All Social Studies

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Current Event February 12, 2018

Teen Screen Addiction


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.

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Current Event March 5, 2018

China Considering Lifting Term Limits for President

Politics Global

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.

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Current Event February 23, 2018

Listening Olympics: QUIZ


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.

Good luck!

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Current Event March 2, 2018

Debate: Should All Kids Get a Trophy?

Psychology Sports

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?

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Current Event February 5, 2015

Empathy, War and Video Games

Technology World History II Engineering

People often play video games to escape reality or fight pretend wars. Journalists are combining video games and news to flip this reality - bringing real images of war to viewers through the virtual reality of video games. From the Syrian Civil War to conflict over oil, listen to learn how virtual reality is being used to generate empathy and support deeper understanding of existing conflicts and complex systems.

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Current Event December 6, 2016

The Death Penalty and Intellectual Disabilities

Civics/Government Law

In 2002 the U.S. Supreme Court barred the execution of the intellectually disabled. But states have the ability to decide who is given the label of "mentally retarded." (This outdated term is used throughout this story since it’s the language in the court case.) The U.S. Supreme Court heard a case that questions what standards states may use in determining whether a defendant convicted of murder is mentally deficient. Listen to hear about this argument.

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Current Event October 24, 2016

Presidential Election Likely to Impact Short-Handed Supreme Court

Politics Constitution

The Supreme Court is short handed with only eight justices to do the job of resolving the important legal questions of the United States. Since February 2016 when Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly, the Supreme Court has been evenly divided in important cases. Under the Constitution, the Senate’s job is to confirm or reject the President’s nominee. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has promised that no Obama nominee would get a hearing or a vote and he believes the next president should select a nominee. Listen to hear more about how the presidential election may impact the next appointment to the Supreme Court.

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Current Event March 25, 2016

Debate: Who Should Control the Supreme Court Nominating Process?

Civics/Government Politics Government structures

President Obama has selected Judge Merrick Garland to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Garland was approved for confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., by the Senate in 1997 with strong bipartisan support. However Senate Republican leaders have vowed to block any action on his confirmation for political reasons. They believe a president who is leaving office within the year shouldn’t nominate a new justice. The Supreme Court is one of the three branches of government and was established to be above politics. Listen to this audio story and debate with your students: Who should control the Supreme Court Nominating Process?

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Current Event February 17, 2016

Justice Scalia’s Legacy

Civics/Government Law

Justice Atonin Scalia served 29 years on the United States Supreme Court and passed away this week. His created the idea of “originalism” as a way to view the Constitution as the founding fathers wanted it to be considered at the time they wrote it. Scalia became an icon in the conservative political world. He was known for his acerbic dissents on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. Until his position on the Supreme Court is filled, the court will be divided with 4 liberals and 4 conservatives. Listen to hear more about Scalia’s legacy and the next steps for the Supreme Court.

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Current Event July 1, 2015

Marriage a Right for All

Civics/Government Constitution Civil RIghts

On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court expanded the right to marry to same-sex couples in the United States. The Court ruled that gay marriage is a right protected by the 14th amendment and that all states must allow same-sex couples to wed. This 5-4 decision overrides state laws and state constitutional amendments that forbid same-sex marriage. Many groups are celebrating the decision saying that this is a civil rights case that will one day be celebrated like the landmark integration case, Brown vs. Board of Education. Others who oppose same-sex marriage vow to fight the decision saying the court doesn’t have the right to override public opinion and states’ rights to define marriage. Listen to learn more about this historic decision. You can see how this decision will impact different states with this NPR Map and read the decision for yourself.

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Current Event May 10, 2015

Gay Marriage Before the Supreme Court

Civics/Government Politics Ethics

On April 28th, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for and against the constitutionality of state-level bans on gay marriage. This hearing combined four different cases and tackled two big questions: whether state bans on gay marriage are legal, and whether it is legal for states to not recognize marriages from states where gay marriage is legal. The cases sparked a long and heated Supreme Court session. A decision is expected at the end of June. Listen to hear questions and arguments from the justices on this controversial issue.

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