Lively Lessons: Black History Month Resources and Strategies

Ruby_mdJoin Discovery Education for a Virtual Viewing Party on Tuesday, February 23, at 1 PM ET, as students across the country simultaneously share in the story of Ruby Bridges, the first black student to attend an all-white elementary school in Louisiana.

Afterward, take part in a virtual discussion and share reflections, comments, and questions and #CelebrateWithDE.



Francie Snyder_circleThis Lively Lesson contributed by Francie Snyder.  Francie is an Educator of the Gifted in Manatee County, Florida.  She has been using Discovery Education for nearly 10 years and has been a DEN STAR since 2010 and a member of the Leadership Council since 2012.

Black History Month is an opportunity to introduce our students to the rich history of African Americans, both by shining a light on painful injustices and by illuminating and celebrating the culture, people, and moments that make up the tapestry of our shared history.

George McJunkin_circleWith Discovery Education’s digital resources and strategies, students get to know brave, creative, and groundbreaking African Americans and their important roles in history.




Especially when used together, the following strategies deepen student understanding and personal connections to the content. Adjust the presentation and assessment to meet the needs for different grade levels and abilities.

PlessyvFerguson_circleAt the beginning of your study, create an anchor chart for SOS: Connect the Dots, which will be used to illustrate how historical contributions of black Americans still impact life today. On the Anchor Chart, write African American History in the middle of the page and teacher’s name and class at the top. Then as you make your way through the unit of study, African American contributions are added to the chart and students asked to respond to how each has affected us today.

Use SOS: Step Inside deepen student understanding of each individual and their contribution, which is a Visual Thinking Routine from Harvard’s Project Zero. After viewing a Discovery Education clip on an historic African American, ask students to think about and reflect on the following four questions:

  1. What can this person see, observe or notice?
  2. What might the person think, know, understand, or believe?
  3. What might this person care deeply about?
  4. What might this person wonder about or question?


These culminating activities help assess student understanding.

Gilded_age_students_circleSOS: ABC Summary: Assign students a letter of the alphabet at random, and then ask them to write a summary of something they learned about during the study using their letter to being the sentence. Compile into an alphabet book for African American History.  From the Community: ABC Summary rubric.

SOS: Paper Slide Video: students create a one-take video to summarize their learning. Students work in a group to create a timeline of famous African Americans they had studied.  Next, students select one of these historical figures and create both an illustration and write script for that portion of the Paper Slide Video. Finally, as a group, students practice and record their Paper Slide Video. From the Community: Paper Slide rubric.


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