Grade Levels: K-3

This lesson plan, adaptable for grades K-3, is built around the BrainPOP Jr. topic Jackie Robinson. Students will explore the life and accomplishments of one of baseball’s greatest heroes. Then they will create a presentation about a hero of their choice.

Students will:

  1. Share what they know about Jackie Robinson using a KWL chart.
  2. Watch a movie about Jackie Robinson.
  3. Use Make-a-Map to identify examples of what made Robinson a hero.
  4. Research, create, and present a hero of their choice.



segregation, discrimination, rookie, legacy


  • Preview the movie Jackie Robinson and Biography to plan for adaptations.
  • Review Jackie Robinson Background..
  • Display the KWL chart on a whiteboard.
  • Lesson Procedure:

    1. Ask students what they know about Jackie Robinson. Encourage them to share whatever they know, even if it’s just that they know he played baseball. Jot their responses in the K column of the KWL chart.
    2. Next, share information from the Jackie Robinson Background. After sharing, ask students what they still would like to know about the baseball great. Write their responses in the W column of the KWL chart.
    3. Display the movie Jackie Robinson on the whiteboard and tell students this movie is all about Jackie Robinson and how he became the first African American when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. Tell them they’ll also find out how he became a leader on and off the field, inspiring other civil rights activists.
    4. Watch the movie as a whole class, playing through without pausing.
    5. Now divide the class into pairs or small groups. Instruct students to open Make-a-Map from the Jackie Robinson topic page and choose or create a spider map template (alternatively, students can make an offline spider map). Have them write the name “Jackie Robinson” in the center. Tell students they will watch the movie again, but this time they will pause when they learn something about Robinson that makes him a hero, or brave in some way. Or anything about Robinson they think is amazing. They are to add these details to the spider map. Remind them that you can add text, images, or clips from the movie to the spider map.
    6. Circulate as students work together, helping as needed.
    7. Now invite students (either independently or in pairs) to think of someone from history they admire and consider a hero. The person can be living or deceased. Allow time for students to research the person (you may want to dedicate a class period or two for this). Have them create spider maps like they did for Jackie Robinson to help them identify what makes their hero admirable.
    8. Using their notes, have students create a presentation about their hero. Some presentation ideas include dressing up like their hero, producing a movie, drawing pictures, creating a comic, giving a speech, creating a slideshow about the hero’s achievements. Encourage creativity!
    9. Finally, have pairs share their presentations with the class over the course of several class periods.

    Extension Activities:

    Breaking the Color Barrier Remind students that Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and opened the door to the major leagues for other African- American baseball players. Shortly after Robinson joined the majors, other black players followed, including Larry Doby, Henry Thompson, Willard Brown, and Monte Irvin. Have small groups research one of these first black major league players, including and the challenges they faced. Encourage them to compare and contrast the player's careers with Jackie Robinson's.

    Honoring 42 On Jackie Robinson Day, have your students wear the number 42. They can write 42 on name tags or cut out numbers and tape them to their shirts. Discuss what wearing 42 signifies. Encourage your class to tell other students in school about the significance of 42 and share details about Jackie Robinson and his accomplishments.

    Activity Students make their own Jackie Robinson baseball cards! Just print out a card, draw a picture on one side, write facts on the other side, and cut along the dotted line.

    Game Challenge students to put their Jackie Robinson knowledge to the test as they put his achievements in the correct order.  

    Filed as:  Jackie Robinson, K-3