Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

*Click to open and customize your own copy of the Bass Reeves Lesson Plan

This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Bass Reeves, and supports the standard of evaluating the contributions of various individuals. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of projects.


Display this image from the movie (timestamp: 1:21):

Ask students:

  • What do you think the phrase “American Frontier” means?
  • What do you notice about this frontier town? 
  • Why do you think  people might have moved out west? 


  • Read the description on the Bass Reeves topic page.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding. 
  • Assign Related Reading. Have students read one of the four articles. Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: APPLY and ASSESS 

Assign the Bass Reeves Challenge and Quiz, prompting students to apply essential literacy skills while demonstrating what they learned about this topic.


Students express what they learned about Bass Reeves while practicing essential literacy skills with one or more of the following activities. Differentiate by assigning ones that meet individual student needs.

  • Make-a-Movie: Produce a biopic chronicling Bass Reeves’s life and experiences.
  • Make-a-Map: Make a concept map identifying the impact of different events, groups, and policies on Bass Reeves’s life. 
  • Creative Coding: Code a flag representing Bass Reeves’s legacy. 
  • Primary Source Activity: Read the newspaper column about U.S. Marshals, and cite details to answer the accompanying questions.

More to Explore

Time Zone X: Bass Reeves:  Challenge players to put historical events in chronological order in this interactive timeline game.

Related BrainPOP Topics: Deepen understanding of the United States during the period of Westward Expansion with these topics: Westward Expansion, Trail of Tears, and Gold Rush

Teacher Support Resources:



Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments