Grade Levels: 6-8, 9-12

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This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Tuskegee Airmen, and supports the standard of understanding how individuals have contributed to social change in the U.S. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of creative projects.

Step 1: ACTIVATE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE

Prompt students to reflect on a time they showed courage. Ask students: 

  • Can you think of a time you were courageous in the face of adversity? What was the challenge and how were you able to overcome this challenge?

Step 2: BUILD BACKGROUND

  • Read the description on the Tuskegee Airmen topic page.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding. 
  • Have students read one of the following Related Reading articles: “In Depth” or “Laws and Customs”. Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: APPLY 

Students synthesize their ideas and express them through one or more of the following creative projects. They can work individually or collaborate.  

  • Make-a-Movie: Produce a mini-documentary about the efforts of the Tuskegee Airmen, including their impact on WWII and the Civil Rights Movement. 
  • Make-a-Map: Make a concept map identifying and explaining the key challenges and successes of the Tuskegee Airmen.
  • Creative Coding: Code a meme expressing the strength and courage of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Step 4: REFLECT & ASSESS 

Reflect: After sharing creative projects with each other, students reflect on what they’ve learned about the Tuskegee Airmen. Prompt them by asking questions such as: 

  • How did racism shape America’s armed forces?
  • What can you tell about the character of the Tuskegee Airmen?
  • Why did bombing crews request the Red Tails for missions? How did they differ from other pilots?
  • Why was the Red Tails’ success significant beyond the battle zone?

Assess: Wrap up the lesson with the Tuskegee Airmen Challenge

Step 5:  Extend Learning

Play Time Zone X: Civil Rights, an interactive timeline game that challenges students to put historical events in chronological order.

Continue to build understanding around important figures and events with BrainPOP’s Black History topics, games, and teacher resources.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

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