My Favorite Podcasts for Social Studies Nerds!
I love podcasts. Like really love podcasts. I probably listen to 10 hours of podcasts a week while walking outside, cooking, driving, working on the computer . . . you get the point. Most of my podcasts fall under a typical high school’s Social Studies department: history (duh!), Government, Current Events, Economics, Psychology, and Sociology.
I clearly enjoy listening to podcasts. But they are also great to use with teens. Many teens don’t want to read (oh, the struggle!), but will happily listen to a podcast. They can also listen any time – on the bus, waiting for practice to start, or walking the dog.
Podcasts also go beyond the standard history or government narrative; teens can take a deep dive into a specific topic. They are perfect for furthering a personal passion or area of research! Also, since many air on NPR, they tend to be clear of curse words, though you do have to double-check.
My Favorite Podcasts for Social Studies Nerds!
How to use podcasts with teens?
Parents – If you want to encourage an interest in Social Studies in your child, grab the free Reflection Guide I created for you. Maybe pick one dinner a week that you will discuss podcasts as a family. (Boy, does this give you a window into family discussions in my house when I was a kid!) BTW, that means that you listen to a podcast, too!
Let your kids know ahead of time what questions you will discuss, so they can prepare. (As a teacher, I ALWAYS had kids write down their answers before we discussed anything in class. That gives the quieter kid or the one who processes more slowly time to come up with an answer.) Then just work through the questions as a family.
Teachers – Assigning a Social Studies podcast would be great for a choice board, an enrichment activity, or extra credit, if you offer it. Just download the Reflection Guide, print it off, and hand it out to students. Easy peasy!
Got it? All right friend, clear some space on your phone and plan a long drive, ‘cause we have some listening to do!
History & Social Studies Podcasts
Love this podcast on U.S. History. Each episode looks at an event in U.S. History, but often from a. different perspective. What was that event like for women? POC? Immigrants? Member of the LBGTQ community? Changing the perspective gives an entirely new spin on the same old history you’re used to!
By far my favorite podcast for years; sadly it finished its run in 2020. However, the archives are gold for U.S. History buffs. The hosts are all historians of American history. Each episode has a theme – Thanksgiving, hair, etc. The hosts explore the theme in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries to help explain the theme in today’s culture. The authors also talk a lot about historiography – how interpretations of history have changed over the course of centuries. This history geek geeks out! Fave episodes: Contagion, Charlottesville
U.S History teachers – if you only listen to one of these podcasts, please let it be this one! Historians and classroom teachers discuss the history of slavery and the Civil rights Movement in the U.S. along with best practices for actually teaching them in the classroom. Fave episode: Resistance Means More Than Rebellion
The AP US Government teacher in me LURVES this podcast. Each episode looks at major a Supreme Court case and/ or legal concept. This podcast would be incredibly useful for AP Government students! Or just anyone interested in the Supreme Court. Fave episode: Object Anyway
Loved the book and I love the podcast. The hosts basically try to figure out why we, as individuals and as communities, make certain economic choices. It’s really a combination of economics and psychology – a twofer! And this show is never dull. Fave (recent) episodes: So How Much Brain Damage Do I Have?, The Fracking Boom, a Baby Boom, and the Retreat From Marriage
The host of this podcast looks at an issue we’re facing in the US and sees how it plays out in another country. Sometimes the situations are strikingly similar and others times . . . not so much. But always fascinating! Fave episode: American Surrogate, So Long Black Pete.
So.many.different.perspectives on this show! It delves into the history and current issues surrounding race in America. (And pairs really well with Throughline or Backstory.) The hosts and contributors are all people of color – African Americans, Latinos, South Asians, East Asians, Muslims, etc. For those who want to be better allies for POC, this is a must listen! Fave episodes: It’s Getting (Dangerously) Hot in Herre, We’re Still Talking About “My Family’s Slave”
If you haven’t heard Terry Gross, the host of Fresh Air, interview a guest, you haven’t really heard a good interview. Seriously, she’s ah-mazing. The show is a mix of political, literary, music, and pop culture guests. Guess which ones I enjoy the most? (Psst – it’s the political ones!) Fave episodes: There are way too many to pick from. Seriously too many.
Don’t forget to grab the reflection guide before you go, yo!