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This Month‘s Featured Teaching and Learning Resources from NBC Learn

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Welcome Friends of NBC Learn!

"The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day.
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You're one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud come over the sunlit arch,
And wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you're two months back in the middle of March."
-  Robert Frost

April 22nd is Earth Day and there’s no better way to celebrate our planet than to look at NBC Learn’s special collections of stories about the environment. Science of Golf, Changing Planet, and Sustainability: Water all help students understand the wonder of the planet and the ways we can help preserve our precious resources like clean water and clean air.  

Enjoy the spring!

The NBC Learn Team


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 Featured Videos in April

Earth Day

April 22, 1970 marked the nation’s very first Earth Day. What started as an environmental “teach-in” to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the earth has become a way of life for millions of people who embrace sustainable practices to protect the planet. Environmental issues like pollution and climate change have become hot topics, presented in the news and debated by politicians and world leaders. In our Environmental Sciences Collection, you’ll find videos that will be useful to you as you celebrate Earth Day in your classroom, including these three that recently appeared on NBC News.

Officials Struggle to Clean Up After Yellowstone Oil Spill

K-12 | Higher Ed

Professional Dumpster Diver Turns Trash into Treasure

K-12 | Higher Ed

California is Close to Running Out of Water

K-12 | Higher Ed

Sustainability: Water

NBC Learn and the National Science Foundation teamed up to produce this collection to educate students about the threats to water sources in the United States and what scientists are doing to protect this vital resource. Sustainability: Water covers topics like the effects of the mountain pine beetle in Colorado, urban streams in Baltimore, and how the water cycle works to keep the earth alive every day. 

Dead Trees and Dirty Water in the Rockies

K-12 | Higher Ed

  Baltimore's Urban Streams       

K-12 | Higher Ed

          The Water Cycle                   

K-12 | Higher Ed

Changing Planet

With town halls and original videos focusing on climate change, NBC Learn’s Changing Planet explores the environmental consequences of a warming planet. At town hall events at three major universities, students ask leading researchers about the effects of climate change and what they can do to help.  The series explores topics like melting glaciers, changing oceans and lake temperatures, and the effects of melting permafrost.

K-12 | Higher Ed

Environment and Sports

Golf is not a sport you would normally think about while celebrating the earth, but it’s actually one of the most environmentally-friendly sports out there. These pieces from NBC Learn’s original collection Science of Golf highlight how the sport has become green and sustainable. 

Meteorology and Weather

K-12 | Higher Ed

     Golf Course Agronomy      

K-12 | Higher Ed

Water Conservation

K-12 | Higher Ed

NBC Learn K-12 Subscriber Spotlight: Engaging students on a social level

Meet Mirtha Muller, a 5th grade teacher for the gifted at Twin Lakes Elementary School in Miami Dade County. Muller is an avid NBC Learn user and on Sunday afternoons spends about 45 minutes on NBC Learn preparing for the week. She highlighted various ways that NBC Learn can engage students and cultivate learning.

Current Events: “The kids really love my current events playlist. It’s where they learned about the Ebola outbreak and the current discussion around vaccinations. A lot of the videos I play are really important for bringing relevant subjects to the classroom. These videos explain what is happening now, and then I can engage my students and ask their opinions: ‘Do you agree with that?  Why?’”

“My students also reference NBC Learn videos as evidence during oral debates, which is exciting to see.  For example, we had a heated debate around parents who aren’t vaccinating their children because it is against their private beliefs. Many students argued that it was a public health concern, based on the videos they saw. NBC Learn is a great springboard for hearing students’ opinions – and it’s especially useful for evaluating their opinion writing.”

Multidisciplinary Approach: Muller appreciates that NBC Learn videos cut across the various subjects she teaches throughout the day. “The New England Patriots ‘deflategate’ controversy was interesting because I was able to connect a few different subjects. We talked about the physics implications of having a lighter ball, but also the moral implications of cheating.”

Connecting with Students: At the beginning of the year, Muller went onto NBC Learn and saw the Science and Engineering of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games series and Science of NFL Football. “These videos have really helped me engage my students on more of a social level, outside of just academics. They come in on Monday morning and say: ‘Ms. Muller, great win last night!’”

Engaging Parents: “NBC Learn even came in handy during a recent open house with parents. I showed the video “Confusion Over Common Core Math is Causing a Stir” to illustrate why we’re not doing the same old algorithms. I explained how my students are now thinking critically and taking things apart, as opposed to just copying. As a teacher, I feel it’s not just ‘my way or the highway’.” 

NBC Learn Higher Ed Subscriber Spotlight: "NBC Learn videos give a new layer of integrity"

Meet Kent Wilkinson, a professor of Hispanic and International Communication at Texas Tech University. Wilkinson currently uses 20 NBC Learn videos in his Blackboard course titled Ethnicity, Race, Gender in Media and noted that the videos have given the course “a new layer of interactivity.” Here are some of the ways that Wilkinson uses NBC Learn:

Historical Context: “It’s important for my students--who are future media professionals themselves--to understand different approaches to journalism and how it has transformed over time. I can also talk about the production values and journalistic styles. ” Wilkinson discusses the drastic difference in the approach that John Chancellor took in his 1993 news segment versus Carson Daily’s 2013 segment

Spark Discussions: Wilkinson notes that it is a challenge to get students to feel comfortable talking about issues of race, gender, and ethnicity and that the NBC Learn videos are really helpful in getting past that barrier.

“Particularly for the digital natives it helps to have a media example to get discussions going.” For example, Wilkinson especially likes showing John Gray Fights Stereotypes. “John Gray looks very Anglo Saxon but is actually African American. This type of video gets people thinking about how they see their own identity verses how the outside world characterizes them. It is a real eye opener for some of the students.”

You can check out Wilkinson’s playlist HERE.

Parents Weigh in on Education in New Poll

Did you know that 75% of parents rate their child’s education as “excellent” or “good”? And that 47% of parents want to be more involved in their child’s education? Those are just two of the surprising findings out of Education Nation’s new State of Parenting Poll. The poll, which was sponsored by Pearson, serves as a snapshot of today’s families and covers everything from parents’ views on the Common Core to their optimism for the future. The results might surprise you! See them all at ParentToolkit.com/Poll. Also new from the Parent Toolkit, an original video series in honor of National Nutrition Month, which you can view here

Coming Soon! Mysteries of the Brain

Coming up next month, NBC Learn and the National Science Foundation have teamed up to launch a new original series called “Mysteries of the Brain.” The ten-part series explores how the brain functions across the animal kingdom and the fundamental questions that are still not answered about this mysterious organ. Look out for it on nbclearn.com in May.



How are you using NBC Learn as a teaching and learning resource? E-mail us at newsletter@nbclearn.com with examples of NBC Learn videos that especially engaged your students or summaries of your lessons.  We may feature you in a future K-12 or Higher Ed Subscriber Spotlight!

Want to read more Subscriber Spotlights? On the Home page of NBC Learn K-12 or NBC Learn Higher Ed, look under the heading NBC Learn in the Classroom.

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