TEACHERS: Current events podcasts for the classroom!
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July 31, 2014
Many people make decisions based on the probability of a specific outcome. Every day, doctors have to decide to base their health care decisions on probability. Listen to this public radio story about how a man's health care choice went against probability.
July 30, 2014
Recent studies show that when students are taught to play an instrument or sing, their ability to pay attention and multitask in other parts of their life, including school, increases. Music students are also better at reading, writing and learning new languages. Listen to this public radio story to learn more about music neuroscience and what's going on in the brain when you study music.
July 29, 2014
When corporations were first created, they were given one right and that was to the right to make a contract. But as the country industrialized, they received more rights under the Bill of Rights, like individual people. Listen to this radio story to learn how rights for corporations have changed over time and how the most recent Supreme Court ruling about Hobby Lobby gives corporations more rights than ever before.
July 28, 2014
The fighting between Israel and the Palestinians is disrupting normal life for people living in both areas. Daily life looks very different on both sides, as the West Bank looks like a village and Israel proper looks like California. One man who is walking around the world following the path of ancient man stops to reflect what he saw while passing through the West Bank and Israel. Listen to this public radio story to hear what he saw.
July 25, 2014
The United States is one of only a handful of countries that doesn't use the metric system. Most of the world calculates distances in meters. The creation of the meter in 1792 was based on the need to agree on a uniform system of measurement. But the first time scientists tried to determine the length of a meter, they made some mistakes. Listen to this public radio story to learn why accuracy is necessary.
July 24, 2014
Diamonds are the hardest materials on Earth—and in space. Neptune’s core is made out of diamonds and still survives the core’s intense pressure. Scientists now study diamond’s resistance to high pressure to see what else it’s useful for. Listen to this radio story to learn more about diamonds.
July 23, 2014
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently lost track of dangerous samples of anthrax and the flu. Investigation into lab safety shows a breach of protocol, especially since scientists continue to experiment with more dangerous types of viruses. Listen to this public radio story to learn why lab safety is important.
July 22, 2014
Fort Stevens in Washington DC is the site of an attempted assassination on President Abraham Lincoln. It was Lincoln's height that saved his life. This site was also a place that could have changed the outcome of the Civil War if not for timely reinforcements. Listen to this public radio story and learn more about the "What Ifs" of the first attempt on Lincoln's life.
July 21, 2014
Nadine Gordimer was a white South African who was also an observer of the everyday experience of 'Blacks under Apartheid'. She wrote 15 novels including 'Lying Days,' 'A World of Strangers,' 'A Sport of Nature,' and 'The Conservationist.' She won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1991 and died in 2014 at the age of 90. Listen to learn more about this influential writer.
July 18, 2014
The number of minors from Central America who are crossing the boarder illegally has jumped lately due to rumors about the United States' immigration policies. The rumors are false, but that hasn't stopped solo children from leaving their families and countries to find a better opportunity in the U.S. Listen to this radio story with your students to learn more about what is driving this surge of minor immigrants.
July 17, 2014
Tensions between the U.S. and Germany are on the rise as another alleged spy is caught selling German secrets to the U.S. The Germans would like a no-spying agreement, but the U.S. doesn't appear to be interested. Listen to this radio story to learn why.
July 15, 2014
The tension between Israelis and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip has been going on for years. However despite peace talks, the tension has escalated into bomb attacks following the deaths of teenagers from Israel and the Gaza Strip. Residents from both sides are deeply affected by constant rocket attacks. Listen to this radio story to learn how the conflict has affected daily life.
July 14, 2014
Paul Cezanne, celebrated still life artist, decided to do the unthinkable and refused to paint popular subjects of the time like biblical scenes and historical figures. He used simple objects like apples, pears, and oranges to elevate the lowest rung of the art hierarchy, still life. Listen to this radio story with students to learn why.
July 12, 2014
In 1855, American poet Walt Whitman published the first edition of “Leaves of Grass.” This poetry collection, which began as twelve poems, was written and re-written by Whitman throughout his life, with the final version containing 400 poems. The free verse poems present Whitman’s philosophy of life, from pleasure to the human mind and nature. Whitman explores and presents humanity through his poetry. Listen to learn why modern poet Rowan Ricardo Phillips recommends the Whitman collection and then interpret the poem “I Hear America Singing” for yourself.
July 11, 2014
A teacher in Georgia was fired from his position teaching music at a Catholic school because of his sexual orientation. He is now suing the school for discrimination based on his sex. The case has some subtlety because it's not illegal to discriminate against gays in Georgia, but it is illegal to discriminate against someone because of their sex. Listen to this public radio story with your class to learn about this interesting discrimination case.
July 10, 2014
As healthcare costs rise and obesity becomes a national problem, companies look for innovative ways to encourage employees to stay thin and healthy at work. But some have gone overboard and employees complain they are interfering with their freedoms. Listen to this public radio story to learn what compares are doing to try to control their health care costs.
July 9, 2014
Tourism in Cuba makes up 10% of the island nation's gross domestic product. If America ever lifts its ban on travel to Cuba, its expected there could be a surge of at least a million Americans visiting. But tourism also brings wage disparity to the Communist country. Those who work in the tourism industry earn much more than other professions. Listen to this public radio story to learn why tourism is important to Cuba's survival.
July 8, 2014
Fire ants are known as nature's "engineers" for their ability to morph, heal, and flow through continuous team work. They can build bridges as well as self-sustaining water rafts that can float for weeks. Listen to this public radio story to learn how they do it.
July 7, 2014
The creator of America’s much-loved anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner" was not only a poet, but a celebrated lawyer, known for settling controversial disputes with oratorical skill. However, Francis Scott Key never mentioned the anthem after writing it again. He was also known for his adamant representation of African Americans and their rights. Listen to this public radio story to learn more about the man who is best known for writing “The Star Spangled Banner.”
July 3, 2014
The Magna Carta is a single document that outlines the origins of American freedom and equality. It was created in 1215 by British subjects who wanted to limit King John’s power and protect their rights. The Magna Carta inspired American democracy. Listen to this story to learn more about why it survived so many years and its special significance to Boston.
July 2, 2014
40 years ago, Boston Judge W. Arthur Garrity ruled to desegregate Boston’s starkly divided schools. The ruling was met with an uproar from white families, where many of them refused to let their children attend school. Now, four decades since the historic ruling some feel it did not do enough to fix the integration problem.
July 1, 2014
100 years ago, the shot that was heard around the world and started World War I was fired. It fatally wounded Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austrian-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie. The assassins did not realize it would unleash a world war. Listen to this radio story to find out why.
June 30, 2014
Poetry and song have always been related and some say that poetry loses its power without the rhythm and song to carry the message. Today, spoken word performance comes back with both poetry and song. Listen to this radio story to learn more about the power of poetry.
June 27, 2014
Tourists to Baltimore’s harbor say that it is “disgusting” because so much trash is floating in it. So one resident built a Water Wheel to efficiently clear the trash out of the water. It has been lauded as a much better method of cleaning of trash from water than by hand. Listen to this public radio story to learn more about this unique recycling effort.
June 26, 2014
The drought in California and Texas has meant cattle herders have little pasture to graze their herds. Instead, cattle herding is moving north to Colorado and Nebraska. The midwestern states are feeding the cattle with the byproduct of ethanol production. Use this public radio story with your class to discuss how these changes affect the price of a hamburger.
June 25, 2014
The Supreme Court is weighing in on threats posted on Facebook. So far courts have ruled threatening statements made on Facebook, including death threats, are true threats and punishable. Facebook says that they’re looking for conflict resolution strategies instead of always going straight to the authorities when they spot threats. Listen to this audio story to learn about threat made on social media.
June 24, 2014
The last of World War II’s Navajo Code Talkers died at 93 years old. Americans collaborated with the Native American Navajo tribe to create a code that was unbreakable to Japanese forces during WWII. Today, the Navajo fear their language will die out. Listen to this public radio story to learn why.
June 23, 2014
A new research article has ruffled the feathers of some scientists. The study questions whether it’s damaging endangered populations of birds and other species to collect them for scientific study. Many scientists see the collection of rare animals as a way to discover diseases and understand the past, while some ethicists see collection as a threat to small endangered animal populations. Listen to this audio story to learn more.
June 19, 2014
The Second Amendment is only one sentence long. It allows for individuals to own and use guns. But since its inception, the meaning has been debated. There is still no public consensus around its meaning. Listen to this public radio story to learn more.
June 18, 2014
Studies show that people react differently to male and female named storms. There is more preparation and fear of storms with male names, such as Victor, versus a storm named Christina. As a result, there are serious implications of this unconscious gender bias. Listen to this audio story to learn more.
June 17, 2014
The number of unaccompanied minors crossing the Mexican-American border has increased dramatically and sources say that it's due to a failing immigration system. Although a large number of children are found by border patrol, many evade authorities and cross into a country by themselves. Listen to this public radio story to learn what happens to them.
June 16, 2014
It has been 40 years since the publication of "All the President's Men" by Washington Post reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. The popular book was made into a movie at the same time. The authors of the book recently reflected on their reporting that revealed President Richard Nixon was trying to rig his re-election campaign. Listen to this radio story to teach your students about Watergate and its place in history.
June 15, 2014
School sponsored prayer was outlawed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1963. The case that led to this decision began in November 1956 when a 16-year-old schoolboy protested his public school’s mandatory prayer and Bible reading period by reading silently from the Koran and refusing to stand for the Lord’s Prayer. This simple act of resistance led to a huge change in the way public schools interact with religion. In the early 1960s, 40% of school districts in the U.S. had mandatory Bible reading and prayer; it is now unconstitutional for any public school to sponsor prayer. However, there continue to be challenges regarding prayer and religion in public schools. In 2012, a Rhode Island teen complained about a prayer banner at her high school. Listen to learn how the community and courts responded to her challenge.
June 13, 2014
In a surprise upset, Republican House Leader Eric Cantor lost his re-election bid to a Tea Party-backed candidate. Political analysts say one of the reasons he lost was his moderate stand on immigration reform. Listen to this radio story to find out what this means for immigration reform.
June 11, 2014
California's drought is causing water prices to vary region to region. This makes some farmers want to sell their water—but they're worried that it might negatively affect their water allotment. Economists say the answer is a better engineered irrigation canal and use of the free market. Listen to this radio story to learn why.
June 9, 2014
As the World Cup is about to start, local Brazilians are not motivated to celebrate and join the festivities due to a lack of preparation. Stadium seats are not fully tested for safety and locals are unhappy with the government for spending so much money on the sporting event. Some Brazilians are feeling embarrassed because they worry their country isn't going to delivery a world class World Cup. Listen to this radio story to learn why.
June 9, 2014
The Panama Canal was built 100 years ago as a shortcut for maritime trading. Today, construction is underway to widen the canal so larger ships can pass through. With the wide canal, Panama hopes to become the Hong Kong of Latin America, but construction is often halted due to arguments over funding.
June 8, 2014
William Shakespeare’s play “Much Ado About Nothing” has been adapted for the stage and screen across history and across the globe. The plot of the play, written in 1598 and 1599, resonates across time and with many audiences. The most recent film adaptation by Josh Whedon in 2013 delighted critics and viewers alike. Listen to hear from Whedon himself why he loved “Much Ado About Nothing” and the impact he thinks the play has had on modern storytelling.
June 8, 2014
What role should religion have in public life and in government? These are the questions America’s founding fathers faced when drafting the constitution. And it’s a question that is still examined today. This First Amendment protects the free exercise of religion while preventing the establishment of religion. These competing ideas have created a constitutional conflict when individuals want to exercise their religion in places funded by the government, like public schools. Listen to learn how this line was tested when a 6-year-old student wanted his mother to read his favorite book, the Bible, to his class.
June 6, 2014
70 years after the Allies invaded Normandy to liberate France from Nazi control during WWII, many of the soldiers who stormed the beaches on D-Day are very old or no longer alive. But those who witnessed the invasion and the relatives of the soldiers continue to gather in the small village in France where it happened. Many soldiers stayed in contact with the same villagers they met during wartime. Listen to this audio story to learn about the commemoration.