August is National Immunization Awareness Month! Teach students about the history and importance of vaccines with these and other free, engaging resources.
Meet the Helpers | Scientists are Helpers: Vaccines
Suggested grades PreK-K
Vaccines are part of our daily lives and conversations now. Learn how scientists and vaccines keep us healthy. Download, print, and complete this coloring sheet to start a conversation about vaccines. Explore the entire Meet the Helpers collection!
Magic School Bus: Inside Ralphie (must be logged in to PBS LearningMedia in Kentucky to view)
Suggested grades K-5
The class needs Ralphie to give them a story idea for broadcast day, but Ralphie is sick. His mother (Tyne Daly), a doctor, refuses to allow him to go to school. When Ms. Frizzle says that there is an amazing battle going on inside him, the class decides broadcast day should be about whatever is making Ralphie sick. After shrinking and going into Ralphie’s veins through a cut, the class travels to Ralphie’s sore throat to see what is making him sick. Then his white blood cells see the bus as a threat and attempt to devour it.
Viruses: What is a Virus? | Science Trek
Suggested grades 3-5
Viruses are microscopic beings that can make you really sick. Find out what makes something so small so dangerous and what you can do about it.
NOVA: Vaccines—Calling the Shots | Autism & Vaccines
Suggested grades 6-12
Explore the myth about a link between autism and vaccines in this video from NOVA: “Vaccines—Calling the Shots.” The mother of a 16-year-old with autism describes her own personal journey to becoming an autism advocate and investigating the alleged connection between autism and the MMR vaccine. Numerous scientific studies have failed to find any evidence for a vaccine–autism link; the original 1998 study by Andrew Wakefield that had suggested a connection has been proven to be fraudulent and has since been retracted.
FRONTLINE: A Very Short History of Vaccines in America
Suggested grades 6-12
Learn how the battle over whether to enforce vaccination is not new, and, in fact, is older than the United States itself, in this video short from FRONTLINE. Before there were vaccines, the only way to avoid the spread of deadly viruses, such as smallpox, was to inoculate, or intentionally infect, people with a mild case. During a 1721 smallpox outbreak in Boston, 2 percent of those inoculated died. This was a better outcome than the 14 percent death rate that occurred naturally. In 1777, General George Washington ordered a comprehensive campaign to inoculate every person in the Continental Army. This helped him win the Revolutionary War. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Collection.
Should Teens Be Able To Get A Vaccine Without Parental Consent? | Above the Noise
Suggested grades 6-12
As the Covid-19 vaccine becomes readily available for more folks — including teens 16+ — some parents are hesitant about allowing their minor children to get vaccinated. Meanwhile, public health experts say young people will need to get the vaccine if the U.S is to reach herd immunity. Do you think teens should be able to get vaccines without a parent or guardian’s permission?
Have your students join the discussion on KQED Learn, a platform where students participate in civic discourse with peers from around the country and engage with perspectives that may be different than their own.
Influencing Public Policy: Vaccines | Retro Report
Suggested grades 9-12
This 12-minute video shows how fear of vaccines were fed by flawed research. It is useful for lessons focused on the challenges of the 21st century, or for lessons in how interest groups influence policy making. As a case study illustrating false equivalency, the importance of clear public health messaging and the impact of emotional stories on the public, this video can be used to teach journalism.
More About This Resource: Retro Report is a nonprofit news organization that connects the past to our present. Their short videos provide both historical context and new perspectives. You can use the videos and lesson plans to inspire critical thinking and discussion on a variety of subjects including history, civics, and science. To see more of their resources for educators, visit Retro Report in the Classroom.