Civil Rights Lesson Plan: Tracking History Through Timelines

Submitted by: Anne Fordyce

Grade Levels: 3-5

In this Civil Rights lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 3 through 5, students use BrainPOP resources to develop an understanding of how to use and create a timeline. Students will utilize technology to locate information that provides answers to questions about a historical topic and compare life now with life in the past.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Develop an understanding of how to use and create a timeline.
  2. Utilize technology to locate information that provides answers to questions about a historical topic.
  3. Compare life now with life in the past.

Materials:

  • Computers and access to BrainPOP
  • Civil Rights Activity
  • Pencils
  • Chart Paper
  • White construction paper
  • (Optional) Access to the computer program: Inspiration or Kidspiration

Vocabulary:

civil rights; boycott; segregation; activism; revolutionary

Preparation:

Familiarize students with timelines and putting dates/events in chronological order. You can build background about Martin Luther King, Jr., for younger students by showing the Martin Luther King, Jr. movie on BrainPOP, Jr. and exploring the related features.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Begin a discussion about Martin Luther King Jr. and use the quiz to assess the students prior knowledge.
  2. Watch BrainPOP's Martin Luther King Jr. movie. Hold a class discussion about the movie and then take the quiz as a class.
  3. Take the students to the computer lab, and pass out the Civil Rights Activity. Have each student watch the Civil Rights movie individually and have them take notes by completing the activity. Students who finish early can explore the FYI features.
  4. Hold a class discussion about what the students learned from the Civil Rights movie. On chart paper, record ideas from the students about how life was different for African Americans before Civil Rights.
  5. Divide the class into groups of 3-4 students. Pass out the white construction paper and have each group cooperatively create a Civil Rights timeline based on the class discussion and the notes they took during the BrainPOP Civil Rights movie.

Extension Activity:

Students can use the Inspiration or Kidspiration program on the computer to re-create their Civil Rights timeline.