salmon to Support Healthy Forests: Video | Nature Works Everywhere

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This video addresses the impact of unsustainable fishing practices and how salmon fishing risks harming much more than just aquatic ecosystems. Salmon runs are an important factor in cycling many nutrients from the ocean to the forest and beyond. Over-fishing salmon can reduce the forest's capacity for growth and regeneration. 

Find a lesson plan here to accompany this video.