Social Studies

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

Fusion: Testing the First Hydrogen Device

Icon: 
Streaming icon

The 1952 test of the first hydrogen device--code-named "Mike," for "megaton"--in the Pacific Ocean's Marshall Islands signaled a new era in weapons capabilities. The devastation presented in this video segment, adapted from American Experience: Race for the Superbomb, demonstrates just how foreboding the signal was. Watch what prompted then-United States president Harry Truman to speak publicly about the dangers ahead for a world in which such weapons existed.

Is the Universe a Computer? | PBS Idea Channel

Icon: 
Streaming icon

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is about everything in life and the universe. In the books, the "answer" is 42, but the question is unknown. To discover the question, a giant computer called Earth was built. Although it seems silly, perhaps Douglas Adams was correct. Maybe not just earth, but the whole universe, is an incredibility complex computational system, processing the answer to some unknown question. The universe is made of information, similar to a computer, and physics certainly is based on computational principles. But, is it running some grand program? 

A Pellet of Poison | Medicine Woman

Icon: 
Streaming icon

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. 

The Unleashing of the Dragon: Hiroshima | Uranium: Twisting the Dragon's Tail

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Learn about acute radiation sickness, in this clip from Uranium: Twisting the Dragon's Tail. August 6, 1945. A Uranium bomb is dropped on the city of Hiroshima. People closest to the blast were instantly vaporized in the tremendous heat. Thos who were not killed in the initial blast and fire began to die in the coming weeks due to the radiation. Listen to Derek explain how Wilfred Burchett, was the first Western journalist to go into the city and document the suffering of 'acute radition sickness' for the world.

Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki | The Bomb

Icon: 
Streaming icon

Learn how the decision to use nuclear weapons happened in this clip from �The Bomb.� After years of massive effort, the bomb became a reality at the successful Trinity test but the fearsome effects of the bomb worried scientists. The Japanense were losing the war and refused to surrender. Watch to find out how President Harry Truman found himself responsible for ending the war and had to make the hard decision between droppping the bomb or continuing their military plan.

Thomas Jefferson and the Giant Moose | It's Okay to Be Smart

Icon: 
Streaming icon

America’s first great science battle wasn’t the space race or the atom bomb, it was fought between Thomas Jefferson, a French nobleman, and in the middle… a giant moose. Some people call Jefferson our only scientist-President, and T.J. himself said that “Nature intended me for the tranquil pursuits of science, by rendering them my supreme delight.”

Finding Your Roots | Founding Mothers

Icon: 
Streaming icon

In this video segment from the PBS series Finding Your Roots, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. traces Maggie Gyllenhaal's Jewish ancestors back thousands of years to the four "founding mothers" in Jewish history. The segment explains why DNA allows Professor Gates to trace Gyllenhaal's family back so far.

West Virginia | Three Rivers: The Bluestone, Gauley and New

Icon: 
Streaming icon

3 Rivers: the Bluestone, Gauley, and New documents the economic, social, and political impact of the rivers on Southern and Central West Virginia.  Included in Teachers Resources is a cross-curricular unit which addresses the West Virginia Content Standards and Objectives for 8th grade West Virginia Studies.  The video is divided into 4 chapters: Introduction, Bluestone, Gauley, and New.  Curriculum is available under the Resource tab by the content area.