Primary level: Black History Month

Author: Sarah White

Grade Level: K - 5

Subject/Content: Social Studies

Summary of Lesson: Students will learn about African American leaders in United States history.

Focus Question:How have African Americans impacted our society?

Database(s): Kids InfoBits and Junior Reference Collection


  1. Access images in Kids InfoBits and put into slide show if desired (pictures may also be shown directly from website). Access images by selecting History and Social Studies, Ethnic Groups, African Americans and Images from the main menu of the database.
  2. Set up classroom TV or Smartboard for student viewing of images.
  3. Print bios to accompany pictures from Junior Reference Collection database

Steps/Activities by student(s):

Early Elementary Option

  1. Each day during Black History Month share one image and summary from the database during circle or story time.
  2. With each day’s lesson discuss with students the importance of the person addressed and their impact on our culture.
  3. Use the image entitled “An African American Family on Smith’s Plantation at Beaufort in 1862” to begin the lessons and use the questions below to assess students’ prior knowledge.
    1. How were Blacks treated at this time?
    2. How did the Civil War change this?
    3. How is it different today?
    4. What events helped change life for Black Americans?

Upper Elementary Option

  1. Assign student images to research in pairs using the Gale Junior Resource Center database.
  2. Students will create a poster about their assigned person using the research.
  3. Students will present their research and poster to the class.
  4. Students will create a hallway display using their completed posters.

Outcome: The school community will be informed of the significance and contributions of Black Americans in U.S. history.

Related Activities: If school announcements take place students may share their presentations wit the entire school. As an alternate upper elementary students may present their posters to younger classes.

Standard Date: November 18, 2006

Content Standard(s):

  • What are the benefits of diversity in the United States?
  • What dispositions or traits of character are important to the preservation and improvement of American democracy?
  • How can Americans participate in their government?

Performance Indicators:

  • At Level 1, the student is able to:
    • Identify significant Black Americans.
  • At Level 2, the student is able to:
    • Explain the contributions of these people.
  • At Level 3, the student is able to:
    • Explain how Black Americans have benefited our society.

Computer Literacy and Usage Standards 9-12:

  • The student will develop skills using a variety of computer resources to increase productivity, support creativity, conduct and evaluate research and improve communications.

ISTE NETS for Students

  • Use telecommunications and online resources (e.g., e-mail, online discussions, Web environments) to participate in collaborative problem-solving activities for the purpose of developing solutions or products for audiences inside and outside the classroom. (4, 5)

Information Power; Information Literacy Standards 1-4:

  • Standard 1: The student who is information literate accesses information efficiently and effectively.
  • Standard 3: The student who is information literate uses information accurately and creatively.
  • Standard 7: The student who contributes positively to the learning community and to society is information literate and recognizes the importance of information to a democratic society.
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