Shakespeare For Today

SmartLessons, Sophie's Tips, Tips and Tricks, Video Highlights


William Shakespeare is undoubtedly one of the greatest playwrights in history, and likely the best known. His work is still broadly studied and performed worldwide, more than four centuries after his death- so how has his work acquired a stereotype of being fusty, irrelevant and difficult to decipher?

Whether or not you are aware of it, Shakespeare’s work has cemented itself in the collective conscience of our society. For example, look at these common sayings and idioms: a foregone conclusion, a sea change, a sorry sight, dead as a doornail, all’s well that ends well, be all and end all, foul play, green eyed monster, hot-blooded, a charmed life, lie low, in a pickle, in stitches, I have not slept a wink, night owl, up in arms, woe is me, wild goose chase– the list goes on and on. What do these have in common? They were all originally coined by Shakespeare.

Perhaps one of the greatest errors in the study of his work is to concentrate solely upon the transcriptions of his plays: Shakespeare counted himself as a playwright, and thus his plays are designed to be performed to an audience as a visual medium, and not limited to the page. Given a performance of his work, the cadences of language and utilisation of techniques such as metaphor and iambic pentameter immediately become apparent to students, opening up the apparent barriers between our modern English and that of Shakespeare’s day. This allows students to better utilise their knowledge of the themes and motifs being explored within his work, rather than being bogged down by individual stanzas, without understanding the broader context of the act, or indeed the piece as a whole.

Indeed, perhaps the reason Shakespeare has been such an enduring influence upon our society is due to the commonality of the human experience that is explored within his work. Whether you are studying works as fanciful as the comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream or the romance The Tempest, his histories or his tragedies, they are all rooted in the tribulations, the joys, the melancholy and the general experience of what it is to be human. Love, loss, revenge and political intrigue are all common threads within his work, and it is largely for this reason that Shakespeare has stood the test of time- think of any popular film, television series, book or popular culture phenomenon, past or present, and they will likely be grounded in at least one of these things. Shakespeare was considered a vastly accessible playwright in his time, with every class coming to view his work. To be accessible to so many, he had to tap into the commonality between them all.

Another common error in studying his work is to purely view Shakespeare’s work through our own 21st century lens, without consideration for the historical, social and political context in which he was writing in. The culmination of this is often a sense of isolation and irrelevance on the part of students, or a complete misrepresentation of the original themes, such as an overt attachment of colonialist overtones to The Tempest. Whilst the universality of his plays and the exploration of our current context is an important addition to any textual study, it is just as vitally important to hold in consideration the viewpoints and broader context that Shakespeare was writing in.

As has been established, it is a necessity to study Shakespeare using a range of methods and angles, in order to better consolidate our understanding and bring his work to life. Here at TV4Education, we have a vast collection of material to better assist with this. Be it the fantastic Shakespeare Uncovered series, that delves into the context that Shakespeare wrote the play in whilst also examining how it the work continues to evolve, its relevance in today’s society, and the different facets that are explored by different actors, productions and scholars; or Lenny Henry Finding Shakespeare, a witty, down-to-earth look at how Shakespeare was originally for everybody, how this has changed over time, and how to rectify this; or the numerous of productions of his work in our collection, from Richard II, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest and many more.

Whilst close study of the written text is an important facet, viewing Shakespeare in action and accessing  a variety of perspectives through the medium of multimedia will prove to be an invaluable tool and addition to the classroom. The amalgamation of these learning techniques will foster an increased appreciation of Shakespeare’s work, something that will be enjoyed for years to come.

Here’s a list of TV4Education resources that can be used in relation to the topics covered in this post. If you use the SmartSuite version of TV4Education just search for the titles below on your site.

Shakespeare Uncovered – Series

The Taming of The Shrew

Romeo and Juliet

Shakespeare Animated – Series

Horrible Histories Special Sensational Shakespeare



Insults by Shakespeare

Relates to Australian Curriculum Codes;


Professional Development 27th Feb 2018


Are you using YouTube or educational videos in the classroom?

Does your school subscribe to a cloud service?

Is your school currently using the flipped classroom method?

Do you know all the rules around Copyright in regards to education?

If you answered yes to any of the questions this event will give you some hacks and tools to make the most of these great resources.

If you said no to any of them, register now as they have some great learning outcomes for your students and some pretty big consequences for your school.

At the end of each talk, we will be handing out a worksheet for you to take away. Armed with your new knowledge you can share what you have learned with your other team members.

  • 1. Are you using YouTube legally? We have found 70% of Teachers are not.

Downloading YouTube is not only illegal but infringes on a number copyright holders rights. We will show you how to use YouTube legally and how to report on its usage at your school.

  • 2. Is your student data safe and within the Education Departments rules?

Many cloud providers are not compliant with the strict rules of keeping student data safe, we will give you a checklist to ensure it is safe.

  • 3. Have you tried flipping the classroom and ended up flipping a desk?

The Flipped Classroom teaching style is amazing when it works, if you don’t have the tools to do it, it can get very frustrating for both staff and students.

This is a free event for educators, which will be held in Melbourne. Breakfast, tea, and coffee will be provided for all attendees.

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Churchill’s Darkest Decision

SmartLessons, Sophie's Tips, Video Highlights


In light of the Churchill documentary available through the Foxtel Movies Channel, Sophie, our new lesson planning pro, has put together a detailed review just for you.

Richard Bond’s 2009 documentary, Churchill’s Darkest Decision, provides a fascinating look at Winston Churchill’s initiative to mobilise the controversial naval Operation Catapult in July 1940. Bond’s primary focus is upon the Attack of Mers-el-Kébir in Algeria, in addition to the catalysts that culminated in this event, which resulted in the death of 1,297 Frenchmen within 10 minutes- at the time it was the highest death toll of any naval action since the commencement of World War II.

Churchill’s Darkest Decision details the rapidly shifting allegiances of WWII, demonstrating the often fickle nature of alliances in the face of this nouveau warfare and the overt threat of Nazi Germany. Key personalities such as Admiral François Darlan, President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Mackenzie King, James Somerville and Marcel-Bruno Gensoul are all noted, with Bond deftly exploring the closely interwoven political machinations of these figures in regards to Churchill.

However, the documentary isn’t limited to the perspectives of these figures, providing a further revelation into the complications of warfare via the utilisation of primary sources such as Robert Philpott (HMS Hood) and Léon le Roux (Battleship Dunkerque). Both men were teenagers at the time of the attack, serving on the British and French navies respectively, and are called upon to relay their indignation and horror at Britain turning upon their former allies, noting the confusion, the screams and bloodshed of what later became referred to as the ‘French Pearl Harbour.’ Many who were serving were ignorant of France’s changed political status, with France having surrendered to Germany only weeks prior- thus many Frenchmen believed that the British were coming to aid them, rather than open fire.

This political ignorance stands in stark contrast to the greater landscape of Churchill’s administration, the latter extending back to the genesis of his time in office (May 10th 1940). Operation Catapult was a direct result of several factors: a broken agreement between France and Britain’s terms for capitulation; the necessity of obtaining favour from the US in order to obtain naval aide; and the looming threat of the combined forces of France, Germany and Italy’s naval resources. Because whilst Britain had the largest navy, it was spread exceedingly thin over Britain’s vast empire, and their numbers didn’t compare to the aforementioned trio.

Bond establishes an immersive atmosphere, be it via the contents of Churchill’s numerous telegrams to President Roosevelt, the newsreels and primary footage surrounding and of the event, the displays of reactionary Nazi propaganda or the dichotomy of the reaction of the home front and the House of Commons in contrast to the recounted horrors of the front line. And whilst the primary focus is upon the events of Mers-el-Kébir, Bond ensures that the naval escapades of Alexandria, Britain and the scuttling of ships in Toulon are all included.

Overall, this documentary is a fantastic addition to the study of WWII, the personality of the eponymous Churchill and the intersecting nature of political and military forces. Whilst it provides a brief vignette of the pivotal event that was WWII, it also provides students with a great example of the effectiveness of collating a variety of sources, in addition to clearly demonstrating the pressure-cooker environment that was the Churchill government.

Here’s a list of TV4Education resources that can be used in relation to the topics covered in this post.

Churchill’s Darkest Decision

Churchill (2017)

Churchill and the Fascist Plot

Churchill’s First World War

Relates to Australian Curriculum Codes;





My Life in Year 7 – with full Study Guides

SmartLessons, Video Highlights

The whiz kids behind “My life in year 12” are bringing out a new series –

My life in year 7.

This time you and your students will be able to explore many themes that affect students transitioning from primary school to high school. Puberty, making friends, study load, expectations and home life are all explored in a very real way.

Once again, Princess Pictures, have graciously provided full study guides to help you get the best out of your students while watching the program. You can download the study guide by clicking here or search for “my year 7 life” on TV4Education.

The series will be airing on ABC – and you can get every episode as soon as it becomes available through TV4Education.

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Books that inspire adventure

Tips and Tricks

The cross of Lead

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MEET THE AUTHOR – Avi (Crispin- The Cross of Lead)

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The Invention of Hugo Cabret

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Hugo (2011)

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The Neverending Story

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The Neverending Story (1984)

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The Jungle Book

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The Wind in the Willows

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The Wind In The Willows (1997)

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

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Where the Wild Things Are

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Schools Back! Here are some movies to help us remember why we do this.

SmartLessons, Tips and Tricks


Dead Poets Society (1989)

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A new English teacher, John Keating (Robin Williams), is introduced to an all-boys preparatory school that is known for its ancient traditions and high standards. He uses unorthodox methods to reach out to his students, who face enormous pressures from their parents and the school. With Keating’s help, students Neil Perry (Robert Sean Leonard), Todd Anderson (Ethan Hawke) and others learn to break out of their shells, pursue their dreams and seize the day.

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 Stand and Deliver (1988)

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Los Angeles high school teacher Jaime Escalante (Edward James Olmos) is being hassled by tough students like Angel Guzman (Lou Diamond Phillips). But Jaime is also pressured by his bosses, who want him to control his raucous classroom. Caught in the middle, he opts to immerse his students in higher math. After intensive study, his students ace California’s calculus test, only to learn that their scores are being questioned. They’ll have to retake the exam in order to quiet the critics.

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To Be and To Have (2002)

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In rural France, schoolteacher Georges Lopez educates 12 children, whose ages range from 4 to 11 years old. Over the course of a year, the soon-to-retire Lopez instructs them all in one small classroom with the traditional tools of French teaching: rote repetition and the dictation of literary passages for copying. As the seasons pass, Lopez must keep his students disciplined while preparing the older children for the exams that will determine their educational future.

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Mr. Holland’s Opus (1996)

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Composer Glenn Holland (Richard Dreyfuss) believes that he’ll eventually write a transcendent piece of music, but in the meantime he’s taken a job at an Oregon high school. Though at first the job frustrates him, and his unconventional methods often draw the ire of the straight-laced vice principal (W.H. Macy), Mr. Holland grows to love his students as the “temporary” position stretches into a decades-long career — and in the end, they reveal just how much they love him back.

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School of Rock (2003)

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Overly enthusiastic guitarist Dewey Finn (Jack Black) gets thrown out of his bar band and finds himself in desperate need of work. Posing as a substitute music teacher at an elite private elementary school, he exposes his students to the hard rock gods he idolizes and emulates — much to the consternation of the uptight principal (Joan Cusack). As he gets his privileged and precocious charges in touch with their inner rock ‘n’ roll animals, he imagines redemption at a local Battle of the Bands.

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Queen of Katwe (2016)

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Living in the slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle for 10-year-old Phiona (Madina Nalwanga) and her family. Her world changes one day when she meets Robert Katende (David Oyelowo), a missionary who teaches children how to play chess. Phiona becomes fascinated with the game and soon becomes a top player under Katende’s guidance. Her success in local competitions and tournaments opens the door to a bright future and a golden chance to escape from a life of poverty.

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The Man Who Knew Infinity (2016)

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In 1913, brilliant South Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan (Dev Patel) travels to Trinity College in England to work with professor G.H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons).

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Reggie’s Prayer (1996)

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A frustrated pro football player (Reggie White) retires to coach an Oregon high-school team, where he befriends a troubled student.

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The Marva Collins Story (1981)

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Marva Collins (Cicely Tyson) is a Chicago schoolteacher who strives to do her best to educate her students. However, she grows frustrated by the boundaries imposed on her methods by a failing public school system. Confronted by stubborn colleagues and a reproachful principal, Collins boldly decides to go it alone. Using her own funds, she creates the prep school for inner-city students that she feels they deserve. This moving biopic is based on a true story.

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Freedom Writers (2007)

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A dedicated teacher (Hilary Swank) in a racially divided Los Angeles school has a class of at-risk teenagers deemed incapable of learning. Instead of giving up, she inspires her students to take an interest in their education and planning their future. She assigns reading material that relates to their lives and encourages them all to keep journals.

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The Ron Clark Story (2006)

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In his small North Carolina hometown, Ron Clark (Matthew Perry) leads a comfortable life as a successful elementary school teacher, earning the respect of the community. However, he knows there are students elsewhere who need him more. Following his inner calling, Clark uproots to New York City, hoping to make a difference for the disenfranchised youths the school system has left behind. Clark makes it his mission to turn around the worst students, even though he knows his job is on the line.

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The Great Debaters (2007)

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Poet and professor Melvin B. Tolson (Denzel Washington) teaches at the predominately black Wiley College in 1935 Texas. He decides to start a debate team, something nearly unheard of at a black college. While at first he butts heads with the influential father (Forest Whitaker) of one of his best debators, eventually he is able to form a team of strong-minded, intelligent young students, and they become the first black debate team to challenge Harvard’s prestigious debate champions.

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10 Movies that got the Science Right


The future or in some cases the past has some pretty neat technology. According to scientists and physicists, these movies got it right when it comes to achievable technology.

Jurassic Park (1993)

Could we recreate an animal from DNA? Scientists in Korea are currently cloning deceased pets, mammoths are next and then, who knows!

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Blade Runner (1982)

With the rise in AI and increasingly realistic humanoid robots will we see or fail to see the robots that walk among us.

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Alien (1979)

The idea of a parasite using us as a host to incubate its young is very plausible, the botfly lays its eggs in a person and the fly hatches in not such a spectacular way.

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Star Wars – Episode IV – A New Hope

Exo-Planets, Lightspeed travel, Weapons that can destroy worlds, The “force”. All of these things could be possible. The force could be more difficult to prove or even measure, but the Hadron Collider and quantum physics could have the answer to this theory.

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The War of the Worlds (1953)

If we do get a response in our Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence will it be in the form of an email, text message or full-scale invasion?

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2001 A Space Odyssey (1968)

Could an A.I. have murder on its circuits? Google’s A.I. already said what it would do to us.

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Contact (1997)

Can an Einstein-Rosen bridge be the way we travel across the cosmos and reach our neighbors?

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The Matrix (1999)

Are we living in a computer simulation? Some scientists say it is more likely that we are than aren’t. With the advances in gaming, virtual reality, and augmented reality could we eventually fail to know the difference between the two?

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (2005)

space tourism, parallel universes, instant translation devices, sentient computers, all possible in the mind of today’s scientists. But how can we make it happen?

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Avatar (2009)

Finding another habitable planet, terraforming, blending DNA with an alien species, Controlling another body with thought. With the advances in prosthetics could we eventually control another body?

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Did we miss any? leave your favorite science-based movie in the comments below.

Classic Movies – An introduction to Cinema

Video Highlights

Today we will be looking at some classic movies and learning about how cinema and special effects have evolved.

Primary Content:

The Red Balloon (1956)

A Short Film beautifully told without the use of words.

The Wizard of OZ (1939) 

This movie shows the technical skill of filmmakers nearly 80 years ago, without the use of computer-aided graphics. Take the magical journey to the land of OZ.

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Singin’ In The Rain (1952)

One of the most well-known musicals in movie history starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds.


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Secondary Content:

Metropolis (1927)

Often described as one of the most influential films ever made, this 1927 sci-fi German film was ahead of its time.

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It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

Frank Capra’s Christmas feel-good film

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The Great Escape (1963)

Classic World War Two drama, starring Steve McQueen, based on the true story of the prisoners of war at Stalag Luft III.

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Seven Samurai (1954)

Japanese epic from Akira Kurosawa which was given the Hollywood revamp as The Magnificent Seven

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The Ladykillers (1955)

A criminal gang is outwitted by a little old lady in this Ealing Comedy.

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Throne of Blood (1957)

The film transposes the plot of William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth from Medieval Scotland to feudal Japan, with stylistic elements drawn from Noh drama.


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Influences on the Health of Individuals


 Influences on the Health of Individuals Start of content for year 11 VCE Alternatives

Today we are giving your staff and students alternatives to the older VCE programs.

If you are a SmartSuite user then you can select the subject area you are looking for on your TV4Education Search page.


You can then search Via Sub Category


You can also register your school to get upgraded now.

Now if you are not a current SmartSuite user you will have to search for items manually, here is a list of 20 programs you can use instead.

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Ask The Doctor Gut (s01e09)

This is part 9 of 12 episodes, if you want to watch the other 12 programs you can find them using this link

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Catalyst – Low Carb Diet

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Catalyst – Why am I still fat

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The Truth About Calories (s01e01)

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Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead

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Michael Mosley Eat, Fast And Live Longer

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Michael Mosley – E-Cigarettes

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Michael Mosley – Wonderful World Of Blood

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Michael Mosley – Do We Need Health Tests

For more of Michael Mosley’s programs, you can go to this Blog Post.

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Scope – Body Science

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Faster, Higher, Stronger Gymnastics – That’s Perfection

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Faster, Higher, Stronger (1500 Metres – The Ultimate Race)

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RACE (2016)

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Bikes Vs Cars

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The Surgery Ship

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First in Human

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Insight – The Health Obesssion

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Business Of Life – Health

For more Blog posts on the subject of health you can look at:

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Politics for Kids – The Same-Sex Survey Vote


democracy is a form of government in which the people, either directly or indirectly, take part in governing. The word democracy originates from Greek, and means rule of the people.

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The people who took part in the survey 61.6% of people said yes and 38.4% said no.

Out of all the people who can vote only 78% decided to take part.

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When you become 18, you too will be allowed to decide what laws and who should govern the country.

Watch this behind the news clip that discusses the history of voting.

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Behind The News – The History of Voting

Now what is the difference between a survey and referendum:

A survey gives everyone the chance to have their say on a topic, you might get asked to do a survey on your favorite ice cream flavor or which subject you like the most at school.

A Referendum is when the citizens of a country get to decide what laws they want to be passed in their country and under a democracy, they are who really decides what happens.

With the Vote on Same-Sex Marriage survey, everyone got to express their opinion but it was not legally binding – This means it is still not allowed. By sending out a survey and not a referendum nothing will change until it is passed into law through a different process. This can take days, weeks or even years to do so.


Top 10 in Stem

SmartLessons, Tips and Tricks
We have picked 10 of the best Stem programs and tv series to use in your next class. All Ages.


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The Good Doctor (s01e01)

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