Social Studies

Social Studies (X) - Middle (X) - U.S. History (X) - Economics (X) - Technology (X)

Rivers, Roads, Rails, and Air | The Decline of Railroads and Streetcars

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Discover how the building and use of railroads declined due to the popularity of automobiles and trucks. One effect was the development of regional and short line railroads that served smaller communities. Several larger cities used local electric streetcars until the automobiles took over.

Layover in Atlanta: The Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport | Georgia Stories

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 Flying came into vogue at the turn of the century. Asa Candler built a speedway on 300 acres of cotton fields near the village of Hapeville where popular auto races and flying shows were staged. Cities need good transportation features to prosper and Atlanta was already a railroad hub in the South. Local pilots urged that an airport be built but aviation was thought to be a fad. It was not until 1927 when the city of Atlanta bought the speedway and the federal government made Atlanta an airmail stop that the airport really took off. Through the years new terminals were built and billions were pumped in the economy.

People and Businesses | Steamboats on the Red

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Learn how communities began to develop on the banks of the Red River along the steamboats’ route in this video from the Steamboats on the Red series. With new, cheaper means of transportation come people—first workers, then settlers, then merchants. 

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 | Construction Changes

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Early road construction was time-consuming and expensive.  In 1959, road crews could lay out one mile of road a day at best. With today’s technology and equipment, paving and grading roads is much easier and faster.  Construction of bridges required specialists who could design the river-spanning lengths.  In the 1960s, road construction cost $400,000 per mile of four-lane highway, including the cost of land, equipment, workers’ pay, bridges, and materials.  Today, roads cost more than four times that for two lanes in one direction, but they last 50% longer

Great States | Iowa Economy

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Iowa’s natural resources gave rise to its early industries like lumber and coal mining. Discover how the real key to Iowa’s growth as a modern economy was transportation. Stagecoaches, freight wagons, steamboats, and trains were crucial to Iowa’s commercial development. 

Port Canaveral | Central Florida Roadtrip

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In addition to the space industry at Cape Canaveral, is the now growing cruise and cargo industry at Port Canaveral. To many it may seem like the Port has only been around for a few years, but in fact it is now over 60 years old.

Money Drives | Steamboats on the Red

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Find out why businessmen considered the Red River of the North a water highway in this video from the Steamboats on the Red series. The Red River of the North isn’t the first river that comes to mind when a person thinks of a water highway. So what could have possibly driven businessmen to think of it as such? Money. Money drove companies, like the Hudson’s Bay Company, to find a shorter and more economical route from New York to St. Paul, Minnesota. But as these businessmen would find out, nothing is ever as easy as it seems.

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.

Titans of Idaho Industry | Idaho Experience

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In 1949, Joe Albertson decided to break away from Safeway and start his own grocery store. It became one of the nations largest chain stores.  J.R. Simplot left home at age 14, and dropped out of school. After a string of calculated risks, Simplot managed to build a multi-billion dollar company. Idaho Experience "Titans" looks at the lives of Joe Albertson, and J.R. Simplot to see ways they helped change the state of Idaho. 

The Rise of Videogame Economies | Off Book

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The growth and complexity of online economies surprises many outsiders to the world of gaming. With millions of players around the world, in-game economies generate massive amounts of real dollars. Real-world economic theories can even be applied to these worlds. Many are now so big that game developers have hired real-world economists to help them manage these complex systems. But, with exploitative practices such as gold farming, are these systems in need of more regulation?

Montana Mosaic: Montana Industry - The Tourism Years

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A booming national post-WWII economy created a large American middle class with the means and desire to travel. With Montana’s wide open spaces, clean air, lovely mountains, camping, hunting and skiing, tourism became increasingly important to the state’s economy. Federal government investments in highways and in defense (particularly Cold War era missile silos) also dramatically impacted the state’s economy….and brought more visitors.

Newspapers in the Digital Age

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the.News reporter Antonio Neves explores changes in the newspaper business. He investigates how stories are covered and delivered and what changes in economic models are necessary to secure newspapers' continued existence. Explore how the newspaper industry has adapted to stay relevant within the Digital Age by becoming information portals and utilizing social media.

Made in L.A.: Examine Labor Practices in the Garment Industry

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This lesson is designed to be used in conjunction with the film Made in L.A., a film that follows the struggle of three Latina immigrants working for fair labor conditions in Los Angeles's garment factories. Note: This film has bilingual subtitles throughout and is fully accessible to English and Spanish speakers. This lesson compares current conditions in the garment industry with those at the turn of the 20th century.