All ELA

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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Beautiful black people

Current Event August 15, 2018

Black Lawmaker Experiences Racism

Politics Race Law

A black state representative from Oregon was going door-to-door to speak with the voters she represents in her district when one of the neighborhood residents called the police. The resident thought the state representative was suspicious for knocking on doors, likely because of her race. Listen to find out how the state representative responded to the police and hear what she thinks can be done to make situations like these better in the future.

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Horseshoe magnets

Current Event August 1, 2018

Malaria and Magnets

Education Technology

The malaria parasite kills more than 500,000 people every year. An engineering professor recently decided to make a difference in this issue by working with her students to find a solution. The answer she and one student came up with is surprising, but genius: magnets. Listen to learn more about the professor’s project and find out how magnets could help people suffering from malaria all around the world.

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Thai caves

Current Event July 25, 2018

Dangerous Cave Rescue of Teenage Boys

rescue Thailand

A team of twelve teenaged Thai soccer players and their coach recently became trapped in a cave that flooded as they were exploring it. Volunteers, military personnel, and expert divers came from around the globe to help save them. After over two weeks of tireless work in this tiny Thai village, the rescue team succeeded. They carried out an extremely challenging, dangerous dive mission to safely remove the boys and their coach from the cave. Listen to learn how they finally made it out.

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Ussc

Current Event July 23, 2018

Supreme Court Justice Nominee

Civics/Government Government structures USSC

Since Justice Anthony Kennedy resigned from the U.S. Supreme Court, President Trump has chosen Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a Circuit Judge in the U.S. Court of Appeal who also served in the George W. Bush administration, to replace him. Because Kavanaugh has a long history of experience in Republican politics, he is a controversial choice for this position. Kavanaugh’s opinions from the bench could have a major influence on abortion law and other important issues. He now faces what will most likely be difficult confirmation process. Listen to learn more about Kavanaugh and his potential influence on the Supreme Court.

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Tech stuff

Current Event August 10, 2018

Debate: Should Tech Companies Stop Doing Business with the Government?

Politics Technology Protest Ethics

Recently, tech workers have been protesting some of the biggest names in the industry, such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Salesforce. They’ve urged their employers not to work with certain segments of the U.S. government. This is a very unusual request for employees to make of their companies, but it isn’t completely unheard of. Listen to learn more about these protests and what they could mean for the future of technology.

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Plastic straws

Current Event August 9, 2018

How a Teenager Influenced the Straw Debate

Journalism conservation

Newspapers and magazines around the world have reported on a stunning statistic about how many plastic straws Americans throw away every day. Unfortunately, that number isn’t quite right. As it turns out, a teenager calculated that statistic years ago. Since then, it’s spread far and wide, affecting the way we use plastic straws throughout the country.. Listen to hear the story of how a teenager changed the plastic straw debate forever.

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Pretty parks

Current Event August 8, 2018

Parks Can Improve Your Mental Health

Culture conservation Class

Transforming a vacant lot into a small community garden in a Washington, D.C. neighborhood seems to have made its residents happier. Inspired by this example, a professor recently did a study to see what kinds of effects creating green spaces out of empty lots has on people’s mental wellbeing. Listen to find out what she learned from her research on community gardens.

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Chocolate beauty

Current Event August 7, 2018

Why We Eat Based on our Emotions

Culture Entertainment

Scientists recently conducted a study to see how emotions affect the way children eat. Using key scenes from “The Lion King” and a couple of snack options, the researchers observed how kids’ feelings influenced their food choices. Listen to find out what the study discovered about children’s emotional eating.

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Sad farmstead

Current Event August 6, 2018

Government Helps Farmer Hurt by Trade War

Politics War

The Trump administration recently raised tariffs, or fees, on many things the U.S. imports from countries like China. In response to this, some countries have put their own tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports, like hogs and soybeans. These new fees are hurting U.S. farmers because they can’t sell as much overseas. Now, the Trump administration has decided to offer billions of dollars in federal aid to the farmers who are struggling with these new tariffs. Listen to learn more about the governmental assistance the Trump administration is offering farmers.

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Netanyahu

Current Event August 14, 2018

New Israeli Law Seen as Discriminatory

Politics Religion Law Protest

Israel recently passed a law that defines the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Israeli religious minorities, such as Muslims and Christians, feel that this law discriminates against them and fails to recognize their contributions. Some have even begun to protest it, gaining support from important and surprising allies. Listen to find out more about the controversy surrounding the Nation State law.

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Facebook

Current Event August 13, 2018

Facebook Removes Fake Accounts

Politics Technology Law Protest Ethics Censorship

Facebook recently deleted pages and accounts it believed were run by Russians attempting to influence the upcoming midterm elections. Unfortunately, this also affected a valuable page American protesters were using to gain grassroots support. This issue raises important, unresolved questions about the relationship between Facebook, free speech, and propaganda. Listen to learn what an expert on civil liberties thinks about censorship on social media.

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ELA Middle School

The Legacy of Ray Bradbury

Science Fiction

Ray Bradbury was one of the greatest imaginative writers of the last 100 years. His stories and novels showed us the promise and wonder of traveling the stars in books such as “The Martian Chronicles” and “R is For Rocket.” But just as often as Bradbury’s fiction looked outward, the future and the cosmos, it also turned its powerful eye inward, peering into the human condition in books such as “Fahrenheit 451” and “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” His written works continue to influence and inspire people from filmmakers to astronauts. This story offers a brief profile of Bradbury on the occasion of his death in 2012. Listen to learn more about Ray Bradbury and how his stories have influenced others.

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Young adult dystopia

ELA High School

Young Adult Dystopia

Science Fiction Young Adult Literature

Dystopian fiction is tremendously popular with young people all over the US right now. Books like The Hunger Games dominate bestseller lists for young people. But what is so appealing about this genre? Listen to find out why this genre has such an impact on its audience.

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Quiet hallway

ELA High School

13 Reasons Why Not

Culture Arts Entertainment

In response to the popular Netflix show 13 Reasons Why, one school began sharing some of its students’ personal stories struggling with suicidal thoughts. However, instead of sharing the reasons why someone might make the choice to end their life, the school decided to share messages of hope and the positive influences on the lives of its students. Listen to hear those stories, and how they impacted the students at the school.

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ELA High School

Low

'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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Donald and vlad

Current Event July 30, 2018

Trump's Policies on Russia

Politics War

President Trump recently met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed a wide range of topics. The United States and Russia have had a long history of tense relations dating back to the Cold War. Although President Trump appears to be building a closer relationship with Russia, he insists no president has ever been as tough on Russia as he is. Throughout his presidency, there has been a disconnect between Trump’s words about Russia and his administration’s actions toward the country. Listen to learn more about President Trump’s approach to Russian relations.

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Current Event December 15, 2017

Debate: Should Suspension Be In School or Out of School?

Education

Across the country there’s a debate over whether or not out-of-school suspensions are effective in dealing with a student’s disruptive behavior. A city council member in Washington D.C. believes they are not useful and that more money should be put toward in-school activities for disruptive students. This issue concerns teachers since dealing with disruptive behavior can take time out of classroom teaching and affect other students. Listen to hear more about the pros and cons of in-school suspensions and then debate: Should suspension be in school or out of school?

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ELA Middle School

Waterless Worlds is the New Dystopia

Literature Environment Climate Change Dystopian Fiction

News about water shortages and droughts have inspired a new trend in dystopian books and movies. Water scarcity has been a source of conflict in places like Africa and the Middle East but also in America’s own history. Some believe that water scarcity is only going to get worse in the decades to come. This audio story features writers and filmmakers who have imagined what life might be like in a waterless world. Listen to learn more about what these storytellers imagine and what audience they hope to reach.

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