Image in the public domain.
What did America look like before Columbus arrived in 1492? Historian Charles Mann paints a vivid picture of pre-Columbian America. It was a world of glittering cities, advanced technology, monumental architecture, and powerful empires. What happened to it all? Was it destroyed by European might, or by natural disaster?
Story Length: 8:35
© 2005 National Public Radio, Inc. Used with the permission of NPR. All rights reserved.
AIR DATE: 08/05/2005
An African spirit bundle—a group of items believed to have spiritual power wrapped in cloth— was found in Annapolis, Maryland in 2008. It dates back to the early 18th century. This public radio story examines what the bundle was for and who may have put it there. It hung at a crossroads, which in the Yourba tradition is a place of great danger.
Most scientists agree that human beings originated in Africa. The first humans to come to North and South America has long been believed to be the Clovis people. But a 2002 discovery in the Paisley Caves in Oregon has challenged this view. Archaeologists discovered animal bones and fossilized excrement, known as coprolites. Some of these coprolites included human molecules, providing the earliest human DNA ever found in the Americas. This discovery has given archaeologists new clues to better understand the earliest humans found in North America.
Americans remember the War of 1812 as a battle with Britain for the survival of the United States. Less than 30 years after the end of the Revolutionary War, Britain once again tried to takeover the U.S. by allying with Native Americans and Canada. Americans fought for their nation, their freedom, and won. But who was an “American” in the early 1800s? Who fought with the British, and what were they fighting for? How did an American victory spell the beginning of the end of Native American sovereignty?
These levels of listening complexity can help teachers choose stories for their students. The levels do not relate to the content of the story, but to the complexity of the vocabulary, sentence structure and language in the audio story.
These stories are easier to understand and are a good starting point for elementary students or English learners.
These stories have an average language challenge for middle and high school students, and can be scaffolded for English learners.
These stories have challenging vocabulary and language and students may need to have some background knowledge to understand the story.