ELA Middle School
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.
Current Event December 18, 2014
On December 29, 2014, the U.S. Senate released part of a 6,000 page report on abusive interrogation techniques used by the CIA in the post-9/11 War on Terror. For some, this report is evidence of immoral and illegal torture by the CIA. But others say it's more complicated. Did the torture program produce useful information? Does it serve as a deterrent to terrorists? Is there any justification for torture? Listen to hear more about this complicated issue from a legal analyst.
Current Event November 5, 2014
Being the top student in your high school class is difficult under the best of circumstances. This audio tells the story of a remarkable young woman, Rashema Melson, who graduated as valedictorian of her high school, despite six years of homelessness. Listen to learn more directly from Rashema herself.
Current Event October 21, 2014
If you have ever had trouble putting down an addictive video game, you are not alone. Video games are actually designed using behavioral science to ensure that you will want to keep playing. This story gives you a behind the scenes look at how game designers plan to get you hooked.
Current Event October 1, 2014
The line between appropriate discipline and child abuse has been debated in the news lately in response to the child abuse allegations against Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson. In this public radio story we hear about the history of corporal punishment in the United States, the frequency of punishment in the home and in school, as well as how different parts of the country punish children differently.
Current Event August 27, 2014
Sometimes you want what you want when you want it, and you will pay to get it quickly. This desire combined with smart phone and GPS technology has created a booming market of services that enable their users to get what they want, when they want it. The instant gratification these services enable has created an “Instant gratification economy” that changes the way people interact with the world and the way people work. Listen to learn more about these services and their impact.
Current Event August 2, 2014
Competitions come in all shapes and sizes. From the boxing ring to the beach, people love to use competition to inspire their best work. Sports have a long tradition of competition but we don’t often see or watch artists be competitive. Every summer just north of Boston, Massachusetts, beach goers to do just this at the Revere Beach National Sand Sculpting Festival. Listen to learn more about sand sculpting and how competition and art drive its creators.
Science Middle School
Scientists are trying to settle the age-old question of nature versus nurture. To test it out, scientists experiment on ducks to help determine whether animals are born with no knowledge of the world and only learn things from experience, or whether they emerge with some knowledge already intact. Listen to hear how the experiment is done and what it can tell us about nature versus nurture.
Current Event June 25, 2014
The Supreme Court is weighing in on threats posted on Facebook. So far courts have ruled threatening statements made on Facebook, including death threats, are true threats and punishable. Facebook says that they’re looking for conflict resolution strategies instead of always going straight to the authorities when they spot threats. Listen to this audio story to learn about threat made on social media.
Current Event March 26, 2014
What does it take to be successful in school and life? Research shows that success is strongly correlated to something called “grit.” Grit combines determination, persistence and resilience. People with grit are able to push through difficulties, learn from mistakes, and pick themselves up and try again when they fail. Schools and teachers are trying to instill grit in their students, but is this possible? Listen to learn more from people who support and challenge this new direction in education.
Current Event January 10, 2014
Food shouldn’t be used as a form of punishment, but some prisons do it. In some prisons, “the loaf” is a bland form of food, given to disruptive inmates. Is this ethical? Listen to this story and discuss the merits of this form of discipline.
Current Event December 20, 2013
In "The Great Gatsby" F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote about the life of the rich and glamorous during the Roaring Twenties. But what happened to the author when the carefree splendor of the 1920s ended and the nation was plunged into the Great Depression? The 1930s were not kind to Fitzgerald or his wife Zelda. The Fitzgeralds moved to Asheville, North Carolina, where the author continued to look for inspiration in the hopes of making a comeback. Listen to learn more about the fate of this glamorous couple of the Jazz Age after the stock market crash.
Current Event December 8, 2013
Outlaw Jesse James and his gang have become synonymous with the Wild West and horseback outlaws of the era, but the story behind his actions is far more complex. James and other members of the James-Younger Gang were Confederate guerrillas, known as Bushwhackers, before and during the Civil War. At the end of the war ex-Confederates were on the losing side and suffered the consequences. Disenfranchised and numb to violence after what they had witnessed during the war, they sought justice and revenge from the winners of the war. Listen to learn more about the life and exploits of these well-known outlaws.
Current Event November 30, 2013
American poet Sylvia Plath is well known for her work, her life and her death. Plath’s suicide in February 1963 shocked a generation of readers and writers, shining a light on the plight of women and mental illness. These are the topics that Plath had written about in her semi-autobiographical novel “The Bell Jar.” Fifty years after her dramatic death, Plath’s poetry lives on. Listen to learn more about the life of Sylvia Plath and the collection of poetry, “Ariel,” published after her death.
Current Event November 23, 2013
The assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 shocked the nation, but the setting of his assassination was less surprising. Dallas, Texas was the center of the anti-Kennedy movement in the United States. Powerful business men, elected officials and Baptist preachers had all joined together to call for the overthrow of President Kennedy for treason. They had whipped up an atmosphere of hate and hysteria in the large southern city. It was into this atmosphere that President Kennedy rode in an open motorcade and was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald from an abandoned building along the route. Listen to learn more about the setting of the assassination.
Current Event November 11, 2013
William Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth” is a tragedy that wrestles with issues of power, ambition and madness. From witches and ghosts to murder, this classic tale has been staged for decades. A new rendition is set in a psychiatric institution and is played almost entirely by one actor, Alan Cumming. Listen to learn more about the original story and this unique adaptation.
Current Event September 11, 2013
What is heroism? Explore this question through a discussion with author Conn Iggulden, who wrote a book about heroes throughout time. From Florence Nightingale to Harry Houdini to the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93, heroes of all different kinds have shown admirable bravery. This story discusses the courage and grace that makes heroes of ordinary people.
Current Event March 11, 2013
In many families and cultures it is common to have multiple generations living under one roof. This type of multigenerational living arrangement is experiencing a resurgence in the United States as the baby boomer generation ages. As families make decisions about how to care for their elders, some households expand and become multigenerational. The Martin family of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is one of these families. When David Martin’s grandmother AnnaBelle Bowers, also known as “Snootzie,” needed care, he and his wife LaDonna decided to have her come live with them. David, LaDonna and their two children have worked together to make this experience a good one. Listen to learn how they balance their responsibilities across the generations.