Civil Rights Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Adrianne Baron

Adrianne has a master's degree in cancer biology and has taught high school and college biology.

Your students can learn how the Civil Rights Movement came about through this lesson. They will read and discuss a text lesson, research and represent Civil Rights contributors, and take a quiz.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Explain the purpose of the Civil Rights Movement
  • Give a detailed timeline for the Civil Rights Movement
  • Describe major contributors to the movement


1 - 1.5 hours

Curriculum Standards


Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.


Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 5 topic or subject area.



  • Start by telling your students they are going to learn about the Civil Rights Movement and how it has evolved over time while you are passing out the Civil Rights Movement Lesson for Kids: Facts & Timeline
  • Read and discuss the text lesson together as a class.
  • After reading the 'Roots of the Civil Rights Movement' section, ask and discuss:
    • What is the Civil Rights Movement?
    • What does abolished mean?
    • What was the 13th Amendment and when was it passed?
    • What does NAACP stand for?
    • What is the purpose of the NAACP?
  • After reading the 'Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s' section, ask and discuss:
    • What did the Brown v. Board of Education case decide in 1954?
    • What civil rights activist refused to give up her seat to a white passenger in Montgomery in 1955?
    • What is a boycott?
    • What boycott resulted from Rosa Parks not giving up her seat?
  • After reading the 'Civil Rights Movement in 1960s', ask and discuss:
    • What major civil rights organization was formed in part by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr?
    • What was the name of his famous speech from 1963?
    • What was his dream about?
    • What was the purpose of the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
    • Who signed the Fair Housing Act and in what year?
  • After reading the 'Civil Rights Achievements Today' section, ask and discuss:
    • Who was the first black U.S. Secretary of State?
    • Who was the first black female U.S. Secretary of State?
    • When was President Barack Obama elected as the first black president of the U.S.?
  • Read the 'Lesson Summary' to your students and emphasize bolded terms and major points of the lesson.
  • Ask if there are any questions before moving on.

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