Teachers create lessons plans from award-winning TV series

BOISE – Even though its summer, Idaho Public Television assigned homework to some Idaho educators.

IdahoPTV provides educators and classrooms with a variety of resources for teaching and learning. One of its current projects is to assist in developing Idaho history curriculum.

IdahoPTV last week hosted a studio full of educators to connect and learn more about resources for teachers, parents, and students.

“I am always trying to learn more so that I can bring it into the classroom.” said Mary Rios, an elementary school teacher from Twin Falls. “I can’t wait to get in there this year and bring some more to my students and help them see what’s out there.”

After a morning learning session, 12 Idaho teachers worked to create lesson plans and curriculum based on IdahoPTV’s Emmy-award-winning series, Idaho Experience. Rios was also one of the teachers volunteering her time and energy to the project.

What is the Idaho Experience curriculum?

Idaho’s social studies curriculum includes Idaho history for all fourth graders. As teacher ambassador at IdahoPTV, Kari Wardle noticed some Idaho teachers didn’t have a curriculum or guide teaching Idaho history.

“Our textbooks are a little outdated. They were developed in the 1970s,” Rios said.

Wardle is helping teachers write lesson plans based on the series Idaho Experience. The series showcases “extraordinary people and defining events that shaped Idaho’s past and present” and is a collaboration between IdahoPTV and the Idaho State Historical Society.

Wardle’s favorite part about the Idaho Experience curriculum is that it is developed by Idaho teachers for Idaho teachers. The first group of Idaho educators met last summer to develop teaching resources for the series that correlated with Idaho’s social studies curriculum requirements for fourth graders.

Last week, six new teachers as well as six returning from last year met to continue to develop Idaho history lesson plans.

IdahoPTV’s educational resources

The education team at IdahoPTV brings together a wealth of information and resources tailored specifically for Idaho educators on their Learning Media site.

Teachers explore IdahoPTV resources on IPads.

Alongside Idaho history, teachers can find lesson plans and activities on subjects like American history, algebra, and life science, but also information and activities to help integrate technology into the classroom, teach social skills, and support discussions on current events.

Included with IdahoPTV’s award-winning collections are Idaho Experience, Science Trek, and the Idaho Science Journal.  

To learn more about IdahoPTV’s resources, visit the website.

The Idaho Experience series can be viewed on PBS:

  • “Titans” S1E1
  • “Taking the Reins” S2E2
  • “Forgotten Neighbors: Idaho’s Chinese Immigrants” S1E3
  • “We Sagebrush Folks: Annie Pike Greenwood’s Idaho” S2E1
  • “Pioneers of the Air” S2E2
  • “Some Lived: An Idaho POW’s Story” S2E3
  • “Idaho’s Mail-Order Messiah” S2E5


Cameron Arnzen

Cameron Arnzen

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