Skip to main content

Week of May 4-8 Learning Materials

Email share

We know it isn't easy keeping an at-home routine of educational lessons and activities and we are here to help!

Each weekday from 8am-6pm on WMHT WORLD, watch a robust suite of PBS programs with your family - right at home. After viewing programs, ranging from NOVA to American Masters, you can utilize the supplemental PBS LearningMedia materials below. Learn about Notre Dame's fire and the cathedral's significance, get a lesson plan for The Great American Read, and more.

Click here for the May 4-8 Home Classroom Schedule [PDF]

Have a question? Let us know at

WMHT Reflection Questions for Parents, Families, Educators and Students [PDF]


And Then There Were None
Writers Gillian Flynn and Christopher Bollen explain why And Then There Were None is Agatha Christie's most compelling mystery. It's an example of how thrillers are so effective when talking about villains and monsters. Christie's masterpiece doesn't rely on a detective to solve the crime, and explores an obsession with both murder and justice.

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Ignatius J. Reilly is the unlikely, and unforgettable hero of the Pulitzer prize-winning A Confederacy of Dunces.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream:The Love Potion
This media gallery from Shakespeare Uncovered examines how and why the love potion is used in William Shakespeare's comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream. Students will learn what inspired Shakespeare to incorporate the love potion into the play and how it impacts the plot and dialogue.

Looking for Alaska: The Great American Read
Looking for Alaska is a young adult novel about first love, unrequited love, tragedy, and the intense experiences during the teenage years.

Alice in Wonderland-Queen of Hearts
The Queen of Hearts is the most notorious villain in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Moby Dick-Captain Ahab
Experts discuss Herman Melville's love of the sea and how the obsessed Ahab is the anti-hero of the story.

The Giver
The Giver is a Newberry Award-winning book by Lois Lowry that tells the story of 12-year-old Jonas. We explore how Jonas is an ordinary boy who does the extraordinary.

From this video segment from, Jakers!, we learn that every story has a hero.

Heroes and Hope in Frank Herbert’s Dune
In this excerpt from The Great American Read, Wil Wheaton describes his relationship with Frank Herbert’s Dune. The best-selling science fiction novel chronicles the tension between good and evil, and the fight over a limited natural resource —"the spice."


Notre Dame Fire and the Cathedral’s Significance

Read the summary, watch the videos and answer the discussion questions. Read the Associated Press’s “Fire breaks out at Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral.”


Stained Glass: Canterbury Cathedral
Discover the magnificent stained glass windows of the Canterbury Cathedral. Rebuilt in 1070, the Canterbury Cathedral has been one of the most revered Christian structures in England from an art historical perspective.

Stained Glass: Chartres Cathedral
Enrich your knowledge about the Chartres Cathedral by looking at images of the stained glass windows housed in this Gothic structure. Built between 1194 and 1250, the cathedral has been exceptionally well preserved.

Keeping the Light: Monastic Life in Medieval France
Read a description of the role monasteries played in Medieval Europe; use a graphic organizer to take notes and finally write a short essay that explains the role of the monastic system in the European Medieval world.


Native America: Cities of the Sky
Native America: Cities of the Sky explores the creation of some of the ancient world’s largest and most impressive cities. An archaeologist explores some of the world’s largest pyramids in Central America, scientists 3D-scan a lost city of monumental mounds on the Mississippi River, and native elders reveal ancient powers of the sky in modern-day Missouri. Modern research suggests these ancient urban centers are more than just great feats of engineering and artistry. They are heavenly cities—aligned to and inspired by the movement of the sun, moon, and stars.

Celestial Sphere
This animation is a simple model of the apparent motion of the stars in the night sky. Ancient people described the motions as if the stars were all attached to a vast globe, or a Celestial Sphere, centered about the Earth.


Achievements of Stephen Hawking Lesson Plan
Learn about Stephen Hawking - his personal history, his struggle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), his thought processes and how he developed his groundbreaking ideas about Black Holes, the Big Bang, and the discovery of Hawking Radiation.

Do Events Inside Black Holes Happen?
Join Gabe on this week’s episode of PBS Space Time as he debunks popular black hole misconceptions, and rethinks what the term, ‘black hole’, even means. Thought you knew what a black hole was? Think again!

Can We Time Travel
Use the discussion questions to stimulate conversation both before and after viewing with your family or connect with friends and get their perspective.

Are We Alone?
Use the following discussion questions to stimulate conversation both before and after viewing with your family or connect with friends and get their perspective.

Achievements of Stephen Hawking
In this lesson, students learn about Stephen Hawking - his personal history, his struggle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), his thought processes and how he developed his groundbreaking ideas about Black Holes, the Big Bang, and the discovery of Hawking Radiation.

What Are We?: Molecules
In this clip from Genius by Stephen Hawking, learn about molecules and their behavior on an atomic scale.

What are We?
In this clip from Genius by Stephen Hawking, learn about the process of evolution and how nature has adapted.

Light Years
In this video segment adapted from Shedding Light on Science, learn how light can be used to measure distance. Meet Kim McLeod, an astronomer at Wellesley College who studies some of the most distant objects in the universe.

Hubble Telescope Looking Deep
In this video segment adapted from the Space Telescope Science Institute, learn how the Hubble Space Telescope created this amazing picture of the early universe.

Hubble & The Expanding Universe
Learn how Edwin Hubble made some of the most important discoveries in modern astronomy in this video from NOVA: Invisible Universe Revealed.

How Big Is Our Universe?
This interactive resource from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics illustrates the immense scale of the universe and demonstrates some techniques astronomers use to measure distances.


Home of Franklin D Roosevelt National Historic Site
Discover the Roosevelts, the family home, the Presidential library, Val-Kill, once a family picnic site it became Eleanor Roosevelt’s cottage and then primary residence.

The Roosevelts Ken Burns in the Classroom
Ken Burns in the Classroom- The Roosevelts
Support Materials to use in tandem with the on air programming of The Roosevelts.

Theodore Roosevelt and the Western Experience
ExamineS the 26th president of the United States. TR or Teddy as he has come to be known, balanced his identity of an intellectual from the East with the frontiersman of the West. His love of nature as a boy carried on throughout his life, influencing policy decisions as president that we still see today.


Experiencing Shakespeare
Experiencing Shakespeare makes Shakespeare come alive for students. Through television, the web, and social media, students explore the Folger Shakespeare Library, a leader in teaching Shakespeare, and home to the world's largest Shakespeare collection.

Shakespeare: The Intersection of Art & Life Timeline
Discover major events in William Shakespeare’s life through The Intersection of Art and Life, an interactive timeline.

Does Art Imitate Life? Shakespeare Uncovered
Writers are often told to "write what they know." This lesson will ask students to explore this idea using examples of great writers, with a particular focus on William Shakespeare.

All the Globe’s a State: Shakespeare’s Theater- Shakespeare Uncovered
In this lesson, students will develop their understanding of how Shakespeare’s plays were influenced by the physical space in which they were originally produced, the Globe Theatre.


Get the Math is about algebra in the real world. See how professionals use math in music, fashion, video games, restaurants, basketball, and special effects. Then take on interactive challenges related to those careers. Watch this intro video before trying one of the challenges below.


Explore educational materials from the series Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise, clips, lesson plans and more.


What’s in the Great Pyramid?
Cosmic particles reveal a previously hidden void within the Great Pyramid of Khufu in Egypt.

Explore Ancient Egypt
Visit the magnificent tombs and temples of ancient Thebes? In this multi-layered, highly visual interactive, view 360° panoramas, "walkaround" photos, and other breathtaking imagery shot throughout the Giza Plateau and ancient Thebes (modern-day Luxor), often with special permission.

Cosmic-Ray Muons Reveal Hidden Void in the Great Pyramid
A void as tall as the Statue of Liberty has been detected in Khufu’s pyramid, otherwise known as the Great Pyramid, using a technique of modern particle physics. While it is presently unclear what function the large void played back in Ancient Egyptian times, experts are hoping that this gaping hole in Giza’s most imposing pyramid could help answer some persistent questions archaeologists and historians have about its construction.


Science Fiction and Fantasy as Serious Literature
Learn how science fiction and fantasy transformed over time from a marginalized genre into prestige literature in this video from the American Mastersfilm Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin.

Pushing Boundaries: Science Fiction and Feminism
By redefining the parameters of science fiction, Le Guin herself had to rethink the role of women in the genre. In addition to discussion questions and vocabulary, support materials also ask students to think about how changing the perspective in a story can alter our understanding of the main characters and the central conflict.


NOVA scienceNOW: How the Body Responds to Exercise
This video segment adapted from NOVA describes the effect of exercise on the body and defines one measure used to gauge aerobic fitness.

Your Body is an Ecosystem: NOVA Wonders: What’s Living in You?
Examine some of the science underlying a new paradigm for understanding how the body works, in these videos from NOVA Wonders: What’s Living in You?

How Fast Does Your Brain Send Messages to Your Body?
How fast does the eye send messages to the brain and the brain send messages to your hand muscles to react in time to catch a falling object?

Human Genome Project
In this video segment from NOVA: "Cracking the Code of Life," Eric Lander of MIT's Whitehead Institute explains the effort to decode the human genome.

Discovering Human Origins in Africa
Learn about the discovery of Australopithecus africanus, in this video from NOVA: Dawn of Humanity.

Body Needs
Why do we eat? How do our bodies use the foods we eat? What organ or system in your body may not be getting enough of what it needs?

Seasonal Science: Frostbite
How are all the structures in your body affected by cold weather and why do our fingers, toes, and nose end up with frostbite first?

Explore the It’s Okay to be Smart series and lessons around evolution and genetics.


A Knight of Santiago and His Lady
Examine an oil painting of a knight and his lady by an unknown artist, c. 1610. (Spain.) Support activities encourage you to analyze the picture, answer some thought provoking questions and create your own family portrait.

Medieval Music: Gregorian Chant
Learn the characteristics of Gregorian chant. Members of the UK Men’s Chorus demonstrate three performance methods—direct, antiphonal, and responsorial—and perform the Gregorian chant “Alma redemptoris mater.”


Where in China is…?
Play this mapping game to test your knowledge of China. Can you find the Terracotta Army or the Great Wall of China? Players start this game with 5000 miles and lose 500 miles for every wrong answer. The challenge is to get to Shanghai before running out of miles.

Know Your Dynasties
Each dynasty has left its mark on China. Even today, the Chinese refer to historical events not by their date but by the dynasty in which they took place. That's why you need to know your dynasties! Play the quiz and match the cards to the dynasty. See how many you can get right before the time runs out.

Urbanization During the Ming Dynasty: Word Search Puzzle Activity
Review the activity on urbanization in ancient China, and then try to find the related words in this word search puzzle.


Build a Bridge
This interactive activity from NOVA highlights the strengths and weaknesses of various bridge designs. It then challenges learners to put their knowledge to the test by situating the right type of bridge in each of four different scenarios.

Design Squad: Truss Bridge
Have you ever wondered how different bridge designs manage the forces of tension and compression? In this video segment adapted from Design Squad, a team of students competes in a bridge design and construction challenge without the aid of power tools.

Design Squad: Suspension Bridge
A team of students competes in a bridge design and construction challenge that requires them to build a suspension bridge, which uses long sagging cables and towers to support the weight of a suspended deck.


Seeing in the Dark-Explore the Sky
Our star chart is designed to get you out learning the night sky within a matter of moments. Just set it for your time and location, make a few tweaks if you like for personal taste, and print it out.

Celestial Sphere
This animation is a simple model of the apparent motion of the stars in the night sky. Ancient people described the motions as if the stars were all attached to a vast globe, or a Celestial Sphere, centered about the Earth.

Observing the Moon in the Sky
Observe images of the Moon during the day and night with this slideshow. The images can stimulate students’ thinking and questions about when and how the Moon appears in the sky and provide them with the opportunity to compare their own Moon observations with the Moon in the images.

Amateur Astronomers
In this video from QUEST produced by KQED, students learn about what an amateur astronomer is and the role amateur astronomers play in the field of astronomy. Students also learn about how telescopes work.

Introduction to Astronomy
Learn how ancient humans observed the sky and associated the patterns they found there with farming and the seasons on Earth.


Plant Fossils Hint at Arctic’s Swampy Past
Paleontologist Kirk Johnson shows a group of high schoolers that plant species in Virginia used to be right at home near the North Pole.

Arctic Tundra
This video segment from Wild Europe: Wild Arctic describes some of the plants and animals that make up the tundra biome. It also captures the harshness of the treeless arctic environment and the adaptations that different organisms use to survive a year's worth of seasons there.

Antarctica: A Challenging Work Day
In this video segment adapted from NOVA, see how the members of one research team cope with the inhospitable climate and other environmental hazards during their stay.

Earth as a System
Earth is a complex, evolving body characterized by ceaseless change. To understand Earth on a global scale means using a scientific approach to consider how Earth's component parts and their interactions have evolved, how they function, and how they may be expected to further evolve over time.


NOVA Online: Floating Buildings
According to civil engineer Rutger De Graaf, in the event of a hurricane or flood, a floating city might be the safest place to be. In fact, he envisions self-sustaining cities in the middle of the ocean. He runs the firm that designed a pavilion of floating, connected geodesic domes in the port of Rotterdam. Sometimes design problems have to be worked out. This video from NOVA Online shows other buildings that are out of balance.

How Do Ships Float? Things Explained
In this episode of Things Explained, we discuss how a tiny paper clip sinks in water but a cargo ship weighing 250,000 tons floats. We also explain what density, buoyancy, and a man named Archimedes have to do with this science phenomenon.

Reroofing Your Uncle’s House
This interactive exercise focuses on measurement, calculating the area of trapezoids, and combining the areas with the roofing information provided to take math out of the classroom and into the real world.


Saarinen’s St. Louis Gateway Arch
Explore monument design and Westward Expansion in this video about the St. Louis Gateway Arch. Eero Saarinen’s famous arch sits on the Mississippi River and is considered the “gateway to the West.”

Louisiana Purchase Treaty
This resource contains images related to and a facsimile of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase Treaty. In this transaction with France, signed on April 30, 1803, the United States purchased 828,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi River for $15 million. For roughly 4 cents an acre, the United States doubled its size, expanding the nation westward.

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
After making the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, President Thomas Jefferson assembled an expedition to explore the new vast territory, led by intrepid explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.

Westward Expansion, 1790-1850
In this interactive map produced by WGBH, explore the territorial and population changes in the United States between 1790 and 1850. The time frame of the map also covers the beginning of the transportation revolution, with layers depicting the development of canals and then railroad networks and the major trail routes that facilitated westward migration.


H20: The Molecule that Made Us
Explore our relationship with water and examine how our success as a species is tied to our control of this precious and dwindling resource, in this collection of media and support materials from the broadcast series, H2O: The Molecule That Made Us.


About Norman Y. Mineta- life and times of Mineta from the Mineta Legacy Project.

Made into an Enemy
On February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, authorizing the war department to designate military areas and exclude anyone it felt was a danger. More than 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry living on the west coast were forced from their homes and moved inland to camps.

Internment of Japanese Americans
Through this collection of videos and discussion questions, gain insight into the Japanese American experience of WWII and the human impact of the U.S. internment camps.


See how art became the great interface when distant cultures met for the first time. Interactive art experience for episode Encounters and The Second Moment of Creation.


The Chinese Exclusion Act
This teacher’s guide provides materials to support the documentary film, The Chinese Exclusion Act | AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, and is designed to meet certain national history, social studies, geography, and common core standards for grades 5-12.

Chinese Exclusion Act and Resource Materials
The Chinese Exclusion Act, provided as facsimile in this resource, was approved and signed into law by President Chester A. Arthur on May 6, 1882; it was the first significant restriction on immigration in the United States. It set a 10 year block on the entrance of Chinese laborers into the United States.

Anna May Wong Unladylike2020
Using video, discussion questions, vocabulary, teaching tips, and an in-class activity, learn about Wong’s place in Hollywood history and how she was impacted by important events in American history, like the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and anti-miscegenation laws.