Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades 5-12, students explore BrainPOP resources to learn about the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s  first black military pilots who battled Nazis abroad and discrimination back home. In this lesson, student will design their own Time Zone X game based on the story of these barrier-breaking pilots!


Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Brainstorm the topic of segregation.
  2. Identify the sequence of events in the story of the Tuskegee Airmen.
  3. Create a Time Zone X game.
  4. Make a BrainPOP movie about a Tuskegee airman. (extension activity)



Lesson Procedure:

  1. Write “Segregation” on the whiteboard. Ask students to brainstorm what they know about segregation, including Supreme Court cases that addressed the issue. Ask students what it must’ve been like to live at a time when segregation was legal.
  2. Tell students that today they will learn about the Tuskegee Airmen, the first black servicemen who fought in World War II and faced discrimination both in the military and back at home.
  3. Show the movie Tuskegee Airmen on the whiteboard to the whole class once through without pausing.
  4. Next, if you have access to multiple computers or devices, have students open the Make-a-Map feature. Or, if limited computers or devices, distribute the Sequence graphic organizer.  
  5. Have students watch the movie again within the Make-a-Map feature. Instruct them to use one of the Story Map templates to take notes on the sequence of events in the story of the Tuskagee Airmen. If limited computers, you can show the movie again to the whole class as they take notes offline on a Sequence graphic organizer.
  6. If your students have not played Time Zone X, demonstrate the game on the whiteboard for the whole class. Select a theme that they are familiar with. Place the first few cards yourself, then invite volunteers up to continue the game.
  7. Now divide the class into pairs. Distribute Make-Your-Own TimeZone X Game to each pair and explain that they will design their own TIme Zone X game based on the story of the Tuskagee Airmen. First, they cut out the cards. Next, they review their sequence of events Make-a-Map or graphic organizer from the movie and use each event for a different card in their deck. On each card, they identify the event, draw a picture of the event, and write hints to help players put the cards in the correct place in the sequence of events.
  8. After everyone has created their decks, have pairs challenge each other to their put their deck in order.

Extension Activities:

For classes with My BrainPOP accounts, invite students to use the Make-a-Movie tool to make a movie about one of the Tuskegee Airmen highlighted in the movie.