The Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago supports teachers in developing critical thinking and news literacy in students—two abilities that will serve students throughout their lives and help them be part of our democracy. Toward that goal, the museum brings an innovative, real-time online exhibit and curriculum to schools across the country.
The museum’s main exhibit covers the history of radio, from the pioneering first days of radio kits and amateur operators to today’s satellite-enhanced multi-billion-dollar industry. Students can preview the exhibit “100 Years of Radio: From 1835 to Today” on the museum’s website. They can learn about the Titanic’s impact on radio, for example, or listen to the first sports broadcasts. They can also view a newsreel in which Dr. Jonas Salk announces the polio vaccine over radio.
From talk radio to television to podcasts to Twitter, the museum helps middle and high school students understand how today’s debates are shaped by 60 years of broadcast history. “The Great Debates” curriculum develops critical thinking and media literacy by linking performance highlights, commentary, and debate analyses. The museum wants students to understand not just the debates but also the critiques, the spins, and the patterns.
The Civic Life Project's Democracy 2022 Youth Film Challenge is a global film competition for youth under age 25 to generate civics-oriented videos that ultimately create a groundbreaking movement for young Americans to get engaged in our democracy and to vote.
The George Washington Mount Vernon Prize for Excellence in Civics and History is awarded to two student projects each year. Teachers and organization leaders can nominate eligible middle school and high school students who have applied their understanding of George Washington’s life to extend his legacy of public service within classrooms, schools, or community projects.
The Lincoln Home National Historic Site is an ideal place to expand students’ knowledge and curiosity of Abraham Lincoln. The historic site’s programs are inspired by the essential question, How can artifacts help us understand a person or time period?