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Youth and the Civil Rights Movement


Computers & Internet, Language Arts, Social Studies  


6, 7, 8  

Title – Youth and the Civil Rights Movement
By – Jerome Manigan
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Secondary Subjects – Social Studies, Language Arts, Computers / Internet
Grade Level – 6-8


      This is a collaborative lesson plan created by the LMS and the 7th and 8th grade social studies teacher. It incorporates Ohio Social Studies and English Language Arts Standards, as well as Information Literacy Standards. Carol Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process (ISP) is used to teach research methods. The use of subject directories will be emphasized. The goal of the lesson is to provide students with information about the Civil Rights Movement in America between 1955 and 1968, while challenging them to think about ways in which they can emulate sacrifices made by others. Students will use a variety of skills to create a research project.
    This lesson is designed to be modified to meet instructional requirements for students in grades 6-8. Special needs students will be expected to satisfy the major components of the lesson plan with appropriate modifications. The student’s IEP can be consulted to determine exact modifications. Teacher will discuss options with special needs students.


      Social Studies – History:

        Analyze the origins, major developments, controversies and consequences of the civil rights movement with emphasis on “The Contributions of Youth to the Civil Rights Movement”.

English Language Arts – Research Standard:

    Students define and investigate self-selected or assigned issues, topics and problems. They locate, select and make use of relevant information from a variety of media, reference and technological sources. Students use an appropriate form to communicate their findings.

Information Literacy:

      Standard 1, Indicators 1, 3, 4, and 5
      Standard 2, Indicator 4
      Standard 3, Indicator 2
    Standard 5, Indicator 3


  • Students will use Kuhlthau’s ISP to locate, access, and evaluate information concerning “Youth and the Civil Rights Movement”.
  • Students will develop presentation on the topic of “Youth and the Civil Rights Movement” based on research using traditional and on-line resources.
  • Students will understand the importance of both group and independent work; how to locate, access, and evaluate material, and ways of presenting that information to others.

Anticipatory Set:

      Knowledge of Civil Rights Movement:

        Students will discuss and respond to the essential questions about the Civil Rights Movement: who, what, when, where, how, and why.
        Discussion questions include:

        • What do you know about the Civil Rights Movement?
        • What are some of the reasons for the movement?
        • What roles did youth and women play in the movement?
        • How did the movement change America?
        • When did the Civil Rights Movement begin?


      The LMS explains to students that the goal of the “Youth and the Civil Rights Movement” is to acquaint students with the important role young people played in the movement. Most students know the names of Dr. King, Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou Hamer, Andrew Young, and others. Unfortunately, most do not know the names of, or the activities engaged in by youth who were an important part of the movement. This lesson plan seeks to make them aware of the names of youth, their activities, and their lasting legacy.
      Students will work in small groups of four to research and design a multimedia presentation (time for presentation is 10-12 minutes) to share with the class. The presentation may be an interview with a person who has first-hand knowledge of “Youth and the Civil Rights Movement” (maybe a parent, neighbor, minister), a time line, or a report that focuses on a single event involving youth (boycotts, 16th Street Baptist Church, Emmett Till, Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education, Integration of Central High School).
    Each committee will research information, using print and electronic sources. Group members will decide on two research questions. Members will be assigned responsibility for researching the questions. They will bring the results of their research back to the group, where it will be synthesized by the group and made a part of the final presentation.

Lesson Plan Session One:

      55 minutes
      (ISP – Step 1) Task Initiation – Students realize they lack knowledge in a certain area.
      Students are given Handout 3 – Web sites with information about “Youth and the Civil Rights Movement”.
      Information Literacy Standard – 1, Indicators 1, 3, 4, and 5.
      Students design research questions. Possible questions:

      • What did youth do during the Civil Rights Movement?
      • Who are the youth known for their roles in the movement?
      • What are major events in the movement in which youth participated?

Prior Knowledge is accessed and the need for new information is identified.

Students will be given copies of the steps of Carol Kuhlthau’s I Search Model. The LMS will ask students to match steps of the model with the tasks they need to complete. Also, the students will be reminded that each step has a corresponding behavior attached. The LMS will review those behaviors and ask students how they might overcome various behaviors so as to successfully complete the assignment. They will be reminded that as they complete the tasks, they should ask the LMS or the language arts teacher for assistance.

Lesson Plan Session Two:

      55 minutes
      Students will explore and select material for use based on relevancy, authority, currency, objectivity, and coverage. Additionally, students will understand that Google searches alone are not sufficient. They will be required to use subject directories and Infohio to complete their research tasks.
      Students are given Handout 2 – Evaluation of Web sites
      (ISP – Steps 2 and 3) Exploration and Selection – using the LMC’s collection, databases, and the Internet, students locate, access, and evaluate material about “Youth and the Civil Rights Movement”.
    Information Literacy Standard – 2, Indicator 4.

Lesson Plan Session Three:

      55 minutes
      (ISP – Steps 4 and 5) Students will formulate a focus for their presentation and collect information specific to that focus. They will work in their groups to discuss their findings, answer questions from group members, and decide on the form their presentation will take.
      Students are given Handout 4 to use as a guide as they prepare their presentation. The same handout will be used by the LMS and Social Studies teacher to evaluate the students work.
    Information Literacy Standard – 9, Indicators 1, 2, 3.

Lesson Plan Session Four:

      55 minutes
      (ISP Step 6) Groups will present their reports to the class.
      Information Literacy Standards – 3, Indicator 2; and 9, Indicators 1, 4.
    Teachers use Handout 4 – Presentation Rubric to assess presentations.


      1) Information Search Process

        The ISP occurs in six stages: Initiation, Selection, Exploration, Formulation, Collection, and Presentation. The sequence of tasks in the ISP are to initiate, to select, to explore, to formulate, to collect, and to present. Thoughts, feelings, and actions commonly experienced in each stage of the process were identified.
        Initiation: At this stage, a person becomes aware of a lack of knowledge or understanding to accomplish an assignment, feelings of uncertainty and apprehension are common. At this point, the task is merely to recognize a need for information. Thoughts are vague and ambiguous centering on the general problem or area of uncertainty.
        Selection: In the second stage, the task is to identify and select the general area or topic to be investigated. Feelings of uncertainty often give way to a brief sense of optimism after selection has been made and there is a readiness to begin the search. Thoughts center on prospective topics of personal interest, assignment requirements, information available and time allotted. The outcome of each possible choice is predicted and the topic judged to have the greatest potential for success is selected. When selection is delayed or postponed, feelings of anxiety are likely to intensify until a choice is made. Actions often involve seeking background information in the general area of concern.
        Exploration: This is often the most difficult stage. Feelings of confusion, uncertainty and doubt frequently increase during this time. The task is to investigate information on the general topic in order to extend personal understanding. Thoughts center on becoming oriented and sufficiently informed about the topic to form a focus or a personal point of view. Actions involve locating information relevant to the general topic, reading to become informed and relating new information to what is already known.
        Formulation: This stage is the turning point of the process when feelings of uncertainty diminish and confidence begins to increase. The task is to form a focus from the information encountered in exploration. Thoughts become more clearly defined as a focused perspective of the topic is formed.
        Collection: At this point, the task is to gather information pertinent to the focused topic. Users have a clearer sense of direction and can specify the need for particular information. Confidence continues to increase as uncertainty subsides with interest in the project deepening.
        Presentation: Thus is the final stage when the task is to complete the search and to accomplish the assignment. A sense of relief is common, with satisfaction if the search has gone well or disappointment if it has not. Thoughts center on culminating the search with a personalized understanding of selected aspects of the topic under study.

2) Evaluation of Web Site Rubric

      Name of Site:_________________________________ Date: ___________
      URL:_______________________________________ Time: _______
Can move from page to page easily. 1 2 3 4 5
Good use of graphics and color. 1 2 3 4 5
Additional resource links are included. 1 2 3 4 5
Information is useful. 1 2 3 4 5
Rich content and will likely be revisited. 1 2 3 4 5
How this web site compares in content to similar websites. 1 2 3 4 5
Technical Elements
All links work. 1 2 3 4 5
Can see meaningful information within 30-seconds. 1 2 3 4 5
Contact person is stated with their e-mail address. 1 2 3 4 5
States the name of the host school or institution. 1 2 3 4 5
Links have been kept current. 1 2 3 4 5

Total Possible Points = 50

3) Possible web sites for information about “Youth and the Civil Rights Movement”

4) Evaluation Rubric for Multimedia Presentation

Students showed evidence, presentation, and synthesis. 1 3 5 7 10
Contains all elements: text, graphics, sound, video, animation 1 3 5 7 10
Contains all presentation elements: introduction, body, and conclusion. 1 3 5 7 10
Students show design elements: contrast between text and background, graphics, video are not obtrusive and enhance the presentation. 1 3 5 7 10
Multimedia elements are visible; adequate font choices, color schemes, sizes and styles are appropriate. 1 3 5 7 10
Information is relevant and interesting. 1 3 5 7 10
Students have used creativity in the design. 1 3 5 7 10
Students have used correct punctuation, complete sentences, grammar and spelling. 1 3 5 7 10
Students showed complete understanding of presented material. 1 3 5 7 10
The presentation is fluent from beginning to end. 1 3 5 7 10
Students prepared and checked equipment prior to presentation. 1 3 5 7 10
Overall synthesis of the presentation. 1 3 5 7 10

Total: ________

Note from

Some of the original spacing, underlines, and italics in the works cited below may have been lost in the submission process. This should not reflect poorly upon the submitter who was not in control of the process, nor upon the editors at who are unfamiliar with these works and the intended style manual.

Works Consulted:

    AASL and AECT. Information Power: Building Partnerships for Learning. Chicago:
    American Association of School Librarians, 1998.

“Academic Content Standards.” Ohio Department of Education. ODE. 16 Nov. 2007

Eisenberg, Michael B., Carrie A. Lowe, and Kathleen L. Spitzer. Information Literacy:

    Essential Skills for the Information Age. 2nd ed. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2004.

“Kuhlthau’s Model of the Stages of the Information Process.” Chart. Ablex Publishing

      Corporation. 1993. Seeking Meaning: A Process Approach to Library and Information Services. By Carol C Kuhlthau. Norwood, N.J.: Ablex Publishing Corporation, 1993. 45-51. Humboldt State University Library. 19 Nov. 2007 <


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