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Lessons PREMIUM


ELA • ELL

Child Soldiers: Memoir from Sierra Leone

In this story Ishmael Beah, author of Radiance of Tomorrow and A Long Way Gone, is interviewed about his experience as a child soldier in Sierra Leone. He talks about his understanding of the effects of war on his country. Beah describes the lessons of war, the impact fighting has on nature, as well as the resilience of his people. Listen to learn more about Beah’s harrowing but inspirational story.

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Science

China Owns Most Rare Earth Elements Used in Electronics

Rare earth minerals are very important to today's electronics. Your iPod, laptop, and television use them. They make electronics light so they don't need much power. But the Chinese have a lock on the production of rare earth elements and this could become a problem for the US.

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Science

Clearing Carbon From Our Air

Carbon exists in all living things, including proteins, DNA, and fats. When living things exhale, the result is carbon dioxide. As our world develops, we produce more carbon dioxide with the burning of fossil fuels and the use of cars, trains, and planes. This gas is causing an imbalance in the atmosphere that affects the warming of the planet. Listen to hear how much carbon dioxide humans are responsible for and the effects of global warming.

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ELA

Cliffhangers: A Girl Who Looks Like Me

Fiction writing begins with a story idea. In this audio story, the idea comes from a young Arab-American girl who is a fan of mysteries. She works with an adult Arab-American writer to develop her original story idea into the first draft of a cliffhanger–a story that stops at a suspenseful moment, leaving the characters in a desperate state. Listen to learn more about the fiction writing process as well as how authors sometimes give readers an invitation to imagine what might happen next in the story.

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Science

Clinical Trials Don’t Reflect the Diversity of America

American doctors rely on clinical trials to determine which drugs to use in treatment. Researchers have found that clinical trials have not been effective in creating drugs for America’s diverse population. When clinical trials are too homogeneous, they can miss important potential discoveries. Patients who are diverse ethnically and racially can respond differently to medications, leading to dire consequences in some cases. Listen to learn how a lack of diversity in clinical trials affects patients and how researchers are trying to fix it.

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Science

Cloud Seeding for Weather Modification

There is a debate over whether cloud seeding is an efficient way to produce more snow and rain in places where droughts are the worst. Opponents claim that the chemicals that are sprayed into the air to create more water are toxic and could cause health issues in the future. Others believe this is the only way to for some gas and electric companies to obtain more energy. Listen to learn about the other concerns at hand and the history of this process.

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Science

Colorful Butterfly Wings

The eye-popping colors and designs on butterfly wings are not just for show, but are an important adaptation that helps the insects fend off predators. Some butterflies have wings containing toxins, signaling danger to birds and other hungry hunters. Others fold their wings for camouflage or flutter them so the colors confuse birds giving chase. Listen to hear an insect scientist explain more about the amazing ways butterflies’ colorful wings help them survive.

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Science

Congolese Doctor's Pioneering Work on Ebola

What kind of legacy do scientists want for their discoveries? For Congolese doctor Jean-Jacques Muyembe, who in 1976 collected the first samples of Ebola and eventually pioneered the first effective treatment for it, the answer is not what most people would expect. Western scientists have received most of the credit for his achievements. Listen to hear Dr. Muyembe’s story and find out what legacy he hopes to leave.

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Science

Cooking Up a Supervolcano

Giant volcanoes appear every few million years, and their eruptions are rare, but they are deadly. The ash and gas released into the atmosphere have the potential for significant harm. So scientists are studying two new suspected volcanic “hot spots" and are trying to figure out why they erupt. Listen to learn how seismic waves give scientists a picture of the large regions where intense volcanic activity could develop in the distant future.

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Science

Copernicus and the Center of the Universe

Until the 1500’s, it was understood that the earth was the center of the universe and that all celestial bodies revolved around it. In his book On the Revolutions of Heavenly Spheres, Nicolaus Copernicus challenged that accepted idea by providing evidence that, in fact, earth, along with the other planets, revolved around the sun. In this audio story, the story of Copernicus and his revolutionary idea is retold. The story delves into how and why Copernicus shared his belief with the world. The story compares the resistance to accepting Copernicus’ belief with modern debates over topics like climate change.

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Science

Corals and Climate Change

What makes up a coral? This audio story takes you to an underwater observatory where a scientist is studying coral reefs. The scientist has found that CO2 in the ocean is making the ocean warmer and dissolving the coral reef system. But the scientist also discusses how coral reefs can recover. Listen to this story to hear the factors that threaten coral reefs and how they can recover.

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ELA

The Cover of Graphic Novel 'Maus'

Art Spiegelman’s Maus is a creative and sensitive retelling of one man’s experiences during the Holocaust. As a graphic novel, Maus uses comic strips and drawings to help tell its story. The drawing on its cover, however, has been met with controversy in some parts of the world. Featuring a prominent swastika at its center, the cover art has faced objections in places like Russia and Germany. Listen to hear more about how well-intentioned rules around censorship can lead to unintended consequences.

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ELA

Creating Community Through Social Media Affirmations

Is it possible to find “genuine pockets of goodness” on social media these days? Artist Johnny Sun and famed Hamilton playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda think so. They were strangers to each other until they met in the comments section of Twitter and went on to publish Gmorning, Gnight! Little Pep Talks for Me & You, a book which coupled Miranda’s beloved daily Twitter affirmations with Sun’s quirky, expressive illustrations. Listen to Sun tell the story of how his search for positivity in the social media community brought him into Miranda’s orbit and transformed both his career and mental health.

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ELA • ELL

Creating the Vietnam War Memorial

The Vietnam War has a controversial legacy in United States history and culture. The U. S. was immersed in the conflict in Vietnam for 20 years. The draft of young men to fight far from home in the seemingly endless war led to widespread resistance and protest against the war itself. This discontent led to a disrespect of veterans when they returned. Since then the sacrifice of soldiers has been honored in memorials, movies and books. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was built in 1982 in Washington DC. But it was controversial at the start because it honored soldiers by etching the names of the more than 58,000 soldiers killed in polished black granite. Listen to this radio story to learn the history behind this war memorial.

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Science

Crime on the Ocean

In his book, The Outlaw Ocean, Ian Urbina uncovers the truth about the crimes that occur daily on the high seas due to lack of laws and regulations. Trafficking, illegal fishing, pollution, and modern slavery are a few examples of the serious problems Urbina explores. Listen to learn why these crimes occur, how they impact the ocean’s health, and what consumers can do to help reduce these illegal acts.

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