This online lesson provides perspectives from Native American community members and their supporters, images, news footage, an interactive timeline, and other sources about an important campaign to secure the treaty rights and sovereignty of Native Nations of the Pacific Northwest. Scroll to begin an exploration of the actions Native Nations took to address injustices.
Students begin this unit by discussing their relationship with art, and the extent to which they believe art drives resistance movements. Students then participate in a Gallery Walk that highlights how members of the Puerto Rico community in the Young Lords used art to advance their ideas and preserve their culture. Students center the activism of Indigenous peoples in Puerto Rico by studying bomba music and murals. This helps them understand the roots of art—both visual and performance—as activism, and respond to the question: How can understanding Latinidad through art help us confront social and political injustices? Throughout this unit, students work in teams to create a poster series that inspires civic engagement and action on issues of social and political injustice.
Students learn about the efforts of Ida B. Wells and other Black female journalists who used investigative reporting to challenge ideas and people that perpetuated social and political injustices. Students look to Black female journalists today by learning about Natasha S. Alford’s feature stories on race in Puerto Rico, and draw on past and present examples of journalism to help them respond to the unit driving question: How can journalism challenge inequality and injustice? Students use the tenets of investigative reporting to explore the achievements and challenges of the era, then work to shine a light on the possibilities of racial equity by writing and publishing a feature story about an issue of injustice today.
StoryWorks develops inclusive and transformative educational theater experiences that provide students with the opportunity to examine our country’s civil rights history. Through content consistent with school curriculum standards, the program engages students in experiential learning and inspires them to ask deeper questions about the historical underpinnings behind contemporary issues. The process creates pathways to civic engagement, creates lasting memories and instills a tangible sense of social belonging. This StoryWorks educational project is built around Beautiful Agitators, a theatrical play about Vera Mae Pigee, a hair stylist and business owner in Clarksdale, Mississippi, and one of the unsung heroes of the civil rights era. Using her beauty parlor as a hub for Delta-based organizing and resistance, Pigee operated her salon by day and then transformed it into a clandestine center for civil rights organization and education in the evenings. Known for her big hats and larger than life personality, Mrs. Pigee led the direct action that registered nearly 6,000 African Americans to vote in the region. Although Pigee was largely left out of the history books, along with many women of the movement, our play Beautiful Agitators and accompanying curriculum revives her legacy, highlighting her methods and tactics. Inspired by the innovative K-12 civil rights education standards developed by the Mississippi Civil Rights Commission. Our commitment is to expand upon the standards by further developing content related to social justice, power relations, environmental justice, diversity, equity, mutual respect, and civic engagement. Beautiful Agitators combines inquiry with higher-order thinking skills of analysis, evaluation and synthesis. Set in a beauty parlor owned and operated by a Black woman in the Mississippi Delta, our curriculum is based on our investigation into primary sources and their relationship to critical moments in the national movement. This foundation of historical context allows for students and educators to find contemporary parallels which further engage learners to reflect upon the legacy of the civil rights movement and the struggles that we, as citizens, continue to grapple with today.View the complete play Beautiful Agitators on the StoryWorks Theater site.Implementation1. Beautiful Agitators Performance Classroom watches a prerecorded, staged reading of the play Beautiful Agitators, which was created and performed by artists from the Mississippi Delta, home of Vera Mae Pigee.2. Lesson Plan Activities Following the eight-lesson plan structure, students will read aloud or act out scenes from the play. This participatory interaction with the text and the historical events promotes a high level of engagement from the students and encourages experiential learning. These activities directly correspond to scenes in the play and to specific content area standards. Teacher leads guided discussions and helps to explain the historical context and theme of each scene. Students/actors have the opportunity to share their experiences having portrayed these historical figures.
StoryWorks Theater’s Teaching the Constitution Through Theater develops inclusive and transformative educational theater experiences that provides students with the opportunity to examine our history and to foster a deeper understanding of the U.S. Constitution. Through content consistent with school curriculum standards, the program engages students in experiential learning and inspires them to ask complex questions about the historical underpinnings behind contemporary issues. The process creates pathways to civic engagement, creates lasting memories and instills a tangible sense of social belonging. Now’s The Time opens at the dawn of Reconstruction, the Civil War has just ended but the nation is plunged again into crisis with the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Andrew Johnson ascends to the Presidency determined to restore white supremacy in the South. Congressional radicals led by Thaddeus Stevens are fighting for a different vision. They intend to create a new society of full racial equality, where Black Americans will have real economic and political power, including ownership of land confiscated from the rebels, education, suffrage and election to public office. This titanic political battle between President and Congress culminates in the first impeachment and trial of a U.S. president, and to more than 150 years of continuing violence and discrimination against Black Americans.View the complete play Now’s The Time on the StoryWorks Theater site. Implementation1. Now’s The Time Performance Classroom watches a prerecorded, staged reading of the play Now’s The Time, written by Jean P. Bordewich and Produced by StoryWorks Theater.2. Lesson Plan Activities Following the six lesson plan structure, students will read aloud or act out scenes from the play. This participatory interaction with the text and the historical events promotes a high level of engagement from the students and encourages experiential learning. These activities directly correspond to scenes in the play and to specific content area standards. Throughout the curriculum, teachers will lead guided discussions and help to explain the historical context and theme of each scene. Students/actors will have the ability to share their experiences having portrayed these historical figures. Students/historians will have the unique opportunity to work with primary source materials to further their understanding of the complexities of the era and to gain insight into the critical legislative debates of the time.
This unit begins by asking students to consider life in Africa before colonization and the forced enslavement of Africans. Students read Omar ibn Said’s autobiography to understand the Islamic scholar’s experiences before he was captured in West Africa and after he was enslaved in America. Excerpts from Olaudah Equiano’s autobiography provide a detailed glimpse of his childhood in Africa before he was kidnapped and sold into slavery. Students examine these two stories and others for evidence of resistance, liberation, connection to culture, and shared humanity as they develop a response to the question: How can we better understand America’s past and present by listening to often omitted and unheard voices from the slave trade? Working in teams, students create a podcast about an unheard story in order to start a conversation about the lasting effects of the Transatlantic slave trade and the importance of Black history in America.