Week of March 30 | Grades 9–12

This week, we’re traveling to the 1918 influenza pandemic to learn how what happened in the past can help today. We’ll also visit Maya Angelou, join Fantine in 18th century France and Buzz Aldrin in outer space and end with a tour of Yellowstone National Park.

At-Home Learning: PBS SoCal and KCET, in partnership with LAUSD and in collaboration with California PBS stations, are offering broadcast programming with digital resources that adhere to California’s state curriculum. Download this week’s schedule.

Programming Highlights

Influenza 1918 | American Experience
Thursday at 11:00 a.m. PST on KCET and Friday at 4:00 p.m. PST on KLCS.
More than 100 years ago, some 30 million people died of a mysterious virus that was different from any strain of influenza ever seen. Hospitals were overcrowded and people were told that they could become sick simply from being around each other. Sound familiar? What we’re dealing with feels unprecedented to a lot of us, but it’s not. We’ve suffered through something like this before and learned a lot of lessons along the way. And just like in 1918, eventually, we’ll see how resilient we all are and things will become better. Tune in or watch the full documentary online.

Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise | American Masters
Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. PST on KCET
Get to know the inspirational singer, dancer, activist, poet and writer who continues to inspire and give us the freedom to think about our personal histories and their importance.

Chasing the Moon | American Experience
Tuesday thru Thursday at 4 p.m. PST on KLCS
How much do you really know about the Moon landing? It turns out it was basically a movie playing out every day involving political calculation, dramatic visionaries and, of course, a media spectacle. Learn more about the mission that changed everything, straight from the people who lived it including Buzz Aldrin; Ed Dwight, the Air Force pilot selected by the Kennedy administration to train as America’s first black astronaut; Sergei Khrushchev, son of the former Soviet premier and a leading Soviet rocket engineer; Poppy Northcutt, a 25-year old “mathematics whiz” who was first woman to serve in the all-male bastion of NASA’s Mission Control, and many others. Tune in or watch now.

Les Misérables | Masterpiece
Wednesday thru Friday at 9 a.m. PST on KCET
Enjoy the classic tale featuring beloved characters as they struggle to survive in war-torn France, but reimagined. This six-part adaptation features a star-studded cast, including Lily Collins as Fantine and David Oyelowo as Javert.

Great Yellowstone Thaw
Wednesday thru Friday at 1 p.m. PST on KCET
Take a virtual trip to Yellowstone National Park to see how bison, grizzly bears, wolves, beavers and great grey owls adapt to the changing seasons and temperatures that can swing as much as 140 degrees over the course of a few months.

Great grey owl. | Still from “Great Yellowstone Thaw.”


Related Content

The 1918 Influenza Pandemic and COVID-19
Did you know the ancient Greeks believed that diseases were a punishment from gods for wrongdoings and that mass outbreaks of influenza have been documented as far back as the 5th century BCE? Medical historians believe large scale influenza outbreaks occurred in 1510 and 1557 that may have been pandemics, but an outbreak in 1580 marks what is widely regarded as the first true influenza pandemic, which devastated Rome and Spain. After that, humans lay low for a few centuries, until the famous 1918 pandemic. Read about how despite so much has changed since, our response to COVID-19 is reflected in many of the lessons we learned back then.

How Did L.A. Cope With the Influenza Pandemic of 1918?
This particular strain of influenza would eventually kill 675,000 people in the United States and an estimated 25 to 50 million people around the world. In L.A., it killed 494 out of every 100,000 residents, approximately .49% of the city’s population.

Pasadena, approximately 1919: Patients rest in hospital beds while nurses wearing breathing masks tend to them. This photo was likely taken in the isolation ward at Wilson High School during the 1918 and 1919 influenza epidemic. | Harold A. Parker/Huntington Digital Library

Phenomenal Woman: Remembering Maya Angelou
Read and give a salute to the legacy of the American icon who did it all and continues to delight readers across generations.

Space in the Imagination: How Comic Books Envisioned the Moon Landing
By the 1950s, America was ready for space travel. Before anyone took the leap though, comic books, film and television were predicting humankind’s forays into the outer limits. Get a glimpse of yesteryear’s vision of space.

Excerpt from Man in Space, 1956

Hugo, Inc.
Learn why “Les Misérables” became “the biggest deal in book history”  after a very risky publishing idea.

From Bierstadt to Bob Ross: How Landscape Painting Re-Imagined the American West
Take another virtual trip to see Yellowstone National Park and many other great vistas to learn about how before the golden age of Hollywood Westerns, the mythology and allure of the American West was portrayed by dedicated, skilled landscape painters. Their legacy continues today.

Thomas Moran: The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone (1893-1901, oil on canvas) | Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of George D. Pratt



Planetary Poetry
Space landscapes sure are beautiful, but somehow they don’t seem to be very popular poetry subjects compared to lovers eyes and the like. We can change that! Follow along to write poetry about NASA missions and discoveries.

Artist’s concept of NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, depicted above Mars. | Wikimedia Commons/NASA/JPL/Corby Waste

Biodiversity Heritage Library Coloring Book
Take a break from your screens and pull out your colors to take a trip around the world with the Biodiversity Heritage Library. Bonus points if you look up the original images and the species they depict.


Lesson Plans

Primary Sources: A Letter From Camp Devins, MA – Document
In this letter, a doctor stationed at a military base west of Boston, writes to a friend and fellow physician of the conditions to be found there as influenza was making its presence felt. Read the letter, from American Experience: “Influenza 1918.”

The Power of Words – Discussion Questions
Listen to Maya Angelou remember her first meeting with legendary rapper Tupac Shakur and the lesson she taught him about the power of words and language.

Ed Dwight, First Black Astronaut Trainee – Teaching Tips
Hear Ed Dwight’s firsthand account of his experience and the challenges he faced as the nation’s first black astronaut trainee.

Forgiveness and Redemption – Background Reading
What’s the meaning of kindness, love, and forgiveness? Find out with Jean Valjean, who emerges from 19 years in a forced-labor prison—where he was sent for stealing a loaf of bread for his hungry family. Angry and vengeful after his cruel treatment, he is suspicious and astonished when he encounters Monsieur Myriel, the Bishop of Digne, who offers him food, shelter, and the opportunity for redemption.

Wolves of Yellowstone – Video
Gray wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park in 1995, which have since resulted in a trophic cascade through the entire ecosystem. After the wolves were driven extinct in the region nearly 100 years ago, scientists began to fully understand their role in the food web. Read on to find out what that role is.


At-Home Learning Tips

Reflect About Family Memories
Take a walk down memory lane. Many children may miss their extended family members during this time of social distancing. Spend some time looking at family photos and take the opportunity to relive special moments like birthdays or family vacations. Read more tips on how to reflect on today’s situation here.