Social Studies

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Clifton Suspension Bridge

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This video segment from Building Big highlights the Clifton Suspension Bridge, one of the earliest of its kind. Though it was completed in 1864, when pedestrians, animals, and horse-drawn carriages were its main forms of traffic, its iron chain-link cables and stone piers today carry four million cars and other vehicles a year.

World War I: Legacy, Letters and Belgian War Lace | STEM in 30

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In this STEAM inspired STEM in 30, we will look at some of the technological advances of World War I that solidified the airplane’s legacy as a fighting machine. In conjunction with the Embassy of Belgium, we’ll also dive deep into how the war affected the lives of children in an occupied country and how lace makers helped feed a nation.

Global Gardens: Video | Nature Works Everywhere

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Urban gardens are powerful tools that can help grow healthy food, reduce our carbon footprint, and increase the overall health of our city environments. By creating a small, contained habitat for plants, pollinators, and other creatures, these tiny garden ecosystems actually contain a huge diversity of animals. This video explores the role that urban gardens can have on an individual, a local, and on a global scale.

Find a lesson plan here to accompany this video.

Sustainable Cities: Nature Based Solutions in Urban Design: Video | Nature Works Everywhere

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This video was created by The Nature Conservancy, with help from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the City of Winnipeg Water and Waste Department, and D.C. Water.

The following lesson plans are designed to be used with this video:

 

 

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.

Grass Bridge

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The ancient Inca were a textile society and thus skilled in working with natural fibers including alpaca and cotton. Still, it might surprise people today that their solution to crossing the canyons and gorges of their mountainous empire featured another fibrous material: grass. When you consider how they built a simple suspension bridge, you'll realize that not only was this a practical solution, it was also a safe one. In this video segment adapted from NOVA, watch residents of the Peruvian Andes as they build a traditional and functioning grass bridge—the likes of which enabled the ancient Inca people to flourish for several hundred years.

How the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids Were Built

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Explore how and why the pyramids were built in ancient Egypt and analyze the architectural breakthroughs necessary to build ever-larger pyramids and the religious purpose for building them in these two video segments from NOVA: This Old Pyramid. Pyramids were more than monuments for the people who built them; they were doorways to the afterlife for the pharaoh.

Building Big | Arch Bridge

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The Romans were some of the most important innovators in structural design. Of their contributions, the arch and the bridges they built using an elegant shape stand out as the most creative and enduring. In this video segment adapted from Building Big, series host David Macaulay describes the forces and design features that give arches their strength.

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.

Rivers, Roads, Rails, and Air | Barnstorming

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Learn about early airplanes, and how they were a novelty and flying a source of entertainment for bystanders, but quickly became essential in the transportation of passengers and goods.

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