Elementary School Lesson Plans

These lesson plans have been developed specifically for  the early grades.

Lesson Plans by SC Educators
(recently added are listed first)

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Telling a Story: Photos of the Civil Rights Movement

Following the class reading of the 1995 novel The Watsons Go to Birmingham, students will be introduced to the Civil Rights Movement. The Watsons provides a fictional depiction of a Black family’s experience traveling to the Deep South of Alabama during the year 1963. To emphasize the reality of the movement for students, they will utilize a variety of primary source photographs to explore protests and organizing experiences during this period. Students will make observations of the photographs and create connections to The Watsons Go to Birmingham and draw conclusions of what the Civil Rights Movement was like for protestors and organizers of the movement. 

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Ruby Bridges and Desegregation

Students will use a variety of primary and secondary sources to explore the perspective of young children during desegregation in the United States. They will be introduced to Ruby Bridges and her role in desegregating schools through secondary and primary sources. To draw personal connections to the lesson, students will compare and contrast how experiences in school have changed since Ruby Bridges (from their own experiences in school) and gain an appreciation for this progress in the Civil Rights Movement.

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The Civil Rights Movement: Organized Protests and Marches that Changed America’s Future

The protest March on Washington in 1963 advanced the Civil Rights Movement and/or the passing of the Civil Rights Act through organization. At the end of the lesson, the students will understand how the marchers supported or advanced the Civil Rights Movement.

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Silent Resistance – The Silent Fight for Civil Rights While Enslaved

This website looks at one of the most common and important acts of resisting the institution of slavery: maintaining cultural identify.  By keeping the cultural traditions of their homeland alive, they silently resisted the psychological breakdown during the process of enslavement and continued their fight for their civil rights while creating a new and unique culture.

Learning about the Civil Rights Movement through Primary Sources and the Arts

The lesson plans in this website allow students to travel through five stations with five different teachers (or can be taught as a five-day unit with one teacher) to learn about the Civil Rights Movement. Teachers can dress up like a famous Civil Rights Leader and lead the lesson as if it were that person telling the story of the Civil Rights Movement.
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Desegregation of Schools: Telling the Story Through Primary Sources

Students will use primary sources and the Library of Congress’ Primary Source Analysis Tool to work in groups, analyzing the impact desegregation had on the Civil Rights Movement following Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, using skills of observation, reflection, and questioning.

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A Process for Protests and Progress

Students will examine how the March on Washington impacted the Civil Rights Act.

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Civil Rights: Making it Real & Relevant to Students

The students will be able to use primary sources to appreciate the relevance of the Civil Rights movement.

Library of Congress Civil Rights Lesson Plans

Note:  If you find errors or broken links, please reach out to Jenna Spiering at spiering@mailbox.sc.edu, Karen Gavigan at kgavigan@mailbox.sc.edu, or Daniella Cook at daniella.cook@sc.edu.