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.
Wednesday, June 1
1 PM: NATURE: Equus “Story of the Horse” | Origins
The relationship between man and his noble steed is almost as old as civilization itself, allowing our species to explore, conquer and flourish side by side with the horse. NATURE traces this revolutionizing partnership with anthropologist Niobe Thompson in this two-part series. In “Origins,” explore the fascinating evolutionary journey of the horse, from its tiny forest-dwelling ancestor called the Dawn Horse to the modern steed. Encounter scientists unlocking the genetic basis of horsepower and decoding their emotional intelligence.
Thousands of prehistoric footprints left by Ice Age humans and animals stretch for miles across the blinding white surfaces of New Mexico’s White Sands National Park. The phenomenal collection of prints preserves a unique series of snapshots of life and behavior, capturing moments when humans crossed paths with extinct Ice Age beasts, including enormous ground sloths and mammoths.
As France fell to the German armies in May 1940, 400,000 Allied troops were trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk. Their annihilation seemed certain—a disaster that could have led to Britain’s surrender. But then, in a last-minute rescue, Royal Navy ships and a flotilla of tiny civilian boats evacuated hundreds of thousands of soldiers to safety across the Channel—the legendary “miracle of Dunkirk.”
2 PM: They Volunteered For This: Merrill’s Marauders
Narrated by television news icon Tom Brokaw, “They Volunteered For This: Merrill’s Marauders” is an hour-long film focusing on one of World War II’s most heroic and least talked about units. “Merrill’s Marauders” fought in Burma in 1944-1945 under the legendary General Frank Merrill. The Marauders were all volunteers who specialized in “hit and run” tactics in the jungles and mountains of Burma. The unit received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2020 for their sacrifice and accomplishments.
1 PM: Great Performances | Keeping Company with Sondheim
Filmed over two years, this new documentary takes an exclusive inside look at Tony-winning director Marianne Elliott’s creative process of bringing a reimagined gender-swapped production of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s musical “Company” to Broadway during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A new half-hour program, Beyond the Canvas, showcases some of the nation’s leading cultural creators — musicians, playwrights, comedians, costume designers, among many others — who show us how they turn their visions of the world into art. In this episode, Beyond the Canvas celebrates the spirit of innovation. We feature artists and creators who are pushing the boundaries of their own art forms. Conversations include comedian Ziwe and recent Grammy-winner Arooj Aftab.
On June 6, 1944, thousands of Allied servicemen landed on the shores of northern France, tasked with liberating western Europe from Nazi tyranny. To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landing, four D-Day veterans gather at the famed Museum of World War II outside of Boston, Mass. to share their experiences from that fateful “Day of Days.”
Narrated by New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, this documentary focuses on the personal stories of those who served in the Second World War. It was filmed exclusively by drone camera on location on some of the most iconic locations in Normandy, France. The modern-day aerial footage is accompanied by interviews with World War II veterans, mixed with archival footage of the June 6, 1944 ‘D-Day’ invasion, along with newly created maps and photo animations.
If spacecraft OSIRIS-REx can grab a piece of an asteroid and bring it back to Earth, scientists could gain great insight into our planet’s origins — and even how to defend against rogue asteroids. But NASA only gets three shots at collecting a sample. Can they pull it off? NOVA takes you inside the mission.
1 PM: Earth’s Sacred Wonders | House of the Divine
Discover what people do for faith in some of the most stunning sacred places on Earth. In “House of the Divine,” meet a Muslim paramedic who helps fasting worshippers during Ramadan in Jerusalem. A Cambodian man risks his live to save his ancestral spirits from the jungle. A Buddhist warrior monk in China faces a test that will change his life forever.
2 PM: Earth’s Sacred Wonders | Closer to the Divine
Travel to Japan, where a Shinto devotee undertakes a grueling challenge at a sacred waterfall. A young Muslim helps re-plaster a mosque in Mali. At a New York City cathedral, an Episcopal priest brings people and their pets closer to God.
A new half-hour program showcases some of the nation’s leading cultural creators — musicians, playwrights, comedians, costume designers, among many others — who show us how they turn their visions of the world into art.
Ahead of the 60th Anniversary Season of Free Shakespeare in The Park at New York City’s Delacorte Theater in Central Park, American Masters: Joe Papp in Five Acts tells the story of this indomitable, street-wise champion of the arts. As founder of The Public Theater, Free Shakespeare in the Park and producer of groundbreaking plays like Hair, A Chorus Line and for colored girls…, Papp believed great art was for everyone, not just a privileged few. A cultural change agent for more than fifty years, Papp’s stages held up a mirror to society with work that reflected the reality of people’s lives.
In the 1950s and early ’60s, a small band of high-altitude pioneers exposed themselves to the extreme forces of the space age long before NASA’s acclaimed Mercury 7 would make headlines. Though largely forgotten today, balloonists were the first to venture into the frozen near-vacuum on the edge of our world, exploring the very limits of human physiology and human ingenuity in this lethal realm.
This is the intimate and revealing story of Stephen Hawking’s life. The audience joins him at home, under the care of his nursing team; in San Jose as he wows a packed theatre audience; in Silicon Valley as he meets a team of technicians who hope to speed up his communication system; and as he throws a party for family and friends. “Hawking” carefully tells Hawking’s life journey.
Canfield Roots shares the history of some of the Black families who lived and thrived in a small rural town in Southern Ontario. It follows present-day descendants in Canada and the U.S. as they learn about their family history, share their early experiences, and fight to preserve the Street cemetery, now the focus of a restoration project. In the series’ first episode, we meet Bill Douglas, a native of Canfield for most of his life, who is surprised when local historians reveal his family’s role in Canfield’s history of Black ancestry.
As Bill Douglas visits the BME Church Salem Chapel in St. Catharines to learn more about freedom seekers in Ontario his sister Betty Ann confronts her memories of Canfield. Outside the village an abandoned family cemetery containing the grave site of Harriet Tubman’s niece attracts the attention of local historians.
Ballerina Boys is a portrait of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (The Trocks), an all-male ballet company and international dance sensation. For over 45 years the company has shared their signature style and message of equality, inclusion and social justice with audiences around the world. The men perform classical ballet en pointe and in drag, challenging the art form’s rigid gender norms as they mix rigorous technique with comedy and satire. Inspired by the Stonewall Riots of 1969, the company was fueled by the spirit of defiance and creative exuberance that the gay rights movement unleashed. The film follows The Trocks on tour in the Carolinas, an epicenter of continued struggles for LGBTQ rights.
On a cloudless February night in 1953, former Canfield resident Harry Lee was hung for murder in Hamilton, the last man to to be executed at that city’s notorious Barton Jail. Seventy years later, former residents of Canfield reflects on the impact of Lee’s hanging on the village community while Betty Ann Newman grapples with the memory of the man she called Uncle Harry.
An estate sale in Houston, Texas leads a collector to research an artist with a connection to an abandoned family cemetery in Canfield. As more details rise to the surface, an ancestor of Harriet Tubman’s niece shares her family’s remarkable story and link to this cemetery as well.
Out in Rural America is a film that explores the struggles and joys of being lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, and genderqueer in rural America. Following five stories from the LGBTQ+ community over six years, the film explores the issues of self-doubt, discrimination, acceptance, and small-town and Midwestern LGBTQ+ life from a cultural, social, familial, and religious perspective.
Frustrated over delays, a group of residents and descendants meet to discuss what to do over an abandoned family cemetery in Canfield, the final resting place of freedom seekers who settled in Canada in the mid-1800s.
As descendants of freedom seekers gather at an abandoned family cemetery to mark Emancipation Day, they reflect on the struggles and successes of their ancestors. In Spokane, Washington Betty Ann Newman shares the stories and photos of her family in Canfield with her grandchildren.
“Prideland” is a one-hour special and short-form digital series following host and “POSE” actor Dyllón Burnside on a journey across the American South to meet diverse members of the LGBTQ+ community who are finding ways to live with pride in the modern South. We begin with a one-hour broadcast special, kicking off Burnside’s expedition in his own hometown of Pensacola, Florida. He explores what the South means to him, talks about how he was fired from his church for coming out, and discusses how the South is home to more queer people than any other region in the U.S.
1 PM: Walk Together Children: The 150th Anniversary of the Fisk Jubilee Singers
In Walk Together Children: The 150th Anniversary of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, Dr. Paul T. Kwami and the current singers explore the stories of the world-renowned ensemble’s original nine members and reflect on their roles as students and preservers of the group’s legacy. Directed by Jon Royal in collaboration with Dr. Kwami, the performance film is produced by Tennessee Performing Arts Center.
Explore the authentic spiritual experience of African American gospel music in the one-hour performance documentary Amen! Music of the Black Church. Taped before a live audience at the Second Baptist Church congregation in Bloomington, Indiana, Rev. Dr. Raymond Wise guides viewers on an educational and uplifting learning experience while leading the Indiana University African American Choral Ensemble in a performance of sacred music deriving from African traditions.
Searching for Timbuctoo tells the little-known story of a Black settlement, established in the wilds of upstate New York, that brought together a group of ardent abolitionists willing to risk their fortunes, their families, and their futures to destroy slavery. Little did they know that by coming together, they would help tear the nation apart.
While George Washington Carver’s rise from slavery to scientific accomplishment has inspired millions, time has reduced him to the man who did something with peanuts. This documentary uncovers Carver’s complexities and reveals the full impact of his life and work.
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.
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.
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.
2 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.
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.
Artist Hamilton Glass challenges 30 artists from different cultural backgrounds to collaborate on 16 murals in Richmond, VA about race, status and experiences. The film shows how the artists got to know each other through difficult conversations, how working together ultimately opened their eyes and hearts to the differences between all of us, and how these murals became a symbol of hope.
Take a wild ride into the riot of color, creativity and chaos that is Miami’s street art scene. Every year during the Art Basel fair, street artists from around the globe converge on Miami’s Wynwood district to transform its streets anew with a riot of creative colors. Streets of Wynwood transports the viewer into this nomadic subculture to meet some of world’s best exponents of urban art and to appreciate first-hand how this once clandestine tribe of taggers, graffiti writers and muralists have claimed their place in the broader art world. It’s a dazzling experience.
Under the waves and tropical sun, each of Hawaii’s volcanic islands host a unique ocean landscape teeming with biodiversity. But one predator reigns supreme – the shark. With 40 species of shark calling these warm waters home, scientists are seeing new animal behavior around every corner. Whitetip reef sharks “sleep” in tight volcanic tunnels. In the deep water, everything is on the menu for the hunting Tiger shark, from birds to Humpback whales. Hopping from island to island, uncover surprising moments of cooperation, rarely seen hunting tactics and striking insights into these predators of the world’s paradise.
After years of anticipation, autonomous vehicles are now being tested on public roads around the world. As ambitious innovators race to develop what they see as the next high-tech pot of gold, some experts warn there are still daunting challenges ahead, including how to train artificial intelligence to be better than humans at making life-and-death decisions. How do self-driving cars work? How close are we to large-scale deployment of them? And will we ever be able to trust AI with our lives?
Planet California is a celebration of California’s wildlife and wild places, and their coexistence with the 40 million people who call it home. California is a land of extremes – tallest, deepest, highest, hottest. But in a rapidly changing and thirsty world, drought, dams and fire pose dire threats to an ecosystem connected by rivers on land, in the air and in the sea.
2 PM: NATURE: Okavango: River of Dreams | Paradise
Experience the wildlife of the Okavango Delta, an unlikely oasis and lush paradise in Southern Africa that connects and supports a wide array of creatures. Lions chase elephants, who chase hippos, who chase crocodiles. F. Murray Abraham narrates.
Alzheimer’s: What You Can Do delves into the research that shows how our social interactions, diet, sleep, exercise, stress levels and daily health habits have dramatic effects on our cognitive abilities as we age. With scientific data and personal stories about holistic treatment approaches, this film explores the discoveries that are changing the medical profession’s view of dementia.
Caregivers share their diverse experiences of caring for loved ones in the world of dementia. Alzheimer’s is more than memory loss; it affects many generations and is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. Teepa Snow, Loretta Veney, Bob Schaefer and many more explain how they creatively navigate the frustrations, sorrows and complications of caring for a loved one.
Over three days in 1863, war-weary Union and Confederate soldiers met at a backwater Pennsylvania crossroads to decide the fate of the nation. Produced to commemorate its sesquicentennial, The Gettysburg Story tells the epic tale of the bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil and the greatest man-made disaster in American history. Narrated by actor Stephen Lang, the documentary recounts the pivotal events and intimate stories from the iconic Civil War battle immortalized in Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address.” Cutting-edge cinematography techniques reveal the grand scale of the 6,000-acre battlefield, including the legendary sites of Little Round Top, Devils Den, The Railroad Cut, Cemetery Ridge and the fields of Pickett’s Charge.