Teacher Materials


  • Educator Survey

    What do you think about the Finding Your Roots resources on PBS Learning Media? We’d like to know. Take our quick survey for a chance to win a DNA kit or DVDs.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Finding Your Roots in the Digital Age (Webinar)

    Technology has made it easier than ever to retrace our ancestry and uncover fascinating insights into our past. Join PBS and Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard scholar and host of PBS' Finding Your Roots series for a look into how science and storytelling come together to reveal the rich histories of his guests. You'll also learn strategies for integrating classroom-ready social studies and science resources developed from the series. (Recorded on November 5, 2014)

    Grades: 13+
  • Crescent City Gumbo: Race & Jazz in New Orleans | Finding Your Roots

    This lesson uses video excerpts from the PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to explore the history of racial diversity and intermingling in New Orleans, and how it gave rise to the uniquely American art form of jazz.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Slavery in the North

    This hands-on, media-enhanced lesson uses video segments from the PBS series Finding Your Roots to explore the extent to which slavery existed in the North.

    Grades: 8-11
  • The Colonization of the United States

    Using video segments from the PBS series Finding Your Roots, this lesson explores Spanish colonialism in the Southwest. The lesson also expands the discussion to include other countries that established colonies in North America.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Coming to America

    Using video segments from the PBS series Finding Your Roots, this lesson explores why groups of people leave their native countries, often to come to the United States, and what major historical milestones prompted mass migrations.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Realities of Life in the Jim Crow Era

    This lesson focuses on African American experiences in the Jim Crow South during the 1940s and 50s, using video segments from the PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., a program which explores the history of the United States through the family stories of well-known Americans.This lesson uses segments from a Finding Your Roots episode featuring actor Samuel L. Jackson, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Brown University President Ruth Simmons, and series host Henry Louis Gates, Jr., all of whom grew up in the Jim Crow South.

    Grades: 8-11
  • The Quest for Religious Freedom

    In this lesson, video segments from the PBS series Finding Your Roots are used to explore how religion has played a part in attracting immigrants to the U.S. and the role it plays in the lives of modern American families.

    Grades: 10-12
  • Free, but not Free: Life of Free Blacks before the Civil War

    This hands-on, media-enhanced lesson explores the life of free blacks in the United States prior to the Civil War using video segments from Finding Your Roots. These segements include the stories of the ancestors of Wanda Sykes and John Legend. 

    Grades: 9-11
  • Faith in Change: John Lewis | Finding Your Roots

    This lesson uses video segments from the PBS series Finding Your Roots to explore the American civil rights movement of the 1960s through the personal experience of one of its most prominent leaders—Congressman John Lewis. Congressman Lewis speaks about his early experience of Jim Crow laws and how that affected his life.  At the age of eighteen, he joined Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the struggle for civil rights. 

    Grades: 9-12
  • Finding Your Roots | Tradition & Identity

    In this lesson, using video segments from the PBS series Finding Your Roots, students explore the ways in which family narratives are woven into individual identity. They will explore five different family narratives for Maggie Gyllenhaal and their relative impact on her sense of identity. They will also interview an older relative and examine the differences in narratives and generations.

    Grades: 9-12

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