Above the Noise

Oakland Sideshows: Should They Be Legal? | Above the Noise

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What do you get when you mix car stunts, youth culture and Oakland? Sideshows! In the Bay Area, illegal sideshows divide the community. Supporters say sideshows are part of Oakland culture and advocate for safe venues. Opponents view sideshows as disruptive and dangerous. Even if you’re not from Oakland, there’s likely a clash between car culture and cops near you. What do you think? Should communities embrace car culture events like sideshows, or should they remain banned? 

Have your students watch the video and respond to the question in KQED Learn.

School Dress Codes: When Do They Go Too Far? | Above the Noise

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On social media, conversations about #Imnotadistraction are gaining popularity, and school dress codes are coming under fire from students who say these policies can be sexist and racist. But many argue strict dress codes are necessary for a safe learning environment. So, how should schools decide on dress code policies? Have your students watch the video and respond to the question in KQED Learn.

The accompanying lesson plan asks students to explore the pros and cons of dress code policies in light of the national conversation, as well as their own school. 

Why Isn't There More Research about Gun Violence? | Above the Noise

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As political issues go, gun control is definitely a doozie. Few topics get Americans as riled up. But no matter where you stand, most of us can at least agree on this: that gun violence claims the lives of too many innocent people in this country, and actions should be taken to reduce the number of people killed. Compared to other wealthy nations around the world, the rate of gun deaths in the U.S. is high. So why isn’t there more government-funded research about the problem, the way there is for other major public health crises? Why is the rate of gun violence in the United States higher than in any other wealthy nation? Have your students watch the video and respond to the question in KQED Learn.

Is the Internet Making You Meaner? | Above the Noise

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If the Internet's making you feel meaner, you're not imagining it. People really do act differently online than they do in person. Here’s why. According to a paper published in 2004 by psychologist John Suler, there are about 6 main reasons people act differently online. This could explain the rise of internet trolls or why people open up more online than they would in person. 

Have your students watch the video and respond to the question in KQED Learn.

Made in collaboration with Common Sense. 

Should Schools Suspend Suspensions? | Above the Noise

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Suspensions have some unintended consequences. They disproportionately target minorities, and some students who get suspended are more likely to repeat a grade, drop out of school and become involved in the criminal justice system. But suspensions are viewed by some as a necessary tool to keep schools safe. It may not be great for the suspended student, but they say it’s more important to keep everyone else at the school safe. Should suspensions be suspended? Have your students watch the video and respond to the question in KQED Learn.

Screen Time: How Much Is Too Much? | Above the Noise

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Even by conservative estimates, the average American spends over 6 hours per day staring at a screen. That’s a lot of time. What does the scientific research say about it? Is it good or bad for us? Co-produced with Common Sense Education. 

Have your students watch the video and respond to the question in KQED Learn.

Should Colleges Still Require the SATs and ACTs? | Above the Noise

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Taking the SAT or ACT is a right of passage for high school students applying to college. Millions of juniors and seniors take at least one of the tests every year, albeit reluctantly, and most colleges still require it to be considered for admission. But a growing number of colleges are putting much less emphasis on test scores. Many have made the test entirely optional. Should tests like the ACT or SAT still be used for college admissions? Find out in the latest Above the Noise episode. And join the discussion about standardized testing with other students on KQED Learn by going to Activity in Support Materials. (Log in required.)

When Is Your Brain Ready for Social Media? | Above the Noise

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Social media is a mixed bag. Being online may increase chances of identity theft and cyberbullying, yet, it’s estimated over 20% of 8-12-year-olds have at least one social media account—sometimes without their parents’ knowledge. At times, tweens are taking back charge of their brand, started by their parents since they were born, and sometimes, they are looking to share and connect with a community they have trouble finding face-to-face. So, What’s the right age to start using social media? 

Have your students watch the video and respond to the question in KQED Learn.

Should College Be Free? | Above the Noise

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College costs are insane these days. It’s getting to the point where unless your last name is Bezos or Zuckerberg, a college education kinda' feels like a pipe dream. One answer is FREE COLLEGE paid for by the government, which many liberals and even some conservatives are getting behind. But, “free” college really isn’t free. That money has to come from somewhere. Is free college really as good as it sounds? Have your students watch the video and respond to the question in KQED Learn.

Gene Editing and CRISPR: How Far Should We Go? | Above the Noise

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In late 2018, a Chinese researcher revealed that he created the first ever genetically edited babies. He altered the DNA of twin girls before they were born. In response, the world kind of went nuts, raising HUGE bioethical questions. When is gene editing OK? How far is too far when altering life itself? Have your students watch the video and respond to the question in KQED Learn.

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