SUBJECT: History
TOPIC: U.S. Civil Rights in the 1960's
CREATORS:James Barbret, Joel Circrone, Sharon Drochak, Natalie Surowy, Doug Walden

U.S. Civil Rights in the 1960's - Unit Plan Road Map

Day 1 Introduction
Day 2 Beginning of Movement
Day 3 Rosa Parks (lesson plan)
Day 4 Marches \ Rallies (lesson plan)
Day 5 Marches \ Rallies
Day 6 Field Trip - African American History Museum
Day 7 Field Trip follow-up
Day 8 M.L.K.
Day 9 M.L.K. (lesson plan)
Day 10 Black Muslims (lesson plan)
Day 11 Black Panthers
Day 12 Riots (lesson plan)
Day 13 Riots
Day 14 Unit Review
Day 15 Essay Test (rubric)
Day 16 Conclusion \ Introduction of new unit

Unit Goals

  1. To accomplish the goals in the strands and benchmarks of the Michigan Social Studies Framework listed below

    1.2 Comprehending the past
    1.3 Analyzing and interpreting the past
    1.4 Judging decisions of the past
    2.1 Diversity of people, places, and cultures
    3.2 Ideals of American democracy
    6 Public discourse and decision making
    1.2.2 Challenge arguments of historical inevitability by formulating examples of how different choices could have led to different consequences.
    1.4.10 Evaluate the responses of individuals to historic violations of human dignity involving discrimination, persecution and crimes against humanity. 
    2.1.9 Describe how major world issues and events affect various people, societies, places and cultures in different ways.
    3.2.8 Identify the benefits and challenges of diversity in American life.
    6.1.9 Identify the benefits and challenges of diversity in American life. Conversations would examine the public policy and help to make reasonable and informed decisions.
  3. For students to be aware of the people and events that were involved in The Civil Rights movement and understand the affects it had on our society.

Unit Objectives

Unit Procedure

  1. Identification of topic
  2. Anticipatory set
  3. Games
  4. Discussions
  5. Videos
  6. Group Activities
  7. Field Trips
  8. Evaluation

Unit Body of Presentation

  1. Anticipatory Set
  2. Make generalizations about the civil rights movement and the people involved
  3. Explanation of people and events in the movement
  4. Small group activities
  5. Simulation Activities
  6. Discussion of presentation
  7. Evaluaton

Lesson Plan Day 1: Introduction


After putting together the puzzles the students will:


To recognize the names and major events in The Civil Rights movement in the 60's



Room will be marked with a sign for five stations.

Students will be asked to count off "1, 2, 3, 4 ,5, 1, 2,..."

All students with each number will be designated to go to that station.


At each station students will find an envelope lettered "A". As a group, unscramble the letters to make words that have something to do with history in the 1960's. After accomplishing this task, write it on the top of your sheet where it says name of unit. DO NOT SHARE YOUR INFORMATION WITH YOUR NEIGHBORS. Come to me and get envelope "B", return to your seats and repeat this procedure again.

After envelope B is completed, come and get envelope "C" and match the statements in envelope "C" with the people and events in envelope "B". Continue to record this information on handout provided. After students have finished this they will use the dictionary and read the text to come up with a group definition of Civil Rights and a statement why they think this period was significant in history.


Discuss activity, list the people and events on the board, and come with a group consensus as to what Civil Right in the 60's meant.


Share photos from old magazines, discuss content leading into tomorrow's lesson.


While still in groups have students put all information away and have a contest to see who can recall the various people and events that were in the puzzle. Winners get 5 extra credit points losers get 1.

Lesson Plan Day 2: Beginning of the Movement


After a day of discussion and group activity students will:


For students to understand why the movement started.



Students divide into the same groups as yesterday. Using the magazines, brainstorm and come up with various group issues that you think were involved in The Civil Rights movement.


Give each group a slip paper with one of the following names: Black Southern Baptists, African-American citizens, Governor of Alabama, Governor of Mississippi, Protesters.

Students will pretend they are members of each of these groups and collectively list issues that would relate to them as a group at this time in history. Each student in the group will have a copy of the list with the issues he or she thinks are involved.

Next, students will divide up to have one member of each group form another group and define the problems and listen to the sides of the other groups' issues.


List on the board all the issues that the students came up with, discuss and students copy.

Teacher adds to the list on the board, students copy and discuss.


All students are given a piece of paper that looks like a bus pass with nothing but a date written on it. Students are asked to keep until tomorrow.


Homework: Each student writes an editorial for a newspaper representing one of the groups. The editorial should discuss reasons (including the ones we listed in class) why the group is e being discriminated against.

Lesson Plan Day 3: Rosa Parks and Selma, Alabama


Students will:


To provide students with a simulated segregated experience in order to understand why Rosa Park's bus ride was so significant to the movement in the 60's



Greet each student as they walk into class with either a white or black paper plate.


Students are to cut slits marked for eyes and attach string on the sides to use the plates as a mask.

Give directions to move chairs around in the room to simulate a bus.

Students put on their masks.

Each student with a white mask gets an envelope that tells them that they will not let a person with a black mask sit next to them; white-masked students do not tell the other students their directions.

Students are instructed to take a seat on our pretend bus. The teacher plays the bus driver.

White plate students follow the directions on instructions and do not let black plate students sit next to them and force them to the back of the pretend bus.

After this mass confusion we return to our seats and discuss the simulation and see if they know what players were involving from the previous lesson.

Discuss, and introduce fact sheet, have students read.

List on board the important facts of this events, along with Geographical information and dates, students record this information.


Show 15 minute video relating to this event and the protesting that followed. Discuss. This is also the transition into the next day.

Each student records two facts from this video to share with class


Students get out the bus ticket that was given to them and list the date of the event, city and state, and person involved in this event on the back of the paper.

Students will record the event that happened that day along with their feeling about this event.

Lesson Plan Day 4: Marches/ Rallies of the Civil rights Movement, Lesson I



Students will be able to


Living in a multi-cultural area we must strive to understand each other.

Understanding how the black Civil Rights movement affected people of this area heightens student's awareness.



Video clip showing masses of people on the mall in Washington DC and ask the students what reason could make these people all come together.


Assigned group reading will have given to each small group the night previous to the start of this lesson.

For 10 minutes, students will break into small groups for short discussion to answer these three questions:

  1. Where did the march/rally occur?
  2. What were the reasons that the march or rally was held?
  3. What did the march/rally accomplish?
Class discussion will then be held. Teacher will then ask for each of the groups' answers to the three questions. Teacher will write each of the groups, answers on the board.

Teacher will ask each group representative if the group thought the march or rally they were assigned was a success or failure.

Discuss with each group their reasoning.


3 essay questions to be given in the last 15 minutes of class. Questions are as follows:

  1. What do you think was the most important march/rally?
  2. What did this march/rally accomplish?
  3. What do you think would be a good reason to have a march/rally at this school?


After evaluating students responses to essay questions let the students know that in tomorrow's class you are planning a peaceful march on school grounds to protest the most cited reason to essay question #3.


Students will be able to answer essay questions 1 & 2 on the evaluation essay questions.

Lesson Plan Day 5: Marches / Rallies of the Civil Rights Movement, Lesson II


The most common and feasible reason for protest from the essay questions on Day 4, will be the basis for a mock march/rally. The teacher will act as the march administrator. For the first half of class the students will create teacher approved placards for themselves. The second half will be an outdoor march/rally on school grounds under the direction of the teacher. The principal along with other school administrators will be witness to the march. The teacher will make an impromptu speech regarding the reason for the protest.



This lesson will give the students an idea of the actual feelings and thoughts that arise in this situation. It will give the students a perception to what a real march/rally entails.

Lesson Plan Day 6: Field Trip to the African-American History Museum


Living in the metropolitan Detroit area means that the students will belong to or come in contact with the African-American culture on a daily basis. The field trip to the African-American History museum in Detroit will be planned on the basis of studying the Black Civil Rights movement in the 1960's. Only a portion of the museum is going to be dedicated to this topic. Therefore the trip will have to incorporate more than just the study of the Civil Rights movement. The students will be able to immerse themselves in the culture of the African-American. By doing so they will get a feel of the way that this cultural group views the United States of America.



  1. Permission slips will have been passed out for parent approval 2 weeks prior to the field trip.
  2. The class will leave in the morning and be gone the whole school day.
  3. The tour open with a lecture in the museum auditorium ( 1 and a half hours).
  4. The students will be led throughout the entire museum by a tour guide.
  5. During lunch the teacher will discuss with the students what they will expected to know for the Field trip follow-up on Day 7.
  6. The tour will close with a movie shown in the museum auditorium.


Lesson Plan Day 7: Field Trip Follow-up



Students will answer three questions posed to them by the teacher in written form.

  1. What did you learn about the Civil Rights Movement?
  2. What were the two most interesting things that you saw in the museum?
  3. How do you think African-Americans perceive the United States?
After these questions are answered each student will be called upon to present his or her answers orally.

The students' answers will provoke a class discussion that is mediated by the teacher.


The teacher will ask each student to write a 5 paragraph essay on the state of the African American culture due on Day 8. The class discussion along with the perceptions gathered during the field trip will provide enough material for the essay. The essay topic should be one of the following:

  1. The Museum's perception of the Black Civil Rights Movement
  2. The African-American Museum's collection.
  3. African-American perceptions of the USA


Lesson Plan Day 8: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Media


OBJECTIVESThe student will examine seven (7) key media strategies used by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and interpret the importance of each one to the Civil Rights Movement.


  1. The student will be asked to rank and order the seven (7) media strategies according to importance in gaining public support for the Civil Rights Movement.
  2. Using a scale of 1 through 7 (1 being the most important and 7 being the least important) rate the seven (7) media strategies.
  3. Place the number of the media strategy in the blank space next to what you believe is the appropriate number on the scale


The instructor will use the students' worksheets to demonstrate the performance task, to ensure student competence.


The students will then be asked if they have any questions or concerns about the performance tasks.


The instructor will have the students answer sample questions provided on the students' worksheet, to minimize students practicing errors.


The students should now be able to rank and order the seven(7) media strategies independently of teacher supervision.

Lesson Plan Days 8 and 9: Rights of Mankind


The student will learn to appreciate the value and significance of the Civil Rights Movement.


To demonstrate the importance of non-violence in resolving civil rights conflicts.



  1. Anticipatory Set - (poster session).
  2. A civil rights play.
  3. Cooperative learning exercise.


Opening Lesson:Label the bulletin board as follows:

What civil rights means to me:
  1. socially
  2. legally
  3. politically
Divide the class into three groups. Each group will use a different colored index card, to write it's individual definition of one of the three categories. The cards will remain nameless, and be passed to the front of the room.

An overhead projector will be used to magnify, all the cards of a single group together. Using class discussion, the students will be aided by the instructor in arriving at a formalized and inclusive definition in each category. After the activity, all the cards will be hung on the bulletin board under their designated categories, so the students can read them over at their leisure.

This is a self-assessed activity designed to cover the social, legal, and political aspects of civil rights. Also to assess how much the students know about civil rights.

Developing the Lesson

A 1960 civil rights play entitled The Greensboro Sit-ins will be used to fuse the students prior learning activity on civil rights, with the effects of segregation on those rights. The students experience social contempt and degradation of the white establishment

Teacher Guided Practice
Instructor will familiarize the students with terms and segregation practices prior to the play production, to prepare them for any discomfort or frustration as a result of the play.

The play will be performed in the classroom. The cast will be chosen by lottery, and the performers are to carry their own scripts.


  1. The students will participate in sit-ins and other demonstrations designed to put economic and social pressure on the establishment.
  2. Students will analyze the ethnic hatred and prejudice of the Jim Crow Laws which forbid African Americans and whites to eat in the same area of a restaurant, use the same restrooms, or mix in public places.


Apply what you have learned. Imagine how you would feel if you were an African American living in the South in the 1960's. Write an essay answering the following questions:

  1. How do you think the Jim Crow Laws would effect the life of you and your family?
  2. How would it make you feel if you walked in a restaurant and no one would serve you? What would you do?
  3. How do you think these laws would effect your relationship at school?
Essay assessment Evaluation of Essay
1 2 3 4 5
Organization and Grammatical Form
Grading Scale
22 - 25 A
19-21 B
17-18 C
15-16 D


Problem: The Michigan Legislature is moving the driving age from 16 to 18 years of age, because of the tremendous amount of alcohol related accidents concerning teenage drivers. Consider this as a violation of your civil rights.

Goal The goal of the class will be to use Dewey's Six Step Problem Solving Model to create non-violent civil rights strategies to voice your opposition.


An organization will be created by the class to advocate this conflict. The class will name and define the purpose of the organization.

The class will be divided into cooperative learning groups of five members each.

Each group will be provided with a copy of Thomas Dewey's Six Step Problem Solving Model, in which directions are spelled out.

Each group will create 5 non-violent civil rights strategies that could be used to demonstrate or protest the new driving legislation.

After a limited group discussion, the class will resume as a whole. Each group will outline their strategies on the chalk board. The class will weigh the value and appropriateness of each groups strategies, and select a 5-point strategy by class consensus, based on all the strategies presented,

The instructor will preview Dewey's Model for the students and clarify such terms as reflective, listening hidden agendas and unilateral agreements. See Dewey's Model.


Each group will be assessed on a 100 point scale. The instructor will take each point missed from the three sections and multiply it times 4 then subtract it from 100.

Grading Scale
88 - 100 A
80 - 87 B
70 - 79 C
65 - 69 D
Section 1 ( Maximum Points = 5 )
If the class completed all six steps of Dewey's Problem Solving Model award 5 points. Subtract 1 point for each step not completed.

Section 2 ( Maximum Points = 5 )

  1. The ability of the group to sell its strategies to the class.
  2. Each group will offer an explanation or rationale for each of the 5 strategies chosen by the group.
  3. Points will be awarded for originality, creativity, and appropriateness of choices.
Section 3 ( Maximum Points = 5 )
Group participation in the cooperative learning process will be scored on the basis of 3 to 5 points with 3 points being the lowest and 5 points the highest for the group. This score will be based on how well the group responds to the above criteria and the teachers observation of group effort.

I would have the students do research on Mahatmas Ghandi's Leadership style and then compare and contrast it with the leadership style of Martin Luther King, Jr. I would, also, have the students discuss the important people and events that influenced the leadership styles of both men.

Dewey's Six Step Problem Solving Model

  1. Identify the Problem
    1. State your individual views to the group honestly. assertively, and completely.
    2. If possible, try to verbalize views that are different from yours.
    3. Use reflective listening to ensure that you understood others views.
  2. Generate Possible Solutions
    1. Be willing to risk; be willing to be creative. Encourage these qualities in others by not evaluating, judging or criticizing - remember that though an initial solution may be inadequate it may stimulate someone else.
    2. Use reflective listening.
    3. Try to get a large number of solutions.
  3. Deciding on a Mutually Acceptable Solution
    1. At this point, all the groups will bring their solution before the class to try and reach a consensus
    2. If it appears that the group is close to a decision, state the solution clearly, to be sure that all the members understand what they are about to decide.
    3. Don't become impatient or discouraged at the initial failure to reach a decision or solution.
  4. Keep the following in mind:
    1. Consensus takes time.
    2. Disagreement does not mean failure.
    3. If parts of the solution are acceptable to all, make that clear and focus only on the parts where there is disagreement.
    4. Be sure that there are no "hidden agendas" which are preventing agreement. A hidden agenda is an unstated goal which is different from the stated goal of the group.
  5. Implementing the Solution
    1. Be sure that decisions on implementation are also arrived at a thorough consensus.
    2. Have someone in class accurately summarize the decision and put it in writing.
  6. Evaluating the Solution
    1. Everyone should agree on the method to be used in evaluating the solution.
    2. It should be agreed upon that the solution is open for revision, but only through the groups participation and not unilaterally.
    3. A future date should be set for evaluating the success or failure of the group solution.


Lesson Plan Day 10: Black Muslims


RATIONALE The purpose of this lesson is to give students the knowledge to discern between different civil rights movements and their effects on our society. The lesson will concentrate on the Black Muslim movement and its leaders.


Anticipatory Set: Students respond to following journal entry written on board. "What do you know about the Black Muslims in the 1960's."

Instructional Input: Students will spend five minutes responding to journal entry and be given information by teacher.

Modeling: Teacher will show students brief video and ask students to describe what they see. The video used is entitled, Eyes on the Prize II-America at the Crossroads

Checking for Understanding: Students will break into groups and discuss sheet Black Muslims Discussion Sheet then share with class.

Guided Practice When students break back into class setting teacher will correct misunderstandings

Independent Practice: Students will take mini-quiz. Quiz will be discussed before end of class.

Homework: Student will write a one to three paragraph standard essay and discuss, compare/contrast of civil rights movements.

Black Muslims Discussion Sheet

  1. After discussing the journal entry and watching the video, what are some impressions you have about the Black Muslims?
  2. Using your book or other resources define the following:
    1. Stokely Carmichael -

    3. Malcolm X -

    5. "black power" -

    7. "by any means necessary" -

    9. Elijah Mohammed -

    11. black militant -

  3. What was the black power movement?

  5. How did Malcolm X train for his position as one of the leaders of the Black Muslims?

  7. What were some of the major viewpoints of Malcolm X and the Muslims? Did his views change after his trip to Mecca? How and shy?

  9. What ended the thriving Black Muslim movement in the 1960's?


Black Muslims Mini-Quiz

Answer the following using complete sentences.
  1. Who coined the term "black power"?



  3. Who was the voice of the Black Muslims in the 1 960's?



  5. Who was the Black Muslims' spiritual leader?



  7. What did the Black Muslim movement accomplish?



  9. What happened to the voice of the Muslim movement? Was this bad or good for their cause? Why or why not?




Lesson Plan Abstract Day 11: Black Panthers

This lesson is the second dealing with militant civil rights movements.


Anticipatory Set : Journal Entry
Purpose: Similar to Black Muslim movement concentrating on Black Panther movement.
Input: class discussion
Modeling : video
Checking for Understanding : group work
Guided Practice : class discussion
Independent Practice : quiz
Homework : writing assignment

Lesson Plan Day 12: 1967 Detroit Riots






Have students get into groups and brainstorm using a semantic map

Have each group go to a specific predetermined site

Have students printout findings



Tomorrow we will discuss the major points of the riots.


Have students write a paragraph or two on the information found on the World Wide Web to be turned in at the start of class tomorrow.

Lesson Plan Abstract Day 13: Detroit Riots



Opener: Have students hand in paragraphs for credit.

Have students get into groups.

Pass back paragraphs for reference.

Begin with discussion of main points of World Wide Web articles.

Incorporate semantic map into discussion.

Verify the points of discussion as factual or not.


Give the students the opportunity for general questions



Lesson Plan Day 14: Review


Notes and handouts from previous lessons


Discuss what type of information will be covered on the exam

Discuss the format of the exam

Review vital information from previous lectures

Field questions from students

Closure: Good Luck on Exam!!!


Essay Test Rubric: Holistic Scorepoint

This scorepoint is based on a four point system with four being the highest score and one the lowest. Student's work is evaluated considering three areas of their response as shown below.
Content (times two) Response addresses all areas of question posed correctly.

Response uses citings from text to answer questions.

Mechanics Response has no spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors.

Response follows standard paragraph format with topic sentence, supporting ideas, and conclusion.

Organization Response has beginning, middle, and end.

Response follows chronological order or order of importance.

U.S. Civil Rights in the 1960's Unit Essay Test

Directions -Answer three of the following five essay questions. Use complete, organized paragraphs. Cite the text to defend your responses.

  1. What is the significance of Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement?
  2. What effect did the civil rights march on Washington, D.C. have on the American government? African-Americans?
  3. If you were an Afro-american in the 1 960's how would the Jim Crow laws affect you and your family?
  4. How did black militant groups in the 1960's affect society? What changes did they strive for?
  5. Discuss and describe the socioeconomic effects of the 1967 riots on Detroit?


Lesson Plan Day 16: Conclusion to the Civil Rights Unit


To wrap-up the 16 day Unit Plan on the 1960's Civil Rights movement.


Students will be able to:


The wrap-up is designed to reinforce ideas and concepts that have developed in the students minds over the duration of the Unit Plan.


On the board, put the five topics that have been discussed in class.


Break the students into five small groups and give them one of the five topics to discuss and these two questions to answer.

  1. Why was this "topic" important?
  2. What did this "topic" accomplish for African Americans in the 1960's?
After 10 minutes, reassemble as a class and have the group representative give the teacher the groups' answers to the two questions. The teacher should write the answers to the questions on the board under the particular topic heading.

As a class discuss what things were learned about each topic on the field trip.


An essay test will be given to the students the following day.


The rubric-graded essay test will serve as an evaluation of the student's understanding of the Unit Plan.



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