Current Event March 30, 2018
For the last few decades, the most prominent toy store in the United States was Toys R Us. Recently this toy store announced that it would lay off its remaining 33,000 employees, declare bankruptcy, and close its doors. People are reacting with nostalgia for these stores and discussing how shopping experiences have changed. Listen to the reactions of these people to the closing of Toys R Us stores and debate: Are toy stores necessary?
Science Middle School
Thirty years ago, the nation watched in shock as the space shuttle Challenger exploded soon after take off, tragically killing all seven crew members, including a civilian teacher. This shuttle had launched and landed successfully nine times before this tenth launch. One of the rocket engineers feels partially responsible to this day. In a recent interview, he explains that he and his colleagues had anticipated the failure, and had warned officials that conditions weren’t right for the launch. When NASA ignored their warnings, the consequences were fatal. Listen to hear more from a NASA engineer’s perspective on this tragic event.
Current Event March 22, 2018
The Trump administration has proposed changing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. The plan would provide people with nonperishable foods that are chosen for them instead of fresh foods they choose themselves. Native Americans recognized this as the same type of food assistance they have historically received, with devastating impacts on their health. Listen to hear more about food assistance in the past and in the possible future.
Current Event 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.
Current Event 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.
Current Event 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?
Current Event 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.
Current Event 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.
Current Event 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.
Current Event February 5, 2015
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.
Current Event February 16, 2016
Last summer, President Obama laid plans for fighting climate change. The Clean Power Plan includes Environmental Protection Agency standards on carbon pollution from U.S. power plants. Twenty-seven states sued over the proposal. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court put a hold on the Clean Power Plan by a vote of 5-4. Environmentalists say this ruling threatens progress on global warming. In some states, coal companies and Republican politicians are cheering this decision. Listen to hear from supporters and opponents, and what this may mean for regulating coal.
Current Event September 29, 2015
In general, being impulsive is not a good thing. But people who risk their lives for strangers don’t think before they act. They just act. The three Americans who took down armed gunmen on a train to Paris said their military training was not as important as their instinct to help. Many studies have been done on intuitive thinking and reflective thinking. Researchers learned that it’s possible to develop a person’s automatic response to help along with a willingness to act without thinking about the consequences. Listen to hear more about the key to being a hero.
Current Event September 4, 2015
It’s been 10 years since Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans. At the time, President George W. Bush and his administration were widely criticized for their slow response to the flooding. But on the 10 year anniversary, Bush was invited back to visit the city again. His tour sparked mixed reactions from residents who still feel they were let down by the federal government's response to the massive disaster.
Current Event January 6, 2016
Along the Mississippi River, people are just starting to assess the damage caused by a winter flood. The rainwater is moving south along the river and threatening more communities. Many people couldn’t afford flood insurance and thought they were on safe ground. Six feet of water ruined businesses, destroyed homes and closed roads. Listen to hear more about this devastating flood.
Current Event August 8, 2016
Mosquitoes with the Zika virus have infected people in Miami, Florida. The Center For Disease Control (CDC) has issued a travel warning, especially for pregnant women, for a neighborhood of Miami. This is the first time the CDC has issued a travel warning in the continental United States. Zika is a virus spread through mosquitoes that can cause serious birth defects if a pregnant woman is infected. An emergency response team is working to contain the outbreak and stop it from spreading anywhere else in the United States. Listen to the story to hear how the governor of Florida and the CDC are working together to keep people safe from Zika.
Current Event February 8, 2016
The Zika virus outbreak has been declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organization. Thousands of new cases have been discovered and the virus is spreading rapidly through Brazil and much of Latin America but it’s considered a public health threat to the rest of the world. Even though the symptoms of the virus are mild, if you are pregnant, the virus could damage your unborn child’s brain. The Zika virus is similar to other viruses, so a vaccine could be ready in 3 to 4 years. Listen to hear more about this public health emergency.
Current Event 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.
Current Event January 9, 2018
Wet wipes began as baby products, but now people use them for many things including makeup removal and applying insect repellent. As more people find uses for disposable wet wipes, more of them end up in the toilet. However, even if the company says they are flushable, they aren't always. Wet wipes are causing blockages in sewer systems around the country. Companies that label their wipes as flushable are suing states that have created standards for flushability. Listen to learn where your wet wipes go and how wastewater plants are using a form of forensics to uncover which companies are clogging up the pipes.
Science High School
A United Nations report in 2014 shows that human activities are changing the planet. The scientists are more confident in their conclusions that humans are causing global warming. There are rising sea levels, higher temperatures and impacts on wildlife. This conversation with a public radio reporter looks at the long term trend in global temperatures and what humans can do to reverse the trend.
Science Middle School
When getting knocked around by the ocean waves, a scientist realized the only things that were staying in place were the barnacles and muscles. This is due to the natural glue they produce that scientists are trying mimic to create a power glue that is non-toxic and can be used for things such as medical surgeries. Listen to learn more about how scientists developed these experiments and how this discovery could lead to a very useful resource.