TEACHERS: Current events podcasts for the classroom!
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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 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.
June 5, 2014
The White House recently swapped five Guantanamo prisoners for one U.S army sergeant who was a prisoner of war in Afghanistan. However, Congress is upset because the President didn't consult with them before making the trade. Some legislators feel that this event was designed to further the Obama Administration's legacy. Listen to this radio story to learn why.
June 4, 2014
Cap and Trade is the new carbon emissions policy aimed at regulating emissions from various factories based on a "token" system. When an entity runs out of tokens, they can turn to the free market to buy more. This story clearly explains what Cap and Trade is and why Republicans don't like it. Listen to this radio story to learn why.
June 3, 2014
New moms are using Facebook and other social media sites to share pictures of their newborns in such numbers that it is creating an all digital generation. Studies showed that moms' increased use of social media represents their struggle with a changing identity and relationship with motherhood.
June 3, 2014
The movie Gone With The Wind was released in 1939. This story of love and survival in the Civil War resonated with audiences and critics alike. It won 10 Academy Awards and when adjusted for inflation it remains the highest grossing movie ever. The story’s path from print to screen was not a quick or easy one. Listen to learn more about the film’s production and how a movie about the Civil War won the hearts and minds of people in 1939 and to this today.
June 2, 2014
Twenty five years ago, a group of students in China dared to challenge the Communist government with protests in a major square in Beijing called Tiananmen Square. The protests were broken up by the military, who fired into the crowd. More than 300 people were estimated to have been killed. The government called the protests "counter-revolutionary." In the decades since the "Tiananmen Massacre," the government has worked to make the protest disappear from the minds of the Chinese people. Listen to this story and then discuss how history can be controlled.
May 30, 2014
Olin College in Massachusetts has one of the largest student populations of female engineers, which is rare because so few women go into the sciences. There is a documented gender and confidence gap for female engineers, but students think it can be closed by reaching girls at an earlier age. Listen to this radio story to find out how schools are fixing this problem.
May 29, 2014
Maya Angelou, celebrated poet, writer of I know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and Civil Rights Activist, passed away at the age of 86. She was a celebrity and an iconic figure in the African-American community. Listen to this radio story with your students to learn the extent of her impact.
May 27, 2014
A man has attracted a lot of YouTube attention by playing songs like “Happy” and the theme from “Game of Thrones” on half-filled wine glasses. This man is also from the Democratic Republic of Congo where he fled his country because of war to study in America. Listen to this radio story with your students to learn how music is helping him heal.
May 26, 2014
An “Honor Flight” is a trip that takes Veterans from all over the country to visit memorial sites set up to honor their service in WWII. Vets take this opportunity to share war stories. However, these “Flights” need to happen faster as time is not on the Veterans’ sides. Listen to this radio story with your students to discuss the impact of Veterans.
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.