Annenberg Learner Update
      November 2013

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In the Spotlight for November

In the News
   China’s Super Smog

Curriculum Focus: Physics--Higgs and Our Understanding of the Atom
Connecting Learning With Special Days
    National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month
    Veterans Day (November 11)
    Day of the Dead - Día de los Muertos (November 1-2)
    President Lincoln Delivers Gettysburg Address (November 19, 1863)
    Thanksgiving (November 28)

Notable November Birthdays
    Luci Tapahonso (November 8, 1953)
    Christian Doppler (November 29, 1803)
    Mark Twain (November 30, 1835)
    More November Birthdays
Annenberg Learner Announcements
    New Resources from Annenberg Learner
        Introduction to World Literature: Gilgamesh iBook
        Against All Odds: Inside Statistics (Updated)
        Chemistry: Challenges and Solutions
    Discount on Original Against All Odds DVDs
    Upcoming Conferences
    New 2014 Print Catalog

Annenberg Foundation Update
    Live Animal Cams on explore.org
    The Annenberg Space for Photography Celebrates 125 Years
        of National Geographic (Educator Tours and Guide)

In the News

China’s Super Smog

Habitable PlanetU.S.A. Today reports that China has entered its high smog season, with small particle pollution reaching up to 40 times higher than international safety standards in one northern city. Smog and pollution typically worsens in the winter with colder weather and coal being burned for heat. The Chinese government is starting to look into ways to alleviate the pollution problem.

What is smog? The Habitable Planet, unit 11, “Atmospheric Pollution,” section 6, Smog, defines both industrial and photochemical (which becomes low lying ozone) sources and lists the causes of each. China’s large scale use of coal as an energy source is a main contributor to its industrial smog problem.

Learn about how coal is mined for energy, the negative environmental impacts of this energy source, as well as the possible technologies to make coal use cleaner in unit 10, “Energy Challenges,” section 3, Fossil Fuels: Coal.  The rest of unit 10 provides information on alternative energy sources.  How could China solve its smog problem?

Curriculum Focus: Physics--Higgs and Our Understanding of the Atom

This year’s Nobel Prize in physics was shared by Peter Higgs of Britain and François Englert of Belgium who in 1964 independently theorized the existence of a subatomic particle that gives matter its mass. The eponymous Higgs particle was found to exist in 2012 after an international team of scientists sifted through data collected of high impact proton collisions. To understand how we got to this point in our scientific knowledge, travel back through time to see how our understanding of the basic units of matter has developed up to the quantum age.

Periodic Table
                                            interactiveIt all started with Empedocles who classified all matter into four types: earth, wind, fire, and water. Essential Science for Teachers: Physical Science, session 1 demonstrates that children’s observations about matter are not far from the original concept. See 3:10 to 12:06 in the video. Science historian, Dr. Alberto Martinez explains Aristotle’s theory based on the behavior of different types of matter on Earth. Start at 29:00 minutes.

Another early Greek philosopher, Democritus had proposed the idea of the atom as the smallest possible unit of matter. Read about Democritus’s and Aristotle’s ideas in the Periodic Table interactive.

In the early 1800s John Dalton, an English chemist, returned to the concept of the atom, but posited that all atoms of the same substance were alike. About 70 years later, Russian Dmitri Mendeleev brought order to the 60-some known elements in an early Periodic Table. The modern concept of the atom is chronicled in Physics for the 21st Century, unit 2 text Early Models of the Atom.  At this point, properties of the atom are being revealed and, importantly, quantified.

The following advancements came relatively quickly. J.J. Thomson discovered the first subatomic particle, the electron, in 1897. Chemist G. N. Lewis developed the shell model of the atom, placing the electrons in orbital shells. Ernest Rutherford found the heart of the atom, the nucleus, which refuted Thomson’s idea that electrons were scattered randomly throughout a large positive mass. All of these developments and a  few more are detailed in The Mechanical Universe, program 49, “The Atom.”

Physics for the 21st
                                            CenturyThe next great leap in atomic theory came from Danish physicist Niels Bohr, who proposed the quantum model of the atom in 1913. See a deceptively simple depiction of Bohr’s hydrogen atom in Physics for the 21st Century’s visuals. Click on the link to the Online Text to learn how Bohr’s model closed the door on classical physics and established quantum physics. Bohr’s work was followed by that of Schrödinger and Heisenberg, whose contributions are noted in the same chapter.

From this point, lasers, lenses, and other highly specialized instruments allowed physicists to detect and manipulate subcomponents of atoms, including single electrons. Harvard physicist Lene Hau was successful in slowing down photons (light particles) to bicycle speed. Read her fascinating interview and see her work in the video for unit 7, “Manipulating Light.”

Moving ahead to finding the Higgs, the hunt for the elusive particle was as mysterious as the particle itself. Hear from scientists Srini Rajagopalan and Ayana Arce who lead teams that collected and combed through the data from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN to build the case for existence of the Higgs.

Are we done yet? Let’s just say that all the scientists up to this point have been thoughtful enough to leave a few questions unanswered and posed some new ones. So today’s scientists and your students have plenty to work on.

Connecting Learning With Special Days

National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month

Use the following resources to teach about the rich heritage, culture, and experiences of Native Americans:

American Passages: A Literary Survey, unit 1, “Native Voices,” offers an overview of the connection between myth, history, and people in Native American cultures. Black Elk, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Luci Tapahonso are featured.  An activity in unit 8, “Regional Realism,” asks students to explore the topic of Native American autobiographical expressions.  

Use ceremonial artifacts to enhance instruction of literature. See Greg Sarris’s plan for relating the Pomo Indian gift baskets to themes in Leslie Marmon Silko’s novel Ceremony in Artifacts & Fiction, workshop 8, “Ceremonial Artifacts.”

In A Biography of America, program 1, “New World Encounters,” Professor Donald Miller describes pre-colonial America and why many indigenous groups were overcome by Spanish conquistadors. 

Additional resources for American Indian Heritage Month:

Teaching Multicultural Literature, workshop 3, “Research and Discovery,” Shirley Sterling and Laura Tohe and workshop 8, "Social Justice and Action,” writer Joseph Bruchac

Interactives, “United States History Map,” “Indians”

America’s History in the Making, unit 2, “Mapping Initial Encounters” 

Collapse: Why Do Civilizations Fall?, “Chaco Canyon” 

Rural Communities: Legacy & Change, program 4, “Legacy,” program 5, “Act Locally… and Invest”

Veterans Day (November 11)

                                                    History in the
                                                    MakingOn Veterans Day, we honor and thank those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. The Department of Veterans Affairs includes a 2013 Teachers Guide with useful materials for teaching about Veterans Day.

Also, use the following Annenberg Learner materials in your classroom:

Professor Donald Miller gives a personal view as he describes what life was like for soldiers and their families in program 22, “World War II,” of A Biography of America

Psychiatrist Daniel Shay connects the experiences of American soldiers returning from war to the return of Odysseus to Ithaca following the Trojan War in Invitation to World Literature, program 3, “The Odyssey.” 

"Postwar Tension and Triumph," unit 19 of America's History in the Making, takes a look at the realities that veterans faced when they returned home from World War II. 

Hollywood has used war as propaganda both in favor of and against the use of American troops in foreign conflicts. See the role of government and media in how combat films have evolved in American Cinema, program 6, "The Combat Film."

See the November 2012 update for resources for Day of the Dead, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and Thanksgiving.

Notable November  Birthdays

Luci Tapahonso (November 8, 1953)

                                                    PassagesLuci Tapahonso, featured in American Passages, unit 1, “Native Voices,” draws on her Navajo heritage and oral tradition (literature as performance) for her poetry.  Start 9:18 in the video to hear her read poems in both English and Dine, the Navajo language. Find biographical information and author activities to encourage discussion about this author and her work.

In Tapahonso’s poem "Starlore," she compares the physical spaces of a Navajo Hogan and of her parent’s Anglo-American home. Encourage students to think about how physical space is defined by cultural values using tips from Artifacts & Fiction, workshop 5, “Domestic Architecture.” 

Read and discuss Tapahonso’s poem "Shisói" using questions related to the four literary approaches of Critical Pedagogy, Reader Response, Cultural Studies, and Inquiry found in The Expanding Canon, The Interactive Forum.

Christian Doppler, mathematician and physicist (November 29, 1803)
In 1842, Christian Doppler discovered that sound waves broadcast from a radar antennae may come into contact with objects in their path, such as dust particles or ice crystals. Learn how scientists applied his principle of how sound waves react to these objects, the Doppler Effect, to tracking precipitation and storms in the Weather interactive.

Find out about Doppler Cooling, a technique that uses laser light to slow and cool moving atoms, in Physics for the 21st Century, unit 5, “The Quantum World,” section 7, Atom Cooling and Trapping.

Mark Twain, American author (November 30, 1835)

                                                    PassagesMark Twain (Samuel Clemens) influenced American literature with his use of regional dialects and by writing about racial and class inequalities. For a comprehensive look at Twain, his times, and his work, watch the unit video and read his author page in American Passages, unit 8, "Regional Realism." 

Mark Twain helped make baseball visible by mentioning the game in his novel 1889 novel, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. See unit 14, “Becoming Visible,” Baseball: An American Pastime.

As an intro to the video for Democracy in America, unit 15, "Global Politics: U.S.A. and the World," have students read Mark Twain’s The War Prayer and discuss what Twain was trying to convey about war. After watching the video, discuss what the role of the military should be beyond defending the United States.

Link to the 2012 update for the following birthday connections:

Walker Evans (November 3, 1903)
Chinua Achebe (November 16, 1930)
José Clemente Orozco (November 23, 1883)     

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more November birthday and historical connections.

Annenberg Learner Announcements

New Resources from Annenberg Learner

                                                          iBookNEW! Introduction to World Literature: Gilgamesh iBook

Go mobile with Gilgamesh! Watch, read, and learn about Gilgamesh, the oldest known masterpiece of world literature. This iBook, available shortly on iTunes, is adapted from the series Invitation to World Literature. Captured in writing thousands of years ago, Gilgamesh compellingly presents the universal themes of friendship and competition, lust and love, enmity and reconciliation.

Introduction to World Literature: Gilgamesh includes: videos from the broadcast series Invitation to World Literature; a written introduction by Harvard professor David Damrosch; an excerpt from the first tablet of Gilgamesh; preferred translations of Gilgamesh; plus recommended books, films, plays, websites, and music inspired by this epic story. 

Against All Odds: Inside Statistics Updated

The newly updated Against All Odds: Inside Statistics is almost here!  This course picks up where the original Against All Odds left off. The new series features 32 10-minute videos showing people from all walks of life using statistics in their work, a coordinated new Web site, 3 online interactive tools, and faculty and student guides.

Chemistry: Challenges and Solutions

In December, we release our new Chemistry: Challenges and Solutions course. Produced by the Science Media Group of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, this course teaches general concepts using large-scale challenges in energy, materials development, biochemistry, and the environment. This multimedia course for introductory high school and college chemistry includes a Web site, online interactives, and online text.

Keep your eyes on our news page for updates about these releases and more.  If you have any questions about new releases, write info@learner.org.

Discount on Original Against All Odds DVDs

The original Against All Odds video series with host Teresa Amabile will be sold at a 60% discount through the end of 2013.  After January 1, 2014, the original series will no longer be available. Order the series of 26 half-hour programs on 7 DVDs online.

Upcoming Conferences

Look for Annenberg Learner at upcoming conferences:

National Media Market, booth #204, November 3-7, Charleston Area Convention Center, Charleston, SC

American Association of School Librarians, booth #1031, November 14-16, Connecticut Convention Center, Hartford, CT

National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention, booth #834, November 22-24, Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA

National Council for the Social Studies Annual Convention, booth #612, November 22-24, Cervantes Convention Center, St. Louis, MO

Print Catalog

Our new catalog is here and includes exciting new resources as well as your favorite and trusted ones. To request a copy of our new 2014 full catalog, please send an email to order@learner.org. Be sure to include a mailing address in your request. Thank you!

Annenberg Foundation Update

Live Animal Cams on explore.org

Explore.org has set up more than 50 cameras across the world showing animals from puppies to puffins in action, live and streamed online.  Watch brown bears catching salmon at Brooks River in Alaska’s Katmai National Park, a litter of golden retrievers that will be trained as service dogs for wounded veterans, a honey bee colony in their hive in Germany, and many more animals on explore.org. During the first week of November, one of explore.org’s most popular webcams returns as the Polar Bear Cam goes live!

                                                          Polar Bear

Tours and Educator’s Guides Available for Annenberg Space for Photography’s Latest Exhibit

The Power of Photography: National Geographic 125 Years is on display at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles, California, through April 27, 2014. Guided and self-guided tours of the exhibit are available for school groups. The Annenberg Space for Photography offers subsidized transportation to qualifying Title I schools in Los Angeles County. Funding is limited and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Our Guide for Educators for The Power of Photography offers a variety of activities as well as Annenberg Learner materials related to the exhibit themes. Click here to learn more about tours and the Guide for Educators.

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