All Science

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Science Middle School

Challenger Engineer Blames Himself

Psychology Engineering Space

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.

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Current Event March 22, 2018

Food Stamps or Food Boxes

Health US government

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.

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Spotted dolphins and spinner dolphins

Science Middle School

Tuna Fishing and the Dolphin Morgue

Life Science Animals Ecosystems Oceans Human Impacts

When people started using large nets to capture tuna in the 1960s, many spotted dolphins were killed because they were found living with tuna. Scientists responded by sending “observers” on tuna boats to keep track of the number of dolphins killed. Listen to hear from a scientist who is studying the spotted and spinner dolphins to try to learn how to preserve dolphin populations.

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The science of calories

Science Middle School

Calculating Calories in Food

Life Science Health Nutrition chemistry

Food gives our body the energy needed to function and thrive. But what is energy? Where can you find it and how can you calculate it? This public radio story explores the energy in a cheese curl by burning it. Listen to learn about a great lab that allows you to calculate the energy in food.

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Current Event March 15, 2018

March Madness Basketball Corruption

Sports Money

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.

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Current Event March 14, 2018

Happy Pi Day!


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.

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Current Event March 9, 2018

Debate: Does Birth Order Matter?


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?

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Current Event March 7, 2018

Smart Devices Are Listening


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.

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Current Event March 6, 2018

Football Changes Kids' Brains

Life Science Sports KERA

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.

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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 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 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 February 16, 2016

Supreme Court Backs Coal Industry

Climate Change Weather and Climate

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.

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Sexism in storm names

Current Event June 18, 2014

Sexism in Storm Names - Gender Makes a Difference

Earth and Space Science Gender Weather and Climate

Studies show that people react differently to male and female named storms. There is more preparation and fear of storms with male names, such as Victor, versus a storm named Christina. As a result, there are serious implications of this unconscious gender bias. Listen to this audio story to learn more.

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Current Event September 29, 2015

How to Become a Hero

Psychology Learning

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.

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Current Event September 4, 2015

Katrina 10 Years Later

Earth and Space Science Weather and Climate

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.

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Current Event January 6, 2016

Flooding Brings Devastation

Weather and Climate

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.

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Current Event August 8, 2016

Zika Prompts Travel Warning to Florida

Life Science Health

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.

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Current Event February 8, 2016

Zika Virus Spreading Rapidly


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.

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Current Event February 27, 2018

Student Activism Over Gun Violence

Students who witnessed the deadly school shooting in Florida are channeling their rage and grief into activism for gun reform. The classmates of the 17 people who were killed by a gunman in a Parkland, Florida high school are demanding state lawmakers ban assault rifles. There are protests and school walkouts planned across the country, in an effort to encourage lawmakers to rethink their positions on guns. Listen to one of the the high school students who survived the shooting as she talks about why she has become a gun control activist.

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