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Black History &
Martin Luther King Jr.
5th-6th  grade

by Marilyn Washington

Lake Elementary

St. Amant, La.

Identify African American and their contributions to American Society.

Describe what African Americans did and explain how it positively changed our way of life.

 Increase children's self-esteem, making them more likely to be tolerant of others and respect others' rights.

Basic Level: All activities must be completed in this level before you proceed to the next level.

(Choose Number 1 or 2) (5pts)
1.    Listen to lecture and take notes on Black History.

2.    Listen to lecture on tape and respond to questions.

(Choose one of the following 3 )  (5pts)

3.    Define given vocabulary words

4.    Make a crossword puzzle using the vocabulary words

5.    Make flashcards with the vocabulary words.

(Choose 6 or 7)  (10 pts)
6.    Take an online quiz to see what you already know about Martin Luther King Jr.  Go to this website

7.    Go to the website below and do the Scavenger Hunt. (

(Everyone will do number 8 on the 3rd class day)
8.    Participate in Pre-Video discussion, watch video, "Separate But Equal", and complete question sheet (5 pts)

(Working with your group Choose 4 of the remaining activities to complete) (5 pts each)

9.    Using the following website respond to the situations presented. For each situation discuss with your group what the correct response would be.

10.    Participate in Class Collage Activity (Activity Attached)

11.    Create a poster-Look At Me. (Activity Attached)

12.    Create a Black History Quilt (Activity Attached)
13.    If you moved to a new school, how would you want people to treat you?

14.     Participate in the Role Model Activity. (Activity Attached)

15.    Read Poem "Martin Luther King Jr." and answer questions (Poem attached to the end of this Layered Curriculum.

16.    Make a timeline showing events that happened in Dr. King's Life or another famous African American. Using dates and pictures. The following website can assist you with the timeline.

Mastery Level (10 pts each)
Everyone must do numbers 1 &2. Choose two between 3& 6.

1.    Everyone needs to be cared for by someone - this is a right we all have. What happens when people don't get enough attention? Write a story about a time when you felt lonely, isolated or hurt by the way someone treated you.

2.    Plan to Perform a "Random Act of Kindness". Write a paragraph that describes what you plan to do and why.

3.    Write and perform a commercial that sends the message of equality.

4.    Write an essay explaining the changes Martin Luther King Jr. made during his lifetime that continues to affect us today. Include and explain what you can do to help Dr. King's Dream of peace become a reality.

5.    Write a "I Have A Dream Speech". Include in the speech your own personal Dreams.

6.    Read the document you were given on "Declarations on the Rights of a Child ( Reflect on three of the Principles of this document. How would you change them? Write one principle that you think should be added to these principles for today.

Advanced Level

1.    Research and write an essay giving reasons why  Black History Month should or should not continue to be celebrated.

Connected Activities.

A Short History of Separate but Equal (Basic Level Number 8)
In the early 1950s, many students went to different schools because of their race. White children went to one school and black children went to a different school. This system was called segregation. During this time, segregation was legal. Many other public facilities were also segregated.
Segregation was legal because of past court decisions. In 1896, the Supreme Court of the United States decided a case called Plessy v. Ferguson. In this case, the Court said that segregation was legal when the facilities for both races (trains, bathrooms, restaurants, etc.) were similar in quality. Under segregation, all-white and all-black schools sometimes had similar buildings, busses, and teachers. Sometimes, the buildings, busses, and teachers for the all-black schools were lower in quality. Often, black children had to travel far to get to their school. In Topeka, Kansas, a black student named Linda Brown had to walk through a dangerous railroad to get to her all-black school. Her family believed that segregated schools should be illegal.
The Brown family sued the school system (Board of Education of Topeka). The district court said that segregation hurt black children. However, the district court also said the schools were equal. Therefore, the segregation was legal. The Browns disagreed with the decision. They believed that the segregated school system did violate the Constitution. They thought that the system violated the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteeing that people will be treated equally under the law.
No State shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. —Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
The Browns appealed the case to a higher court. The Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear the case. Questions to Consider: 1.    What does it mean to have segregated schools?2.    What right does the Fourteenth Amendment give citizens? 3.    How did the case of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) affect segregation? 4.    It is important for this case to determine what "equal" means. What do you think equality means to the Browns? What do you think equality means to the Board of Education of Topeka?

Black and White Collage  # 10 Basic Level

Each person will need one sheet of black construction paper, one sheet of white, one brightly colored sheet, and glue.

Tear black and white sheets into small pieces (> 1/2" square). Paste the black and white pieces on the brightly colored sheet to create a unique collage. Some people may choose to create identifiable objects. Others may create geometric designs or a patterned "quilt."

After all pieces are completed, allow children to show their pictures and briefly describe. Note that neither the black nor the white alone would have created an interesting picture, yet the two could be combined into many interesting patterns. In short, they were more productive working as a team. Discuss the need for teamwork, whether it be in the home, the classroom, the workplace or the community at large. What are some tasks that require group effort?

You might also pay special attention to the differences between the pieces. Point out that just as no two pieces are art are alike, no two people are alike. Each person has a unique purpose in life, and the home, church, community, and society as a whole are benefitted when each person finds and fulfills his purpose in life instead of seeking to be "just like" another individual. Consider the lives of Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, Booker T. Washington, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Colin Powell. Each has significantly influenced not only the African-American community, but all of American society. What would have happened, however, if any of these individuals had tried to be "just like" one of their predecessors?

Role Models and Heroes #14 Basic Level

Based on the previous activity, some might question whether we should have role models and heroes. Discuss this issue as a family or class. Why can role models or heroes be a positive influence? Why can role models and heroes be a negative influence?

Supply each child or student with a sheet of posterboard, scissors, glue, markers or colored pencils, and materials for research. Ask each one to choose one role model, then create a poster which bears the person's name and function, dates of birth and death (if applicabe), drawings or pictures (Remind children to ask permission before cutting pictures out of books or magazines!) of the person, a character quality embodied by that person, and three or more examples of the person demonstrating the chosen character quality.

To add greater critical thinking opportunities to this activity, you might also ask participants to list three aspects of this person's life which others should not emulate.

Black History Month Quilt  #12 Basic Level
. Purchase or obtain from your local library age-appropriate biographies of influential African-America including (but not limited to) the following: Benjamin Banneker, Phyllis Wheatley, Elijah McCoy, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, George Washington Carver, Booker T. Washington, Samuel Morris, Dred Scott, Matthew Henson, Garrett A. Morgan, James Weldon Johnson, Mary Mcleod Bethune, Marian Anderson, Mahalia Jackson, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Colin Powell. Let children choose one or more biographies to read, then encourage them to draw a picture based on one scene from the life of each person about whom they have read. Mount each picture on a larger sheet of colored paper, and attach pages to wall to form a quilt of famous

Poem:  # 15 Basic Level
Martin Luther King, Jr.
You faced injustice, hate and strife.
You fought for what should be.
You risked and finally gave your life,
So others could be free.
You could have hated, but you chose
To love and understand,
Rejecting violence to oppose
An evil in our land.
You'd not inflame, but still inspire,
With hope that wouldn't yield.
You called for boycotts, not for fire,
With faith your only shield.
You marched in protest for the poor
Of every shade and hue.
So many hardships you'd endure
For those who needed you.
You stirred a nation's heart and mind;
Your message still is clear:
That color's not how we're defined.
Your memory's always near.
Each year your birth's a holiday.
The nation honors you,
And wonders when we'll see the day
Your dream at last comes true.
For discussion:
1. What are the important points that the author makes in the poem. Summarize the poem in your own words.
2. Most, but not all, people believe that Dr. King deserves a holiday in his honor. What do you think, and why?
Copyright 1998 RHL

LOOK AT ME!  #11 Basic Level

What you need:
Flip charts, pens, crayons or paints. One hour.
How to do it:
Divide the children into pairs.
·    One child lies flat on a long sheet of paper.
·    The other child draws around the child on the paper.
·    The child lies on the floor next to their outline. The other child can add details to the outline. For example, details of the face, color of hair, clothing.
·    Each child can then present the picture of their partners, explaining what he/she discovered about this person.