All ELA

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Current Event August 15, 2019

Puppy Dog Eyes

Psychology Animals Evolution Biology Diversity Neuroscience Adaptation

Has a dog ever given you “puppy eyes”? If so, you probably did whatever your furry friend wanted. According to a recent study, “puppy eyes” result from thousands of years of evolution impacted by the relationship between humans and dogs. This distinctive expression comes from a specific muscle and creates unique effects that help dogs become “man’s best friend.” Listen to learn more about why “puppy eyes” are so powerful and how studying dogs can help humans learn more about themselves.

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Animal emotions in literature

ELA Middle School

Low

Animals Display Emotions

Literature Psychology Animals Nonfiction

From "Shiloh" to "Lassie" and "Old Yeller," young adult literature is full of stories about friendship between people and dogs. People love animals but what do animals feel? There is a debate in the scientific community and in popular culture about what emotions animals are capable of and how they display these emotions. Does recognizing that animals can feel take away from human emotion? Or does it help us recognize where these traits came from? This story discusses recent research on the emotions of animals. Listen to learn more about what researchers discovered, and the controversy surrounding the emotional lives of animals.

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A cup of coffee and some rumors

Current Event June 19, 2019

The Benefits of Gossip

Gender Culture Psychology

According to a new study, talking about other people who are not present, commonly known as gossip, may not be all bad. Researchers studied gossip by recording and listening in on participants’ conversations. Listen to hear what these eavesdropping scientists discovered and learn about some potential benefits of gossip.

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Current Event July 31, 2019

Celebrating Women's Soccer

Gender Culture Sports Women's Rights

When the U.S. women’s national soccer team won the 2019 World Cup, they paraded down the streets of New York City while people tossed confetti to celebrate. This type of ticker-tape parade has been happening for over a hundred years, but this particular event was especially significant for women in America. Listen to find out what made this parade both traditional and unique.

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ELA High School

'The Hate U Give' and the Call to Activism

Race Literature Civil RIghts

Angie Thomas’ novel, "The Hate U Give", tells the story of Starr, a young woman of color, who turns toward activism after witnessing the murder of her friend Khalil by a police officer when she is 16 years old. The novel is closely modeled after Thomas’ experiences as a student, and on the stories of several of the young men who have been victims of racialized police violence in recent years. In this audio story, the author talks about what inspired her to write this groundbreaking novel.

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Mona lisa line

Current Event July 15, 2019

Tourism Overcrowding on the Rise

Transportation Industry International Conservation

In recent years, traveling has become easier for people all over the world. This has led to many popular tourist destinations being overcrowded, which can impact the tourist experience as well as the sites themselves. Cities like Paris, France and Tokyo, Japan have been hosting more visitors than they can handle, and special attractions in out-of-the-way places are also drawing unmanageably large crowds. Listen to this story to hear about the reasons for this tourist overcrowding and what tourist destinations are doing about it.

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 black excellence poets

ELA High School

Low

Poetry for the Digital Age

Poetry Writing

Each year for National Poetry Month, NPR invites listeners to submit original poems. The only constraint is that the poems must follow a format suitable for Twitter–280 characters or fewer. These bite-sized verses often prove interesting, complex, and thought-provoking. Listen to this story to hear poet Jessica Care Moore select and read some of her favorite tweet-length poems and share her reactions to them.

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Current Event August 14, 2019

Working on a Trash Mountain in Delhi

Health Environment Human Impacts Industry International Entrepeneur

As India produces more and more garbage, giant mountains of trash are growing around its cities. The mountain of waste in New Delhi is nearly as tall as the world famous Taj Mahal. This creates an awful smell and a variety of safety issues, but some poorer Indians have also used it as an opportunity to create their own waste-based businesses. Listen to learn more about how these entrepreneurs turn trash into treasure and the risks they take in mining these man-made garbage mountains.

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Elie wiesel night

Current Event May 10, 2019

Debate: Can tolerance be taught?

Race Education Religion Law Reform

In 2017, five students who sprayed racist graffiti on a historic African-American schoolhouse received a sentence designed to educate them about how racism has impacted people’s lives throughout history. They were assigned twelve books to read and respond to in writing. Listen to this interview with the state official who devised this unusual sentence and then debate: Can tolerance be taught?

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ELA High School

"The Blind Side" and the Offensive Left Tackle

Literature Sports

Typically in the National Football League it’s all about the quarterback. But that is not the case in “The Blind Side”, a book about American football and the position of offensive left tackle. The author argues that the previously underappreciated position is vital to the game today. Incorporated into the story is offensive left tackle Michael Oher, who grew up in poverty, was adopted, and then played college football. Lewis traces the evolution of this pivotal position and explains how contracts and cash have shaped football. Listen to learn more about the author, American football, and the real-life story of Michael Oher.

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Current Event August 7, 2019

Woman Aviator Led the Way

Race Gender Culture Reform Transportation War Women's Rights

One of the first female U.S. Navy pilots and the first woman air squadron commander recently died. Rosemary Mariner entered the U.S. Navy in the 1970s and rose through the ranks to become a great leader. She inspired many friends and colleagues with her strength of character, her intelligence, and her respectful and supportive attitude. Listen to learn about the effect Rosemary Mariner had on one of her fellow women aviators and on the world at large.

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Current Event July 29, 2019

Metering Migrants at the Border

Politics Civics/Government Immigration Law International

A policy adopted by the Customs and Border Protection agency known as “metering” has significantly reduced the number of immigrants being processed daily at the U.S.-Mexico border. While the agency says that they cannot keep up with the large numbers of asylum seekers, migrants and immigration reform advocates say that this slower processing speed causes serious problems. Listen to hear about how metering has affected those seeking asylum in the U.S. through its southern border.

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ELA Middle School

Walt Whitman's Letter

US History I Civil War American Literature

Walt Whitman was an American poet, teacher, and journalist who was born in the early 1800s. His poetry shattered the literary conventions of his time and helped redefine the rules for modern American verse. Although highly unconventional, Whitman still had a strong sense of national pride and was deeply affected by the events of the Civil War. Although he never fought in the war, he visited recuperating union soldiers and helped them write letters to their loved ones. Listen to learn more about how Whitman helped Civil War soldiers.

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Spiral stars

Current Event July 24, 2019

Star Gazing Parties

Technology Environment Space Systems Human Impacts Light Astronomy

Far from the bright lights of cities and suburbs, amateur astronomers gather to stargaze in the dark at events known as “star parties.” Stargazers enjoy sharing the experience with others who are passionate about dark skies and the faraway places they make visible. Listen to hear about what happens at star parties and what amateur astronomers are viewing in the dark night sky.

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Big fireworks

Current Event July 22, 2019

The Science of Fireworks

Technology Entertainment Chemistry

One of the world’s favorite holiday traditions has a long history. Fireworks started in ancient China where people used explosives because they were believed to ward away evil spirits. From their beginnings as simple noise makers to the dazzling aerial displays that light up our night skies today, fireworks have relied on chemistry to create the sounds and colors that provide excitement and enjoyment. Listen to hear a chemist explain the history and science behind a worldwide celebratory tradition.

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Phone with icons

Current Event August 22, 2018

What Could Replace Facebook

Technology Culture

Facebook is only 14 years old, but it’s the dominant social network used by two-thirds of American adults. With news about it sharing private information or spreading fake news, some are calling on users to boycott Facebook and turn to other social networks. But which ones? Listen to this story to learn why Facebook is so dominant and how it would be very difficult for any new social network to overtake Facebook’s popularity.

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Houston downtown

Current Event August 21, 2018

Concrete Heats Up Cities

KERA Reform conservation

According to a recent study, Dallas is getting hotter faster than most other cities in America. A few surprising factors make this city an especially bad “urban heat island,” but there are certain, simple things the city can do to combat this effect. Listen to learn more about Dallas’ heat and find out what can cool it down.

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Firefighting

Current Event August 20, 2018

Fighting Massive Wildfires

Politics Reform conservation

The largest fire in California history is currently burning, breaking a record that another devastating fire set a mere eight months ago. Scientists, politicians, and firefighters are currently searching for a better way to handle these increasingly intense natural disasters. Listen to learn about some of their surprising solutions for wildfires.

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Injections

Current Event August 17, 2018

Debate: Does the method of execution in the death penalty matter?

Politics Law Violence

The State of Nevada recently had to postpone a scheduled execution of a convicted criminal because it could no longer use one of the drugs it had planned to put in the lethal injection. This case highlights a variety of issues surrounding the substances used in lethal cocktails, including their legality, proper protocol, and potential alternatives. It also raises important questions about the death penalty in general. Listen to learn more about this case and then debate: Does the method of execution in the death penalty matter?

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Stone tools

Current Event August 16, 2018

Stone Age Tools

Technology

Scientists recently discovered a variety of million-year-old stone tools in Kenya. These discoveries allow archaeologists to better understand our early human ancestors’ lives and how they developed more sophisticated tools as time went on. As it turns out, there are some important parallels between ancient stone tools and modern technologies. Listen to learn more about this exciting find and hear how it relates to life today.

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