World History

Homo Sapiens Versus Neanderthals

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Explore the origins of modern humans. Fossil evidence from Middle East caves and elsewhere has revealed some competitive advantages modern humans, known as Homo sapiens, are believed to have held over the more archaic human species, Neanderthals. For example, during the time in which the two species may have coexisted, Homo sapiens lived on high ground, from which they could survey the landscape and plan their hunting expeditions. Some scientists have theorized that the success of this strategy may have contributed to the demise of the valley-dwelling Neanderthals, who became extinct about 30,000 years ago. Adapted from NOVA.

This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

Hajj: Part II | Religion & Ethics Newsweekly

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Over two million Muslims from around the world travel to Mecca each year for the Islamic pilgrimage known as Hajj. How does this experience change their lives? This video from Religion & Ethics Newsweekly follows American Muslim Abdul Alim Mubarak as he experiences Hajj for the first time.

Jefferson: The Bolsa Familia

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The favelas of Brazil are cramped shantytowns overrun by crime and gang violence. To help the children of favelas, the government has implemented “Bolsa Familia,” a program that provides impoverished families with stipends as long as their children attend school. In this video from Wide Angle, learn about the obstacles a child of the favelas must overcome to stay in school.

Cold War End

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Learn about the dwindling U.S. support for Liberian leader Samuel Doe after the Cold War in this clip from the WGBH production, Global Connections: Liberia.

The Storm Makers: Aya Tells Her Story

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Aya describes her situation in Malaysia, where she was held prisoner by her boss and raped by a stranger when she tried to escape.

More than half a million Cambodians work abroad, and a staggering number of those become slaves. Many are young women, held prisoner and forced to work in horrific conditions, sometimes as prostitutes. A chilling exposé of Cambodia’s human trafficking underworld, The Storm Makers weaves the story of Aya, a young peasant sold into slavery at age 16, with that of two powerful traffickers.

Settlers and Black America

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Learn about the Black America that colonizers and settlers were determined to create in Liberia in this clip from the WGBH production, Global Connections: Liberia.

Underwater Suicide Missions: The Kaiten | Nazi Mega Weapons: Axis Weapon - The Kamikaze

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Learn about the Japanese suicide submarines. The Japanese naval engineers developed this revolutionary suicide weapon, known as the Kaiten, from an existing torpedo known as the type 93. It had over one and half tonnes of explosives in its war head. Historian Tosh Minohara explores the island of Ozushima where the Japanese developed this revolutionary weapon and trained the pilots to drive them. The first ever Kaiten attack sinks the fuel supply ship USS Mississinewa.

Battle of Aachen After D-Day | Nazi Mega Weapons: The Seigfried Line

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Learn about the battle of Aachen, the first major German city battle of the war. On October 2nd, 1944, American troops launch their attack north of the historic city of Aachen. The Americans are expecting a weak and broken Nazi Army, but Model has rallied and focused his troop at Aachen and increased the fortification around the town. More than 10,000 American and German troops are killed, wounded, or missing in action. 80% of the historic city of Aachen is destroyed.

Cameraperson | Lesson Plan Clips

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How many of your students are seemingly attached to their smartphones? How many use their phone cameras to take photos and video that they share online via social media? And how many think of themselves as media makers or journalists, governed by the ethics and standards of those professions? If you’re like most educators, you answered the first two questions with something like “lots” or “all of them,” and you answered the third question with “none.” 

The fast pace of changing technology has placed a tool in students’ hands that allows them to record and share images with billions of people in mere seconds. Yet very few receive any type of guidance to help them reflect on the implications of their choices. This lesson begins to fill that gap. 

Using clips from veteran cinematographer Kirsten Johnson’s memoir, Cameraperson, as prompts, students will discuss the complex issues of whether and why those who take pictures (or video) of others need to obtain the consent of their subjects. They’ll use what they learn from that discussion to develop a “pledge” to govern their own use of cameras.

GI JEWS: Jewish Americans in WWII | Hitler’s Germany and the Beginning of WWII

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Examine Hitler’s Germany and the beginning of World War II in this video from GI JEWS: Jewish Americans in WWII. Utilizing video, discussion questions and firsthand accounts, students learn about the events leading up to World War II, Nazi atrocities during the war, and what ultimately caused the United States to enter the war.

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