TEACHERS: Current events podcasts for the classroom!
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October 10, 2014
Columbus Day is celebrated every October, but our understanding of Christopher Columbus and his “discovery” of America has changed dramatically since Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937. This change of perception has come with more knowledge of what the Americas and Native American cultures were truly like before Europeans arrived. Highly complex and organized communities could be found in places like the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. This public radio story paints a vivid picture of the Americas before Columbus and compares our original understandings of the area with reality.
October 9, 2014
Germany is one of the top three exporters of weapons but the new economy minister is working to curb exports by enforcing arms rules and stopping sales to countries not in the European Union or NATO. His actions have politicians, arms exporters and workers upset that he is risking German jobs, security and reputation. Critics argue that other countries will take over production from Germany. This public radio story looks at both sides of the issue and can spark debate about who is responsible for weapons falling into the hands of dangerous groups.
October 8, 2014
In recent years natural disasters have highlighted the dangers of living along the coast in a time of rising sea levels and unpredictable weather. People with homes on the coast face a difficult decision as their homes lose value. Should they try and sell their homes and move, or stay and hope for the best? State governments and environmental groups are increasingly supporting people moving away, so that land can be reclaimed as a storm buffer. Listen to this public radio story to hear from homeowners who are in this difficult position.
October 7, 2014
Nearly two years ago Hurricane Sandy devastated communities on the New Jersey coast, leaving governments, scientists, architects, and citizens looking for innovative solutions to protect against natural disasters. This public radio story looks at the design and thinking behind the New Meadowlands Project in New Jersey. From the appeal of a new Central Park, to the protection wetlands provide neighboring communities from flooding, this story will get your students thinking about the benefits and challenges of implementing big environmental protection projects.
October 5, 2014
Protests in Hong Kong, which is controlled by China, escalated in the past week. Hong Kong transitioned from British to Chinese rule in 1997. Now thousands of demonstrators are expressing their displeasure with the way China is running Hong Kong. They want the Chinese picked Chief Executive to resign and a more democratic process to choose a new one. Listen to this public radio story to hear a first hand account of the protests and what’s at stake.
October 3, 2014
It is apple picking season and apple lovers are gearing up to eat some tasty and unique apples. The apples we are used to seeing in the supermarket are the same basic size and shape. And they have the familiar flavor profiles. But there are more apple varieties than you might imagine. There's a whole world of biodiversity in apples. This public radio story takes you to a heirloom apple orchard in Vermont that specializes in grafting and maintaining historic varieties of apples. Get ready to visualize (and almost taste!) some unique looking apples.
October 2, 2014
The United States and its allies are currently bombing terrorist strongholds in Iraq and Syria after the group ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, stepped up its violence against non-Sunni muslim Iraqis and Western hostages. ISIS now controls territory in both Syria and Iraq. The terrorist group is moving towards the goal of creating a unified Islamic State. This public radio story helps explain who this group is, what their goals are and how they are different from al-Qaeda.
October 1, 2014
The line between appropriate discipline and child abuse has been debated in the news lately in response to the child abuse allegations against Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson. In this public radio story we hear about the history of corporal punishment in the United States, the frequency of punishment in the home and in school, as well as how different parts of the country punish children differently.
September 30, 2014
Crickets are seen as a little but loud insect, some might think they are creepy, others cute, but most Americans don’t see crickets as food. This might start changing as the world searches for more environmentally sound sources of protein. Whether people fry crickets or use ground cricket flour to enrich their baked good - crickets are coming. This public radio story takes you to a farm that grows crickets in Ohio and provides a rich framework to understand the advantages to eating insects.
September 29, 2014
Last week NASA’s MAVEN probe began orbiting Mars in an effort to measure and map the Martian atmosphere. Today, Mars, known as the red planet, is bone dry and it’s atmosphere is being broken down by the sun’s solar winds, but evidence shows that it was once much more like Earth. From liquid channels to lake beds, there is clear evidence that Mars once had water as well as a magnetic field. So what happened to this water? These are the answers the MAVEN is searching for by mapping Mars’ current atmosphere. Listen to learn more about this important mission.
September 26, 2014
In 1845 two ships led by Sir John Franklin left England searching for a northern route across the globe, known as the Northwest Passage. They never returned. 169 years later, a helicopter pilot found a clue that led the Canadian government to one of the missing ships. From sonar imaging to video cameras on submarines, archaeologists have confirmed that this is one of the abandoned ships from the famous expedition. Listen to hear about the haunting story this discovery has unearthed.
September 25, 2014
In the last decade, increases in government funding to scientific research through the National Institute of Health (NIH) has spurred massive growth at universities across the country. Now, with congressional reductions in discretionary spending, inflation and increasing cost of research, scientists across the country have lost the NIH funding that was at the core of the research. Listen to this public radio story to hear how scientists at three different research institutes are dealing with this funding squeeze.
September 24, 2014
This summer an unprecedented number of unaccompanied young people crossed the border illegally into the United States. Many came with hopes of reuniting with family in the U.S. and escaping violence in their home countries. Now, their futures are uncertain as they are put in detention centers while their cases are processed. In today’s public radio story you meet a 13-year-old migrant and his 11-year-old brother and hear from them about their journey across the border.
September 23, 2014
A recent report shows carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rose at a record rate in 2013. Humans aren’t the only species affected by these changes. A new report by the National Audubon Society makes it clear that bird species in the U.S. and Canada are at risk of losing their habitats and potentially their lives due to climate change. Listen to this public radio story with your class to learn more about the links between changing temperatures and bird habitat and survival.
September 22, 2014
On Thursday Scottish citizens, 16 and above, turned out in record numbers to vote on the referendum on Scottish independence from the United Kingdom. Scotland and England joined to become the United Kingdom of Britain in 1707. Three-hundred and seven years later, 55% of Scottish voters voted No to independence and chose to remain in the United Kingdom. But this does not mean the status quo will remain the same. British Prime Minister David Cameron has promised Scots increased autonomy and decision making power over Scottish domestic policy. Listen to this public radio story with your class and discuss what the vote means for the future of unified United Kingdom.
September 19, 2014
Twenty years after Brown vs. The Board of Education ruled that racial segregation in schools was unconstitutional, Boston began to desegregate its school system through busing. The city’s plan to bus 18,000 students to schools outside of their neighborhoods met intense and violent resistance from the first day. The hostility and hatred radiated through Boston for months. Today’s public radio story features audio from that tumultuous period and testimonials from Boston residents who lived through the turbulent efforts to integrate public schools. NOTE: Story includes strong language from the protests.
September 17, 2014
Today is Constitution Day. Help your students learn good citizenship with this story about an 11-year-old boy who loves politics. While reporting on the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri a reporter met Marquis Govan. This public radio story takes us to Marquis’ home and school in Missouri and tells the story of how he got involved in politics, how he stays engaged and what he hopes for in the future. Sharpen your listening skills and learn ways that young people can be engaged in politics well before they are old enough to vote.
September 16, 2014
A month ago, earthquakes below a volcano in Iceland alerted scientists that an eruption was beginning. Various eruptions have created ash, fire and lava at the Bardarbunga volcano. This spouting lava creates rolling fields of lava that scientists have had an opportunity to study up close. When you listen to this public radio story you will hear the sounds of the volcano recorded by a scientist who recently visited the Bardarbunga volcano.
September 15, 2014
Russian military intervention in Ukraine, one of Russia's former republics, has the international community on guard. At a summit last week, NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, reinforced its commitment to protect member states from Russian aggression and prepared for this possibility. Improve your listening skills with this public radio story that gives an overview of the NATO summit and its response to international threats.
September 12, 2014
This summer pork and beef prices are 11% higher than they were last summer. This rise in cost has not changed the buying habits of consumers. Today’s public radio story looks at the economics behind this rise in cost, and how supply and demand play into cost. It also features the perspective of farmers and people in the pork industry. Listen to learn why the supply of pork and beef is much lower this year than in years past.
September 11, 2014
The success of workers at the Massachusetts supermarket chain, Market Basket, is making labor movements across the country rethink their strategies. In this labor dispute, workers walked off the job to protest the CEO of the company being fired. They didn’t come back to work until he was reinstated by the board of directors. All this was accomplished without a union. This public radio story looks at the ways the Market Basket strike is unique and how it can and can’t be duplicated by other labor movements or unions. Listen to learn more about the power of using technology to organize and the importance of management joining collective action.
September 10, 2014
Last week Perdue became the first major poultry company to eliminate the use of antibiotics in its chicken hatcheries. This step has public health advocates and consumers cheering because the use of antibiotics in meat production increases the risk that bacteria will evolve to be resistant to antibiotics, which could make it more difficult to treat humans. This public radio story takes you directly to a hatchery and explores the reasons Perdue made this decision. Listen to learn more about the use and elimination of antibiotics in meat production
September 9, 2014
Atlantic City, New Jersey was once the only place to gamble on the East Coast. This monopoly is over, as other states have opened or planned to build casinos. Atlantic City and its residents are feeling the negative impacts of a more competitive gambling market. In today’s public radio story casino workers and public officials reflect on these changes and look forward to what is next for Atlantic City.
September 8, 2014
The gender gap in voting preferences in the 2012 election was the largest in history. Men voted overwhelmingly for Republican candidates, women voted Democratic. Men also vote less frequently than women. This has pushed politicians to focus on how they can effectively reach men, particularly young men. Today’s public radio story looks at ad placement and self-presentation as candidates try to reach more men.
September 5, 2014
Large rocks on the desert floor in California’s Death Valley have puzzled miners and scientists for years. These heavy rocks have long winding trails in the sand behind them but no one had ever seen the rocks move. For the last 60 years scientists have searched for answers but now with the use of GPS and video cameras they have solved the mystery. Listen to this public radio story to engage your student in the mystery and the science behind the moving rocks.
September 4, 2014
Earthquakes cause damage and create fear and uncertainty. But a new early warning system called Shake Alert is working to mitigate both. This phone app can rapidly detect earthquakes once they have begun, giving people time to prepare. The app is in the early testing stage but it successfully gave a warning before the recent earthquake in California. Listen to this public radio story to learn more about the technology and goals behind this early warning system.
September 3, 2014
This back-to-school season parents and economists alike are shocked by the costs associated with preparing students for school. Schools are increasingly asking families to buy supplies for the classroom and school, as well as personalized technology. The additional costs have some questioning whether it is reasonable. Listen to this public radio story to learn more about how families and schools are adjusting to increased technological costs.
September 2, 2014
More than a quarter of a million people in the United States have spinal cord injuries, and two million are in wheelchairs. A new technology from ReWalk Robotics brings some paraplegics the possibility of walking, with the help of a motorized exoskeleton. This radio story gives an inside look at the technology and the impact it can have on the lives of its users. Listen to learn more about the successes of the product as well as current obstacles and future goals.
August 28, 2014
Immigration between Mexico and the United States is a hot button political issue. Much of the focus is on the border fence separating the two countries. Pedestrian Fence 225, brought 18 foot high walls separating Texas border towns from Mexico and along with it a lot of controversy. In today’s public radio story we hear opinions about the wall from local homeowners, politicians and border patrol agents.
August 27, 2014
Sometimes you want what you want when you want it, and you will pay to get it quickly. This desire combined with smart phone and GPS technology has created a booming market of services that enable their users to get what they want, when they want it. The instant gratification these services enable has created an “Instant gratification economy” that changes the way people interact with the world and the way people work. Listen to learn more about these services and their impact.
August 26, 2014
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has been made more difficult by the lack of trained medical volunteers willing to help care for patients. In today’s public radio story we hear from a US medical specialist in infectious disease who bucked this trend and went to Sierra Leone to care for Ebola patients despite the risks. Listen to learn more about what compelled her to go and what she is doing to protect herself.
August 25, 2014
In 1993, the book The Giver made a splash in the world of young literature, 20 years later it has made it to the big screen. Author Lois Lowry discusses her inspirations for a world in which there are no memories or emotions but there are clear rules and regulations. We also hear from the movie’s screenwriter, who himself read the book as a fifth grader. Listen to this public radio story to learn more about what inspired the book and led to the film.
August 22, 2014
The Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania is coming to its end with the championship games this weekend. One team from Chicago, Jackie Robinson West, is making history as the first all-black team to make it to the Little League World Series in 31 years. In this radio story, we will hear from the Chicago community that is supporting them. Listen to learn more about this historic team and the impact their success might have on baseball.
August 21, 2014
Demonstrations and unrest in Ferguson Missouri continue in response to the shooting death of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager killed by local police on August 9th. This public radio story brings us sounds of these demonstrations and voices of Ferguson residents. Listen to learn more about the underlying racial tensions that exist between Ferguson residents and police.
August 20, 2014
Which has a bigger impact on brain development, time in the classroom or time on the playground? New scientific evidence shows that structured free play has a significant and positive effect on children's brain development and social interactions. Scientists who study the effect of play on rats have found that 1,200 genes are activated when rats engage in play and one-third of these genes are significantly altered. Listen to learn how recess and play could impact academic performance.
August 19, 2014
Lakes, rivers,and oceans are places we normally see water, but most of the water on Earth is actually stored underground. This groundwater supply is vital to food production and providing drinking water for American cities. A new study shows that the groundwater of the Colorado River Basin is disappearing at a shocking rate. Listen to this public radio story to learn more about the impacts of this disappearing water supply and the ways that it can be slowed.
August 18, 2014
Forty years ago President Richard Nixon resigned after getting caught obstructing the investigation of the Watergate break in. In today’s story we hear from a reporter who covered this investigation and resignation in 1974. She recalls the uncertainty and anxiety of the American people that the system may not hold up in this time of transition. We hear from politicians at the time and the reflections of citizens in the aftermath of Nixon’s resignation. Listen to this story to better understand how Americans felt during this unprecedented period of transition.
August 15, 2014
A generation ago, Israelis and Palestinians were able to mix and interact. Now with Israel's physical separation between Israelis and Palestinians, the two peoples don't understand each other well. This public radio story explores the lack of empathy among people in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza and how it fuels the conflict.
August 14, 2014
Polio is on the verge of eradication in all parts of the world, except for Pakistan. The Taliban is restricting people trained to give vaccinations who are going door-to-door. They are intimidated and sometimes killed for their efforts. The Taliban is banning the immunizations because they suspect the program could be a cover for CIA spying. Listen to this radio story to learn about the barriers to disease eradication.
August 12, 2014
Gaza is in the middle of a conflict with Israel. The fighting is weighing heavily on daily life in Gaza. Water has always been hard to get, but its even more difficult now that the price of water is going up because of the conflict. Gaza relies on electricity to desalinize their water and power is also a scarce resource during this conflict. Listen to this radio story to learn more.