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Written by: Hannah Litz
Date: October 12, 2020

With the 2020 Presidental election just weeks away, it’s sure to be a hot topic in classrooms across America. We’ve collected resources from PBS and our fellow public media stations to help teachers and their students explore these important topics in the lead up to the election and beyond.

This collection of resources from PBS LearningMedia features videos, lesson plans, and other activities that will help 4th thru 12th-grade students understand the importance that elections and voting have in our democracy. Educators and their students can keep up with election news, study the history and process of presidential elections, and explore voting rights in the lead up to yet another consequential US election.

Also included in this collection are toolkits for discussing current issues and holding civil debates to discuss students’ opinions on important issues such as best ways to combat climate change, protecting the environment, providing access to education, and more.

Celebrate youth voice and civic engagement ahead of the 2020 election and KQED for a virtual screening of powerful and diverse student commentaries on election issues that matter to them. These informed, thoughtful perspectives from the Let’s Talk About Election 2020 youth media challenge cross political lines and address topics ranging from healthcare to climate change to gun control. The event, hosted by Myles Bess from Above the Noise, will feature a conversation with author Jason Reynolds, the Library of Congress national ambassador for young people’s literature, followed by a live discussion with Myles and student media creators. You can register for this event on KQED’s website.

The PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs (SRL), has collaborated with MediaWise to host Face the Facts: Election 2020 Youth Town Hall, a one-hour, virtual youth town hall to engage students and first-time voters on how to be prepared and better informed ahead of the November elections.

The town hall was hosted by Amna Nawaz, senior national correspondent and primary substitute anchor for the PBS NewsHour, and featured special guests Hari Sreenivasan, NewsHour senior correspondent and anchor for NewsHour Weekend, and Savannah Sellers, NBC News and MSNBC correspondent and co-host of Stay Tuned, NBC’s twice-daily news show on Snapchat and Instagram. Nawaz, Sreenivasan, and Sellers are MediaWise Ambassadors who work with MediaWise — a digital media literacy project from the Poynter Institute — to teach people of all ages how to sort fact from fiction online.

“This town hall will create a space for young people to hear from other young people and experts about the critical issues they are facing during this historic election year and how to be more confident in navigating news and information online,” said SRL Senior Director Elis Estrada, in a press release prior to the recording of the event.

The livestream featured conversations with young people about how to spot election misinformation and engage in the democratic process as they’re making decisions about how to cast their vote. The event culminated with Nawaz and guests taking questions from viewers. A recording of the event can be viewed on PBS NewsHour’s Youtube Channel.