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Lesson Plans Library 6-8 > U.S. History
Envisioning Equality
Envisioning Equality
Grade level: 6-8 Subject: U.S. History Duration: 2-3 class periods
 



lesson plan support
Objectives
Students will
  • Identify important civil rights leaders.
  • Describe the life and legacy of a particular civil rights leader.
Materials
  • Envisioning Equalityprogram
  • Poster board, 1 per group
  • Markers, crayons, or colored pencils
  • Encyclopedias and reference books with biographical information on civil rights leaders
  • Computer with Internet access (optional)
  • Index cards
  • Pencils and erasers
Procedures
  1. Hold a class discussion about the civil rights movement. Ask students what they know about it. Who were some civil rights leaders? What did they achieve? Who was Martin Luther King, Jr.? How did he and other civil rights activists influence our nation?
  2. Tell students that there have been many heroes in the fight for equality in the United States. The class will research and prepare group oral reports about some of these people. Make a class list of possible candidates for the reports. The list should include these names:
    • Martin Luther King, Jr.
    • Rosa Parks
    • W.E.B. Du Bois
    • Medgar Evers
    • Thurgood Marshall
    • Fannie Lou Hamer
    • Any other leaders students can identify
  3. Divide the class into groups of four or five students and assign each group a person from the list to research. Their reports must be five minutes long, include a visual aid, and the following information:
    • Date of birth and death
    • Role in the civil rights movement
    • Adversities overcome
    • Important speeches
    • Historic events associated with this person
    • Why this person is considered a hero
    • Legacy of this person
    The visual aid should be colorful and clearly identify the name of the person and at least three interesting or important facts about them.
  4. Allow time for the groups to research their leaders, prepare oral reports, and create visual aids. In addition to any reference books you have available, the following Web sites should be helpful:

    Civil Rights Movement Heroes
    Notable Civil Rights Leaders
    Campaigners: 1860-1900
    We Shall Overcome
    Civil Rights - Black American History, a history of black people in the United States.
  5. As each group presents its report, the rest of the class should take notes. Allow time after each report for questions and discussion.
  6. When the presentations are finished, have students write a paragraph about their role in the report and what they learned in their research. Tell them to address the following in their paragraphs:
    • What role did you play in researching and presenting your group report?
    • What did you learn about the person you researched?
    • What are this person?s achievements?
  7. Then have students write a paragraph about what they learned about the civil rights leaders researched by other groups.
    • Who were the civil rights leaders presented?
    • What were their achievements?
    • Why were these achievements important to the civil rights movement and the United States?

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Evaluation
Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson.
  • Three points: Students identified all of the civil rights leaders and the achievements presented in the class reports; greatly participated in a well-organized, thought-provoking group report that clearly met all of the stated criteria for describing the life and legacy of a particular civil rights leader; and wrote legible, unique paragraphs that clearly demonstrated a solid understanding of the achievements of several leaders of the civil rights movement.
  • Two points: Students identified only a few civil rights leaders and the achievements presented in the class reports; somewhat participated in fair group reports that met most of the stated criteria in describing the life and legacy of a particular civil rights leader; and wrote legible, somewhat unique paragraphs that demonstrated an adequate understanding of the achievements of several leaders of the civil rights movement.
  • One point: Students did not identify any civil rights leaders or their achievements presented in the class reports; minimally participated in incomplete group reports that met little of the stated criteria in describing the life and legacy of a particular civil rights leader; and wrote illegible, incomplete paragraphs that did not demonstrate an understanding of the achievements of several leaders of the civil rights movement.

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Vocabulary
civil rights
Definition:Rights that a nationís inhabitants enjoy by law
Context:In America more than 680 streets, boulevards, and drives are named in honor of the civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

discrimination
Definition:Treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit; partiality or prejudice
Context:The ultimate objective is to abolish all forms of discrimination in public education.

equal
Definition:Having the same quantity, measure, or value as another
Context:The theory was separate but equal, but in fact it was unequal.

racism
Definition:The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others; discrimination or prejudice based on race
Context:Early civil rights leaders stood on the front lines, risking their lives and livelihoods to combat institutionalized racism and inequality.

segregation
Definition:The policy or practice of separating people of different races, classes, or ethnic groups in schools, housing, and public or commercial facilities, especially as a form of discrimination
Context:During the late 1940s and early 1950s a movement began in communities across the country to fight segregation in American society.

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Academic Standards
Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
McREL's Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education addresses 14 content areas. To view the standards and benchmarks,click here.
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:
  • Historical Understanding: Understands the historical perspective.
  • United States History: Era 9 - Postwar United States (1945 to early 1970s): Understands the struggle for racial and gender equality and for the extension of civil liberties.
  • United States: Era 10 - Contemporary United States (1968 to the present): Understands economic, social, and cultural developments in the contemporary United States.

The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)
NCSS has developed national guidelines for teaching social studies. To become a member of NCSS, or to view the standards online, go to The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) has developed national standards to provide guidelines for teaching social studies. To view the standards online, click here.
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:

  • Time, Continuity, and Change
  • Culture
  • People, Places, and Environments
  • Individual Development and Identity
  • Power, Authority, and Governance
  • Civic Ideals and Practices
  • Individuals, Groups, and Institutions

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