TEACHERS: Get free access to all Lessons and Current Events

Learn More

Genetics
Science

Microbes are Still a Mystery to Scientists and the Diversity of Life

The study of genes is moving toward a new frontier. There is a new field studying the little known field of microorganisms. Microbes run every process on earth. And a human is made up of 90% bacteria, or microorganisms. And yet we know very little about microbes. This public radio story looks closely at the microscopic microbes.

Read More
Somethings in the water hole
Science

Microbes in the Water Hole

While popular swimming holes are commonly tested for bacteria, few are tested for protozoans. This audio story discusses the problem of protozoan-caused illnesses for swimmers in rivers, lakes and ponds. The story distinguishes between different types of microbes, and is an excellent introduction to classification of microorganisms and/or classification in general.

Read More
Dinoflagellates
Science

Microscopic Marine Organisms Can be Beautiful and Deadly

Dinoflagellates (tiny marine microbes) are extremely common and important for aquatic ecosystems. This public radio story introduces the world of dinoflagellates in a very creative way – through song and a show production! You will learn that dioflagellates can be beautiful if they are involved in bio luminescence but they can also be deadly, when they are involved in red tide.

Read More
T. s. eliot 1929
ELA • ELL

Modernist Poet T.S. Eliot

Thomas Stearns Eliot OM, best known as T.S. Eliot, was one of the great modernist poets of the 20th century. His work was part of a specific moment in history and art, before and after World War I, when identity, nations and art were fractured. Listen to learn more about the world in which Eliot wrote and why his poem “The Waste Land” remains one of the pillars of the high modernism movement.

Read More
Mosquitoes and raindrops
Science

Mosquitoes and Raindrops

Have you every wondered how mosquitoes survive a rainstorm? The mosquitoes receive a pelting as if, on a human scale we were being hit with huge boulders! This public radio story describes the different experiments the researchers tried and how they discovered the secret to mosquitoes’ survival. Turns out… it’s all physics! This is a great example of the physics concepts of momentum and impulse.

Read More
A raisin in the sun 1959 2
ELA

Motivation for Writing 'A Raisin in the Sun'

The play "A Raisin in the Sun," by Lorraine Hansberry, reveals the struggles black families faced as they attempted to achieve the American dream in the 1950s. The play follows the lives of a working class family - the Youngers - from the South Side of Chicago. The Younger family recently received an insurance check, and have an opportunity to make positive changes in their lives. The audio story offers listeners a glimpse into an alarming event that happened to author Hansberry’s family when they moved into a white neighborhood during segregation. Learn about the play, "A Raisin in the Sun," as well as why "A Raisin in the Sun" made such an impact on American theater. Perhaps most importantly, listen to this story to find what Lorraine Hansberry’s motivation was for writing this iconic story.

Read More
Young adults and choices
ELA • ELL

Natalie Babbitt Writes for Young Readers in 'Tuck Everlasting'

Author Natalie Babbitt has been writing books for young people for four decades. Her respect for young readers shines through in the themes of her novels, from love and everlasting life in “Tuck Everlasting” to money and dreams in her first non-fantasy novel, “The Moon Over High Street.” In this interview, Babbitt describes her perspective on writing for young people.

Read More
Nature vs nurture
Science

Nature vs. Nurture

Scientists are trying to settle the age of question of nature versus nurture. This audio story is about a science experiment on ducks to determine whether animals are born with no knowledge of the world and only learn things form experience, or whether they emerge with some knowledge already intact. Listen to hear more about this experiment.

Read More
The prince
ELA

New Discoveries on "The Prince" by Machiavelli: Was He Really 'Machiavellian'?

This public radio story describes the life and misfortunes of Niccolo Machiavelli, a citizen of Florence who led the fight against its takeover by the Medici family, and was banished from his beloved city. His single work of nonfiction, the manual "The Prince", was published five years after his death, in 1532, and has guaranteed that this civil servant erased by the Medicis would live forever, famous—or infamous—for the advice he gives to rulers in his work. Was Machiavelli really recommending ruthless practicality for rulers? Or is his philosophy more subtle and moral than people think?

Read More
New planet
Science

New Planet on the Edge of Our Solar System

In 2014, astronomers discovered a new dwarf planet on the edge of our solar system. This discovery has changed scientists’ understanding of what exists in the solar system beyond the more well known dwarf planet, Pluto. The new planet is a pink ball of ice, and scientists believe there could be an unseen and undiscovered planet larger than Earth in the far reaches of our solar system.

Read More
Achebe
ELA

Nigerian Author Chinua Achebe

Nigerian author Chinua Achebe published the novel "Things Fall Apart" in 1958. His story of a Nigerian man whose village and culture are overtaken by British colonial forces in the 1890s sold millions of copies and was translated into 50 languages. The novel was one of the first bestsellers written by an African author as African nations gained independence from European rulers. It was also one of the first works to tell the story of colonialism from an African perspective. Listen to this radio story to hear about the author’s lasting influence on writers and literature.

Read More
Quieting the ocean
Science

Noises in the Ocean Threaten Marine Animals

Oceans have become very loud because of humans. In this public radio story you'll hear some of the things that make the ocean so noisy. Scientists are worried all that noise is hurting marine life. They want to find ways to quiet down the ocean and study what the noise means for marine mammals.

Read More
Coral bleaching
Science

Ocean Warming is Forcing Coral Reefs to Adapt

Oceans around the world are seeing declines in healthy reefs. The changes are caused by many factors, including the increase in ocean temperatures due to global warming. This public radio story is about coral reefs that are endangered. But some corals are thriving despite the increase in ocean temperature.

Read More
Betty friedan 1960
ELA • ELL

Origins and Relevance of the ‘Feminine Mystique’

Betty Friedan’s 1963 book, “The Feminine Mystique,” remains one of the landmark works of Feminist literature. At a time in American history when most women were expected to find fulfillment as housewives and mothers, Friedan’s book challenged the male-dominated post-WWII culture, and helped pave the way for the “Women’s Liberation Movement" of the 1960s and 1970s. This audio story looks at “The Feminine Mystique” on the 50th anniversary of its publication, with three women discussing their relationship with the groundbreaking book. Listen to learn more about the origins of “The Feminine Mystique,” and what relevance it may still hold for the gender politics of today.

Read More
Overfishing and bluefin tuna
Science

Overfishing and Blue Fin Tuna

This public radio story takes you on a boat for some blue fin tuna tagging and fishing. It’s action packed but also filled with scientific data about the status of blue fin in our oceans.

Read More
Before the black death
Science

Plague Before the Black Death Led to Fall of Roman Empire

Scientists have now figured out the genetic code to one of the oldest known plagues. Eight hundred years before the Black Death struck in 1347, there was another plague that occurred in Europe in the 6th century CE. Scientists have now figured out the genetic code to the oldest known epidemic and discovered that the “Justinian plague” was the first outbreak of bubonic plague. Listen to hear about how a farmland gave scientists answers to centuries worth of questions.

Read More
Plague threatens ecosystem
Science

Plague in Wildlife Threatens Ecosystem

Infectious diseases like plague don’t just impact humans, they can spread and decimate animal populations as well. One scientist saw the impact of plague in prairie dog colonies and among black footed ferrets. He questioned whether the scientific understanding of plague cycles and transmission was accurate. Listen to learn what scientists discovered about plague and its larger impact on ecosystems.

Read More
501px emily dickinson stamp 8c
ELA • ELL

Poet Emily Dickinson, An Eccentric Recluse

American poet Emily Dickinson was known as an eccentric recluse throughout her life. Dickinson maintained many of her friendships through letter writing, while she wrote poetry privately. Her unusual poetry style wasn’t truly discovered until after her death in 1886, when her sister Lavinia found nearly 1,800 of her sister’s poems. Though Lavinia had promised to destroy her sister’s papers, she instead had the poems published, which led to Emily’s fame as a great American poet. Listen to learn how her poetry continues to be an inspiration today.

Read More
Seamus heaney
ELA

Poet Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney is considered one of Ireland’s greatest poets. He was prolific, writing 13 collections of poetry along with plays and books, and was the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. Heaney grew up in rural Ireland and later wrote about the political and cultural struggles of his country. This audio story remembers the life of Seamus Heaney, who died in 2013. A fellow poet, Robert Pinsky is interviewed and describes Heaney as a generous and decent person along with being a great writer. Listen to hear Pinsky read one of Heaney’s poems and discuss the qualities of his friend.

Read More
640px pi%c3%a9ce de 75  sous son camouflage  avec des servants am%c3%a9ricains no 3908 page 78
ELA • ELL

Poetry Reflecting World War I

When World War I ended on November 11, 1918 the world sighed with relief. The death and destruction of “The Great War” was over. In modern history the first World War is often overshadowed by the second, but its legacy of war poets cannot be overlooked. From soldiers in battle to people on the homefront, poetry was used to process and communicate the realities of war and loss. Listen to learn more about these poets and hear some of their works.

Read More
9296029630 e787ac95b9 k
Science

Pollution from Industrial Revolution Thought to Melt Glaciers

The glaciers in the European Alps started melting rapidly in the 1860s. But that didn’t correspond with the warming of the European climate at the end of what is known as the Little Ice Age. That warming didn’t occur until the 1910s. To understand the causes of the glacial melt, scientists considered the possible impact of the Industrial Revolution, which began in the 1840s. The recent melting in the Rocky Mountains of America could be caused by the same reasons. Listen to this story to learn about the theory that dust and soot are contributing to how quickly glaciers are melting.

Read More