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. 


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?


  • Read the description on the Harlem Renaissance topic page.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding. 
  • Assign Related Reading. Have students read one of the following 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: APPLY and ASSESS 

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


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. 
  • Make-a-Map: Make a concept map identifying and explaining the contributions of the Harlem Renaissance to the American Civil Rights Movement. 
  • Creative Coding: Code a digital museum exhibit featuring important figures and works from the Harlem Renaissance. 
  • Primary Source Activity: Analyze the mural series and cite evidence to answer the accompanying questions.

More to Explore

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.

Teacher Support Resources:

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments