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Cicada Cycle Documented by Benjamin Banneker

Every 17 years, billions of buzzing cicadas emerge from their hiding spots under the ground and climb into trees, where they shed their outer shells and try to mate. One of the first scientists to observe and document the dramatic 17-year cicada cycle was Benjamin Banneker, a free Black man living in Maryland in the 1700s. Banneker recorded cicada patterns and behaviors for over 50 years, but until recently, has not been recognized for his work. Listen to learn more about the unsung naturalist Benjamin Banneker.


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Story Length: 2:29

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Listening Comprehension Questions

  • What was one of Malala Yousafzai’s first experiences with the dangers of religious extremism?
  • After miraculously surviving her attack, what has Malala focused her work on?
  • What is the message that Malala is trying to send to those in power?
  • What does Malala want to do in the future?
  • What are the goals of Malala’s mission to support girls?

Discussion Themes

  • What is your opinion on Malala’s message about the power of education?
  • Why do you think that ISIS might want to silence people like Malala?

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