Social Studies Resources K-12

New Civil Rights Interactive from Mission US  Grades 5-9  

Looking for new resources as you commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday on January 16th? The newest interactive learning resource in the Mission US series, “No Turning Back,” will immerse your students in the 1960s civil rights movement. And as you plan for Black History and Women’s History Months, the award-winning Mission US interactive game-based learning experiences will give your students the opportunity to explore significant turning points in our nation’s history. Missions set in different eras encourage students to participate in challenging discussions, develop new perspectives, and weigh multiple kinds of evidence to understand history.

In “No Turning Back,” student learn how segregation and voter intimidation in the South compelled students to engage in mass protest, accelerating the national Black freedom struggle. Together with accompanying teacher resources available online, this and Mission US’s other interactive history games will inspire student engagement in your lessons for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and beyond. 

To stay current with Mission US and access articles from our series advisors and producers, visit the Mission US blog

The Radio Age and 1930s America 

Grades 9-12 

This new collection of resources is an engaging way to teach about the growth and impact of mass media in 1930s America. The Radioactive podcast tells the story of Father Coughlin, a popular and divisive radio personality who became the first mass media demagogue. The resources explore the historical context of Coughlin’s rise to fame and influence, including antisemitism in the United States, the Great Depression, and the rise of worldwide fascism in the 1930s. Students will reflect on Coughlin’s legacy and influence on media and politics today and consider what it means to be a responsible citizen and consumer of information. 

New Media Literacy Resources 

Grades 6-12 

Images can tell powerful stories. One iconic photograph can symbolize an entire era. But if we expand the frame and examine the moment in which it was taken, a very different story can emerge. This new collection of resources uses a series of documentary shorts, hosted by Harvard University historian Dr. Vincent Brown, to explore media literacy concepts and historical thinking that encourage students to look deeper and more critically at popular photographs. Brown meets with curators, photographers, and other experts to challenge common assumptions about iconic American images.

American Masters: Buffy Sainte-Marie

Grades 6-12

Using new resources in the American Masters collection, share the story of Cree musician, artist, and activist Buffy Sainte-Marie to explore how she has used her platform to campaign for Indigenous and women’s rights, and inspire the next generation to use their voices to stand up for others.

Sainte-Marie changed perceptions of Indigenous people in music, film and television. When approached to play a lead role in a 1968 episode of The Virginian, she famously demanded that all Indigenous roles be played by Indigenous people. Additionally, across her five-year stint on Sesame Street she helped create segments based on her experiences as an Indigenous woman in North America. More recently, she has highlighted the important issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

New Civics Resources 

Grades K-2 

This series of animated shorts helps young viewers learn about civics on City Island, where everything is alive! In each story, Watt the lightbulb explores a question, problem, or challenge that drives him to find a creative solution and meet the different members of his community. Watch and explore concepts with your young learners such as conflict resolution, cooperation, and city planning. 

In addition to civics, the series touches on other related aspects of the Social Studies framework, such as geography and economics. Watch the videos on PBS Kids and visit PBS LearningMedia to find related activities for your classroom.  

Youth Collective Film Festival Open for Submissions!

Grades 9 and up

The WNET Group's Youth Collective is introducing its inaugural film festival, which will be held on June 7, 2023 at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center in New York City. We're seeking submissions by filmmakers ages 13-25 and welcome short films of all kinds: narrative, documentary, comedy, drama, animation, music video, under-60-second social media video -- the sky's the limit! 

The 2023 film festival theme is DEMOCRACY. We are looking for short films that explore democracy: from a filmed dance piece interpreting a first voting experience through movement to an animated satire about the First Amendment to a short documentary about your own community’s local government, and more. Encourage students to think beyond politics - we want to see creative and thoughtful interpretations of what democracy means to them. 

Selected films will be screened at our NYC festival and considered for distribution on public media, including broadcast and digital platforms. Films will also be judged for special awards and recognition. Filmmakers who attend the festival will have unique networking opportunities with peers, public media professionals, and more. 

Please spread the word and direct students to the submission page on FilmFreeway: 

We are also hosting a free virtual info session Wednesday, 1/18 at 7pm ET for anyone interested in submitting.