Social Studies

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Pourquoi Stories | Jakers!

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This video segment from Jakers features a storyteller who tells a Pourquoi story about a spider. Pourquoi is the French word for "why". Pourquoi stories try to explain in an entertaining way why something happens or why things are the way they are, especially in nature. This lively story is about Anansi the Spider, a popular character in African folklore. We hear an imaginary tale that tries to explain why the lowest part of a spider's body is so big. Could it really be because of the plan the greedy spider Anansi came up with to eat two feasts in one day?

The Dirt on Dirt | Sid the Science Kid

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In this episode of Sid the Science Kid, Sid and his friends lean that dirt is really important to the Earth because it helps things grow, and it's also filled with tiny rocks, pieces of leaves, and even living things like bugs and worms!

Maiasaura Nest

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In this Dinosaur Train clip, Mrs. Pteranodon meets fellow mom Millie Maiasaura. The two compare parenting techniques.

Nature Cat | The Groundhog Way

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It’s Groundhog Day! Today the Groundhog should tell our pals if Spring will come early or if Winter will stay around longer.

Puppy Walker

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In this segment from Zoom into Action, Brett trains puppies to be seeing-eye dogs. He volunteers as a puppy walker for the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind. He is working with a puppy named Arty for one year. His job is to socialize Arty and teach him to follow commands. At the end of the year, Brett has to bring Arty back for more training so he will be ready to work with a person who has a visual imparity. Brett knows his work is for a very good cause. When it’s time to give up the puppy, he isn’t too disappointed.

Nature Cat | Hooray It's Arbor Day

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While celebrating Arbor Day and their love for trees over in the forest, a heavy wind blows Squeeks’ favorite climbing tree halfway over. It’s up to Nature Cat and his pals to try and save the tree for Squeeks, for all the critters that live in the tree, and for Arbor Day!

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.

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.