All Social Studies

Statue outside the nmai

Current Event November 15, 2018

National Native American Veterans Memorial

Culture War

The Smithsonian has selected a design for its National Native American Veterans Memorial to be built on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The artist is a Native American veteran from Oklahoma, and his design is called “Warriors’ Circle of Honor.” It aims to engage all Americans in appreciating and learning about the tradition of Native American service. Listen to hear the artist’s reflections on the meaning of his design, how he hopes people will experience it, and why honoring veterans is an important part of his heritage.

Read More
Sahara desert

Current Event November 14, 2018

Preventing Expansion of the Sahara Desert

Earth and Space Science Environment Weather and Climate Human Impacts Energy Earth Systems

The Sahara Desert is expanding due to cycles of drought. A scientist at the University of Maryland who studies the earth’s atmosphere has proposed a solution to this problem involving solar panels and windmills. Listen to learn how her proposed solution could change the future climate of the Sahara region and harness energy at the same time.

Read More
15377967112 7faccb61f8 z

Current Event November 18, 2016

Debate: Is Wonder Woman a Good Ambassador for Women's Issues?

Gender

The United Nations is set to appoint Wonder Woman as its honorary ambassador for a new social media campaign focused on the empowerment of women and girls. Many people agree that Wonder Woman is an appropriate choice, and think that she sends a strong message that girls can do anything. However, some feminist groups oppose the decision. Listen to hear what each side thinks about Wonder Woman becoming an ambassador for women’s issues and then debate: Is Wonder Woman a good Ambassador for Women’s Empowerment?

Read More
28425643009 469b1925e0 z

Current Event March 1, 2018

The Black Panther Movie

Race Entertainment

The movie about the superhero Black Panther is a phenomenon. The stars of the movie are black actors and it takes place in a fictitious African country that was never colonized by Europeans. The Black Panther has characters who are rulers of kingdoms, inventors, creators of advanced technology, and fierce women warriors who protect the king. Crowdfunders across the U.S. are raising money to take entire groups of kids to see this movie. Listen to this story to hear the reaction of fifth grade students after they saw the Black Panther.

Read More
7716197206 5b8990dd82 z

Current Event September 8, 2016

Diversity in New Comic Book Characters

Race

The faces of comic books are changing with the times. The original superheroes in comic books are almost all white men. Think of Superman, Batman and Spiderman characters. The next generation of superheroes is far more diverse. DC Comics is releasing four new Superman characters who reflect different cultures. New Superman #1 is Kong Kenan, a chinese boy who inherits some of Clark Kent’s powers. Listen to the story to hear from one of the writers of New Superman #1 talk about why he thinks it is important to show diversity in comics.

Read More
3729506610 919003cd17 z

Current Event May 18, 2017

Gender and Diversity in Comics

Race Gender

There is a push in the comics industry to introduce characters that are diverse in race, gender, and sexual orientation. A large motivator for this change is the belief that children from diverse backgrounds deserve to see people in heroic roles that look like them and/or share their gender or sexual orientation. As a result, major comic publishers, such as Marvel, are introducing more characters that are people of color, female, and LGBTQ. Listen to learn more about the growing diversity in comic book characters and the controversies surrounding it.

Read More
Congress steps

Current Event November 13, 2018

Election Results Split Congress

Civics/Government politics

The recent midterm elections had especially high voter turnout. While each of the major political parties claimed some victories, one of the most significant election results was a shift in Congressional power. The Democrats gained a clear majority in the House of Representatives, while the Republicans reinforced their Senate majority. Listen to this story to hear about this significant change to the U.S. Congress, where Republicans had previously held a majority in both the House and the Senate.

Read More
Sears

Current Event November 8, 2018

Sears and American Shopping Habits

Culture

After 130 years in business, the department store Sears has filed for bankruptcy. Sears began as a catalog company and was an historically important innovation in shopping that offered many people opportunities to buy products that were not available to them locally. Sears department stores made one-stop shopping a common practice in many communities around the country. However, recent shopping trends have had a negative impact on Sears. Listen to this story to learn what made Sears a dominant influence in shaping American shopping habits and what changes have contributed to its downfall.

Read More
14538689958 60c8cc4667 z

Current Event July 11, 2016

Venezuela in Chaos

Politics Economics Latin America

For years, socialist president of Venezuela Hugo Chavez, led the country as a dramatic presence. Three years after his death, Venezuela is spiraling downward. It’s economy depended mostly on oil, and with the crash in oil prices there are rolling power blackouts and food shortages. The government can’t pay to import goods, so many grocery shelves are empty, leaving hungry citizens to resort to looting. Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro, has refused to allow a recall referendum against him and the country is becoming politically unstable. Listen to hear more about the crisis in Venezuela.

Read More
Lime scoot

Current Event November 9, 2018

Debate: Should electric scooter rentals be allowed in cities?

Technology Transportation

Electric scooters are becoming increasingly popular in big cities where traffic is congested and public transportation can be unreliable. Some companies are offering electric scooters that can be unlocked via mobile app, ridden, and dropped off anywhere in the city. This may be convenient for some people, but it can be hazardous for others. Listen to this story to learn about the controversy caused by electric scooters and debate: Should electric scooter rentals be allowed in cities?

Read More
15187581648 85196b0d35 z

Current Event May 19, 2017

Debate: Will the Circus Survive?

Economics Arts

Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus have announced they will close after 146 years in the circus business because of high operating costs and low ticket sales. However, at the New England Center for Circus Arts, performers are still training to become performers. With the most well-known institution of the American circus industry shutting down, it is up to the new generation of performers to redefine the circus’ place in American culture. Listen to learn more about how young performers thinking about the future of the circus, and then debate whether the circus will survive.

Read More
Currenteventcontestgraphic

Current Event November 7, 2018

Listenwise Scavenger Hunt: Fact or Fake?

Do you like riddles, puzzles, or detective stories? Get out your figurative magnifying glass and participate in our Listenwise Scavenger Hunt: Fact or Fake! In celebration of Media Literacy Week (Nov 5-9), this contest invites you to apply your media literacy skills to identify facts and fakes. As you take this quiz, you will be given clues to find Listenwise stories related to the contest theme. Once you have found the right stories, listen to them carefully, and hunt down the answers to the related questions. (Contest stories will have a special icon so that you know you found the right one. We recommend working with two tabs or windows open at once–one for the quiz, and one for the stories.) Explore Listenwise, learn about media literacy, and, most importantly, have fun!

  • How to enter: Teachers can assign the quiz to students any time between now and Wednesday, November 21 by clicking on the orange "Assign Quiz" button above. All answers must be submitted before 11:59 pm EST on November 21st to be entered into the contest. Make sure to have a Listenwise Premium account or the 30-day free trial, so you can assign and submit student quizzes in order to participate.
  • How to win: The teacher with the highest average student quiz performance will win first prize for their class. The teacher with the highest number of student submissions will win second prize. A third prize will be awarded at random.
  • What you win: First prize is a set of classroom headphones and a $100 Amazon gift card. Second prize wins a set of classroom headphones and a $50 Amazon gift card. Third prize is a $50 Amazon gift card.
Read More