Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans

Our original lesson plans are developed by Thirteen Ed Online Master Teachers. Starting with tried-and-true lessons that work in the classroom, our Web-savvy teachers have built Web-based activities that use the rich resources of Thirteen/WNET New York and the Internet.

Each month, we will create new lessons based upon outstanding PBS series and around outstanding Web resources.

Grades 6-8

Can a great white shark survive, even thrive, in an ocean contained in glass? That's what the researchers and scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium hoped would happen when they introduced a great white shark into the spectacular habitat they created. Through the NATURE production, "Oceans of Glass: Behind the Scenes of the Monterey Bay Aquarium," students will learn about the efforts of the aquarium to acclimate a great white shark to life in captivity. They will also use the Internet and library resources to research the great white shark and create Web sites of their own.

Grades 4-6

In this lesson students will view the film "Dogs: The Early Years." They will use critical thinking skills to determine which breed of dog would best fit their personality and living situation. They will also write a short story from a dog's perspective.

Grades 9-12

Joseph Papp’s passion and commitment to bring theater to diverse communities of New York gave rise to the Public Theater. For 50 years, the Public Theater has been a showcase for new American playwrights and a nurturing place for generations of actors, writers and directors. Inspired by the NEW YORK VOICES' special "The Public" at 50, this lesson asks students to choose three main productions for the 51st season of the Public Theater. As a culminating activity, students will produce the press packet or Playbill promoting their lineup.

Grades 3-5

American sports fans are fiercely loyal to their teams and New Yorkers are no exception. New York fans are considered to be among the rudest, loudest, and yet savviest of the breed. After watching the NEW YORK VOICES "New York Sports: Big Shots and Bad Guys" episode, your elementary school students will research some of the players highlighted in the show for information about their athletic prowess, their importance in the city, and their reputations as Big Shots or Bad Guys. Students will create their own sports cards about each athlete. In doing so, they will have the opportunity to work on their research, summarization and writing skills in an interactive and fun way.

Grades 6-8

Athletes, popular and unpopular alike, come and go, but their homes remain somewhat constant. Dodger fans loved Ebbets Field, and Giants fans adored the Polo Grounds. Today, Knicks fans flock to Madison Square Garden, and Yankee fans revere the "House that Ruth Built." What makes these locations so special? Students will begin to answer this question after watching the NEW YORK VOICES special "New York Sports: Big Shots and Bad Guys." As part of this unit, students will read excerpts from famous novels and essays in hopes of understanding the feelings that sports stadiums inspire. Finally, they will try to capture these emotions and feelings in a tourist brochure that highlights the history, appeal and importance of these buildings.

Grades 8-12

Juilliard students are known for their talent, dedication, and excellence. The Juilliard School is known for all of these same qualities. From its very beginnings in 1905 as the Institute of Musical Art, the school hoped to rival the European conservatories and to bring high quality musical training to the United States. After viewing the American Masters episode about the Juilliard School and applying the Guided Reading approach to a related essay, students will understand the school's vision and commitment to excellence. Using what they have learned, students will then create their own fictional top-notch school promoting excellence in a discipline of their choice.

Grades 3-6

Elementary students develop an understanding of what it means to be homeless and why people become homeless. Using various resources, including video segments from Religion & Ethics, books, and community guest speakers, students explore different perspectives on the homeless, including the issue of whether or not they should be arrested and taken off the streets. As a culminating activity, students examine different methods of helping the homeless and then select one, which they will carry out.

Grades 6-8

Students will focus on one aspect of the presence of religion in public institutions: the controversy surrounding religion in the public schools. Through research and interviews with community members, students examine different perspectives on this issue. They then act as a fact-finding commission whose job is to offer a recommendation to a school administration about its policy on religion in the school.

Grades 6-8

In this lesson, students will research and read about the lives of some famous American heroes. They will examine the qualities that make or made these people heroes and how the time period they lived in influenced their images as heroes. As a culminating activity, students will research a hero of their choice and collect materials to create a trophy for their hero.

Grades 9-12

A BROOKLYN FAMILY TALE follows Sister Geraldine and her efforts to help families in the community of Sunset Park, Brooklyn. In this lesson students will learn to understand and appreciate their own and their classmates' communities by creating 3D models of their communities for a class art show.

Grades 5-8

Use this standards-based lesson as a culminating activity for the study of the human body system. This lesson emphasizes blood and the circulatory system. Based on the RED GOLD: THE EPIC STORY OF BLOOD, it involves cooperative learning, research, art, and language arts.

Grades 3-5

In the PBS series, AMERICAN FAMILY, a fictional Latino family goes about day-to-day life, providing insight into the Latino experience. In this lesson, students create their own working definition of what it means to be an American. They look at the achievements of Latinos and discuss how these Americans’ contributions have enriched and helped shape American culture. Students create an artistic piece representing Latino achievements and share this piece and their thoughts on what it means to be an American with classmates.

Grades 1-5

This lesson will help your 1st to 5th grade students cope with loss and learn how to talk to each other about their feelings. Your students will write letters to children of lost victims and learn about ways they can volunteer. The lesson culminates in a touching class project: a paper quilt in which each student contributes a square.

Grades 6-8

Expand junior high school students' knowledge of Islam by exploring the religious events of Ramadan and the Hajj. This standards-based lesson allows students to gain knowledge of the Islamic religion by researching Islam on the Web and communicating with Muslim representatives from their community. After students gain this knowledge, they are asked to show off what they know by planning and publishing Web pages.

Grades 9-12

In this lesson, the character Shug Avery comes alive for students as they immerse themselves in the world of blues music and the real life models from which the character is based on. The lesson begins by examining Alice Walker's characterization of Shug Avery in THE COLOR PURPLE. Students then research the lives and music of blues singers such as Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday to find parallels between these singers, their lives and music, and Shug Avery herself.

Grades 6-12

In this problem-based lesson, students act as members of the Health Department taskforce on a mission to evaluate and present various rodent control methods and their effect on ecology. Their findings will be presented to local officials.