Social Sciences Resources for Secondary Schools

Secondary social sciences | te ao tangata encourages students to be curious and explore people, places and society. Our resources help students to delve deeper. 

We offer fake news teaching resources to help students investigate what is real in a world of misinformation, fake news and conspiracy theories. We have a series for teaching media literacy that looks at issues of our time, including consumerism and democracy. Some resources take a cross-curricula approach to Environmental Education.  

A fundamental part of the social sciences curriculum is for students to think critically. Essential Resources has books to guide thoughtful discussion and provide strategies for social inquiry. Take your pick! 


What examples of media literacy resources? 

Examples of media literacy resources for secondary social sciences are Teaching Media Literacy through Contemporary Issues. This is a series of seven resources written by Dale Sutherland. 

Each resource uses an issue relevant to students’ lives for teaching media literacy. For example, stereotypes, reality television, digital citizenship and consumerism.  

As they explore an issue, students are asked to question who created a message, why, what techniques are used and what point of view is promoted or omitted. 

For example, the stereotypes resource begins with a definition and the psychology behind stereotypes. Then, the focus is on specific examples seen in the media – zombie films, children’s cartoons, Disney princesses and superheroes.  

Why is it important to teach environmental education? 

It is important to teach environmental education because everyone needs to know what it means to care for Earth. As authors Paul Mason and Patsy Blackstock say, given the state of the planet, we should all be concerned. 

When children are given the opportunity, they become powerful agents of change. This needs to be seized and strengthened at the school level. 

Ogando (2022) adds environmental education helps students face the effects of climate change from a responsible citizen’s point of view, where they are prepared to defend environmental issues. Additionally, it gives children the skills, knowledge, behaviours and attitudes to cope with the climate crisis and move towards sustainable living. 

Schools can lead the fight against climate change. They are spaces to create and implement environmental solutions that generate more sustainable lifestyles and build resilience to climate change. 

What is an example of a fake news activity for students? 

‘Photos under the spotlight’ is an example of a fake news activity for students. It is from Essential Resources’ fake news teaching resource written by Dale Sutherland

The activity involves students, firstly, gathering a range of online photographs on a subject that is currently in the news. They must use various sources of information, including reputable news outlets, social media and other websites. 

Students then take a close look at each photo and its caption. Using the below ideas and others, they must work out which photographs are accurate or fake: 

  • Where did you find the photo? 
  • Is a photographer’s or agency’s name attached? 
  • If it has a caption, is it true? 
  • Do the shadows and reflections match up with the figures in the photo?