Social Studies

Social Studies (X) - Middle (X) - Science and Technology (X) - World History (X) - U.S. History (X)

110: The Rise of Modern Georgia, Part I (Reconstruction and Growth) | Georgia Stories

Icon: 
Streaming icon

This episode tells the history of Georgia's culture from the Civil War onward. The first segment discusses the importance of trains to Atlanta both during and after the Civil War. The second segment tells the struggles of the Reconstruction era, with particular focus on the lives of sharecroppers. The final segment discusses Georgia music starting in the Civil War and the lasting impact the music of the south has had on American musical forms.

Rivers, Roads, Rails, and Air | Individual Freedom

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Learn about the history of automobiles in North Dakota. The automobile age gave freedom of movement and choice for passengers and freight. With more people driving cars, the push came for better roads.

Rivers, Roads, Rails, and Air | Peerless Transportation

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Learn about the role of railroads in North Dakota history. In their time, railroads had no peer in their ability to move people and goods, although shipping costs were high. The railroad companies helped increase immigration to North Dakota by actively marketing the opportunities here to foreigners, especially Scandinavians and Germans from Russia.

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 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: 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

Solve a Problem | Steamboats on the Red

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Learn how the biggest hurdle in establishing a water route for trade was how to get a steamboat across the prairie from St. Paul to the Red River in this video from the Steamboats on the Red series. The solution: a contest proposed by the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce with a cash prize to the first person to get a steamboat launched and operational.

Looking at the shallow twists and turns of the Red River, it’s hard to imagine that steam-powered paddlewheel boats were once the most important transportation link between St. Paul, Minnesota, and Winnipeg, Manitoba. From the first in 1859 to the last that sank in 1909, Red River steamboats hauled thousands of settlers and millions of tons of freight across the border between the United States and Canada. Although it lasted barely 50 years, the age of the steamboat forged a commercial network between the two countries that exists to this day in the Interstate-29 corridor.

Old Red Trail | Birth of the Interstate

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Crossing the United States before the federal highway system was in place was very difficult.  Future President Dwight Eisenhower traveled in a military expedition from Maryland to California in 1919 and took that experience with him to the White House.  He signed the Federal Highway Act in 1956, which resulted in the opening of the first part of Interstate 94 in October of 1958 between Valley City and Jamestown.  The video clip also includes discussion of how the interstate highway project was funded, its value in national defense, and secondary road improvement projects.

J. Alden Loring

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Loring, a naturalist, mammologist and author, had worked for U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, the Smithsonian Institute, and the Bureau of Biological Survey. In 1909 he embarked on an expedition to Africa with President Theodore Roosevelt to collect specimens for a new Natural History Museum.

Alexander Graham Bell | Scientist, Inventor, and Teacher Video

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Alexander Graham Bell devoted his life to helping people—deaf and hearing—communicate. Working tirelessly to integrate the deaf into society—like his pupil Helen Keller—Bell was also an avid inventor. He created numerous communication devices, including the telephone. Using a short video and two primary sources, students will learn about Bell’s inventions and his work with the deaf community.

View the Lesson Plan.