Why use PBS?

PBS and member stations are America’s largest classroom, the nation’s largest stage for the arts and a trusted window to the world. In addition, PBS's educational media helps prepare children for success in school and opens up the world to them in an age-appropriate way. PBS materials are cross curricular and are available for many grade levels.

NOTE: While this flyer contains many of the items we have available, we also have other PBS DVDs available, as well as PBS Learning Media (streaming videos, lesson plans & more).

PBS & Engineering


DVD, JS, 60 min., Closed Captioned, PBS VIDEO, 1981

This award-winning film by Ken Burns recaptures the drama, struggles, and personal tragedies behind the greatest of all achievements of America's industrial age, THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE. Largest bridge of the era, its construction entailed enormous problems and ingenious solutions. Witness the human heroics behind the bridge that seized America's imagination in the 1880s. Discover the enduring charm and beauty of a granite-and-steel masterpiece.

Building Big: Bridges (022354)

DVD, IJS, 66 min., PBS VIDEO, 2004

What enables a simple arch bridge to support such great weight? What holds up a suspension bridge? Bridge the world with award-winning author-illustrator--and captivating storyteller--David Macaulay (The Way Things Work) and meet the brilliant designers who dared to extend roads and railways with ingenious but sometimes flawed designs.

Building Big: Dams (022357)

DVD, IJS, 64 min., PBS VIDEO, 2004

Changing the course of rivers has changed the course of history. Award-winning author-illustrator--and captivating storyteller--David Macaulay (The Way Things Work) goes to extremes to bring you an unprecedented look at the power of dams. You'll meet the courageous and ambitious builders, relive the deadly disasters, and discover the little-known personal triumphs and tragedies behind the greatest dams ever built.

Building Big: Domes (022355)

DVD, IJS, 65 min., PBS VIDEO, 2004

What holds up the Astrodome? Why did the Romans leave a hole in the roof of the Pantheon? Tour the world and trace the 2000-year history of domes with award-winning author-illustrator--and captivating storyteller--David Macaulay (The Way Things Work). From Houston's Astrodome to Rome's St. Peter's Cathedral, meet ingenious designers, hear rarely told heroic stories, and revel in amazing triumphs.

Building Big: Skyscrapers (022356)

DVD, IJS, 65 min., PBS VIDEO, 2004

Why was New York's most famous skyscraper dubbed the "Empty State Building?" Tour the world's most incredible skylines with award-winning author-illustrator--and captivating storyteller--David Macaulay (The Way Things Work), from France's Gothic cathedrals to Malaysia's record-breaking Petronas Towers.

Building Big: Tunnels (022358)

DVD, IJS, 67 min., PBS VIDEO, 2004

How do tunnels stay dry under water? Who dug the first tunnels? Go underground with award-winning author-illustrator--and captivating storyteller--David Macaulay (The Way Things Work) and get an amazing look at tunnels, from ancient Rome to the remarkable Channel Tunnel that connects France and England, through spectacular film footage, little-known facts, and dramatic recreations.

Building the Great Cathedrals (022351)

DVD, IJS, 60 min., PBS VIDEO, 2010

Carved from a hundred million pounds of stone, soaring effortlessly atop a spider web of masonry, Gothic cathedrals are marvels of human achievement and artistry. But how did medieval builders reach such spectacular heights? On this dazzling journey inside the jewels of Gothic architecture, NOVA reveals the hidden formulas, drawn from the pages of the Bible itself, that drove medieval builders ever upward.

Building Wonders (022710)

DVD, JS, 3hours, PBS VIDEO, 2015

In Building Wonders, NOVA presents three groundbreaking shows that investigate engineering mysteries of the ancient world with the help of dramatic hands-on experiments. Modern architects use medieval tools to examine the Lost City of Petra in the middle of Jordan's desert, the vast Roman Colosseum, and Turkey's 1,500 year-old cathedral dome, Hagia Sophia.

Engineering Ground Zero (022353)

DVD, IJS, 60 min., PBS VIDEO, 2011

On the tenth anniversary of 9-11, NOVA presents an epic story of engineering, innovation, and the perseverance of the human spirit. With extraordinary access granted by The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Engineering Ground Zero follows the five-year construction of One World Trade Center (1 WTC) and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. NOVA captures the behind-the-scenes struggle of architects and engineers to make the buildings safe and highly secure under the pressures of a tight schedule, the demands of practical office space and efficient, "green" architecture, and the public's expectations of a fitting site for national remembrance. Featuring interviews with 1 WTC architect David Childs; Chris Ward, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; Mayor Michael Bloomberg, chairman of the 9-11 Memorial Foundation; and Michael Arad, the man behind the breakthrough concept for the 9-11 Memorial.

PBS & Science

NOVA: Hunting The Elements (022392)

DVD, JS, 120 min., PBS VIDEO, 2012

Where do nature’s building blocks, called the elements, come from? They’re the hidden ingredients of everything in our world, from the carbon in our bodies to the metals in our smartphones. To unlock their secrets, David Pogue, the lively host of NOVA’s popular "Making Stuff" series and technology correspondent of The New York Times, spins viewers through the world of weird, extreme chemistry: the strongest acids, the deadliest poisons, the universe’s most abundant elements, and the rarest of the rare—substances cooked up in atom smashers that flicker into existence for only fractions of a second.

NOVA: Earth from Space (022553)

DVD, IJS, 120 min., PBS VIDEO, 2013

EARTH FROM SPACE is a groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet. Produced in extensive consultation with NASA scientists, this special takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms them into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustain life on earth.

Vaccines: Calling The Shots (022709)

DVD, S, 60 min., PBS VIDEO, 2014

Diseases that were largely eradicated in the United States a generation ago--including whooping cough, measles, mumps--are returning, in part because nervous parents are skipping their children's shots. Vaccines - Calling the Shots, a new NOVA special, takes viewers around the world to track epidemics, explore the science behind vaccinations, and shed light on the risks of opting out. The vast majority of Americans vaccinate their children, and most do it on the recommended schedule. Yet many people have questions about the safety of vaccines, and in some communities, vaccination rates have fallen below the level needed to maintain "herd immunity" --allowing outbreaks to take hold and spread. This film draws on the latest, best available evidence to help parents find the answers.


DVD, IJS, 120 min., PBS VIDEO, 2000

Is humanity alone in the universe, or is there life out there? Do other intelligent beings, out among the stars, also speculate about their place in the cosmos? The story of the search for extraterrestrial life is told in this groundbreaking two-part film by one of the world's most respected science communicators, Timothy Ferris combines new discoveries about the origins of life on earth with recent revelations about the nature of the sun's planets and their moons to seek out possible homes for life in our solar system and beyond. The film explains why many scientists believe that life is abundant throughout the universe, and considers how radio telescopes could be used to log on to an interstellar internet to contact alien civilizations. This program transports viewers from the depths of the oceans to the far reaches of the cosmos to investigate where - and how often - life and intelligence arise.


DVD, S, 300 min., PBS VIDEO, 2001

This program examines how the brain builds itself from conception through the first year of life. The mystery begins in the womb. Only four weeks into gestation the first brain cells, the neurons, are already forming at an astonishing rate: 500,000 every minute. Billions of brain cells will forge links with other cells and eventually every cell will finds its place.

Life on FIRE: Wildlife on the Volcano's Edge (022393)

DVD, JS, 360 min., PBS VIDEO, 2012

LIFE ON FIRE: VOLCANOES offers a close-up look at volcanoes and the effects on the environment around them. From the depths of the abyss to the high-altitude snow-capped peaks, the series paints a detailed picture of the struggles and amazing adaptation required to survive around volcanoes. 360 minutes on 2 Discs. 6 Part Series.

Dogs Decoded: Understanding the Human-Dog Relationship (020971)

DVD, JS, 56 min., PBS VIDEO, 2010

Dogs have been domesticated for longer than any other animal on the planet and humans have developed a unique relationship with these furry friends. We treat our pets like a part of the family and feel that they can understand us in a way other animals can't. Now new research is revealing what dog lovers have suspected all along: Dogs have an uncanny ability to read and respond to human emotions. Humans in turn respond to dogs with the same hormone responsible for bonding mothers to their babies. How did this incredible relationship between humans and dogs come to be? And how can dogs so closely related to fearsome wild wolves behave so differently? It's all in the genes.

How Smart are Animals? (020972)

DVD, JS, 60 min., PBS VIDEO, 2011

Host Neil deGrasse Tyson will tackle one of science's major challenges in each episode, framed as a simple question that ordinary people wonder and worry about. Neil will guide us as he explores dramatic discoveries and the frontiers of research that connect each central, provocative mystery.

EGGS 101 - A VIDEO PROJECT (020760)

DVD, IJS, 29 min., PBS VIDEO, 2008

A school video project, Josh and Kenlyn decide to investigate the egg industry. Their assignment is to find out how the egg industry has changed over the years, where it is today, and come up with a conclusion as to why the industry has changed. They start with the basics, an overview of the hen and the egg. A biology lesson on egg formation takes a look inside the hen, using animation to show egg formation. Then it's a look at the egg itself, from the yolk to the shell and everything in between. To see how the industry had changed, they look at the history of laying hens and housing. This program is designed to be interesting, educational, and easy to use.

The Forgotten Plague (022711)

DVD, JS, 60 min., PBS VIDEO, 2015

By the dawn of the nineteenth century, the most deadly killer in human history, tuberculosis, had killed one in seven of all the people who had ever lived. Told through the remembrances of those who lived--and were cured--at tuberculosis sanatoriums, along with historians and scientists, The Forgotten Plague is a powerful reminder of the centuries when American families lived under the constant shadow of a terrible death.


DVD, JS, 56 min., PBS VIDEO, 2008

Identical twins share the same genes and are often startlingly alike. Why, then, should they often meet such different fates one twin developing a serious disease like cancer while the other remains unscathed? In a compelling scientific detective story, The Ghost in Your Genes explores the provocative idea that there may be more to inheritance than genes alone. New clues reveal that a second epigenetic chemical code sits on top of our regular DNA and controls how our genes are expressed, turning them on or off with dramatic consequences for our health.


DVD, S, 60 min., PBS VIDEO, 2001

This program is a remake of Lennart Nilsson's famous MIRACLE OF LIFE, telling the inside-the-womb story of a human life from conception to birth using microscopy and medial imaging.

PBS & The Arts

Against the Odds: The Artists of the Harlem Renaissance (022544)

DVD, JS, 90 min., Closed Captioned, PBS VIDEO, 1994

Explore the lives of visual artists who made the Harlem Renaissance one of the 20th century's richest artistic moments. Archival footage, newsreels, and photographs recall the influential force of exhibitions, Harlem's vibrancy in the Roaring Twenties, and significant personalities such as William E. Harmon, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Alain Locke. Watch African-American artists triumph over formidable odds to create lasting beauty.

American Photography, A Century of Images: The Developing Image (022522)

DVD, JS, 160 min., PBS VIDEO, 1999

American Photography: A Century of Images captures the images of a century of change and the role the camera has played both in creating and documenting it. Dramatic and intimate stories trace photography's profound effect on American life - influencing what we buy, how we dress, how we get the news, and in matters of life and death, medicine, science and war. Even in a high-tech world, the power of the "still" photograph endures.

Ansel Adams (022545)

DVD, JS, 100 min., PBS VIDEO, 2002

Few American artists have enjoyed more widespread popularity while alive than Ansel Adams. A visionary photographer, pioneer in technique, and environmental crusader, Adams took part in a revolution in photography, and in the ways he saw "the continuous beauty of the things that are." Ric Burns' film biography of Adams is an intimate portrait of a man for whom life and art were inextricably connected with photography and wilderness.

Ken Burns: Thomas Hart Benton (022539)

DVD, IJ, 86 min., PBS VIDEO, 1988

One of America's best-known, least-understood painters was Thomas Hart Benton. Ken Burns traces the pioneering artist's turbulent career in this bittersweet portrait, highlighting the fierce controversy over his work. The film combines rare archival material, commentary by those close to the artist, and a stunning selection of Benton's superb paintings and murals to create a moving profile of the 20th-century genius.

Copyright Protection

The WSWHEBOCES MultiMedia Library has been working on increasing the number of PBS materials available in the library collection. PBS Educational materials come with limited public performance rights. These videos may be shown in a classroom or screened by a public group, for educational purposes, when no admission is charged for the viewing.

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