Classroom Supports and Lesson Plans

  • Classroom Discussion Guide | Above the Noise

    If you want your students to tackle real-world issues and take a deeper look at evidence, data and research, then KQED’s video series Above the Noise belongs in your classroom. Above the Noise is a YouTube series for middle- and high-school students that dives deep into the big questions behind issues affecting students’ daily lives. Episodes take on complex subject matter with facts and research to help young viewers draw informed conclusions, while inspiring media literacy and civic engagement. This classroom discussion guide will help you find ideas about using this new series to help your students cut through the hype and learn more about the world around them.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Lowdown | Why Are American Public Schools Still So Segregated? Lesson Plan

    More than 60 years after the landmark school segregation case Brown v. Board of Education, America’s public schools have become much more segregated even as they have enrolled more students of color than ever before. White students are typically concentrated in schools with other white students, highly segregated by race and income. Meanwhile, students of color, especially African American and Latino students are concentrated in low-income schools. This Lowdown lesson will explore the factors that led to school desegregation and re-segregation, and ask students to reflect on these factors through the lens of their own school experience.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • The Lowdown | Why More News Sites Are Dumping Their Comment Sections Lesson Plan

    Trolling is not new behavior, but why do people do it? And what effects does it have? Trolls tend to antagonize communities in order to amuse themselves and get attention at the expense of others. Trolling has caused some online publications and news organizations to remove comments from their sites due to the effects the comments had on readers’ perceptions of the content, as well as the costs associated with moderating the comments. In this Lowdown lesson, students will analyze the research presented about why people post mean or negative “trolling” comments, as well as evaluate how trolling has affected online communities and reflect on how it should be addressed.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • The Lowdown | How Plastic Took Over The World: A Brief, Disposable History Lesson Plan

    Plastics can be made in almost any shape for almost any purpose. They don’t biodegrade, they just break into smaller and smaller pieces. And this is a problem. Plastics smaller than 5mm are called microplastics. They’re pieces of a plastic item that has broken apart, microbeads found in face washes, pre-production plastic beads called “nurdles,” and microfibers. Microfibers are tiny strands of plastic that are woven together to create synthetic fabrics. They’ve been around for decades, but we’ve only recently realized their negative impacts. In this Lowdown lesson, students will analyze the history of plastics, their effects on the environment and regulatory efforts to address those effects.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • The Lowdown | A Short History of the Long Fight Against Sexual Harassment Lesson Plan

    Accusations of sexual harassment and assault against media mogul Harvey Weinstein caused a groundswell of allegations that have ended the careers of media, entertainment and political figures. Over a million women throughout the country and the world stood up to be counted in solidarity, using the hashtag #MeToo. But sexual harassment is nothing new. Women have encountered sexual harassment since entering the workforce, though the modern fight for equal rights has brought attention and visibility to the problem. In this Lowdown lesson, students will analyze the current and historic fight against sexual harassment.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • The Lowdown | How Russia Used Social Media to Meddle in the 2016 Election and Undermine U.S. Democracy Lesson Plan

    Companies routinely track our activities online -- what we search, what we buy, what videos we watch and what we post to social media. And while most of the time this tracking is used for targeted ads, our information can be bought and used by people in order to influence our opinions about issues or political candidates through not-so-scrupulous methods. In this Lowdown lesson, students will analyze cybersecurity risks, how information about their online activity is monitored and used, and ways they can protect their privacy online.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • The Lowdown | Profiled: A Brief History of Personal Identification Methods Lesson Plan

    Facial recognition software is increasingly used for everything from silly Snapchat filters to border security. We now have the technology to create individual “face prints” that are so accurate that Apple used face-printing software in the latest iPhone. But how does this technology affect our safety, privacy, ability to peacefully protest— or even go out in public anonymously? This Lowdown lesson explores how facial recognition and similar technologies are being used, and how public opinion and public policy have changed as identification technology has developed throughout history.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • The Lowdown | Does Your High School Start Too Early in the Morning? Lesson Plan

    Prompted by health warnings from organizations like the American Pediatric Association and others, schools are considering pushing back their start times to help students get more sleep. This is especially relevant for teenagers whose brains undergo a sleep-cycle phase shift during adolescence that causes them to stay up later. Advocates say a later start time will help students reap the academic and health benefits of more sleep. But opponents say there’s not enough evidence to disrupt the status quo. They fear later start times and later dismissals will cut into student athletics, extracurricular activities, family obligations and job responsibilities. In this Lowdown lesson, students will analyze the debate about school start time as it relates to changes in the sleep cycle that happen during adolescence.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • The Lowdown | Is Climate Change to Blame for Hurricane Harvey and Other Extreme Weather Disasters? Lesson Plan

    Although extreme weather events are nothing new, they have been on the rise. But is climate change really to blame? There is a lot that climate scientists still don't know about the relationship between climate change and extreme weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes, heat waves, droughts, and major rain and snow storms. Scientists are using climate models in order to figure out the role that climate change plays in extreme weather events. In this Lowdown lesson, students will analyze the role of climate change in extreme weather events, and how climate models are being used by scientists to determine its influence.

    Grades: 6-13+