TEACHERS: Current events podcasts for the classroom!
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March 19, 2018
President Donald Trump has agreed to direct talks with Kim Jong Un, President of North Korea. Since Trump took office, the two leaders have called each other names and threatened each other’s countries. The United States has many nuclear weapons and North Korea has been developing missiles that are capable of carrying nuclear warheads and could reach the U.S. This potentially historic meeting could lead to negotiations about nuclear disarmament. According to past experience, however, North Korea will be a tough negotiator. Listen to hear more about the goals for this potential meeting.
March 16, 2018
A false nuclear missile attack alert was recently sent to the phones of residents and visitors in Hawaii. It was sent by a state emergency management worker who believed the drill was a real attack. This has highlighted the disagreement over whose job it should be to warn the public about missile attacks. Federal officials would like the warning to come from local authorities, but there is legislation introduced to make the public warnings the sole responsibility of the federal government. Listen to hear more about this issue and then debate: Who should warn the public of nuclear war?
March 15, 2018
Money, secret deals, and big names in college basketball are involved in an ongoing federal investigation. Coaches, sneaker executives, and others are being investigated for bribery and fraud at the start of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, or March Madness. Ten men were arrested on a variety of charges including taking bribes and using money to place players in certain colleges. This illegal activity has been going on for decades and there are questions about whether these investigations will change the culture of men’s college basketball. Listen to learn more about these corruption charges.
March 14, 2018
Happy Pi Day! March 14 is celebrated in different ways in cities across the country. Pi, or 3.14, is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, and has been calculated to over one trillion digits. It was named for the Greek letter Pi, which corresponds with the letter ‘P’ which stands for the perimeter of the circle. Pi is an irrational number whose decimals continue infinitely, but it is also a delicious dessert. Listen to hear more about celebrating Pi Day.
March 13, 2018
One University professor is combining scholarship with an exploration of the Latino culture using the rich history of tacos. He uses food to connect his students to Mexican people and their narratives. Students travel to a taqueria to explore the food of Mexico, discussing history and culture to create understanding along with identifying misconceptions. Listen to hear this professor discuss questions of cultural appropriation and relationships to power as he teaches his students about Mexican culture using food.
March 12, 2018
There are double the number of women running for Congress in 2018 than there were in 2016. At latest count, 430 women may run for the U.S. House of Representatives nationwide and about 50 for the Senate. This year is on track to break records, with a very large majority of these women running as Democrats. Along with running for office, women are organizing, volunteering, and being more vocal about what is important to them. Listen to hear more about this trend of more women entering politics.
March 9, 2018
Firstborn children often have an advantage over their younger siblings. They get more attention from their parents because they are alone for the first months or years of their lives. But are they more successful? A new research study finds that firstborn sons are more likely to become CEOs. The research on birth order is interesting since some things can influence a person’s behavior, but a person’s fate is not determined solely by birth order. Listen to hear more about what this research study found and then debate: Does birth order matter?
March 8, 2018
Nellie Bly was a female reporter from Pittsburgh, PA in the late 1800s. Bly became famous for her daring reporting methods, such as pretending to be mentally ill in order to be committed to an insane asylum so she could write about the treatment of patients. Tired of writing “women’s stories” early in her career, Bly learned that she could get more attention and opportunities when she inserted herself into her stories. Listen to learn more about female pioneer Nellie Bly and her highly modern approach to journalism.
March 7, 2018
Voice-activated devices, such as Alexa and Google Home, always have their microphones on. They are passively listening until you say the “wake” word, but people are worried they are listening and recording every single thing that is said. The owners of the devices can go into the app to see a history of everything that is heard by the device. One concern is that this data could be used to look for evidence that could help to prosecute crimes, or be reviewed by the National Security Agency. Listen to this story to hear about the pros and cons of voice-activated devices and their impact on privacy.
March 6, 2018
Research on former players of the National Football League shows that brain injury is linked to repeated blunt impact. But little is known about the connection between football, brain damage, and young players. A scientist in Texas studied football players between 8 and 18 year old and measured how their brains changed after one season. They used sensors in football helmets to tell how hard the players were getting hit. Listen to hear the results of this study and suggestions for preventing these injuries.
March 5, 2018
In China, the president serves two five-year terms, according to its constitution. The Communist Party has now proposed changing the constitution and eliminating the term limits for presidents. China’s current leader, Xi Jinping may not retire after the standard 10 years in power. He also holds two other positions which outrank the presidency. He is the head of China’s Communist Party and the military. Listen to this story about the changes in term limits and discuss what this might mean for China.
March 2, 2018
Many kids receive a trophy, medal or ribbon for participating in sports, science fairs, or other competitions. Some think it’s sending a dangerous message to kids, telling them that they will be rewarded regardless of their effort or success. Some think the trophies are an important marker of participation and they mean something to kids. Listen to experts, as well as the reporter, as they describe their thoughts on giving trophies for participation, and then debate: Should all kids get a trophy?
March 1, 2018
The movie about the superhero Black Panther is a phenomenon. The stars of the movie are black actors and it takes place in a fictitious African country that was never colonized by Europeans. The Black Panther has characters who are rulers of kingdoms, inventors, creators of advanced technology, and fierce women warriors who protect the king. Crowdfunders across the U.S. are raising money to take entire groups of kids to see this movie. Listen to this story to hear the reaction of fifth grade students after they saw the Black Panther.
February 28, 2018
A recent report by the Southern Poverty Law Center finds that most high school seniors do not fully understand the history of slavery in the U.S. The study also finds that educators often are not provided with good materials, training, or standards for teaching students about slavery in American schools. It’s an uncomfortable subject, and many curriculum materials guide teachers to highlight heroes, such as Harriet Tubman, before teaching about the realities of slavery. Listen to this story to hear about problems and possible solutions to understanding the history and of slavery and its relevance today.
February 27, 2018
Students who witnessed the deadly school shooting in Florida are channeling their rage and grief into activism for gun reform. The classmates of the 17 people who were killed by a gunman in a Parkland, Florida high school are demanding state lawmakers ban assault rifles. There are protests and school walkouts planned across the country, in an effort to encourage lawmakers to rethink their positions on guns. Listen to one of the the high school students who survived the shooting as she talks about why she has become a gun control activist.
February 26, 2018
A grand jury indicted 13 Russians for carrying out "information warfare" in an elaborate effort to interfere in the 2016 presidential campaign. The indictments describe years of efforts in which hundreds of well-funded and sophisticated Russians accumulated social media followers, spread distrust, and divided Americans against each other. The indictment says Americans who worked with the groups didn’t know they were working with Russian operatives. Listen to hear more about what the indictments mean for these 13 Russians as well as for Americans.
February 23, 2018
THE LISTENING OLYMPICS IS NOW CLOSED. WE WILL ANNOUNCE THE WINNERS SOON!
It’s time to go for the gold!
Click the assign quiz button in the top right corner to assign the Listening Olympics Quiz to your students!
The quiz will be open until Friday March 2nd. Remember, once students start the quiz they cannot pause it and can’t take it twice.
February 23, 2018
The first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell was a sheep named Dolly in 1997. The Dolly clone proved that cells could be used to create an exact copy of the animal they came from. Since then, scientists have been trying to use the same technique to clone other animals. Dogs, pigs and other animals have been successfully cloned, but the first primate clones were recently born in China. Since monkeys are people’s closest relatives, this may allow scientists to study human diseases and develop cures. Listen to hear about the benefits and concerns of cloning primates and then debate: Should we clone monkeys?
February 22, 2018
Traveling in space for months at a time may be possible soon. Packing all of the food and water needed would take a lot of space and fuel. American crews on the International Space Station already recycle their own sweat and urine, and now scientists are finding ways to recycle other waste products including feces. Bacteria helps to break down human waste and at the end of the process make it into food that can supplement an astronaut’s diet. Listen to hear more about the next steps in making recycling poop in space a reality.
February 20, 2018
Some events can deeply connect two people. In this story a 12 year old girl’s life was saved, and it took over 50 years for her to find the one who saved her. In 1967 two girls were at a camp and one was struck by lightning and fell unconscious. The boom of lightning made the other girls run from the cabin but when one girl realized she wasn’t with them, she went back to get her. That action saved her life. Listen as these two women reconnect for the first time since that event to say thank you and tell their stories.
February 19, 2018
One of the biggest names from Team USA at the Winter Olympics is Maame Biney. She is only 18 and has explosive speed on the ice. She came to the United States from Ghana when she was 5 years old and became the first African-American woman ever to qualify for a U.S. Olympic speed skating team on the short track speed skating. Her father is with her in South Korea, where she is competing against the best speed skaters in the world. Listen to this story to hear Biney describe herself on the ice.
February 16, 2018
Instead of going to a restaurant to pick up food, you can have it delivered to your home. That’s nothing new. But some restaurants are experimenting with using a robot to deliver orders. The robot is equipped with cameras that allow it to observe the street signs, lights, and roads around them to know how and when to cross streets. Some fear this invention may replace jobs held by people, but the company says they are not a replacement for humans. Listen to learn the capabilities of these delivery robots and then debate: Are deliveries by robots a good idea?
February 15, 2018
In Spain, Catholics remember the patron saint of animals, San Anton, with a festival that celebrates pets. Dogs, cats, birds, and sheep are walked down the streets in the arms of their owners. The pet owners travel to church so that their pets can be blessed. Many have looked to San Anton to help with their animals, and many believe it is important to have a day celebrating this saint. Listen to learn about the variety of animals involved and how they react to the pet blessing.
February 14, 2018
The Olympic sport of skeleton involves athletes tobogganing through an icy path at extreme speeds. Some athletes love the rush of running onto the ice then relaxing their bodies enough so that they can focus on the curves ahead on the track. To observers of the sport, it is terrifying to see someone going this fast with what seems like no control. Listen to learn what it feels like for these athletes and what type of athlete is ideal for the sport of skeleton.
February 13, 2018
You can tell a lot from a tiger’s roar. A researcher in Texas is using the sound of tigers’ vocalizations to track and protect them in national parks and in the wild around the world. By monitoring tigers acoustically, researchers can track their location and know whether a tiger is a male or female, its weight, and other characteristics. Listen to learn why this project is helping tigers in captivity and in the wild.
February 12, 2018
Many children, teens, and adults spend a lot of time looking at screens. Whether it’s an addiction or merely troubling behavior, too much screen time can interfere with other activities, create changes in your mood, and cause other problems. A former executive from Google was so concerned about the public health risks of too much screen time, he started a company that tries to inform people about how addictive technology can be. Listen to learn how companies are responding to the growing concerns about too much technology.
February 9, 2018
In Thailand, female monks, known as bhikkhunis, are not allowed. Many believe that there is corruption among the male monks and villagers have come to welcome the female monks. They believe an increase in female monks would create a fairer system with more respect for the role. Listen to learn how ordained female monks see themselves compared to male monks and then debate: Should women be allowed to be religious leaders in any faith?
February 8, 2018
In North Korea, most citizens are not allowed to leave the country. However, for the Winter Olympics hosted in South Korea, the North Korean regime is permitting athletes to compete. North and South Korea will be united under one flag, and a pair of figure skaters from North Korea has qualified for the games. The International Olympic Committee gave them quota places, a rarely-used form of wild card, to allow them to compete since they missed the registration deadline. Many people are looking forward to a cultural exchange and interaction between North and South Korea. Listen to learn more about these North Korean figure skaters who will compete in the Olympics.
February 7, 2018
Permafrost is frozen soil that has preserved things such as ancient animal bones and centuries-old icebergs. Permafrost contains twice as much carbon as is currently in Earth's atmosphere and it also preserves old bacteria. When it's defrosted the bacteria eats dead plants and animals turning their carbon into gases such as carbon dioxide. As the permafrost warms, the microbes are releasing gases contributing to further warming. Listen to learn more about this warming cycle.
February 6, 2018
Bitcoin is a type of digital currency that exists only on computers and allows people to conduct financial transactions online that allow users to send currency back and forth. Recently, Bitcoin has been making headlines for its role in the stock market and how it has changed since its start in 2011. It is also showing how businesses don't need a physical product to make money. Listen to learn what type of people Bitcoin appeals to and the rules behind it.
February 5, 2018
Some people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children spend their days teaching students, many of whom might also be in the country without legal immigrant status. These recipients of DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, are working in American schools and are uncertain whether they can can continue to live or work in the United States. One teacher finds it difficult to talk with her students about an uncertain future. Listen to learn what could happen to DACA recipients and how this teacher has become resilient.
February 2, 2018
Cell phones have become a significant distraction for students and teachers in classrooms across the country. Administrators are trying a variety of ways to limit the use of cell phones. Some teachers take it upon themselves to take away students’ phones in their classrooms. Other schools have invested in soft pouches that lock up the phones during the school day. Listen to learn how students are reacting to these changes and then debate: Should schools hold student cell phones?
February 1, 2018
The Winter Olympics are starting soon, and in an historic breakthrough, Communist North Korea will send some athletes and a cheering squad to participate in the games, which are being held in the neighboring country of South Korea. The government of South Korea decided to welcome the North and agreed to walk under one flag and even combine athletes on the women’s ice hockey team. But North and South Korea have a frosty relationship and now people in South Korea are protesting the cooperation for the games. Listen to learn why leaders in South Korea are supporting this alliance and how it looks to the rest of the world.
January 31, 2018
Online courses provide access to a variety of topics and can be accessed at any time by learners. One professor believes that by taking courses online people are missing out on visual art education. To combat this, she started a website with courses that delve deep into how art is made, in addition to offering online critiques that help people improve their craft. By becoming involved in her work, this professor has developed her mental flow and wants to show others how to get to this point by connecting with materials. Listen to learn why mental flow is essential for understanding another side to art.
January 30, 2018
In a meeting to discuss immigrants from Haiti, Africa and Central America, President Trump said he believes the United States grants entry to too many people from these countries and instead should focus on welcoming immigrants from countries such as Norway. These comments came as a shock to many. But America once had a visa program based on national origin. Listen to learn what happened to this program and how Trump's comments could affect the multicultural identity of America.
January 29, 2018
The Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, is considered a major holiday in China and celebrated by many other Asian countries. In the U.S., Asian immigrants celebrate by giving gifts of cash in red envelopes to family and friends. The amount of money given in these red envelopes can vary. Asian Americans and immigrants who didn’t grow up in this tradition worry over how much money to give. Listen to learn about this popular tradition and how it is similar to other holidays.
January 26, 2018
Electronic toys for children have existed since the 1950s. However, new toys are causing privacy concerns for parents as well as politicians. A new device called Aristotle was created to help children by learning their behavior and providing soothing responses. But after many parents expressed concern about the amount of information the toy would be collecting, the manufacturer stopped production. Listen to learn more about this invention and then debate: Should children play with electronic toys that collect data?
January 25, 2018
An experienced marine biologist who has worked with whales for many years, was terrified when a humpback whale took her under its fin. Suddenly, she was being rolled around by the whale and forced to hold onto its head. But the scientist then realized there was a very good reason for this strange behavior. Listen to learn how her story made front page news and what happened to her a few days after the story broke.
January 24, 2018
Supernovas happen at the end of a star’s life and then they fade away. Scientists are struggling to explain why one supernova has lasted for the past three years. During research, scientists found documentation from the 1950s that indicate this supernova was long-lasting back then. This discovery is challenging the established theories of how stars evolve. Listen to learn how scientists are rethinking their theories about supernova.
January 23, 2018
Some adolescents in America can be influenced by ISIS recruiting groups. These groups exploit the teen’s sense of duty, religious obligation, or desire to belong to a group. Vulnerable high school students might be convinced that they need to go to Syria to fight with ISIS against the Syrian regime. One experimental rehabilitation program has been established to help young people who have been recruited by ISIS understand how they were targeted. Listen to learn one teen’s story and how this new rehab program worked for him.