All Social Studies

Current Event June 7, 2018

Observing Ramadan Traditions in America

Religion

Ramadan is a month-long Muslim practice during which observers do not eat or drink during daylight hours. Two American Muslim women and podcasters recently discussed what it’s like to observe Ramadan in America. They described their coworkers’ reactions to their fasting, their experiences observing Ramadan, and what the holy month means to them. They also provide advice for non-Muslims who want to learn more about the religion from their Muslim friends. Listen to learn more about Ramadan.

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Current Event March 18, 2021

High School Sports Resume

Health Education Sports SEL

After being canceled during the pandemic, many high school sports are starting up again. This audio story focuses on a high school girls’ tennis team in California where athletes are both nervous and excited to resume play. Listen to learn how one school community is handling the reopening of school sports, and hear high school athletes describe what this moment means to them.

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Current Event April 14, 2021

Honoring Vancouver's Oldest Apple Tree

Community Plants Industry

The residents of Vancouver, Washington have said goodbye to a beloved old friend: a 194-year-old apple tree. The state of Washington produces more apples than anywhere else in the country, and the old apple tree was widely considered the “mother” of the apple industry there. Residents protected her when city planners threatened to chop her down and celebrated her life at an annual festival. Listen to learn who planted the apple seeds that grew into the famous tree and why she has so many descendants.

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Current Event January 29, 2020

Teen Discovers New Planet

Astronomy

A high school senior interning at NASA has discovered a new planet. The young scientist was monitoring a telescope when he picked up clues that an unidentified object was circling. He alerted senior scientists who confirmed the object was a planet. Listen to hear a teen researcher describe the new planet and how he managed to find it on his third day on the job.

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Current Event July 31, 2019

Celebrating Women's Soccer

Culture Gender 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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Current Event January 20, 2021

College Athlete Makes History for Women

Gender Sports

As a successful college soccer player, Sarah Fuller knows how to kick. So when her university’s football team needed a kicker for an upcoming game, she stepped in, making history as the first female athlete to play in a Big Five NCAA football game. Before that, Fuller had spent years struggling to overcome injuries. Listen to hear a groundbreaking athlete explain how it felt to join the football team, why she was emotional on game day, and who most inspires her.

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Current Event April 13, 2021

History of the Suez Canal

World War II International World War I Trade Middle East Conflict

The Suez Canal is a 120-mile waterway dug in the Isthmus of Suez, between Africa and Asia, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. When it was built in 1869, the Suez Canal cut the travel time for ships bringing goods around the world, and global trade increased. Over the years the canal has been the site of conflict between powerful nations, and occasional disaster. Recently, a giant container ship got stuck in the canal and jammed water traffic for six days. Listen to learn more about the history and importance of the Suez Canal and why experts say accidents there are likely to recur.

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Current Event April 12, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccine Works for Kids

Health Medicine Youth

A new study has found that a COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for children as young as 12. The vaccine is currently approved for people aged 16 and older, but the drug company Pfizer has successfully tested its product on thousands of young people and will continue its research until a vaccine can be approved for all ages. The news is especially welcome because, like adults, children can become infected with COVID-19 and spread it to others. Listen to learn more about the study and what next steps are needed before the process of vaccinating kids can begin.

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Current Event February 3, 2021

Seaweed Helps Gassy Cows

Animals Climate Change

The world's billion-and-a-half cows produce huge amounts of methane, a gas that contributes to global warming. Methane is made in cows’ guts as they digest their food. When they burp and fart, they spew the gas into the air. Now, scientists have found a simple, unexpected way to reduce methane production in cows. Listen to learn about a surprising solution to the problem of gassy cows and how it may help address climate change.

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Current Event December 9, 2020

Free Food Refrigerators Feed Communities

Health Nutrition Community

The number of Americans who do not have enough food has increased dramatically during the pandemic. To address this problem of food insecurity, groups across the country are putting refrigerators filled with free food in public places and inviting people to take what they need. The “freedges” are feeding thousands of people, many of whom had never visited a food bank. Listen to hear more about a grassroots effort to feed hungry Americans, and learn why one activist worries about the sustainability of the movement.

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Current Event July 17, 2019

Changing Consumers' Minds About "Ugly" Produce

Environment Climate Change Human Impacts KERA Agriculture Nutrition Business Plants Conservation Industry

Would you eat a scarred, lumpy carrot or an apple that is oddly shaped? Grocery stores do not typically sell these types of “ugly” produce, but some new companies aim to reduce food waste by selling fruits and vegetables that are rejected by stores. Listen to learn about the benefits of these efforts and find out what else you can do to reduce food waste.

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Current Event April 11, 2021

Weird News: Auction Bidder Breaks Record for Video Game Price

Entertainment Money Media

Listen to hear about a video game that sold for a very high price.

Vocabulary: anonymous, auction, remarkable

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Current Event November 1, 2013

The Science Behind Video Game Addiction

Civics/Government Technology

From the early days of Pong to the current obsession with Minecraft, the pull to video games has never wavered; if anything, it has strengthened through the targeted efforts of the video game industry. As players sit at home, researchers are gathering data about your habits and interests from each action you make in the game, so they are literally "getting into" the minds of players as well as their wallets. Listen to this story to see how they do it.

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Current Event March 31, 2020

Ancient Chewing Gum Holds DNA Clues

Technology Genetics Prehistory

A chunk of chewed birch resin has revealed surprisingly detailed information about a woman who lived 5,700 years ago. Scientists investigated a brownish blob discovered at an archaeological site and were able to extract and analyze a complete strand of DNA that revealed details about the diet, health, and appearance of the Stone Age woman who had chewed it. Listen to learn why ancient people chewed birch pitch and how this very old piece of gum could inspire archaeologists to look in new places for clues to the past.

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Current Event July 19, 2016

Police Shootings

Protest Violence

Americans have been shocked and saddened by the targeted killing of 5 Dallas police officers in apparent retaliation for the many police shootings of black men. The Black Lives Matter movement has organized peaceful protests to bring awareness to these events. Kwame Alexander, an award-winning poet and children’s author who touches on the themes of love, education and race, reflects on the shooting of the officers and the killing of two black men by police - Alton Sterling and Philando Castille. Listen to hear about how he communicates with kids, and why he thinks it’s important for students to think outside of themselves to understand these events.

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