Social Studies

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Chastity's Story: Homelessness

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This film module spotlights Chastity’s story and building a support system for students struggling with poverty.

A Pellet of Poison | Medicine Woman

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The strange story of how the lives of two famous women—Marie Curie and Doctor Susan Picotte—intersected in 1915. In the autumn of 1915 on the Omaha Indian Reservation in Nebraska a small package arrived at the home of Doctor Susan Picotte. It contained a tiny pellet of radium sent by Madam Marie Curie to save the life of the first Native American doctor as she lay dying of cancer. 

Welcome (中国欢迎您) from the First Lady

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Join First Lady Michelle Obama as she discusses her upcoming trip to China and invites students to follow her journey.

Eleanor Roosevelt | First Lady, Diplomat, and Activist Video

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Eleanor Roosevelt—the “First Lady of the World”—spent her life fighting for the rights of others. Throughout her long career, she championed women’s rights, African Americans’ rights, and human rights on a worldwide scale. Through two primary source activities and a short video, students will learn how Eleanor Roosevelt used her positions as First Lady and United Nations diplomat to ensure that the powerless had a voice in American and global politics.

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Guilford Courthouse | The Southern Campaign

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The Battle of Guilford Courthouse was fought on March 15, 1781. This battle decided the outcome for the Carolinas because even though Cornwallis won, technically, he lost 25% of his force.

Ninety Six: End Game | The Southern Campaign

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Ninety Six was a small frontier town near Greenwood, South Carolina—an essential part of the geography of British strongholds designed to seal off Charleston and the low country from French, Spanish, and Indian attack. At the “Star Fort” in Ninety Six, a band of Loyalists held their ground, waiting to see what would happen.  

On May 21, 1781, General Greene and approximately a thousand troops marched south towards Ninety-Six, to lay siege to the Star Fort.  It is was the longest field siege of The American Revolution. It lasted 28 days.

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