August 27th, 2014

Back to school resources for every classroom


It’s that time of year again and PBS NewsHour Extra has got you covered for great back to school lesson plans and resources for every middle and high school classroom. Our resources come in different forms to fit your time and depth of content needs.

  • Daily Videos Video blogs provide engaging video clips from the NewsHour with accompanying summaries and questions to engage students with the news without using a whole class period. You can also find our news stories on PBS Learning Media daily.
  • Lesson Plans Full lesson plans are longer and provide a complete start-to-finish package that includes multi-media resources, an aggregated collection of lesson materials and alignment to Common Core standards.
  • Student Voices Our Student Voices are short student-created articles that range from current event topics to personal stories and come from students all over the world.
  • Articles and Collections Find news articles written specifically with the middle and high school student in mind. You can also find our larger resource collections here.
  • The Teachers’ Lounge A new blog for the education community by real practitioners that will address trends, best practices and the real challenges educators, students and families face every day.

Core Classes

Social Studies | Current Events in Ferguson: The Michael Brown Shooting

St. Louis cops shoot and kill man near Ferguson

Use this PBS Learning Media multimedia collection of news coverage on the shooting of Michael Brown to help students get the facts and support class discussions on race, justice and violence surrounding the event.

Science | Celebrate STEM Collection


Get your students excited about the sciences with this rich collection of media-rich resources designed to engage and inspire middle and high school students. The collection includes lesson plans, interviews with STEM professionals, PBS NewsHour videos and other online resources you won’t want to miss.

English |  75th anniversary of the Grapes of Wrath Resource Collection

Annex - Fonda, Henry (Grapes of Wrath, The)_03

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the American classic The Grapes of Wrath by acclaimed author John Steinbeck. Use this resource collection to find lesson plans, articles, videos, photography collections and human rights programs related to the the core issues brought to light in this Nobel Prize-winning piece of literature.

Math | The Great Gatsby Curve

Introduce students to the economics of inequality and help them authentically experience scarcity of resources with this engaged simulation activity. Catch their interest by bringing the story to life with the classic American novel The Great Gatsby.

Health and Physical Education | The Olympics: Body and Mind

Help students discover the importance of physical and mental health through an exploration of the world’s best athletes in this collection of resources centered around the 2014 Olympics.

Popular Electives

Journalism | Student Reporting Labs Journalism Curriculum

back to school image

Use this award-winning journalism curriculum from the PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs that provides three units that covers everything from media literacy to the technical skills needed to create original video stories.

Psychology | Neuroscience and Zombies!

Use this zombie-filled neuroscience curriculum created in collaboration with Dr. Steven Schlozman, a Harvard Medical School professor and author of The Zombie Autopsies. The story starts off with kids in the role of medical students who are faced with the challenge of saving the world from a zombie apocalypse. To be successful, they must learn the fundamentals of neuro-anatomy, psycho-pharmacology and how to share their cure with others through a scientific journal article.

Earth Science | Toxic trial: taking responsibility for environmental problems and solutions


This powerful simulation lesson plan was created in collaboration with the Center for Investigative Reporting and The Guardian. Put your students in the role of the many players involved in this environmental crisis that started in the 1960s and continues to affect communities across the United States, and challenge them to decide who is to blame.

Submit Your Student Voice

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