TEACHERS: Current events podcasts for the classroom!
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May 23, 2014
A school newspaper in Philadelphia is refusing to print the word “Redskin,” the name of their school mascot, in the newspaper because of its racist roots. Some parents and students feel that’s taking political correctness too far. They say it’s not the role of student journalists to alter the name of a team’s mascot. Now the school board will weigh in and decide whether or not to force the paper to print the name of the team’s mascot.
May 22, 2014
A Texas town has been living in severe drought conditions for three years and decided to recycle water from toilets, sinks, and other wash to meet their water needs. Water plant officials say that the water is completely clean of bacteria, but residents would rather drink bottled water. Listen to this public radio story and discuss with your students.
May 21, 2014
Young workers who aren’t old enough to buy a pack of cigarettes are allowed to harvest tobacco in the United States. Human Rights Watch says while it’s legal to have kids as young as 12 pick tobacco, it’s not legal to put children’s health at risk of nicotine poisoning. Human Rights Watch is calling on the major tobacco companies to stop putting kids to work in tobacco fields. Listen to this public radio story with your students and discuss.
May 20, 2014
The disease smallpox was successfully eliminated in 1977, but two research facilities still hold the last samples of the smallpox virus. The World Health Organization is going to vote soon on the future of the smallpox samples. Should we keep the virus to study it or completely destroy it because it could get into the wrong hands? Listen to this story and discuss.
May 19, 2014
Polar ice in Antarctica is melting and that creates rises in sea level that will greatly impact coastal cities like Boston. Scientists believe that it’s now time to think of solutions that address the unavoidable problems created by global climate change.
May 16, 2014
Climate change will not only create extreme weather, but scientists have found that areas with more carbon dioxide grow less healthy crops. Although these crops are much larger in size, they lack nutrients such as zinc and iron. Listen to these findings on the long-term impact of CO2 on crops.
May 15, 2014
Drones are not just for military use anymore. They are being used by journalists to report stories. But this is raising some privacy concerns.
May 14, 2014
Post-Revolution Ukraine is starting a “lustration,” or a process of cleaning house to separate from the old regime. Some believe that this is a type of witch hunt, but others think that the heavy hand is needed for Ukraine’s new, clean start.
May 13, 2014
Anglo Americans were once considered “illegal aliens” in Texas, then a Mexican state. This story is a modern day road trip to the Alamo that looks back to 1836 when American settlers fought with Mexico to eventually gain control of Mexico and the Southwestern territories. It explains how the dividing line between America and Mexico was drawn.
May 12, 2014
A recent report by the U.S. government shows the most definitive evidence so far that climate change is happening and it’s being driven by people. Extreme weather and rising sea levels are just some of the consequences. Communities are trying to build preventative infrastructure, but it is costly.
May 9, 2014
Affirmative action ensured that college applicants of color would have greater representation at universities. With the Supreme Court’s recent ruling, states now have the choice to uphold or ignore affirmative action.
May 8, 2014
An American scientist was able to beat other countries to reach a comet first by “stealing” another scientist’s space craft. 31 years later, he’s on a mission to restore it to its original mission.
May 7, 2014
In Asian American communities, there are many different geographical and cultural disparities that impact behaviors and therefore the risk of certain diseases like diabetes or cancer. To better treat these groups, doctors should be aware of what part of Asia patients are from.
May 6, 2014
An Oklahoma execution went wrong when the prisoner was in apparent agony instead of a quick death through lethal injection. The governor is now calling for a review of execution procedures, which has ignited a death penalty debate.
May 5, 2014
Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, is now banned from the NBA and its games due to his discriminatory remarks that were caught on tape. He’s also being pressured to sell the Clippers. The public is also seeing this event as part of the civil rights movement. Listen to this story to learn why.
Note: Donald Sterling sold the Clippers four months after this story aired.
May 3, 2014
George Lucas’s Star Wars films are an empire unto themselves. With two movie trilogies and another on the way, the films are prolific, as are the universe they build. This is matched and raised by hundreds of Star Wars books that mirror and expand the narrative of the movies. Some hardcore fans even prefer the books, which cover 25,000 years and include 17,000 characters. Listen to learn more about the unprecedented success of this movie based book franchise.
May 2, 2014
Margaret Mitchell’s novel Gone With The Wind was an instant success when it was published in 1936. It won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and was a national bestseller. Mitchell was inspired by her family’s history as Southern planters and their stories of the past. The novel’s themes of love and survival resonated with some, but her portrayal of slavery and the Civil War, through the eyes of a slaveholding woman, remains controversial. Listen to learn how the Georgia county that served as inspiration for the book is dealing with this legacy today.
May 2, 2014
A rising number of parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children due to a variety of reasons. Doctors are alarmed at this rise of unvaccinated children, which may be connected to a series of measles cases.
May 1, 2014
The 1972 film The Godfather introduced the world to the Italian Mafia. This story of family, honor and betrayal was based on a best-selling novel by the same name. The movie, which won three Oscars and had two sequels, has withstood the test of time and ranks as one of the greatest American films ever made. Listen to hear why the movie resonates with the viewer well beyond the first time watching it.
May 1, 2014
Does law enforcement have the right to search cellphones? The Supreme Court is hearing a case about whether it is lawful to search a person’s cell phone log during arrest. The case goes to the heart of the fourth amendment. Listen to learn more about cellphone searches.
April 30, 2014
Is there a possibility for humans to live on another Earth-like planet? Scientists claim that there are potential candidates out there, and for the first time can estimate how many. Listen to this story to learn more about other planets that could sustain life.
April 29, 2014
A few seconds lost over millions of years seem irrelevant, but atomic clock scientists say that better clock precision will help us study and feel the heartbeat of the universe.
April 28, 2014
The level of college debt has risen in the last 20 years, where students now have to choose between overwhelming student loans or community colleges. Reform can start by fixing the financial aid system.
April 27, 2014
Plays and poetry written by William Shakespeare are studied in schools around the world. The British playwright is acknowledged as one of the great literary minds of all time - but not everyone believes that the works attributed to Shakespeare were actually written by him. No existing documents link the William Shakespeare from Stratford-upon-Avon to the famous plays. In addition, Shakespeare’s lack of education makes many question how he knew so much about language and the worlds of the rich that he writes about. Listen to learn more about these doubts over Shakespearean authorship and make up your own mind!
And check out this additional PBS resource on the authorship debate “Much Ado About Something”
April 24, 2014
Starfish are mysteriously becoming infected by a deadly disease that causes their arms to fall off and makes regeneration impossible. Scientists are urgently trying to figure out how their sickness is affecting the rest of the marine environment.
April 23, 2014
The reason why some people dislike cilantro may not be due to taste, but to smell. This cilantro experiment indicates that certain people are genetically-inclined to “hate” cilantro.
April 22, 2014
A cracked dam in Washington endangers farming near the area with lower water levels and the looming threat of a summer heat. Lowered water levels have caused a temporary increase in tourism in spots but also revealed old graves.
April 21, 2014
A family-owned prosthetics business in Dorchester, MA fitted more than half of the Boston Marathon bombing survivors with new limbs. New marathon runners look to them to fit them with legs that can run 26.2 miles.
April 19, 2014
On April 15, 1947, African American baseball player Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball in his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was an interesting choice by the Dodgers to break the race barrier in baseball because he was an older player and not seen as the best player in the Negro league. Listen to learn how Robinson’s strong character, as much as his talent, helped to successfully integrate baseball.
April 19, 2014
John Steinbeck’s classic “The Grapes of Wrath” was released more than 75 years ago. The tale of poverty and hope is still frequently read today. The book is the story of the Joad family heading West from Oklahoma to California during the Dust Bowl. The novel’s depiction of poverty shocked readers at the time but remains relevant in America today. Listen to learn how themes of the book reflect the 1930s and the present.
April 18, 2014
Many refugees who have settled in Vermont are used to eating lots of goat meat back in their home countries. However, until recently, this meat has been expensive and hard to find in New England. Now, the Vermont Goat Collaborative is helping refugees find the meat they want. The project makes use of male baby goats are often disposed of because they can’t produce milk. Listen to hear more about this initiative and how it is benefiting local populations.
April 17, 2014
Tijuana, a young city, grew out of the construction of the US-Mexico border in California. The physical barrier represents Mexicans’ gateway to opportunities as well as a separation from loved ones.
April 16, 2014
The search for the missing Malaysian airplane has gone underwater. The Bluefin robotic submarine is using sound waves to gather images of the ocean floor. It’s mapping out the bottom of the ocean, so that searchers can spot anything unusual.
April 15, 2014
One year ago two explosions went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing 3 people and injuring at least 250 people. Sixteen people lost limbs including the man featured in this story who lost both his legs.
April 14, 2014
Tuesday marks the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. Following the blasts, thousands of runners were told in the middle of their race that they could not reach the finish line due to the bombings. This year many runners are returning, and they are set on finishing what they started.
April 11, 2014
The illegal animal smuggling trade is right behind drugs and weapons smuggling because there is a large market actively seeking exotic, illegal animals. Smugglers have found many creative ways to sneak animals in, from stuffing them in pant legs to tires.
April 10, 2014
Marian Anderson was denied a performance at Constitution Hall, but 75 years ago, she was able to perform to a desegregated crowd at the Lincoln Memorial. Listen to this story to learn more about how she used art and lyrics to fight racism.
April 9, 2014
Chemotherapy has been known to make patients nauseous. The science behind the nausea shows that the medicine does affect the taste cells. But doctors have found alternative methods for patients to “taste” during chemotherapy.
April 8, 2014
Rwanda marks the 20th anniversary of the genocide this week. The ethnically driven killings led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, as the majority Hutu faction targeted ethnic Tutsis. Today, as people remember their loved ones, many feel traumatized by the horrible events of the past. Some feel that the country has become much more progressive since the genocide, but others argue that there is still a long way to go. Listen to the story to hear more about how Rwanda’s past still affects its present.
April 7, 2014
It has been three years since thousands of Syrian refugees living in neighboring countries have worked or attended school. They were forced from their country due to the war. Life is difficult for the refugees, but it is also hard on the host country’s economy as well as international aid groups. Listen to hear more about Syrian refugees.