Grade Levels: 6-8, 9-12

*Click to open and customize your own copy of the Harlem Renaissance Lesson Plan.

This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Harlem Renaissance, and supports the standard of analyzing how this movement contributed to social and cultural change in the United States. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of projects. 

Step 1: ACTIVATE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE

Display an image of art from the Harlem Renaissance, such as William H. Johnson’s painting, Lift Up Thy Voice and Sing.

After allowing time for close viewing, ask students:

  • How would you describe this artwork?
  • What do you think the artist wanted to communicate? What do you see in the artwork to support this idea?

Step 2: BUILD BACKGROUND

  • Read the description on the Harlem Renaissance topic page.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding. 
  • Have students read one of the following Related Reading articles: “Famous Faces” or “Did You Know?”. Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: ENGAGE

Students express what they learned about the Harlem Renaissance 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 mini-documentary about the social and cultural impact of the Harlem Renaissance. (Essential Literacy Skill: Determine central ideas)
  • Make-a-Map: Make a concept map identifying and explaining the contributions of the Harlem Renaissance to the American Civil Rights Movement. (Essential Literacy Skill: Cite specific evidence to support conclusions drawn)
  • Creative Coding: Code a digital museum exhibit featuring important figures and works from the Harlem Renaissance. (Essential Literacy Skill: Determine central ideas)
  • Primary Source Activity: View and analyze a mural series. (Essential Literacy Skill: Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media)

Step 4: APPLY & ASSESS 

Apply: Students take the Harlem Renaissance Challenge, applying essential literacy skills while demonstrating what they learned about this topic.

Assess: Wrap up the lesson with the Harlem Renaissance Quiz

Step 5: EXTEND LEARNING

Time Zone X: Harlem Renaissance: This interactive timeline game challenges players to put historical events in chronological order.

Black History Unit: Continue to build understanding around important figures and events with more BrainPOP topics.

Additional Support Resources:

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

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