Take advantage of this month’s Learning at Home broadcast schedule – great for students engaged in hybrid or distance instruction, and families looking to spend some extra, quality time together!
After watching these fascinating programs, explore the PBS LearningMedia and web resources to learn more.
Tuesday, December 1
1 PM: Charlie Russell’s Old West
No one played a larger role in mythologizing the cowboy’s place in American culture than Charles M. Russell. Explore his art and life as he witnessed and documented the end of the Wild West open range, and America entered the 20th Century.
2 PM: Theodore Roosevelt: A Cowboy’s Ride to the White House
This one-hour television documentary details the story of a physically challenged young man from Harvard who came to the Western Frontier in 1883. Theodore Roosevelt came to hunt but fell in love with the Badlands of Dakota and quickly bought a ranch, learned how to ride, carry a ‘six-shooter’ and acquired the skills that would make him a war hero and an American President.
Witness the incredible journey of newborn polar bear cubs as they leave the safety of their den for the first time. Bravely led by their mother, the cubs must make the perilous 400-mile Arctic trek to the sea to feed. Narrated by Kate Winslet.
Filmed over the course of one year, Inside the Vatican gains unprecedented access to one of the most important places in the Christian world. Nestled in the city of Rome, the Vatican is the head-quarters of the Catholic Church and an independent city-state.
A one-hour documentary film looking into the extraordinary life of Nawang Khechog. Nawang was born in Tibet, but following the Chinese invasion of 1949/1950, his family was exiled to India, where Nawang studied meditation and Buddhist philosophy. He spent eleven years as a monk, including four years as a hermit meditating in the Himalayan foothills under the guidance of the Dalai Lama. He is currently the most famous flute player from Tibet.
2 PM: Arts in Exile: Tibetan Treasures in Small Town America
Arts in Exile: Tibetan Treasures in Small Town America explores how a small city in northern New York can be inspired by, and connected to the culture of Tibet from across the globe. Highlighting a large-scale festival of Tibetan arts and culture in Plattsburgh, New York, Arts in Exile examines how several Tibetan refugees use the arts to both raise awareness about the global problems they face, and keep their culture alive.
Narrated by veteran Hollywood actor Tom Selleck, Remember Pearl Harbor chronicles the personal stories of veterans and citizens who witnessed the surprise attack by the Japanese on the American Pacific Fleet on December 7, 1941, launching the United States into World War II. Using archival footage and photos and graphics, the documentary shows in detail the bombings on Oahu, along with the fiery explosion of the USS Arizona, the sinking of the USS Oklahoma, and the attacks on Hickam Field, as well as on other parts of the island. The film documents the 75th anniversary, the tragic events and the courageous acts of those who were in or near Pearl Harbor on that day.
History Detectives explores whether a 1940s recording may have helped convict the woman alleged to be “Tokyo Rose”. In 1948, the woman who twice signed her name the “one and original Tokyo Rose,” was brought back from Japan to face a grand jury. The war had ended, but her battle had just begun. History Detectives investigates whether this object can explain the story behind her “confession?”
2 PM: No Asylum: The Untold Chapter of Anne Frank’s Story
Anne Frank’s father, Otto’s recently discovered letters reveal new information about the family’s struggle to obtain visas to save themselves from the clutches of the Nazis. The world turned its back on the Franks and millions of others. Leonard Berney, who liberated Bergen Belsen where Anne and her sister Margot perished, relates the harrowing story. Something of a prequel to Anne’s iconic diary, No Asylum shares unknown details of the Frank family’s story before they went into hiding in the attic, and is a call to action for tolerance and respect.
Almost a century ago, paleontologists found the first tantalizing hints of a monster even bigger than Tyrannosaurusrex, perhaps the largest predator ever to roam the Earth – spectacular fossil bones from a dinosaur dubbed Spinosaurus. But the fossils were completely destroyed during a World War II Allied bombing raid, leaving only drawings, questions, and a mystery: What was Spinosaurus? Now, the discovery of new bones in a Moroccan cliff face is reopening the investigation into this epic beast.
A seven-mile-wide asteroid collided with Earth 66 million years ago, triggering a chain of events that coincide with the end of the dinosaurs. But experts have long debated exactly what happened when the asteroid struck and how the giant beasts met their end. Join NOVA as scientists piece together a chillingly precise unfolding of the Earth’s biggest cataclysm, moment by moment, and discover how our early mammalian ancestors managed to survive and repopulate the Earth.
In 1878, archaeologist Hjalmar Stolpe uncovered a grave containing a large number of weapons and the skeletal remains of what seemed to be a great Viking warrior. For a century, people assumed the body was male until the 1970s when Berit Vilkans, a young researcher, observed the bones had female characteristics. In 2017, a team of Swedish geneticists proved through a DNA study that the great warrior wasn’t a man, but a woman. Join this team of experts as they examine the DNA results and complete a field investigation, uncovering the truth about the only archaeological discovery of a female Viking warrior and battle strategist known to date.
Forty years ago, hundreds of skeletons were unearthed in a mass grave in an English village. Bioarchaeologist Cat Jarman believes these bones are the last remains of the “Great Heathen Army,” a legendary Viking fighting force that invaded England in the ninth century and has long been lost to history. Armed with the latest scientific methods, Cat’s team uncovers extraordinary human stories from the front line, including evidence of women fighters and a lost warrior reunited with his son in death.
Follow inner-city kids from New York as they embark on a life-changing experience: the opportunity to study music in Juilliard’s Music Advancement Program, a Saturday outreach program for at-risk kids. Some Kind of Spark follows the students inside the classroom and at home, from practice rooms to stages.
For the Yao minority of rural southwest China, the bronze drum is a sacred heritage. Its sound aids the souls of deceased elders to reach the ancestral land. When the Chinese government steps in to protect heritage, the life of the bronze drum takes on new meaning and becomes an icon for tourist performances. Bang the Drum traces the path heritage takes in a changing China.
1 PM: Genius by Stephen Hawking | Can We Time Travel?
In this mind-bending episode: Can three volunteers work out if time travel is possible? World-famous scientist Stephen Hawking leads us on a fascinating journey of discovery, featuring DeLoreans, clocks, a giant black hole and a large swathe of New York City. It seems as if nothing is beyond his imagination. Without any mathematics or equations, he effortlessly manages to get three non-scientists to grasp 4 dimensional space and time travel.
Explore humanity’s relationship with nature and wildlife, as scientists and conservationists from all over the world examine ways we can restore our planet. In the first episode of the series, discover how a new awareness of nature is helping to restore ecosystems from Panama to China to Mozambique. See how innovative actions are being taken to repair manmade damage and restore reefs, rivers, animal populations and more.
Stephen Hawking sets three volunteers a series of fun challenges to show them how to think like a genius – and find out how likely it is that aliens exist. Cue an extraordinary journey of discovery, involving tons of sand, huge machinery, some straightforward thinking and several amazing, head-exploding reveals.
Explore how a new understanding of nature is helping us find surprising ways to fix it. From the Pacific Northwest to Yellowstone to Scotland, scientists, citizens and activists are restoring the environment, benefiting humans and animals alike.
1 PM: Genius by Stephen Hawking | Why Are We Here?
World-famous scientist Stephen Hawking sets three ordinary people a series of fun challenges to show them how to think like a genius. Can they work out why they exist at all? Is it destiny or pure chance? This episode features smashed glasses, spooky castles and a truly freaky flash-mob illustration of multiple universes. Why Are We Here? takes the subjects down a rabbit hole of deeply profound realizations.
Discover why restoring nature might be our best tool to slow global warming. From Borneo to Antarctica, the resilience of the planet is helping us find solutions to cope and even mitigate climate change, providing hope for a more positive future.
1 PM: Genius by Stephen Hawking | Where did the Universe Come From?
Join an extraordinary journey of discovery, featuring racing cars, ice-skaters, balloons and running tracks as Stephen Hawking leads his three intrepid souls to a deeper understanding of the evolution of the universe than the average physics major, all with any mathematics or equations.
The universe is hiding something. In fact, it is hiding a lot. Everything we experience on Earth, the stars and galaxies we see in the cosmos — all the “normal” matter and energy that we understand — make up only 5% of the known universe. Find out how scientists are discovering new secrets about the history of the universe, and why they’re predicting a shocking future.
Learn about contemporary visual art and artists throughout the world. Since the dramatic fall of apartheid in 1994, Johannesburg has emerged as the artistic capital of sub-Saharan Africa. This episode tells the story of four artists from a diversity of South African ethnic backgrounds, identities and generations working across photography, painting, sculpture, and performance. Collectively, the artists in this hour use their work to empower marginalized communities, reexamine history, and pursue their visions for South Africa’s future.
A city still in the midst of a post-Cold War cultural and economic rebirth, since the 1990s Berlin has become a haven for artists from all over the world — a free zone where experimentation, individual expression, and international influences converge. From creating large-scale public projects to intimately personal ones, the artists in this episode demonstrate the diversity of practice and sensibilities in the German capital, expose its complicated history of war and migration, and convey hopes for finding systems that foster a better tomorrow.
A new set of volunteers explore self-assembling machines, light-up bacteria and the world’s first physical demonstration of evolution in action conspire to totally revolutionize their view of life. We discover not only that our bodies are machines of incredible complexity, but how they came to exist and how long it took for our lives to come about.
Three ordinary people engage in a series of fun physical and mental challenges to show them how to think like a genius. Can they measure the earth, the solar system and even the universe and find out where we really are? They’ll use a helicopter, a boat and a powerful laser to prove the earth is round – and to measure it. Next they head off to the iconic Black Rock Desert to try and get a grip on the massive scale of the solar system.
The Western Front, Christmas, 1914. Out of the violence a silence, then a song. A German soldier steps into No Man’s Land singing “Stille Nacht.” Thus begins an extraordinary night of camaraderie, music, peace. A remarkable true story, told in the words and songs of the men who lived it.
Against the music of the great composers, Christmas on the Danube travels the majestic Danube River as it passes through European landscape, history and culture. The cities along the Danube have a special sparkle at Christmas. This heartwarming holiday special visits Vienna, Budapest, Salzburg, and Oberdorf. Other highlights include a visit to the Melk Abbey, the old town on Passau, and the charming Christmas Market in Bratislava. Christmas on the Danube is a companion to European Christmas Market.
World War II exacted a heavy toll on the people of Wiltz, Luxembourg, nearly destroying the small town. Occupied by German forces for four years, the town was subject to the whims of Nazi leadership: streets were renamed, the native language was banned, religious freedoms were curtailed, and Saint Nicolas Day was outlawed. The documentary The American Saint Nick chronicles a day at the height of the war when the battle-weary 28th Infantry Division of the American Army returned hope and joy to the children and people of this war-torn town. On Dec. 5, 1944, American soldiers put their guns down for one day and organized a party celebrating the town’s centuries-old Saint Nick tradition.
Join Lucy Worsley on a 12-day extravaganza as she discovers that much of what we enjoy in contemporary Christmas — from carols to gift-giving, feasting and drinking — was just as popular 500 years ago, with some surprising Tudor twists.
In this one-hour special, it’s Christmas time and the Wild Kratts are taking a break from creature adventuring to celebrate. But when the Wild Kratts receive an alert that their favorite creatures are suddenly disappearing around the globe, their holiday party quickly turns into a rescue mission. Our heroes must race against time to thwart their greedy arch-rivals’ most miserly scheme yet! Will they be able to travel to the ends of the earth and return their baby animal friends to their homes in time for the holidays?
When Nature Cat gets in the Christmas spirit, he starts making his holiday celebration as big, shiny, and loud as possible. He even decorates the forest and accidentally bothers the animals! Though after our hero falls asleep on Christmas Eve, he is visited by three friendly spirits, as played by his pals. Together, they visit the future, present, and long ago past when Nature Cat was a mere Nature Kitten. Will the adventure remind Nature Cat what really makes his heart merry?
1 PM: Crane Candlelight Concert: Homeward Bound for the Holidays
The Crane Chorus and Crane Symphony Orchestra of SUNY Potsdam presents the Crane Candlelight Concert 2019, themed “Homeward Bound for the Holidays.” The concert highlights the best songs performed at Candlelight from over the past 10 years. Making this year even more special, the Crane Chorus was joined by the Holy Name of Jesus Academy Chorus, a local youth choir, for five songs. Dr. Jeffrey Francom conducts the chorus, while Dr. Ching-Chun Lai, conducts the orchestra.
2 PM: Christmas with the Tabernacle Choir: Christmas Day in the Morning
The Grammy and Emmy Award winning Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, Orchestra at Temple Square, and Bells at Temple Square join Tony Award winning star Kelli O’Hara and renowned actor Richard Thomas to celebrate the holidays with a nostalgic program that exudes the warmth and peace that the season can bring. Set against a backdrop of a country farmhouse and church, the visual and musical spectacle is distinctly different from those of years past and serves as a soulful tribute to the holiday traditions, songs, stories and individuals that have contributed to the rich cultural fabric that is uniquely American.
With breathtaking CGI, beautiful landscape footage and some of the world’s most important astronomical artifacts, Ancient Skies looks at the cosmos through the eyes of our ancestors, charting our changing views of the cosmos throughout history. In this episode we explore the origins of our relationship with the skies. From our earliest ancestors we discover how we used the skies to navigate and tell time, and how we gave religious significance to the things we saw in it. We finish on the cusp of a revolution that gave birth to modern science.
2 PM: Animal Babies: The First Years on Earth⎪First Steps
See the challenges young animals can face in their first year, whether fighting for survival in the wild or learning to coexist with humans. In First Steps, the babies learn to understanding their surroundings in environments ranging from Africa to Sri Lanka to Iceland. The most basic tools for survival must be learned in their first three months to thrive and ultimately survive.
Finding the Center charts efforts to give the earth a shape and a place. From flat earth legends to Galileo’s telescope, this episode tracks major changes in our scientific understanding. Ideas will rise and fall as we continue to explore our ancient skies.
2 PM: Animal Babies: The First Years on Earth⎪Testing Limits
Learn the new challenges baby animals face once they can get around on their own. Every day brings new trials and tribulations, like searching for food, surviving in harsh environments and bonding with family members.
In Our Place in the Universe, we complete the puzzle of our ancient skies, collecting the missing pieces required for an accurate model of our universe. We break through the spheres that defined our skies for millennia, abandon the long-held idea of circular orbits, discover new neighbors in our solar system, and begin to comprehend the enormity of our ever-growing universe.
2 PM: Animal Babies: The First Years on Earth⎪New Frontiers
Join the baby animals as they near the end of their first year of life — it’s time for these young ones to branch off from the comfort of their mothers and learn to explore the great unknown on their own.
On March 9, 2015, Solar Impulse II took off from Abu Dhabi on one of the greatest aviation adventures of our time: the first solar-powered flight around the world. Together with a team of brilliant engineers, two visionary pilots—Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg—designed and built Solar Impulse from scratch, even though top airplane manufacturers told them it would be “impossible to control.” NOVA captures an insider’s view of the Solar Impulse pilots and ground team as they experience moments of hair-raising crisis, remarkable endurance, and ingenious problem-solving.