Target Audience: Grades 8-12
Subjects/Skills: Social Studies, Contemporary Issues
This collection of educational resources on PBS LearningMedia from the GBH-produced PBS documentary series FRONTLINE explores and illuminates the critical issues of our times - from business and health to social issues, politics and war. Featuring contextualized media from FRONTLINE’s suite of offerings including documentary films, interactive experiences, digital content, and podcasts, the FRONTLINE educational resources include essential questions, teaching tips, background readings, vocabulary definitions and student activities to guide and scaffold student learning and engagement. The brand’s trademark thought-provoking journalism provides students with nuanced, complex analysis of the stories that shape our world and the accompanying support materials prompt students to dig deeper, avoid the easy answers, and ask the critical questions, opening the way for powerful debate and discussion in the classroom. FRONTLINE content covers a range of civics topics from citizen soldiers in the Syrian conflict in For Sama to the coronavirus pandemic in The Virus: What Went Wrong and Covid’s Hidden Toll to teen activism in NRA Under Fire, and serves as a powerful tool to help students make connections between past and present, develop civic understanding and engagement, and deepen critical thinking skills. FRONTLINE resources are regularly featured in the National Council of Social Studies (NCSS) conference where we present “Teaching FRONTLINE in the Classroom” to hundreds of teachers.
In a 2020 survey of 449 teachers regarding their use of FRONTLINE to teach contemporary issues, a respondent wrote:
"The materials and information that PBS LearningMedia provides to my students is exceptional. It is genuinely 'usable' information and never fails to open discussions and debate in the classroom."
After reviewing sample resources for the Contemporary Issues Collection on PBS LearningMedia, a majority indicated that they were likely to use each of the proposed five FRONTLINE sub-collections in the 2020-21 or 2021-22 school years. Educators reported that they were most likely to use the Immigrant Experience Collection (86%), followed by Racial Justice (83%), Civics (79%), War and Diplomacy (78%), and Climate Change (58%; many indicated that science educators were responsible for teaching this topic). Likelihood of using each collection was even higher (90%+) among educators who indicated that they have taught (or plan to teach) the corresponding topic this school year.
As of June 2021, resources from the past three seasons of FRONTLINE have been viewed over 29,000 times by 18,000 users.
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