MAKING OF A LEADER
Secondary American History, Civics, Sociology, and Communication
Students will participate in a class discussion and conduct independent
research about the lifeskills Ralph Bunche developed because of
the influences of others, his life experiences, and the obstacles
he had to overcome as a youth. They will then construct a piece
of writing, art, or a presentation that illustrates what they have
learned about Bunche.
Students will view "Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey".
In addition, they should view the companion website, particularly
the section titled "Early Influences and Education, the Making of
a Leader". This section includes video clips featuring Jane Taylor
telling stories of Bunche's early life and providing information
about important people in his life. The timeline section of the
site should also be referenced. Finally, students can reference
the websites below for additional information about Bunche's childhood
and educational experiences.
Nobel Museum's biography of Bunche
Age Peace Foundation
of Bunche written for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation site
University Ralph Bunche International Affairs Center
from Howard University Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center
Encyclopedia article on Bunche
addition to the film, the companion website, and the internet sites
mentioned above, the following books and articles can provide more
specific information about Ralph Bunche's childhood experiences.
J. Bunche: Fighter for Peace, by J. Alvin Kugelmass
Bunche: A Most Reluctant Hero, by Jim Haskins
Bunche: Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, by Anne Schraff
Bunche: An American Life
by Brian Urquhart
Most Unforgettable Character" by Ralph Bunche
(an article that appeared in Readers Digest
Sept. 1969 p. 45)
America Means to Me" by Ralph Bunche (an article that appeared
in American Magazine 1950.)
1. The teacher should pose a rhetorical question to get students
thinking about the anticipation guide activity. He/she might ask
students something like "Is there ever a time when a problem has
only one right or wrong answer?" or "Have you ever been in a situation
when you can see how two opposite answers could apply to the same
question?" Once students have been given a few moments to think
about the question, the teacher should distribute the anticipation
guides. The teacher should review the directions and then give students
7-10 minutes to complete the activity.
The teacher should facilitate a class discussion about the anticipation
guide. Students should be asked to share how they answered various
questions and why then answered the way they did. The teacher should
encourage students to give specific examples to explain the reasons
for their answers.
Once the discussion has reached a closing point, the teacher explain
that the lesson will focus on learning more about a person who embodies
the issues they have been discussing in the anticipation guide.
If time permits, the class could brainstorm a list of people they
feel are representative of the issues.
Students will probably know very little about Ralph Bunche, but
they will be interested to learn more once you have made the introduction
above or one similar to it.
Hand out the viewing guide for students to use as they watch the
film. Be sure to go over the directions before students begin viewing.
It would be appropriate to stop the film at appropriate times to
answer questions and give students time to record their ideas.
Once students have seen the film and completed the viewing guide,
have them work in small groups or facilitate a large group discussion
about their various answers to the questions. Encourage them to
be specific when citing their examples from the film.
Once this discussion is complete, gather the class together and
redirect their focus to Ralph Bunche and the skills he developed
as a youth that helped him be a success in his adult life. Stress
the idea that there were many people and events that influenced
him. Using what was presented in the film, additional resources
such as those listed above, and the companion website, present students
with basic information about Bunche's family life, his educational
experiences in elementary and high school, and the hardships he
and his family faced throughout his formative years. This could
be done through discussion, distribution of copies of the various
articles about Bunche from the websites, or individual student viewing
of these materials.
Students will then conduct independent research about Bunche using
internet and library research. Their focus should be to answer the
questions on the research worksheet. Students should be careful
to record accurate, specific information in their answers.
Once students have completed their research, they will need to choose
a format for presenting what they learned about Bunche. Give students
the activity options sheet for choosing a project that best suits
their interest and abilities.
After students have completed their project and presented it to
the class, have them do a self-evaluation of their work as it compares
to others in the class. Students could work as a group to develop
the guidelines for this prior to beginning their projects. This
will encourage them to do high quality work since they know others
will see it and because they will have to compare their work to
that of their classmates.
Use the process mentioned above to create a peer evaluation form
that students will use to rank one another's presentations. Then,
as each student presents his/her work, have classmates evaluate
Create a scoring guide that could be used with each of the projects
on the activity options list. Using your expectations of your students,
develop criteria for acceptable and unacceptable presentations.
In addition, credit could be awarded for completion of various activity/research
sheets and participation in class discussions that led up to the
development of the projects.
1. Once students have completed their projects and presented
to the class, have them sponsor a Ralph Bunche awareness activity.
This could be done in conjunction with Black History Month, the
anniversary of the founding of the U.N., Bunche's birthday, etc.
Students could create advertising materials to be used in the school
and community, they could invite members of local groups that may
be interested in learning more about Bunche or recognizing his accomplishments.
Students could also look for a guest speaker(s) to highlight their
program by talking about Ralph Bunche and all he stood for. Finally,
the students themselves would be in charge of developing displays
that include their projects and a program for the event. Parents,
school board members, and school district patrons could be invited
to attend the event as well.
Studies Standard and Benchmarks
4 (Grade 9-12)
Standard 1: Understands that group and cultural influences contribute
to human development, identity, and behavior
Understands that family, gender, ethnicity, nationality,
affiliations, socioeconomic status, and other group
and cultural influences contribute to the shapingof a person's
Understanding Standard and Benchmarks
4 (Grade 9-12)
Standard 2: Understands the historical perspective
Analyzes the values held by specific people who influenced history
role their values played in influencing history
Arts Standard and Benchmarks: Viewing
4 (Grade 9-12)
Standard 9: Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and
interpret visual media
1. Uses a range of strategies to interpret visual media (e.g.,
draws conclusions, makes generalizations, synthesizes materials
viewed, refers to images or information in visual media to support
point of view deconstructs media to determine the main idea)
Uses a variety of criteria (e.g., clarity, accuracy, effectiveness,
of facts) to evaluate informational media (e.g., web sites, documentaries,
Arts Standard and Benchmarks: Listening and Speaking
4 (Grade 9-12)
Standard 8: Uses listening and speaking strategies for different
Asks questions as a way to broaden and enrich classroom discussions
5. Makes formal presentations to the class (e.g., includes definitions
for clarity; supports main ideas using anecdotes, examples, statistics,
analogies, and other evidence; uses visual aids or technology,
such as transparencies, slides, electronic media; cites information
6. Makes multimedia presentations using text, images, and sound
(e.g., selects the appropriate medium, such as television broadcast,
videos, web pages, films, newspapers, magazines, CD-ROMS, Internet,
computer-media-generated images; edits and monitors for quality;
organizes, writes, and designs media
Arts Standard and Benchmarks: Writing
Standard 4: Gathers and uses information for research purposes
4 (Grade 9-12)
Uses a variety of print and electronic sources to gather information
for research topics (e.g., news sources such as magazines, radio,
television, newspapers; government publications; microfiche;
telephone information services; databases; field studies; speeches;
technical documents; periodicals; Internet)
here to download these Documents as a PDF file (44K)
Making of a Leader: Activity Options
You have participated in class discussions, viewed the film "Ralph
Bunche: An American Odyssey", and conducted your own research to
learn about Bunche. It is now time to share what you have learned
about him. Choose one project from the list below and complete it.
Be prepared to share and explain your work to others.
all you have learned about Ralph Bunche, write a poem or song that
tells the story of his childhood. Be sure to include the obstacles
he had to overcome, the influences of his family, the racism Bunche
experienced, and the way he met challenges as a positive rather
than negative experience.
poem/song should be at minimum of 30 lines. You may choose any format
for your poetry or song (i.e. It does not have to rhyme, it may
or may not include a chorus, etc.)
your play/song, practice it, and perform it for the class.
a piece of artwork that if representative of Bunche's childhood.
This could be a collage, painting, drawing, sculpture, etc. The
piece must depict/be representative of Bunche's childhood, people
who influenced him, events that impacted him, and challenges that
he met successfully.
your artwork, practice how you will describe it to others, and share
it with the class.
Bunche seized the opportunities that were presented to him and used
racist attitudes and personal challenges as motivation to be a success.
Think about your own life and some of the hardships and struggles
you have had to endure or will endure as you
older. Write an essay discussing how you can/could have adapted
an attitude similar to Bunche's to help you overcome problems and
achieve your goals. Give specific examples from your life and discuss
how you think Bunche would have handled similar situations. Finally,
address the idea that by developing the whole person (i.e. using
both lifeskills and education) one is more likely to achieve success
and why this is true.
your essay, practice reading it, and share it with the class.
technology such as Microsoft Power Point or another multimedia format,
create a presentation about the life of Ralph Bunche from birth
through his college graduation. Include pictures, audio clips, video
clips, and text to tell his story. Think of this project as a "mini
movie". When you run it, others should be able to view it independently
and get a complete picture of Ralph Bunche as he was during the
specified time frame. Topics to address would include:
- Influential People
- Struggles and Hardships
Prepare your presentation, set all timers and effects, run a practice
show, and present your work to the class.
back to the Anticipation Guide and look over the questions you responded
to before seeing the film "Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey". Think
about how the statements on the guide relate to Ralph Bunche. Think
of examples that illustrate each idea on the guide (i.e. If Bunche
had "minded his own business" and not been involved in mediating
crises throughout the world, how would that have possibly changed
history?). Once you have recorded some ideas and examples, create
a persuasive speech to share with your classmates. The speech could
focus on the importance of students learning about Ralph Bunche
and his life or it could focus on the forgotten contributions of
Bunche and how he should be remembered more historically.
your speech, practice it, and perform it for the class.
Option 6: Project of your choice
a specific idea in the space below and see your teacher for approval
before beginning your work.
The Making of a Leader: Viewing Guide
Read the questions listed below carefully so you know what to look
for while watching the video. As you view "Ralph Bunche: An American
Odyssey", make note of specific examples, ideas, and facts that
address each question. You will reference these in a later part
of the lesson, so record details accurately and completely.
What were some of the hardships and challenges Bunche faced during
his childhood and teen years?
Bunche was heavily influenced as a child by the people around him.
Give some examples of people who influenced Bunche and how they
Bunche was the victim of racism on more than one occasion. How did
these experiences affect him in your opinion? Give examples and
details from the film to support your opinion.
Give several examples of times when Bunche's actions spoke louder
than his words.
Bunche is an excellent example of a person who had highly developed
lifeskills. For each of the skills listed below, give an example
from the film to illustrate it.
Making of a Leader: Research Worksheet
Using library and internet resources, answer the questions below
in as much detail as you can. Be sure to record facts accurately
and supply detailed answers.
Ralph Bunche grew up in three very different cities. Describe the
type of neighborhood and people Bunche was exposed to in these various
Describe the role Bunche's grandmother played in shaping his personality
and values. Give specific examples, quotations, and descriptions
In what ways was Bunche directly affected by racism? Find at least
3 specific examples of these in your research. Describe the incidents
The following comments were made to Bunche by his family members.
How do you think each of these people shaped Bunche as a person?
mother said, "My boy, don't ever let anything take away your hope
and faith and dreams."
grandmother said, " Our family is as fine as any on earth. We are
poor in money, all right, but we're all rich in character, spirit,
and decency and we believe in God. That's a lot more important than
Consider the second part of the research to be a sort of "scavenger
hunt". Find information about the questions below. Again, be as
specific as possible with your answers.
What were some of the various jobs Bunche had as a youth to help
support himself and his family?
What was the precious memento that Bunche's father gave to him as
a child? Why do you think Bunche cherished it so?
Which teacher did Bunche say had the most effect on him growing
Making of a Leader: Anticipation Guide
Directions: Read each statement below carefully. Place an X
in either the Agree or Disagree column. You must choose one column
or the other. Then write a short explanation for why you chose the
answer you did in the Reason box. Be prepared to share your answers
and ideas with the class.
People who are successful are usually those who grow up with
more economic advantages.
Lifeskills such as courage and perseverance are as important
as educational skills like reading and writing.
How a person acts has more impact on others than what he/she
A person who tries to mediate a dispute between others is only
asking for trouble and should mind their own business.
Enduring hardships helps to build character.