Social Studies

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Up the Yangtze

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Nearing completion, China's massive Three Gorges Dam is altering the landscape and the lives of people living along the fabled Yangtze River. Countless ancient villages and historic locales will be submerged, and 2 million people will lose their homes and livelihoods. The Yu family desperately seeks a reprieve by sending their 16-year-old daughter to work in the cruise ship industry that has sprung up to give tourists a last glimpse of the legendary river valley. With cinematic sweep, Up the Yangtze explores lives transformed by the biggest hydroelectric dam in history, a hotly contested symbol of the Chinese economic miracle.

Five Years Later, What Were the Effects of the BP Oil Spill?

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Explore the long-term effects of the BP oil spill off the coast of Louisiana with this video and educational resources from PBS NewsHour from April 20, 2015.

Obama Vetoes Keystone Pipeline Expansion

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Go inside the debate over the Keystone Pipeline expansion with this video and educational resources from PBS NewsHour from February 24, 2015.

The Hunting Dogs of Papua New Guinea

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This video from Nature describes the history and uses of the dogs of Papua New Guinea. Men from the Akepangi tribe set out to hunt at dawn. They believe the dogs they take with them have supernatural abilities to track down prey. The dogs are called the singing dogs because they howl but do not bark. In the hunt, the dogs find an opossum in the canopy (upper layer of vegetation). The dogs are more valuable to the hunters than their bows and arrows. The tribe believes the dogs tell them where the evil spirits lie in the jungle.

Is New Orleans Prepared for the Next Katrina?

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Find out what has been done to prepare New Orleans for the next big storm with this video and educational resources from PBS NewsHour from August 25, 2015.

When a Town Runs Dry | Global Oneness Project

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This short film, When a Town Runs Dry, documents life in Stratford, a small town in California's Central Valley. A farming community for over a hundred years, Stratford is suffering from a drought that is severely impacting the community, land, and residents' daily lives.

Currently in its sixth year of drought, the Central Valley is home to the country's most productive agricultural region, containing more than half of all the fruits, vegetables, and nuts grown in the United States. Some farmers are selling land and cutting back on farmed acreage, while others dig deeper wells to maintain crop yields. Groundwater in the area has significantly diminished due to over-use and according to the Los Angeles Times, the water table below Stratford fell 100 feet in two years. Residents are living without running water.

This film explores the drought through the eyes of three Stratford residents—a farmer, a shopkeeper, and a high school football coach. All three men prepare for an uncertain future.

In the accompanying lesson, students explore the effects of environmental change and consider the ways those changes impact community.

Illinois Tornadoes | PBS Newshour

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An outbreak of tornadoes blasted the Midwest over the weekend, leaving at least eight people dead and leveling entire neighborhoods. The most powerful storm cut through Washington, Illinois, Sunday afternoon with winds of almost 200 miles per hour. This Daily News Story from PBS NewsHour Extra was created on November 19th, 2013.

 

Record Snowfalls Hit Boston

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See the effects of record-breaking snowfall on Boston's communities with this video and educational resources from PBS NewsHour from February 18, 2015.

Cambodian Lake Faces Uncertain Future

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Discover the cultural and environmental importance of Cambodia's Tonle Sap Lake with this video and educational resources from PBS NewsHour from June 26, 2014.

What’s Next for Nepal’s Earthquake Recovery?

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Look at Nepal's efforts to recover from a major earthquake with this video and educational resources from PBS NewsHour from April 29, 2015.

Nepal Devastated by Deadly Earthquake

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Hear the latest updates from the site of an earthquake in Nepal with this video and educational resources from PBS NewsHour from April 26, 2015.

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

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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.