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Lesson Plans

Distance learning: PBS NewsHour classroom resources for students

March 16, 2020

Full Lesson


Use these teacher-produced resources and lesson plans to create your own packets for students. We will keep this document updated, especially around current events. We have five sections to choose from, plus additional resources. Do you have resources you’d like to recommend to other teachers to use in the event school is closed or teachers/students have to miss class? Write to share ideas for resources.

1. Current events resources

2. Super Civics 2020 election collection

3. Invention Education: Extra’s hands-on invention lesson you can do at home

4. PBS Student Reporting Labs (SRL) issues-based youth videos

5. NewsHour Extra blogs for students AND teachers

6. Teacher-created and recommended curriculum

7. Additional resources (write vpasquantonio@newshour to add!)

1. Current Events

Check out Classroom’s current events resources here.

For example: Ask Juliette Kayyem: What will it take for communities to feel safe reopening schools?

2. Government and Election 2020 lessons

Looking for classroom resources for the 2020 elections?

Extra’s “Super Civics 2020” election series:

Check out these 7 video-based lesson plans on key issues like political parties, voting rights, media bias and local & state elections.

3. STEM “InventED” lesson series – Design your own invention

Students, learn how you can solve real-world problems through the power of invention and innovation. Check out these lesson plans to explore inventions that are battling invasive species and climate change and building empathy in young people.

4. Student Reporting Labs (SRL)

SRL is a PBS NewsHour video storytelling and journalism program made up of teens across the country who cover a variety of topics important to young people. Check out their website here.

SRL created this easy-to-use curriculum ( for teachers which allows students to share their own stories about how the coronavirus has affected them. Options for different levels of video-making are available.

For additional video series from SRL, check out: 

How to break down stereotypes video lesson from SRL’s latest series No Labels:

For more Student Reporting Labs classroom resources on Classroom, check here.

To watch more videos from SRL by series, go here.

Take a look at SRL’s Election Toolkit made up of how to’s, lessons and student challenges on ways students can cover local politics and national elections:

5. Student and teacher blogs

How do current issues and events affect your life in school? This is the question we have students and teachers address on our Student Voice and Educator Voice blogs, respectively.

Write Victoria Pasquantonio at We’d love to hear from you! Take a look at some past Student Voice blogs like this one on how one student made the most of his time in quarantine by becoming the “Quarantine Chef” or this one on school reopening in China. And follow our Educator Voices series, including this post on how teachers really feel about returning to the classroom.

6. Teacher-created and recommended curriculum

A.History Comics and Comics in Education by Tim Smyth, social studies teacher at Wissahickon High School in Ambler, Pennsylvania.

B. Read the World: Distance Learning Support by Kristin Ziemke and Katie Muhtaris

C. Parental Control ( From @DreadedEnglish Teacher M. Ed. who started a Youtube channel with her son for mother-son gaming.

D.List of social studies-related podcasts created by Chris Hitchcock, social studies teacher, #sschat co-moderator and co-host of @TalkinSS.If you have suggestion to add, fill out this form.

E. Civics 101: A Podcast ( by New Hampshire Public Radio

F. Twitter bookmark list ( compiled by Jessica Hunsberger, history, debate and theatre teacher. List includes lots of resources, strategies and examples of online teaching and technology use.

7. Additional resources we recommend:

A. Be sure to check your state’s Department of Education website for resources.

For example, Maine’s website has great information for teachers and parents: Maine Department of Education Coronavirus Update–>>Continuity of Learning by Content Area–>>Continuity of Learning – Social Studies (

For updates from our Super Civics 2020 series containing teacher resources on Election 2020, sign up here. To read education news highlights from the PBS NewsHour, sign up here.