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December 16, 2004
Table Of Contents:
Summary:
Modern Marvels: Satellites, Tuesday, December 21st at 7 PM/6c

Special Presentation: Christmas Unwrapped, Thursday, December 23rd at 7 PM/6c
Body:
Modern Marvels: Satellites Tuesday, December 21st at 7 PM/6c

The launch of Sputnik was one of the most significant achievements of the twentieth century, literally expanding the world. Today, there are satellites orbiting throughout outer space as central components of the communications and information-gathering technology we all rely upon.
Modern Marvels: Satellites presents the fascinating tale of these wonders. From the innovation of three men including a British science fiction writer and a Nazi engineer, the race to create this technology was one of the most dramatic of all times. Former NASA officials recall the desperate early day of the space race, when the United States feared that Russian dominance in the heavens would have tragic consequences on the ground. Students will learn about the evolution of satellites up through the contemporary moment when they have become the world’s most essential communications tools. From the first crude efforts to some of the most precise and durable machines ever built, this episode in the Modern Marvels series presents students with the definitive history of satellites. It is a wonderful companion for courses on science and technology and for discussions of the Cold War and the role of space in the modern political sphere.

Curriculum Links: Modern Marvels: Satellites would be useful for classes on History, Science and Technology, and Communications. It is appropriate for middle school and high school students. It fulfills the following standards outlined by the National Council for History Education: Civilization, Cultural Diffusion and Innovation, Patters of Social and Political Interaction, and Human Interaction with the Environment.
Discussion Questions: 1. At the time of the “space race” the quest to be the first in space was politically urgent. Do you think it was ultimately important which nation conquered space first?
2. What are some of the ways satellites are used today?
3. How do you think satellite technology influences your daily life?
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Special Presentation: Christmas Unwrapped Thursday, December 23rd at 7 PM/6c

People all over the world celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th. But why is the Nativity marked by gift giving, and was Jesus really born on that day? And just where did the Christmas tree come from? Take an enchanting tour through the history of this beloved holiday and trace the origins of its enduring traditions. In this special presentation, take a journey back to the earliest celebrations when the infant religion embraced pagan solstice festivals like the Roman Saturnalia and turned them into a commemoration of Jesus’ birth. In Christmas Unwrapped, students, teachers and their families will learn how Prince Albert introduced the Christmas tree to the English-speaking world in 1841, and discover how British settlers in the New World transformed the patron saint of children into jolly old St. Nick. This is an excellent program for students interested in learning about the historical meaning and stories behind this holiday that so many celebrate throughout the world. It would be a great resource for pre-holiday activities and for discussions about how traditions develop and change over time.

Curriculum Links: Christmas Unwrapped: The History of Christmas would be useful for classes on History, Culture and Religion. It is appropriate for middle school and high school. It fulfills the following standards as outlined by the National Council for History Education: Civilization, Cultural Diffusion and Innovation.

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