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covid 19 podcast lessons

October 20, 2020

Teaching About COVID-19 With Podcasts

Listenwise has published a wide variety of podcast lessons to support teaching and learning about COVID-19.


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Teach with COVID-19 Podcasts

As we continue to mark milestones in the coronavirus pandemic, our understanding of the illness and its impact on many facets of society continues to evolve. In recent months, Listenwise has published a wide variety of podcast lessons to support teaching and learning about COVID-19. We have gathered here some of our most engaging and informative podcast lessons, organized by topic, along with ideas about how to use them.

Teaching Ideas

The lessons listed below by topic can be used in many different  ways. Here are a few possibilities: 

Quick Starter Activities

  • Teach vocabulary using fun, relevant, 30-second “Weird News” stories about clever social distancing strategies or ways to help during the pandemic.  
  • Invite students to choose a relevant story and reflect on how it relates to their lives, as Erik Eve did with his 8th grade class
  • Help students understand the importance of public health  measures they are expected to observe inside and outside the classroom by assigning and discussing stories about pandemic dynamics, prevention, and testing. 
  • Promote empathy among students by assigning stories that illuminate pandemic experiences that may be unfamiliar to them.

Deeper Lessons & Projects

  • Ask students to engage in civil debate about relevant topics that are being discussed in the public discourse, such as whether masks should be required by law or whether surveillance technology should be used for contact tracing. 
  • Deepen students’ understanding of civic, economic, or social  institutions such as voting, food supply chains, or public education by exploring the impact of the pandemic on those institutions through audio stories that feature community voices. 
  • Set up a jigsaw activity where small groups of students listen to different stories and then teach each other what they learned. 
  • Design a research project in which students choose an aspect of the pandemic to investigate, starting with audio stories on the topic, and then present their findings to the class. 

Note:  Many podcast stories with outdated statistics contain information and ideas that remain relevant to  understanding the pandemic, including virus transmission rates and prevention strategies, immunology research, public health disparities, and disruptions to daily life.  It is also important, of course, to attend to students’ social and emotional health when teaching about the pandemic, which may have created hardships for them. Further guidance is offered in additional resources below. 

Find more lesson plans and resources on COVID-19
and other pandemics in our Coronavirus collection

COVID-19 Podcasts: Science & Public Health

These stories can help to explain the science behind the pandemic,  including how it spreads through the population and what can be done to limit that spread. 

Pandemic Dynamics


Testing & Containment


COVID-19 Podcasts: Social & Community Impact

These stories explore the many ways that COVID-19 has impacted society, including the education system, fashion, sports, and economic security. It has drawn attention to issues of equity and created challenges to civic engagement. It has also created opportunities and fostered understanding of the complex ways in which our global society is interconnected.  







Republished with permission from Listenwise.


How to Access: Premium access is now available for free while schools are closed for COVID-19. Teach with podcasts covering a variety of topics.

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