Nature


This collection of science videos and media-enhanced lesson plans draws upon the powerful documentaries of public television’s award-winning natural history series, Nature. The video segments have been carefully selected to engage students with key curriculum concepts. The lesson plans incorporate hands-on activities, online resources, and video to interactively and creatively address topics and standards in Life Science/Living Environment and Earth Science.

  • Nature | Forming the Burren

    This video segment from Nature describes how glaciers eroded the bedrock of Ireland’s landscape.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Nature | Diamonds Everywhere

    This Nature video offers an introduction to the socio-economic value of diamonds.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Helping and Harming: Human Impact on Salmon Populations

    In this lesson, students use segments from the Nature episode "Salmon: Running the Gauntlet" to explore ways in which humans have impacted salmon populations.

    Grades: 8-13+
  • Nature | Clouds and Currents

    Learn about cloud formations over the Sierra Nevada Mountains in this video from Nature.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Bamboo Mountain: China's Pandas

    Fewer than 1,000 pandas remain in the wild in the mountains of China due to the enormous demands China's human population puts on the land. Farming and logging are robbing pandas of the forests where they once lived. However, reserves have been set aside by the Chinese government to save land for the pandas and for centers such as the Wolong Conservation Center for Giant Pandas where they have succeeded in breeding cubs in captivity. This video segment features scientists in China who are studying the panda population of Bamboo Mountain.
    Grades: 6-12
  • Nature | You Can Die Here

    Learn about the environmental conditions of Death Valley in this video from Nature.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Cloud the Horse: Age Four

    In this video from Nature, Cloud is a four-year-old bachelor who lives in a "group" of wild horses in the Arrowhead Mountains of southern Montana. Although he seems to live a carefree life as he rolls in the muddy water and plays with the other horses, he also has to face and survive the dangers with which he is confronted in nature. There may be conflicts with other horses. Lightening can also be a dangerous force of nature that can strike at any time, killing unsuspecting horses. Learn more about Cloud in the three part series of video segments including "Cloud Foal" and "Cloud – Age Two."
    Grades: 3-12
  • Raccoons and the City

    This video segment from Nature: "Raccoon Nation" explores the migration of raccoons to cities and discusses traits that help them thrive in urban environments, including their flexible hands, small body size and omnivorous diet. The segment describes why raccoons are well suited for living in cities, as well as how raccoons have changed and possibly gotten smarter from living in urban settings. The segment discusses the dramatic increase in urban raccoon populations in the past 70 years, as well as the fact that raccoons have changed more in that time period than in the previous 40, 000 years.

    This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Nature | American Eagle: Fledglings

    This video from Nature reveals the practice young eagles need for flight and captures a maiden voyage into the air along the Upper Mississippi River. It’s summer when two young eagles begin their preparation—the male, named “Underdog,” appears to be more interested in flight than the female. Finally, Underdog takes to the air where he and other young eagles play with their parents and learn how to land, often the hard way.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Collapse of Sharks

    The demand for shark fins in the Far East has lead to the death of millions of sharks each year. Fishermen wishing to capitalize on what Asians consider a delicacy and a medicinal food will slice off the shark's fins and discard the carcass in a process called finning. As a direct result of this practice, shark populations are decreasing around the world. In this video segment from Nature, fishermen net and remove the fins of sharks in order to sell them in the global fish market.

    This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Nature | The Secret World of Sharks and Rays: Sharks in Our Future

    In this video segment from Nature, learn about the ecological value of shark diving expeditions. Shark diving expeditions that offer people an opportunity to swim with sharks are seen by some conservationists as a tool to educate the public about their ecological importance. The remarkable, breathtaking encounters that many ecotourists experience swimming with sharks often foster a greater appreciation for the much maligned marine animal.

    This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Nature | Holy Cow: Different Breeds of Cattle

    The various breeds of cattle reflect a combination of their origins and uses. By exaggerating desirable characteristics through careful selection, humans have created 800 different breeds of cows with various physical features. This video segment from Nature provides a quick look at six breeds of cattle.

    This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Bears in the Schoolyard

    Residents who live near some of the few remaining grizzly bear habitats inthe western U.S.are having a difficult time with their furry and often hungry neighbors. The grizzlies have roamed their way through neighborhoods, sometimes putting both themselves and humans in danger. In this video segment from Nature, learn about some of the challenges faced by residents who have settled in "bear country."

    This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Gorillas

    In 1956, Snowflake, a white gorilla was captured in the wild and later housed in a zoo in Barcelona, Spain. In years past, captive gorillas were confined to cells alone and fed meat. Now scientists understand that gorillas are vegetarians and should live together as a family. Today, zoos construct environments to reflect gorillas natural habitats. In this video segment from Nature, discover how scientists have learned how to better raise and care for gorillas in captivity and learn about Colo, the first gorilla born in a zoo.

    Grades: 3-12
  • Bears' Lunch Counter

    As a result of human activities, the grizzly bear population of North America has plummeted over the last 100 years. Yellowstone National Park, one of their last remaining habitats, failed to keep the grizzlies safe from human interference and further endangered the species. This video segment from Nature examines the history of human and grizzly bear interaction at Yellowstone.

    This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Nature | Salmon: Running the Gauntlet - Humans and Salmon

    In this Nature video, learn how salmon, once an abundant and healthy species, felt the adverse effects of human interference from over-harvest, excess canning and habitat loss resulting in population depletion. As a result, people who depended upon salmon for their livelihood resorted to controlled experiments in salmon reproduction in the form of hatcheries or "salmon farms." Salmon populations were further harmed when people began to manipulate and dam the rivers, blocking passage to salmon spawning grounds.

    This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Nature | Springs Eternal: Florida's Fountain of Youth - Red Tide

    This video from Nature addresses red tide and the major threat it poses to the health of Florida’s springs and wildlife. In Florida, a disproportionate share of ground water is used to support agricultural businesses that raise crops, develop land, and cultivate golf courses, each depending on the use of nitrate-based fertilizers. Red tide occurs when the used water returns to the underground aquifers, triggering an outbreak of algae which in turn produces an abundant quantity of toxins.

    Grades: 6-12
  • A World Without Humans

    This video segment from Nature: "Radioactive Wolves" explores the 1986 meltdown of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and its consequences on the landscape, wildlife, and human population of the "Exclusion Zone." Following the meltdown, 400,000 people were forced to leave their homes, and today the Exclusion Zone remains uninhabitable for humans. This video segment describes a study conducted by German scientists: they are trying to determine how many wolves actually inhabit the Exclusion Zone; whether or not the wolves are indigenous to the area; and if the Zone's wolf population differs from populations in clean areas.

    This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Nature | How to Build an Island from Scratch

    Learn how the Hawaiian Islands were formed by a geothermal hotspot and resulting volcanic activity in this video segment from Nature.

    Grades: 6-12
  • How to be an Alpha Male Koala

    In this video resource from Nature: "Cracking the Koala Code", the koala breeding season is examined. The video segment looks at an outsider, a "traveling male," that enters an established koala colony and the territory battle that ensues. The koalas' communication techniques are also explored – when males feel threatened, they emit deep, guttural calls. The resource introduces a scientific experiment being conducted that looks at the breeding occurring with transient males. Such breeding leads to genetic diversity, which is beneficial to the species.

    This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

    Grades: 6-12

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