Social Studies

Social Studies (X) - American Experience (X) - U.S. History (X)

1964: "Dancing in the Street"

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Discover how the hit song “Dancing in the Street” by Martha and the Vandellas became an anthem for society’s upheaval in this video from American Experience: “1964.” Intentionally or not, the call to people to come together around the world out into the streets seemed to support and inspire what would later become protests, demonstrations, and even riots as young people, blacks, and other groups demanded equal rights and fair treatment. This resource is part of the American Experience Collection.

1964: "The Beatles"

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Learn how the arrival of the Beatles in 1964, a scant five weeks after the assassination of President Kennedy, spurred on youthful rebellion and the counterculture in this video from American Experience: “1964.” As young people fell in love with the Beatles’ music and style, the gap between generations began to widen. Popular culture and politics would eventually merge, leading to a whole new set of American values. This resource is part of the American Experience Collection.

Freedom Riders: Buses Are A-Coming

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Jailed for civil disobedience in June 1961, the Freedom Riders used songs to turn prison into another place for peaceful protest against segregation and mistreatment. Excerpted from, American Experience: “Freedom Riders.”

The Power of Popular Songs | The Great War

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Listen to the way songs helped spread the news and influence opinion before the United States entered World War I, in this video adapted from The Great War: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. Through recordings and sheet music, the words to popular songs written in Manhattan’s “Tin Pan Alley” served as both entertainment and a news source at a time when many people didn’t read newspapers or couldn’t read English. This resource is a part of The Great War: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE | Collection.

Henry Ford - Interview with Producer Sarah Colt

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Producer Sarah Colt discusses the challenges of making American Experience: "Henry Ford."

Edison: Boyhood and Teen Years

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Find out how young Thomas Edison’s curiosity got him into trouble, and how, during his teen years, he lost his hearing but gained confidence as an aspiring inventor, in this video adapted from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Edison. As portrayed through reenactments, we learn that Edison, who had just three months of formal schooling, grew up reading and conducting chemistry experiments. His job as a newsboy on a train inspired his fascination with the telegraph. After teaching himself Morse Code so he could send and receive messages, Edison took a job as a telegraph operator at the age of 15. Through his work, and despite premature hearing loss, he developed an understanding of how the telegraph system operated and how he might improve it. He began to think of himself as an inventor. This resource is part of the Thomas Edison Collection.

Click on the links below to download a customizable Student Handout, Student Reading and transcript for this resource.

Student Handout | Student Reading | Transcript

Edison: Impact of Technology on Society

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Imagine the world when electric light was first introduced, and reflect on the impact that new inventions have on ordinary people in this video adapted from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Edison. In late 19th-century America, machines were ushering the country into the modern world. But with the awe and wonder that radical change provoked, technology also brought a certain amount of anxiety to ordinary people. This resource is part of the Thomas Edison CollectionCaution: This video includes the use of the word "hell."

Click on the links below to download a customizable Student Handout, Student Reading, and transcript for this resource.

Student Handout | Student Reading | Transcript

Edison: Invention in Late 19th-Century America

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Experience the excitement of a changing world as inventors and their patents redefine the American identity in this video adapted from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Edison. Inventions begin as ideas that are useful. Whether a device, a new approach, or a new technique, inventions can change the world. In the late 19th century, Americans began thinking of their country as a nation of inventors. Before then, many Americans felt inferior to Europeans because America lacked great universities and an arts and literature tradition. This resource is part of the Thomas Edison Collection.

Click on the links below to download a customizable Student Handout, Student Reading, and transcript for this resource.

Student Handout | Student Reading | Transcript

Edison: Invention Laboratory at Menlo Park

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Discover how Thomas Edison’s invention laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, and the team he hired to work with him, all fit into his vision of how he would become a great inventor in this video adapted from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Edison. In late 1876, Edison opened a fully equipped 5,000 square foot innovation laboratory that would provide him and a small group of experimental assistants and skilled machinists a place to invent. With all kinds of chemicals, organic materials, scientific instruments, and shop tools available to them, the men worked day and night, intent on figuring out things that nobody had yet thought of. This resource is part of the Thomas Edison Collection.

Click on the links below to download a customizable Student Handout and transcript for this resource.

Student Handout | Transcript

Edison: From the Telephone and Telegraph Comes the Phonograph

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Discover how one invention led to another when Thomas Edison and his Menlo Park laboratory team refined Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone and, along the way, invented the phonograph, in this video adapted from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Edison. Bell unveiled the telephone in the spring of 1876, prompting Edison and his team to design a device that improved on it. Then, calling on his experience as a telegrapher, Edison experimented on a device capable of recording the human voice: a phonograph. The invention was truly groundbreaking. Until then, no one had ever played back recorded sound. This resource is part of the Thomas Edison CollectionNote: The word "damn" is stated in the video.

Click on the links below to download a customizable Student Handout and a tanscript for this resource.

Student Handout | Transcript

Edison: Electric Light

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Discover how Thomas Edison’s team built on past innovations to develop the first successful electric light bulb in this video adapted from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Edison. Edison announced he would start work on electric light in 1878, to address the problems with existing lighting options, which included gaslights and arc lighting. While many inventors had patented versions of the most promising technology, an incandescent bulb, no bulb could yet produce light for more than 15 seconds, let alone several hours. Edison used his fame to attract the funding needed for his team to test and prototype a solution. Their efforts eventually paid off. On October 22, 1879, a bulb fitted with a filament of carbonized cotton thread burned in Edison’s laboratory for more than 13.5 hours. This resource is part of the Thomas Edison Collection.

Click on the links below to download a customizable Student Handout, Student Reading, and transcript for this resource.

Student Handout | Student ReadingTranscript

Triangle Fire: Factory Workers - Slaves of the Machines

Icon: 
Streaming icon

In the early 20th century, garment workers had to keep pace with their machines, or else pay for their mistakes. Excerpted from, American Experience: “Triangle Fire.”

The Creation, Destruction, and Legacy of Penn Station: Its Heyday | American Experience

Icon: 
Streaming icon

In this media gallery from American Experience, learn about the engineering challenges involved in bringing railroad service to Manhattan at the beginning of the 20th century. Discover New York's Penn Station in its heyday during the first half of the 20th century, how it fostered suburban growth, and how it was threatened by the automobile and airplane. This resource is part of the American Experience collection.

Henry Ford Institutes Worker Shareholders | American Experience

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Discover how Henry Ford used an increase in wages to address challenges facing his automobile company in this clip from American Experience. By more than doubling wages and creating "worker shareholders," Ford was able to both reduce assembly line turnover and create an expanded customer base for his Model T automobile. The policy played a major role in the transformation of the United States during the early 20th century from a society focused on production alone to one that emphasized both production and consumption. This resource is part of the American Experience collection.

Grand Coulee Dam

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Explore how the conflict between industrialization and the preservation of natural resources played out in the creation of the Grand Coulee Dam in the 1930s in this video from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. The project was initially seen as a way to provide electric power and irrigation and to spur recovery from the Great Depression. Only later were the environmental consequences to the land and the people living there recognized and, in the latter case, given compensation. This resource is part of the AMERICAN EXPERIENCE Collection.

Pages