Lesson PlansBack to lesson plans archive August 14, 2013
The 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington Lesson Plan: A Time for Change
by Katie Gould, Teacher Resource Prodcuer for NewsHour Extra
Civil rights, Government & Civics, history, Social Issues, and social studies
One 90 minute class period
Middle and High School
Warm Up Activity
The Civil Rights Movement did not begin suddenly in the 1960’s, nor was it a short battle. Even today, many civil rights hopes and objectives have still not been met.
The movement for African American civil rights and against racial discrimination grew over time through massive grassroots organization, a commitment to achieve racial equality through non-violence, legislative victories, brilliant leadership and collaboration and the sheer courage and determination of hundreds of thousands of participants. To understand the enormity of the famous March on Washington, we compiled a timeline of major civil rights events in the 100 years leading up to August 20, 1963.
This timeline of the history of the civil rights movement does not include every event, but attempts to capture those that exemplify the long struggle for equality that so many fought so hard for, and many gave their lives to see realized. The interactive nature of the timeline allows for students and teachers to learn more about these historic events through both text and video.
Either as a class or individually visit the interactive timeline of important civil rights events leading up to the March on Washington, and important historical events that follows the march. There are videos and information they can browse through to learn more about the real life events that took place. Or you may want to scroll through the timeline together and watch the videos together (they range from 2-10 minutes and the specific times are outlined here in an excel spreadsheet)
1. The Who and How of March on Washington
Most students are familiar with Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, considered a defining moment in the Civil Rights Movement. However, few students understand the sheer magnitude of the task and the courage that it took to plan and carry out the March on Washington on August 28, 1963. The demonstration was so powerful that it is said to be responsible for ushering in a wave of legislation that outlawed acts of discrimination and changed an entire nation for generations to come.
- Put students in small groups and give them copies of two documents:
- The “Final Plans for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom”
- The program for “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom”
- Have the students do a scavenger hunt and answer the questions on the worksheet “March on Washington Primary Documents”.
2. What We Demand- The Goals of the March on Washington
- Pass out the worksheet “The Goals of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom: What Did They Hope to Accomplish” to the students and ask them to read through the goals. Have them keep in mind the obstacles African Americans faced up to that point (1963). Ask them to think about and answer the following questions on their worksheet:
- Have students read through the goals from The March. Then ask them to try to imagine what the authors of the goals had hoped would happen if the goals were met. Have them write down their answer in the “Anticipated Effect” space below each of the goals.
- Ask students to put a check next to any goal that they feel has been met since 1963 up to 2013.
- Have students thoughtfully answer the rest of the questions on the page.
The Materials You Need
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Common Core Standards
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Relevant National Standards:
McRel Compendium of K-12 Standards Addressed:
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.7.7 Compare and contrast a text to an audio, video, or multimedia version of the text, analyzing each medium’s portrayal of the subject (e.g., how the delivery of a speech affects the impact of the words).
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.7 Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums (e.g., print or digital text, video, multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.7 Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person’s life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.7.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion differs from that of a newspaper).
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term or terms over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.8 Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses).
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.7.3 Analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text (e.g., how ideas influence individuals or events, or how individuals influence ideas or events).
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.3 Analyze how a text makes connections among and distinctions between individuals, ideas, or events (e.g., through comparisons, analogies, or categories).
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.7.1 Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.1 Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
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