Best Podcasts For Middle School Students

Trying to find the best podcasts for teens can feel a lot like looking for a needle in a haystack. With literally tens of thousands of podcasts out of there, you may be asking yourself: What are the best podcasts for middle schoolers?

Well, you have come to the right place!

Over the past several years I have spent countless hours browsing, exploring and testing out different podcasts with my own students. Through a lot of trial and error, I feel that I have discovered some awesome podcasts for teens (that they actually enjoy)!

So, without further ado, let me save you a little time and share what I have found to be the best podcasts for middle school students.


List of the Best Podcasts for Teens

1. The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel

The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel

This is the podcast that students will literally go home and binge over the weekend. The story is done in that classic radio-drama style. What’s cool is that it is one of those podcasts for teens by teens, as it is voice-casted by actual middle schoolers. Plus the audio production, including sound effects and music helps to create a vivid listening experience. The storyline is described as “Goonies, meets Spy Kids, meets Stranger Things.” Each episode follows Mars Patel, an 11 year-old that sets out with his buddies to search for two of their missing friends.

Check out the sample episode below and click here to listen to the complete series!

“Season 1 – Episode 1 – Code Red”


2. The Two Princes

Similar to Mars Patel, this is another widely loved radio-drama. Again, it is incredibly well produced, bringing the story to life with rich audio effects and voice acting. Your students will love joining in the adventures of two young princes as they seek to save their kingdom. With magic, suspense and charm, this is a fairy tale that is sure to keep your students glued to their speakers!

Check out the sample episode below and click here to listen to the complete series!

“Season 1 – Episode 1 – Once Upon a Time”


3. Harry Potter and the Sacred Text

This podcast models how to take your thinking about a story to the next level! Each episode is essentially a book club discussion between the two hosts as they go through every chapter of every book in the Harry Potter series. The hosts explore incredibly rich themes and their discussions reveal for students how books are not just for entertainment, but can be transformative. Simply read a chapter from the book, then listen to the corresponding episode. It’s basically a digital book club for kids that love Harry Potter!

Check out the sample episode below and click here to listen to the complete series!

“Commitment: The Boy Who Lived” (Book 1, Chapter 1)


4. TED Radio Hour

I have not yet met a teacher that doesn’t love TED Talks. It is an international forum for the presentation of ideas. This incredible podcast takes various TED talks around a specific topic or theme and weaves them together into each podcast. Each episode is highly engaging and always thought provoking. This is a great show to get your students thinking outside of the box and to explore different perspectives.

Check out the sample episode below and click here to access the complete series!

“TED Radio Hour – The Gratitude Train”


5. LORE

Middle Schoolers absolutely love LORE. Each episode features a creepy story from history, often with links to folklore, myths and legends. Students that enjoy scary stories will get hooked. (Fair Warning: preview episodes ahead of time, as some may be a little more PG-13)

Check out the sample episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

LORE – Episode 90 – Minding the Gap


6. Kind World

This is the perfect “feel good” podcast. Each short episode will leave you with goosebumps and will remind you that there is a lot of goodness in the world. Episodes feature real life stories of profound acts of kindness. Very powerful!

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

Kind World – Almost Impossible


7. Historical Figures

This is one of my favorite biographical podcasts. Each episode tells the story of a famous historical figure. We are truly standing on the shoulders of giants, and this podcasts provides students with an appreciation for many of those that came before us.

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“Historical Figures: Jessie Owens”


8. Snap Judgement

This podcasts makes storytelling cool. Kids love host Glynn Washington’s “storytelling with a beat.” It is important for kids to hear great stories, as it provides them with ideas to model after in their own writing. (Just make sure you preview episodes before sharing them as some are more PG-13)

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“Snap Judgement: Leap of Faith”


9. Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History

History is storytelling and Dan Carlin is a master storyteller. No matter what historical topic he covers, he has an incredible ability to make it fascinating! Seriously, I cannot tell you how much I love this podcast. For those that think “history is boring,” well… this podcast may change your mind! (note – some episodes can have graphic descriptions of violence. Also, most episodes are EXTREMELY long)

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“Hardcore History: Which Had The Superior Military – First Or Second World War Germany?”


10. Your Undivided Attention

Technology has become extremely intrusive. Teens and adults alike struggle with regulating screen time and minimizing distraction. While technology has many benefits, it also comes with “side effects.” This podcast is critical and timely. Each episode discusses how technology hijacks our brains and what we can do to protect ourselves. This is definitely a must-listen!

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“Your Undivided Attention – Episode 1 – What Happened In Vegas”


11. Dear Hank and John

This is a podcast I had several students introduce me to. It is an extremely popular question and answer show in which the charismatic and humorous hosts offer advice to listeners about issues both big and small. It’s entertaining, often funny and is definitely one of the best podcasts for teens out there!

Check out the episode below or click here to access all available episodes!

“Dear Hank and John – Episode 237 – A Well-Balanced Breakfast”


12. Philosophize This

Can somebody tell me why philosophy isn’t taught in schools today? Well, hopefully this podcast can help to fill in some gaps. In chronological order, host Stephen West teaches us about the thinkers and ideas the forged the world we live in. Philosophy can be complicated, but West does a masterful job breaking it down for beginners. Plus, is wit and charm make it a delight to listen to!

Check out the episode below and click here for access to all available episodes!

“Philosophize This – Episode 5 – Aristotle Part 1”


13. Radiolab Kids

Radiolab was one of the originals back when podcasts began. It is the ultimate show for engaging curious minds as each episode explores an interesting scientific topic. The audio production is absolutely incredible. I guarantee you and your students will love this one!

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“Radiolab for Kids – The Distance to the Moon”


14. Wow in the World

Created by Guy Raz (he’s amazing) and Mindy Thomas, this is a podcast that presents the coolest and most interesting stories in science, technology and innovation. This was produced for kids and tweens and it is a huge hit for students.

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“Wow in the World – Constructing Creativity”


15. The Play’s The Thing

This is one of the best podcasts for teens looking to learn about Shakespeare! Each play is dedicated six episodes (one per act, plus a Q&A episode). The podcast does an incredible job exploring the themes, scenes, characters, and lines that make Shakespeare a master. Sadly, schools don’t teach Shakespeare nearly enough, but hopefully this podcast can fill in some of the gaps!

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“The Play’s The Thing – Othello Part 1”


16. Welcome to Night Vale

Night Vale, well… it’s one strange podcast! Basically, each episode is pretty much community updates for a small (and fictional) desert town called Night Vale. The writing is outstanding! While a fictional podcast, you don’t need to listen to it chronologically. This is one of the best podcasts for teens that enjoy sci-fi. You can just jump in and you will catch on quickly. I have had many students that become fans of this show, and one to certainly introduce students to!

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“Welcome to Night Vale – Episode 184 – The Fog”


17. Filmspotting

Remember Siskel and Ebert? Well, Filmspotting is similar, in that hosts Adam and Josh discuss and review movies. Honestly, this is one of my all-time favorite podcasts! I even got to meet Josh at a presentation he gave at a local university a few years ago. For film fans, this is the BEST podcast out there. One of the benefits of listening to this podcast is that it models to students how to really dig deep into analyzing and discussing a story (whether film or books). Listening to this podcast just makes you “smarter” in that sense.

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“Filmspotting – Episode 685 – The Incredibles 2”


18. Fictional

This show has a really cool concept – the hosts take stories from classic literature and retell them with a casual and modern tone. I think it’s a great way to make the classics accessible to students and hopefully inspire them to read the originals. Pretty cool show!

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“Fictional – Sherlock Holmes – The League”


19. How We Built This

We talk a lot in education about “growth mindset.” So what better way to provide students with real world examples than to learn the stories of entrepreneurs behind successful businesses. Guy Raz has created one of the best podcasts for teens, as he is one of the best podcast hosts out there. He does an amazing job making these interviews fascinating. Ultimately, we learn that success is a process of learning from failures and setbacks, and work hard through difficult times. It’s also an amazing insight into the ingenuity of creative thinkers.

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“How I Built This – Rick Steves”


20. But Why

Kids are curious. In this show, kids ask the questions and the hosts find the answers. What’s cool is that even seemingly uninteresting topics are revealed actually be quite fascinating. Anything that nurtures that innate sense of curiosity is definitely worth checking out, and this podcast does just that!

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“But Why – Why Do We Compete?”


21. Myths and Legends

What kid doesn’t love learning about myths and legends? This is one of the best podcasts for teens that want to learn about the stories that have shaped cultures throughout history. Each story comes from some culture around the world, but is retold for modern audiences. Your students will totally love this!

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“Myths and Legends – The Castaways”


22. Stuff You Should Know

This is one of the first podcasts I ever listened to back in 2011. It has been around for a long time and for good reason – it’s super interesting! Each episode the hosts dive into a topic and teach all about it. Plus, the hosts have a cool vibe about them. Long story short, your students will be certain to find topics that they will enjoy learning about!

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“Stuff You Should Know – The Titanic (Part 1)”


23. 99% Invisible

This is one of those podcasts that explores design and architecture that most people don’t typically notice. In other words, things around us that are seemingly “invisible.” We are then blown away by how interesting these things are.

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“99% Invisible – The Lost Cities of Geo (Part 1)”


24. The Past and the Curious

If Hardcore History is a bit mature for you, then check out this podcast. Created for kids, each episode explores interesting topics from history in a very kid-friendly way. Hopefully this helps kids to realize that history is actually super fun to learn about!

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“The Past and the Curious – Episode 54 – Gold Rush”


25. Cabinet of Curiosities

This is another podcast from the creator of LORE. Each short episode features two tales that take listeners on a guided tour of the unbelievable, the unsettling and the bizarre. Sometimes real stories can be stranger than fiction.

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“Cabinet of Curiosities – Fight Club”


26. This American Life

This American Life is sort of the Godfather of podcasts. It’s been around since the very beginning and pioneered the standards by which other podcasts attempt to live up to. Each story focuses on a theme and then tells three stories related to that theme. The storytelling and production is amazing, and every episode is interesting!

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“This American Life – Middle School”


27. Hidden Brain

This is a really fascinating podcasts that uses science and storytelling to reveal the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, shape our choices and direct our relationships. It seeks to understand why we do what we do. Very cool podcast!

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“Hidden Brain – The Story of Your Life”


28. Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me

Obviously, it is important for students to follow current events. Wait Wait.. Don’t Tell Me is a super fun podcasts that takes the current events from the week and makes it into a trivia-type game show. This is one of the best podcasts for teens that love to challenge their knowledge of current events and pop culture.

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! – Kemp Powers”


29. The Atlas Obscura Podcast

This podcast is basically an audio tour-guide to the world’s most obscure and wondrous places. This is one of the best podcasts for teens looking to take a little mental vacation to somewhere far away. If you’re looking for a show that explores fascinating places, this is the podcasts that will do the job!

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“The Atlas Obscura – Merrymount”


30. Oprah’s Master Class: The Podcast

Oprah sits down with some of the world’s most respected and renowned actors, musicians, public figures and athletes to learn about their lives and the greatest lessons they have learned. The value of this podcast cannot be understated. How cool is it that teens can hear directly from some of their heroes the lessons they learned to get to where they are. Very cool!

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“Oprah’s Master Class – Usher”


31. The Daily Poem

I feel like we don’t spend nearly enough time reading and writing poetry. In many ways, it’s a genre that often gets less attention than other genres. This podcast is a great way to add a little poetry into your daily routine. The Daily Poem recites a different famous poem each day. My recommendation would be to project the poem up onto your screen and read it along with the host.

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“The Daily Poem – Opal by Amy Lawrence Lowell”


32. Start With This

This is show, produced by the creators of the hit fictional podcast Night Vale, is one of the best podcasts for teens looking to learn about the creative process behind storytelling. Each episode has a ton of great insight into how to become a better storyteller. This is especially great for english class, as it primarily focuses on the writing process.

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“Start With This – Podcast Trailer”


33. The Symbolic World

I added this podcast to the list primarily because I enjoy it so much! It may or may not be your students’ cup of tea, but you will have some students that will take to it. The podcast looks at symbolism in all of its forms, from its source in sacred stories and images to contemporary culture and how it shapes the world we encounter. It almost reminds me of a good Dan Brown book!

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“The Symbolic World – The Symbolism of the Tree”


34. Warrior Kid Podcast

Former Navy Seal Jocko Willink has created one of the best podcasts for teens by creating a show to give kids advice on leadership and discipline. He responds to listener questions. He is also the author of the Warrior Kids book series, which is similar to Diary of a Wimpy Kid but provides life lessons to help kids deal with typically struggles. Inspiring and motivating!

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“Warrior Kid Podcast – Ask Uncle Jake (Episode 34)”


35. LeVar Burton Reads

Remember Reading Rainbow? Well, LeVar Burton was the host, and in his podcast he maintains the spirit of fostering a love of reading. He has the perfect voice, and the stories are great, making it one of the best podcasts for teens you will find. So, just close your eyes, sit back and enjoy!

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“LeVar Burton Reads – The Great Wide World Over There by Ray Bradbury”


36. The Cold War: What We Saw

Are you beginning to notice that I love history? Well, here is another that is absolutely incredible. The series is impeccably produced, and teaches the lessons from the Cold War. It’s amazing how most people don’t know much about the Cold War. As they say, if we fail to learn about our history we are doomed to repeat it.

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“The Cold War: What We Saw (Trailer)”


37. American History Tellers

If ever there was a podcast to supplement your American History class, this would be the one. The production is awesome and the stories are engaging. Ultimately, it gives listeners a deeper understanding of the events that shaped America. The stories are fascinating and the topics are important. I highly recommend this podcast!

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“American History Tellers – The Four Faces”


38. Real Dictators

I believe there is a lot of value in learning about history’s villains. The more we can understand how these people came into power, the better we will be at hopefully spotting these threats in the future. This podcast can be a little graphic, but the lessons are valuable.

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“Real Dictators – Adolph Hitler (Part 1)”


39. Dictators

Like Real Dictators, this podcast also tells the biographies of history’s bad guys. I am of the belief that it’s important to know about the horrifying aspects of world history. It can often be difficult to learn about, I think it is important that we do. Again, preview these episodes ahead of time.

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“Dictators – Joseph Stalin (Part 1)”


40. Happier with Gretchen Rubin

Who wouldn’t want to be a little happier? Life has its challenges, regardless of age. But in this podcast Gretchen Rubin seeks to uncover the habits and practices that can increase one’s happiness. Mental health is of critical importance, so if kids can get something out of a podcast like this then all the more reason to share it with them. This alone makes it one of the best podcasts for teens, and anybody of any age for that matter.

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“Happier with Gretchen Rubin – A Little Happier”


41. Good Life Project

Life is full of challenges. The Good Life Project podcast sheds insight and guidance to help one navigate the difficulties that we all face.

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“Good Life Project – What Should I Do With My Life?”


42. Spooked

Produced by Glynn Washington, the host of Snap Judgement, comes Spooked. This is a collection of stories that are genuinely pretty scary. For whatever reason, I have had a lot of students get totally into this podcast. It’s creepy, terrifying but the storytelling is always great! This is, without a doubt, one of the best podcasts for teens!

Check out the episode below or click here to listen to all available episodes!

“Spooked – Don’t Wanna Fright No More”


Hopefully this list helps you on your journey to find the best podcasts for teens. Podcasts are not only extremely valuable to listen to, but makes for an amazing class project.

I designed a project a few years ago in which my students actually produced their own podcasts on their iPad. I cannot recommend this project enough, as it was fun, engaging and weaves in so many skills and standards. Check out the student podcasting project here!



In the comments below, please let me know about any other podcasts not on my list that you think my middle schoolers might love!

3 Comments on Ultimate List of Podcasts That Middle Schoolers Surprisingly Love!

  1. Thank you for sharing a comprehensive list of podcast recommendations for middle schoolers. I had my students choose a podcast to listen to before starting a podcast unit and your blog was a great place to start. I had several students who really enjoyed podcasts you recommended, including Mars Patel, Lore, the Two Princes, and Spooked.

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