Here are a variety of podcasts that may interest our middle school students (and maybe their family members and teachers, too!).
Brains On! is an award-winning audio show for kids and families. Each week, a different kid co-host joins Molly Bloom to find answers to fascinating questions about the world. Our mission is to encourage kids’ natural curiosity and wonder using science and history…but there’s no age limit on curiosity and episodes of Brains On can be enjoyed by anyone.Grades 1–8Inspire young writers with this innovative series in which award-winning children's authors interview a kid or tween with a great story idea, and then write and read aloud a story inspired by the kid's idea. Kids can submit a "story seed" on the podcast's website and join The Story Seeds Society to get writing prompts and inspiration.
Tumble is a science podcast for kids, to be enjoyed by the entire family. We tell stories about science discoveries, with the help of scientists! Join Lindsay and Marshall as they ask questions, share mysteries, and share what science is all about.Grades 3–8History meets humor in this silly series that introduces little-known stories (like the origin of Typhoid Mary) and unsung heroes from the past. There's even a quiz at the end of every episode to test how well kids have paid attention.
Smash Boom Best is a debate show for kids and families from the makers of the award-winning podcast, Brains On! Every episode takes two cool things, smashes them together and lets you decide which is best. Our debaters use facts and passion to make their case -- teaching listeners how to defend their own opinions along the way. Use Smash Boom Best in a persuasive writing or speech unit, or as a fun addition to your science or history class!
This excellent biweekly podcast features middle schoolers talking about a popular middle-grade or YA book as well as sharing their favorite book recommendations. Public radio figure Kitty Felde runs the discussion, and each episode includes a passage of that week's book read by a celebrity guest.
Covering the outer reaches of space to the tiniest microbes in our bodies, Science Friday is the trusted source for news about science, technology, and other cool stuff. Host Ira Flatow mixes it up by featuring people in the know and those who want to be. Science Friday frequently features listeners that call in with their most riveting science questions.
One of the largest oral history projects of its kind, StoryCorps has recorded the stories of over 250,000 people in the U.S. Students at just about any grade level or in any subject area could use the StoryCorps interviews in a variety of ways, including writing prompts, discussion topics, primary sources for research projects, and more. Students also can record their own stories. StoryCorps Education provides teachers with free lesson plans and support to use StoryCorps in the classroom.
Little-known history comes alive three times a week in this fascinating, comprehensive podcast from the people at HowStuffWorks. With a focus on weird events, overlooked stories, and underrepresented groups, this popular series is educational, too. The extensive archive is easily searchable by topic. Teachers can find supplemental material for lessons on the civil rights movement, European history, World War II, and much more.
Pants on Fire is a silly game show where a tween gets to interview two grown-ups, one who's an expert on a topic and one's who's lying. Hosts Deborah and L.I.S.A. (a sound effects "robot") guide the kid contestant through the interviews with some goofy jokes and question suggestions, but it's the kids that make this show worth checking out.
Who is Holiday? Where did she come from and how did she end up floating in the icy waters off the coast of Alaska with no memory? And what’s the deal with that cool hoverboard? The mystery unfolds in six-minute episodes. Catch up on the award-winning worldwide sensation.
Brainy teens will love this NPR quiz show for its wacky blend of news and comedy. Longtime host Peter Sagal and a panel of comedians/journalists run through a series of recurring segments about the latest news, and listeners can call in to compete. There's even a weekly celebrity guest. Although it's appropriate for radio broadcast, occasionally the jokes get a bit off-color, so make sure teens are mature enough to handle it.
What's Good Games is an informative, funny weekly podcast all about video games. The three hosts (who happen to be female) have great chemistry and demonstrate clear expertise on the biggest games on the market. The (very long) episodes cover news, listener questions, and personal experiences playing games. But keep in mind: While the podcast itself is OK for teens, some of the games they discuss are very mature.
Have you ever wanted to know who would win a fight: Luke Skywalker or Spider-Man? Finally, someone is taking this question and others like it seriously in a geeky podcast about beloved comic, sci-fi, and fantasy characters. And while the audio quality isn't a match for some of the more established podcasts on this list, the lively, well-researched, well-argued debates between the hosts more than make up for it.
NLP's new podcast, features experts who address the question, “How can American democracy survive and thrive in our toxic information environment?” The show will include conversations with leading American thinkers, journalists, foreign policy experts, psychologists and authors. It will seek to help listeners understand how they can become part of the solution to the misinformation crisis. Episodes will drop every Wednesday, beginning Sept. 16.