Civil Rights Movement Unit Plan

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been part of the whirlwind world of teaching middle school for 20 years. She has a Master of Education degree in instructional design.

Give students a front row seat as you explore the Civil Rights Movement. This unit plan will engage middle school students in learning more about the key players whose actions impacted societal change during this important time period.

Civil Rights Movement

The Civil Rights Movement is undeniably an essential topic when teaching about American history. It's difficult to determine which of the many events and key players must be highlighted in a unit about this time period. This unit plan focuses students on the legal aspects of the Civil Rights Movement, the key players who affected change, and the impactful words of Martin Luther King, Jr. Students must engage deeply with not only events and people, but with the words that King used to describe the change that was necessary. Studying the law of the time period and the act of civil disobedience that many chose to engage in shows students that actions, even in the face of intolerance, can bring about large-scale transformation. Through lesson plans, projects, activities, and discussions, students will see the Civil Rights Movement through a new lens of understanding.


Provide a strong context by using this Civil Rights Lesson Plan to kick off your unit. To give additional context, use it in conjunction with the Civil Rights in the 1950s Lesson Plan.

Once students have established a basis of knowledge, engage them in these Civil Rights Movement Activities. Students will get involved and excited in these interactive activities. Another option for providing an excellent overview of the key players and events of the Civil Rights Movement is to use these Civil Rights Movement Gallery Walk Ideas. This strategy will enable students to engage with both the content and with one another while they learn.

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Although middle school students may have heard the ''I Have a Dream'' speech before, this I Have A Dream Lesson Plan provides a deeper analysis of the content, structure, and implications of the speech.

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