Social Studies

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Prairie Churches | Count Berthold von Imhoff (Part 1 of 2)

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Learn about a German immigrant artist, Berthold von Imhof, who began in eastern Pennsylvania, then moved to Saskatchewan, his base for work that spread to the Dakotas, Minnesota, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Prairie Churches | Count Berthold von Imhoff (Part 2 of 2)

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Learn about a Roman Catholic, Berthold von Imhoff who painted for churches of many denominations, often donating his work and making each unique. 

Is Over The Garden Wall About Having Faith? | PBS Idea Channel

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Our viewers really enjoy the Over the Garden Wall series on Cartoon Network, as indicated by all the comments and tweets. We do too! Wirt and Greg's journey to find their way home through The Unknown makes for not just a great show, but a great exploration into the idea of faith in the face of fear. The show and its two central characters seem to perfectly illustrate cynicism and optimism. So what can we learn from the brothers, as well as Beatrice and their frog, about faith and facing the impossible?

How is Seeing Enders Game a Political Action? | PBS Idea Channel

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The science fiction novel Ender's Game has been a part of the sci-fi canon for the past 30+ years and with its huge new blockbuster movie release, it's bigger than ever. But its author, Orson Scott Card, has inspired more debate than the novel itself. Card has been labeled homophobic, racist, and a handful of other distasteful things, and the opinions held by Card have created a great deal of anger and opposition. Now that Ender's Game has been made into a movie, this leads to a big question: should you see it? Does buying a ticket to a film equal an endorsement of the creator's ideas? Or, should you join the bandwagon of boycotts against the film? Should you avoid it based on your moral beliefs? 

Sandwiches, Modernity, and Lyrics: A Thanksgiving Episode | PBS Idea Channel

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In honor of Thanksgiving, we present two ideas to discuss with your loved ones around the dinner table. First up: sandwiches. They are the perfect food for today's fast-paced lifestyle. But was it the creation of this versatile food that ushered in the period of classical modernity? Next up: music lyrics websites. We all love singing the wrong lyrics and then looking up the actual lyrics on rap genius. But are these sites stealing from the recording industry by profiting off of artist's lyrics? 

The Railroad Journey and the Industrial Revolution | Crash Course World History

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Join host John Green to learn about railroads, some of the ways they changed the world, and how they were a microcosm for the Industrial Revolution as a whole. Prior to the invention of steam powered railroads, nearly all forms of locomotion had been muscle-powered. You either walked where you wanted to go or rode on an animal to get where you were going. The railroad changed human perception of time and space, making long distance travel much faster and easier. Railroads also changed habits, including increasing reading. People needed some sort of distraction. Like any new form of technology, railroads also scared people. All kinds of fears surrounded rail travel, but, over time, people got over them.

Does Animal Crossing Promote Otaku Citizenship? | PBS Idea Channel

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Like us, you may not have initially realized the significance of Animal Crossing. Sure, it's a simple game for kids, with cute animals and bright colors. But, could it be true that it inspires otaku citizenship?! Otaku refers to obsessive interest and collection, usually associated with Japanese culture, but it can apply to anything. In Animal Crossing, as mayor of your town, success is defined by maintaining friendships with your townspeople and collecting natural resources to cultivate the perfect town. Is this promoting otaku? 

What Does the SAT Really Test? | PBS Idea Channel

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How's that SAT prep going? Need some SAT tips? Well, here's one: The SAT may not actually be measuring your anything. That's right, your SAT scores, despite what colleges and high schools across America may like for you to believe, may not reflect anything new. There is actually substantial evidence that instead of broad aptitudes, the SATs only measure a specific set of non-quantitative, cultural values and ideas. Don't scratch those SAT dates off your calendar yet though, because it is still important, and on this week's episode of Idea Channel, let's look at why.

Could Sports Ever Replace War? | PBS Idea Channel

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The recent excitement over the World Cup made us think: could a competitive sporting event ever replace war? It's easy to see the similarity between games and warfare: both often involve strategy, cunning, and even (sometimes especially) national pride. Plus, sports are not completely without value in terms of international relations. History has shown that politically charged soccer games and "ping-pong policy" can impact diplomacy. But, could a match substitute true combat, and the results honored as definitive during global discord? Watch the episode to find out, and tell us what you think!

Do Upvotes Show Democracy's Flaws? | PBS Idea Channel

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Are upvotes democratic? The idea behind forums like reddit that use upvoting as 'community sourced decisions' is that compelling, unique posts will float to the top, and weak ones will sink to the bottom. Reddit is a democracy - much like The United States! However, in both cases, the notion of true democracy may well be an illusion. Does seeing upvotes promote more upvotes? Does provocative content beget more provocative content? Is all content created equal? Watch this episode to find out, and tell us what you think!

Coffee, Mesmerism, and Morning Routines | PBS Idea Channel

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This episode is about glorious morning coffee. Or, more specifically, about our time-tested morning routines. Everybody has their morning routine that they rely on and cling to dearly. The simple acts of brewing coffee, showering, and whatever else you do makes that first act of climbing out of bed easier. The comfort and familiarity of those repeated actions give us a sense of ownership, and cause us to self identify with these simple set of actions. So what is it about these routines that make them so important to us? Watch the episode to find out, and tell us what you think!

What Do Hot Sauce Labels Say About America? | PBS Idea Channel

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Peppers are the essence of hot sauce, and hot sauce is the essence of spicy. You might be a hot sauce lover, but how much thought have you given to their labels? If you've ever taken a second to examine them, you might notice some patterns and similarities amongst them. What does this say about Americans' attitude towards hot sauces, or even towards food in general? 

SRSLY What Does IKEA Say About The Human Condition? | PBS Idea Channel

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While a huge corporate entity may not be the most likely place to find discussion points for the human condition, we're going to tackle this subject anyway. In particular, what is "The IKEA Effect?" What is it about building your own furniture that is so satisfying, or frustrating? We can also undoubtedly find some metaphors in the labyrinthine layouts of their stores themselves! What does IKEA say about the human condition?

Halal - Kosher Dining at Dartmouth

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As student bodies become more diverse, universities must begin to deal with issues such as how to accommodate religious dietary requirements. The Pavilion at Dartmouth College is an inter–religious campus dining hall featuring kosher, halal and vegetarian meals. This video from Religion & Ethics Newsweekly reports on the new dining area, a joint effort by both Muslim and Jewish students, which includes four separate kitchens, three sets of cooking implements and two dishwashing rooms.

West Virginia | Road to Statehood

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Explore the events leading to statehood for West Virginia. The five lesson plans provide a guided viewing graphic organizer, primary source documents, maps, and activities to engage students in the study of the presidential election of 1860, the issues of the time, and individuals who played a role in the movment.

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