Grade Levels: K-3

This lesson plan, adaptable for grades K-3, is built around the BrainPOP Jr. topic Clara Barton. Students will learn about the important work of Clara Barton, the humanitarian and activist who founded the American Red Cross.  


Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Discuss the Red Cross.
  2. Watch a movie about Clara Barton.
  3. Construct a concept map about the impact of the Red Cross.
  4. Write and present a speech.



Mission, Volunteer, First aid, Relief, Humanitarian


Lesson Procedure:

  1. Write “Red Cross” on a whiteboard or other display. Ask students to share what they know about the Red Cross. After they share ideas, explain that the Red Cross is an organization that helps people who’ve been affected by events like hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters.
  2. Tell students that today they will learn all about a woman named Clara Barton who accomplished many things, including persuading the government to establish the American Red Cross. Read aloud the Clara Barton Background to the class.
  3. Now watch the BrainPOP movie Clara Barton on the whiteboard as a whole class. Pause as needed to explain concepts and vocabulary.
  4. Next, open Make-a-Map from the Clara Barton topic page and choose or create a spider map template. Type "Red Cross" in the center. Tell students you will watch the movie as a class again, this time taking notes about the many important things the Red Cross does. Pause and prompt students to identify different aspects of the Red Cross's work. Show students how to add text, images, or clips from the movie to the spider map. When complete, leave the map open and on display on the whiteboard. Depending on student level, you can model the activity and then have them work on their maps independently.
  5. Remind students that in the movie, they learned that after working for the Red Cross in other countries, Clara Barton persuaded the U.S. government to establish the organization in America.
  6. Have students imagine that they’re Clara Barton. Using the notes from the map, have them write a speech convincing U.S. government leaders to establish a Red Cross in America.
  7. Circulate as students write their speeches, helping as needed.
  8. Encourage pairs to review and edit each other’s speeches. Allow time for this process and for revisions.
  9. Finally, have students present their speeches to the class.