Researching Civil Rights Heroes- Black History Month

Civil Rights & Black History Month Research for Grades 4-6

I am excited for school to resume in January so my class can experience these lesson plans! These lessons provide an engaging way for students to research four heroes from the Civil Rights Movement- Martin Luther King, Jr., Ruby Bridges, Rosa Parks and Jackie Robinson. The first lesson option in this resource has students research one civil rights hero in an “expert group,” take notes, and create a group poster to share their information with the class. During presentations, classmates take notes to become familiar with all four civil right heroes. Here is an example of the Martin Luther King Jr. expert group:

The second lesson options begins as students try to put illustration clue cards in order for a “mystery person’s” life, while also trying to guess who they will be studying about.  This activity piques student’s interest while providing an opportunity for a class discussion. Once a timeline is established, students read the text about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life.  The class discusses basic information from the text and chooses three of his major life events. They revisit the timeline and make adjustments based on information given in the text. Then the students take notes on the basic information learned in this first lesson.


In the second lesson, students reread the text with the purpose of locating facts about Martin’s early years and later years and add that information to their note taking sheets. The teacher models how to use the information on the note taking sheet to create a trifold brochure about Martin’s life. Then students use their notes to start their own trifold brochures. During the next lessons, students are led step-by-step through rereading the text, researching other sources, and taking additional notes about Martin Luther King’s awards and accomplishments, character traits, and meaningful quotes. A great place to get additional resources is youtube. You can find great short videos like this one to show your students. Students can add more information to their note sheets while researching additional resources.

After each lesson, students use their notes to continue creating their trifold brochures. Once these Martin Luther King, Jr. lessons are complete, students are ready to independently research another Civil Rights hero using the same process. We’ve written Ruby Bridges, Jackie Robinson and Rosa Parks texts for this purpose.


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