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From Slavery to Civil Rights: Get On the Bus with Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr.

This curriculum unit will be created for use in a third grade social studies classroom. This unit will focus on the Montgomery Bus Boycott and several renowned African Americans who participated. Most third graders have heard of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rosa Parks, so these two individuals will be prominent in the unit. Putting together a unit that will be cohesive and comprehensive enough for this grade level can be challenging because of their limited knowledge and understanding of this period in our history. I will use several kid friendly books that focus on telling the story through pictures as well as informational texts and primary sources to give them strong background knowledge of the information needed to be successful in their understanding of the content by the end of the unit.

This unit is intended to teach third graders about how and why the bus boycott got started. Rosa Parks was not the first person to be arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus. She was however, the person best known. I want them to learn about others and the reasons why the timing for the boycott was right when Rosa got arrested. This unit will shed light on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his role in the boycott. Students will learn that Dr. King was not an initiator of the bus boycott, but through circumstances, became the best known of the boycott’s participants.

The lesson plans for this unit require the use of some primary source documents. However, most resources are in your classroom textbook, scholastic books, or online and directly available for students to use.

Shelia Hawkins

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