Social Studies

Social Studies (X) - Computer Science (X) - High (X) - U.S. History (X)

Designing the Mall | The National Mall - America's Front Yard

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Learn about the evolution and design of the National Mall from its inception and explore the early considerations made by its designer, Pierre Charles L’Enfant. The design of the capitol city involved converting tidal flats, forests, and farmland into the major landmarks we see today. L’Enfant placed major landmarks on high points, placing the Capitol Building on the highest spot. Other design elements included a space for the President's house, the Washington Monument, and a grand promenade, lined with buildings and a broad canal, better known today as our National Mall.

A New Medium | In Their Own Words: Jim Henson

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Learn how Jim Henson’s childhood in rural Mississippi influenced his career and his passion for drawing and building things in this excerpt from the video In Their Own Words: Jim Henson. See how 12-year old Jim is drawn to the new medium of television and the art of ventriloquism, particularly that of Edgar Bergen.

Puppet Partnership | In Their Own Words: Jim Henson

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Explore the early years of Jim Henson and puppeteer Frank Oz’s unique creative partnership in this excerpt from In Their Own Words: Jim Henson. The puppeterring duo first met in 1960 when Oz was just 17-years old. Their pioneering work in early 1960s television, including the network variety series The Jimmy Dean Show, reveals the complexities of their relationship.

Fraggle Rock | In Their Own Words: Jim Henson

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See how "Fraggle Rock" introduced a new generation to Jim Henson's creations in this excerpt from In Their Own Words: Jim Henson. The fantasy film "Dark Crystal" was not a box-office success, but later became a cult classic. Technologically groundbreaking, Henson was disappointed with ticket sales, but he was really proud of the film as a piece of art.

Lubin Photos | History Detectives

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History Detectives examines century old photos that may have captured the dawn of American movie-making--nearly 3000 miles from Hollywood. One of the books holds many Western scenes, including a cowboy character captioned, "Herbert Lubin." Other captions refer to the Siegmund Lubin Studios. Who was Siegmund Lubin? And was Herbie Lubin a movie star? History Detective Tukufu Zuberi goes on an excursion through an early movie mogul’s dramatic rise and fall.

Introduction | In Their Own Words: Jim Henson

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Explore the creation of Kermit the Frog and the highlights of Muppet creator Jim Henson’s life and career in this video from In Their Own Words: Jim Henson. Henson's determination to be more than a children’s entertainer led to his foray into moviemaking and the enduring characters he created. The blockbuster premiere of “The Muppet Show” in 1976 brought Henson's dream of prime time Muppet success, a dream that began in the early years of television.

Sesame Street | In Their Own Words: Jim Henson

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See how the formation of The Children’s Television Workshop in 1966 launched Sesame Street in this video excerpt from In Their Own Words: Jim Henson. Led by Joan Ganz Cooney, The Children's Television Workshop was born amid social upheaval. Henson joined the CTW’s “Sesame Street” though he was reluctant to be lableled a little kid's producer. The show was a huge success.

Kermit’s Legacy | In Their Own Words: Jim Henson

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See how the legacy of the Muppets lives on after Jim Henson's death in 1990 in this excerpt from In Their Own Words: Jim Henson. After Henson's death, his family and colleagues agree to continue their life’s work with the Muppets. An emotional Muppets TV special airs six months after Jim’s death.

The Muppet Show | In Their Own Words: Jim Henson

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Discover how the Muppet Show got it's start in 1976 in this exerpt from In Their Own Words: Jim Henson. This biography of Henson shows how the weekly variety format starring Kermit the Frog became the #1 show in America. Jim Henson's growing cast of characters of both puppets and humans became a sensation.

The Muppet Movie | In Their Own Words: Jim Henson

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Learn about the box-office success of the first Muppet Movie in this excerpt from In Their Own Words: Jim Henson. After the success of the first two Muppet movies, Henson creates "The Dark Crystal." Thought the "Dark Crystal" fell short in ticket sales, Henson continued to push the boundaries of feature films and worked with animators for recognition as an artist and not simply an entertainer.

Primetime Puppets | In Their Own Words: Jim Henson

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Discover how Jim Henson's puppet work on "Sam and Friends" in college influenced his creation of Kermit and the Muppets in this excerpt from In Their Own Words: Jim Henson. Henson meets his future wife and fellow puppeteer Jane Nebel. As Henson's television career takes off in the spring of 1956, his brother Paul dies of injuries suffered in a car accident.

Paul Goldberger Discusses the Beauty of the Bridge | Ken Burns: Brooklyn Bridge

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Architecture critic Paul Goldberger discusses how the beauty of the Brooklyn Bridge has moved poets, painters, sculptors, and architects to sing its praises in the hundred years it has stood.

Animated GIFs | Off Book

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Off Book explores the visual artistry of one of the oldest image formats used on the web: the animated Graphics Interchange Format. Throughout their history, GIFs have served a variety of purposes, from functional to entertaining. In this episode of Off Book, we chart the history of GIF, explore the hotbed of GIF creativity on Tumblr, and talk to two teams of GIF artists who are reshaping the format with powerful new visual experiences.

The Memorial Plaques | NOVA Online

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The names of the victims of September 11 are inscribed on 152 bronze panels that will line the 9/11 Memorial. In this video from NOVA Online, take a tour of the plant where the panels are fabricated with co-owner Jim Moretti to learn how these beautiful plaques are made.

Hedy Lamarr | Women in World War II

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Discover the role of women in World War II in this video from the American Masters film Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story. Hedy Lamarr invented frequency hopping—a technology that could have provided a significant advantage to the United States military in the war—but the Navy shelved her idea and told her to sell war bonds instead. By selling war bonds, she engaged in something deemed more appropriate for a woman, especially a glamorous actress. In this resource, students explore the opportunities open to women during the war through discussion questions, a background essay, a student handout analyzing primary sources, and other tips for extending learning.

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