All Social Studies

Current Event April 12, 2015

Same Deal, Different Stories

Civics/Government Economics World History II

The United States, Iran and five other world powers have agreed on the basic principles of a nuclear accord. This agreement is being presented as a victory in the U.S. and Iran but the two sides are offering different stories on some of the key points of the deal, including when economic sanctions will end. Listen to learn more about how these differing narratives may lead to problems finalizing the deal.

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Current Event April 19, 2014

Poverty and ‘The Grapes of Wrath’

Economics Literature US History II

John Steinbeck’s classic “The Grapes of Wrath” was released more than 75 years ago. The tale of poverty and hope is still frequently read today. The book is the story of the Joad family heading West from Oklahoma to California during the Dust Bowl. The novel’s depiction of poverty shocked readers at the time but remains relevant in America today. Listen to learn how themes of the book reflect the 1930s and the present.

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Current Event December 8, 2013

Understanding Outlaw Jesse James

Psychology US History I Civil War Westward Expansion

Outlaw Jesse James and his gang have become synonymous with the Wild West and horseback outlaws of the era, but the story behind his actions is far more complex. James and other members of the James-Younger Gang were Confederate guerrillas, known as Bushwhackers, before and during the Civil War. At the end of the war ex-Confederates were on the losing side and suffered the consequences. Disenfranchised and numb to violence after what they had witnessed during the war, they sought justice and revenge from the winners of the war. Listen to learn more about the life and exploits of these well-known outlaws.

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Current Event March 12, 2015

Boston Marathon Bombing Trial

Civics/Government Constitution

The trial of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has begun despite multiple attempts by his defense team to get the trial moved out of Boston. A pool of nearly 1,400 Bostonians has been whittled down to a group of 21 jurors and alternates but the question still remains - is it possible for Tsarnaev to get his sixth amendment constitutional right to a fair jury trial of his peers in a city so negatively impacted by his actions? Listen to learn more about the process of jury selection and the issue of bias.

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Current Event January 26, 2014

The Pros and Cons of Gentrification

Civics/Government US History II Geography

Gentrification holds a negative connotation for many people, who believe it pushes the less fortunate out of their homes to benefit the more affluent. However, recent studies have shown that gentrification may actually benefit lower income families. Listen to learn more about the history of gentrification and its possible benefits for low income families.

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Current Event March 5, 2015

Supervising Children

Civics/Government Psychology Geography

How do you get to school? What age is the right age for kids to walk to school alone? A rise in parental neglect cases has sparked a debate across the country about when and where it’s appropriate for kids to go solo. Listen to learn more about the factors that parents and authorities consider when judging what is neglect and what isn’t.

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Current Event March 15, 2015

Gym Class for Saudi Girls

Civics/Government Education Gender Health

The rights of women around the world vary widely. Women in Saudi Arabia have fought for their right to drive, be part of government, compete in the Olympics and, most recently, attend gym class. The school system in Saudi Arabia is divided by gender. Boys schools have long had gym class; a new policy would allow girls schools the same. The reaction within the country has been mixed. Some argue it breaks religious law, others say it is a natural and healthy way for young girls to grow. Listen to hear from women in Saudi Arabia.

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Current Event March 24, 2015

Equality for Women

Civics/Government Gender Health

In 1995, the United Nations held the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China to focus on issues of gender equity. Twenty years later, the UN has released a report about the status of women in the world today. From areas of progress to inequities that remain, listen to learn more about the findings in the report.

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Current Event March 19, 2015

Hospitals of the Future

Civics/Government Life Science Economics Health

Hospitals have a reputation for being drab and sterile, but a new wave of hospital design is changing what patients can expect. An aging population, and increased access to healthcare due to the Affordable Care Act, has spurred a new era in hospital development. Listen to learn how two new hospitals in Dallas are revolutionizing the look of of patient care.

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Current Event May 1, 2014

The Power and Morality of ‘The Godfather’

Race Literature entertainment

The 1972 film The Godfather introduced the world to the Italian Mafia. This story of family, honor and betrayal was based on a best-selling novel by the same name. The movie, which won three Oscars and had two sequels, has withstood the test of time and ranks as one of the greatest American films ever made. Listen to hear why the movie resonates with the viewer well beyond the first time watching it.

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Current Event February 28, 2015

What color is that dress?

Life Science Psychology

A Twitter storm has broken out over the color of a dress posted online with the simple question: What color is it? This story goes beyond the social media chatter to look at the scientific reasons why we all see colors differently.

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Current Event March 11, 2015

Arming Teachers

Civics/Government Constitution

Mass shootings in gun free zones like schools have some Western lawmakers considering legislation that would eliminate these zones. Colorado, Wyoming and North Dakota are weighing proposals that would allow guns in schools, in the hopes of avoiding future mass shootings. The Second Amendment of the Constitution is being cited by lawmakers who support the proposal. Listen to learn how the proposals differ by state and how educators and lawmakers are responding to this proposal.

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Current Event March 17, 2015

Police and the Constitution

Civics/Government Race Constitution

Recently there’s been more violence in Ferguson, Missouri. Two police officers were shot last week while protecting the police department during a protest. The violence comes months after police shot and killed an unarmed black teenager last August. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigated the police department in Ferguson and found a pattern of discrimination against black residents in everything from traffic stops to use of force. Listen to learn more about this DOJ report and how police in Ferguson were found to be violating the Constitution.

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Current Event March 29, 2015

Can a Canadian-Born Politician be President?

Civics/Government Politics Constitution

The first candidate in the 2016 US presidential race has announced he is running for president. But there could be a major problem with his candidacy. Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father. Cruz was naturalized at birth because his mother is an American citizen. He renounced his dual US-Canadian citizenship in 2013. But the US Constitution says the US president must be a “natural born citizen.” Listen to learn more about what the Constitution says on this issue and what the founding fathers were protecting against when they included this requirement in Article 2.

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Current Event February 23, 2015

Remembering Malcolm X

Race US History II

Malcolm X was both charismatic and feared, and he advocated black power as a response to white racism. On February 21, 1965 he was assassinated while on stage giving a speech in Harlem. Thirty-nine year old Malcolm X was shot by three gunmen from the Nation of Islam, a group he had left the previous year. For the 50th anniversary of his killing, listen to this story about the life and legacy of this influential black leader.

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Current Event March 6, 2015

Visiting Mars

Earth and Space Science Psychology Space Systems

In 2024 crews of four will be sent to Mars with the goal of creating a permanent human settlement there. The mission is being planned by a non-profit organization in the Netherlands called Mars One. 200,000 people applied to be one of the first four people to make this all expense paid trip. Mars One has narrowed the applicants down to 100. Shirelle Webb, a 22 year old college student from Texas has made the cut. Listen to learn why she wants to be considered for the one-way trip.

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Current Event June 3, 2014

Bringing ‘Gone With The Wind’ to the Screen

Race Literature US History I entertainment

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.

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Current Event January 23, 2015

Florida Citrus in Crisis

Life Science Economics Agriculture

As you drink your morning orange juice, you might not think about where it comes from. Oranges and other citrus are an important base for the Florida economy. The citrus industry and the related jobs in Florida are under threat from a new insect borne infection known as “citrus greening.” Listen to learn more about this disease and how citrus farmers are coping with this changing landscape.

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Current Event January 27, 2015

BP Pays Up

Civics/Government Life Science Economics Environment

A federal judge has found oil company BP responsible for the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and resulting oil spill. Now the question is how much should BP pay for the damage caused by 3.19 million barrels of oil that poured into the Gulf of Mexico. Some argue that BP should receive the maximum penalty for the environmental and economic damage caused by the spill. But BP wants credit for the money its has already spent on damages and cleanup. Listen to learn more about this complicated decision.

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Current Event February 4, 2015

Preserving Religion's Past

Religion Ancient Civilization World History I

The militant group ISIS has displaced Christians from Northwestern Iraq in their quest to create an Islamic state. This displacement has threatened the community and its ancient heritage. A group of monks in Iraq have saved a library of ancient Christian manuscripts from destruction. Listen to learn more about this community and their rescue mission.

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