Icons and Inspirational Figures

Check out PBS Learning Media Resources related to Icons and Inspirational Figures who have shaped our society.  

Ben Franklin

Benjamin Franklin was one of America’s most prolific Founding Fathers. This "American Icons" lesson highlights how Franklin's wide-ranging interests made him the American epitome of the Age of Enlightenment! (Grades: 3-7) 

Alexander Graham Bell

Teach students about scientist and humanitarian Alexander Graham Bell, his inventions, and his work with the deaf community, with this "American Icons" lesson plan! (Grades: 3-7)

Booker T Washington

He was a teacher, an accomplished orator, and an adviser to two Presidents during the early 1900s... Invite students to explore in-depth why Booker T. Washington is a great American icon! (Grades: 3-7)

Amelia Earhart

Use this multi-media lesson plan to teach students about the groundbreaking career of Amelia Earhart! The lesson culminates with an activity instructing students to design a compass rose that pays tribute to Earhart as a leader in aviation and women’s rights. (Grades: 3-7) 

Sojourner Truth

What was Sojourner Truth? Teach students about the the iconic 19th century abolitionist and feminist and her work to eradicate institutional discrimination. (Grades: 3-7) 

Sitting Bull

nvite students to examine what makes Sitting Bull an American icon with this lesson featuring the Lakota tribe leader's determination to protect Native American land and culture in the face of Westward Expansion. (Grades: 3-7) 

Freedom Riders - The Inspiration

Teach students how Mahatma Gandhi inspired the Freedom Riders and others who were engaged in the struggle to end racial discrimination in the United States. The lesson includes a background essay, discussion questions and study guide. (Grades: 6-12) 

Malala Yousafzai,

Offer students a glimpse into the life and work of Malala Yousafzai, a young outspoken critic of the Taliban in Pakistan, and her fight for girls' education and human rights. (Grades: 7-12) 

Elizabeth Stanton

Using these videos, excerpts, and activities, students learn about American icon and women’s rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, while gathering takeaways about organizing people to make change. (Grades: 3-7)

Oprah Winfrey and Robert L. Johnson

Help students examine attitudes about race and the effects of racial injustice in America. in the following lesson; they will also explore the success of prominent African Americans Oprah Winfrey and Robert L. Johnson. (Grades: 9-12) 

Alan Shepard

What type of person would willingly blast off alone into the unknown vastness of space with no guarantee of return? Students get to know American icon Alan Shepard in this PBS World Explorers video! (Grades: 4-8) 


Change the World

"I'm going to be the best me that I can be!" Invite students to sing along with Sesame Street and aspire to dream big! (Grades: PreK-1) 

Don't Give Up 

"I'm going to be the best me that I can be!" Invite students to sing along with Sesame Street and aspire to dream big! (Grades: PreK-1)