53 Black History Month Elementary Activities - Teaching Expertise (2024)

African American History Month is celebrated in the month of February every year across the United States and within classrooms. Our culture, in the last few years, has made significant strides to give credit where credit is due- paying homage to black Americans who have paved the way for a better America. Take a look at the article below to discover how you can incorporate these 14 impactful activities into your lessons during black history month.

1. Do a Collage of Historical Figures

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Collages are an artistic way to show a myriad of different things. Having your class create a large or individual collage full of black leaders is a great way to display and celebrate Black history month. One way to make this activity even more engaging would be to ensure that students research each person to see what contributions they have made.

Learn More: Power of Publish

2. Do a Virtual Tour of the Harriet Tubman Museum

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One great way to bring history to life would be to visit the actual places in which famous events have occurred. A virtual field trip is your next best option when you can’t make it to the Harriet Tubman museum. Harriet Tubman is one of the most famous black historical figures in American history, having paved the way and risked her life for African-Americans to find freedom.

Learn More: Harriet Tubman Byway

3. Explore the Hip-Hop Movement

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This particular activity I would recommend for a grade level of fifth grade or higher. The Hip-hop movement is a large part of the 90s black culture. Many great teacher resources are available to make studying this part of modern culture fun and appropriate. In particular, teachers pay teachers has some fantastic teacher resources with lessons and activities for only a few dollars.

Learn More: Teachers Pay Teachers

4. Learn the History of Jazz

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Jazz music originally came about in the 1920s and was created by black Americans. Jazz music is just as much a part of black history as any other part of American history. Famous black figures in the jazz world include artists such as Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, and Ray Charles- who are just a few of the many who paved the way for jazz to exist. Have your students listen to these famous artists and explain how they are relevant even in today’s society.

Learn More: Scalar US

5. Watch an Interview with Oprah Winfrey

Among the many famous African-Americans in modern culture, Oprah Winfrey has a powerful story about overcoming obstacles and finding yourself. Stories of the black experience as a child living in a culture of systematic racism propelled her towards wanting more and achieving her dreams. Watching an interview with Oprah Winfrey would be an excellent idea for students between fourth and eighth grade, especially young women.

Learn More: Variety

6. A First in the Nation – Thurgood Marshall Poster

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If you haven’t taught about Thurgood Marshall in your history class, he needs to be added to the list of historical figures that you speak about. Thurgood Marshall is the first black Supreme Court justice among the many African-American Heroes. Marshall’s role in American History was pivotal in bringing civil justice in several famous cases. Have your students create a poster about Marshall and display it in the classroom.

Learn More: History

7. Try to Beat Jesse Owens!

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Jesse Owens represented the United States in the Olympics during WWII, winning four gold medals! When learning about this great man, see if your kids can beat the record of Jesse Owens! While obvious that kids will likely not beat this legendary hero, they will definitely have fun trying! Regular biography projects can be uninteresting to students so make them fun with this activity.

Learn More: The Guardian

8. Separate but Equal Experiment

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Nothing teaches the impact of racism more than feeling a sense of it in real life. In 1968, educator Jane Elliot gave her elementary-age students the first glance and authentic experience of the discrimination against black people during this time. The PBS exceptional “Eye of the Storm” definitely is memorable. Watching an edited version of this documentary would be impactful for children in grades five and up.

Learn More: PBS.org

9. Maya Angelou’s Poetry Analysis and Poetry Slam

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Any words given about Maya Angelou would not do this excellent author justice. Give each student a poem from this great author, then do a S.T.A.R.T. (S-subject, T-tone, A-audience, R-rhyme, T-theme) poetry analysis. I love this particular method of analysis, and it is perfect for 3rd to 4th-grade students who are just starting to learn this process. I love these teacher resources from Teachers Pay Teachers!

Learn More: Teachers Pay Teachers

10. Jackie Robinson and His Baseball Career

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You cannot teach black history without mentioning this fantastic athlete. Like Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson changed the face of athletics for black Americans. I love this cute activity from Education.com that allows the creative child room to make a Jackie Robinson baseball card!

Learn More: Education.com

11. Read Books by Famous Black Authors

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I love this Glowing Book by Book website because it gives you access to all kinds of children’s books written by black authors in one place. These books depict African-American life now, are relatable for young black students, and give others insight into the black culture.

Learn More: Growing Book by Book

12. Incorporate Black Health and Wellness into Health Lessons

Black health and wellness often get left out of particular well-being lessons. I love this Oscar-winning short film entitled “Hair Love” because it is a sweet way to introduce how to take care of African-American hair to elementary school students.

Learn More: YouTube

13. Read about Rosa Parks and her Role in the Civil Rights Movement

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Many excellent teacher materials are available online for free to help you teach young kids about the Civil Rights Movement. This Rosa Parks activity, crafts, and lesson pack is from Kids Creative Chaos and will make your life a little bit easier when planning a fun and engaging lesson for your little ones.

Learn More: Kids Creative Chaos

14. Have Fun with George Washington Carver

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George Washington Carver created more than 300 food and industrial products according to History.com. The best among all these things is the creation of peanut butter! When discussing black contributions to society, there is potentially none more significant than this. One thing you could do is explore all of the tasty treats made with peanut butter. Another would be to watch the above YouTube video to find out how peanut butter is made today!

Learn More: History.com

15. What Is Black History Month?

This short video is the perfect place to start Black History Month. It does a great job of telling kids what Black History Month is, how it started, and what it means to people today. A great teaching tool to kick off your lessons!

Learn More:YouTube

16. Black History Biography Project

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Help your kids research historic figures from Black History. Look up influential leaders, political figures, and artists. Then have them fill out the poster with all the incredible contributions their chosen person has made to American culture.

Learn More:Made by Teachers

17. Music From Black Cultures

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Music connects us all. Every culture has its own unique sound inspired by its rich history. Download these playlists specially crafted for children to hear music from African cultures around the world!

Learn More:Putumayo

18. Who Is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?

Teach your kids about a legendary hero of the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. King was one of the greatest Black leaders in American history. This video covers his life and some of the most important historical events of the 20th century.

Learn More:88 Brains

19. I Have A Dream Speech

Watch one of the most important speeches in American history. Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech cemented his legacy as one of the most influential leaders in history. Listen to his speech and talk to your kids about what it meant to people then and what it means for us now.

Learn More:YouTube

20. Dream Like Dr. King

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Teach your little ones about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech. Discuss its importance to the Civil Rights Movement and what it meant to the African American community. Then have them write their own dream, just like Dr. King.

Learn More:Mrs. Williamsons Kinders

21. Learning with Museum Objects

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Can’t make a trip to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.? Let your kids explore the museum through the museum’s digital collection. Browse different items to learn about body diversity, family life, and self-expression.

Learn More:Smithsonian Learning Lab

22. Inspiration Through Music

Join musicians and educators Asante’ Amin and Chen Lo as they tell the story of African American music. From hip-hop to soul, this duo presents kids with an engaging narrative and encourages them to dream big!

Learn More:YouTube

23. Historical Figure Puzzle Cards

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Let your little ones solve the puzzles! These cards depict famous Black figures in history. On each card is a small description of their contribution to history. From Ruby Bridges to Kamala Harris, these puzzle cards are an excellent resource for any Black History lesson.

Learn More:Tot Schooling

24. Amanda Gorman’s Inauguration Speech

Introduce your kids to the next generation of great Black poets. Amanda Gorman’s speech at Joe Biden’s inauguration builds on Maya Angelou’s legacy. Perfect for talking about the contributions Black women have made to history.

Learn More:YouTube

25. Black Female Artists

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Let your kids engage with some amazing artistic women in history. The National Museum of African American History and Culture gives kids access to the artworks of black female artists. From portraits of Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey to beautiful basket weaving, let your little ones browse and be inspired!

Learn More:Smithsonian Learning Lab

26. Black Expressionist Art Activity

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A fun craft that lets your little ones express their creative side. Show them some art created by Alma Thompson. Cut up some colored construction paper. Then let your little ones create their own Expressionist art!

Learn More:Kids Creative Chaos

27. Sweet Potatoes Science

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Teach your little ones about George Washington Carver and his contributions to agriculture. Through this fun sweet potato experiment, you can talk about Carver and his work with vegetables like sweet potatoes, peanuts, and soybeans. Have your little ones imagine a world without these foods!

Learn More:Sciencing.com

28. Black History Facts

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Help your little ones learn facts about historic figures in Black history with this craft activity. Trace shapes related to the figures: baseball bats, peanuts, buses, etc. Then have your kids fill the shapes with facts! Great for bulletin boards, doors, and windows.

Learn More:Keep Toddlers Busy

29. All About Me Diversity Activity

Teaching about diversity can be difficult. This activity lets kids visualize diversity through self-portraits. Let them design and color how they see themselves. Anything goes! Then display the pictures next to each other. Great for your list of activities for kids with special needs.

Learn More:Teaching Special Thinkers

30. Black American Freedom Songs

Music is a great way to get kids excited about history. This collection of songs from the Civil Rights Movement is perfect for student lessons. Listen to the songs. Then talk about the ideas, dreams, and hopes in each song!

Learn More:YouTube

31. Jazz Craft Activity

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Perfect for every creative child! This craft activity lets your little ones add some color to their jazz instruments. Give them a blank trumpet (or any other instrument) and let their imaginations go! Add some glitter for extra fun.

Learn More:Paper-and-Glue

32. DIY Harmonicas

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Make history learning a hands-on experience. After studying the history of jazz, let your kids make their own music. All you need are some craft sticks, straws, and rubber bands. Slide the straws to change the pitch!

Learn More:Frugal Fun 4 Boys

33. Dread Scott Decision

Add this video to your Black History lessons. It outlines one of the key events in the history of the Supreme Court. The easy-to-follow format makes complicated legal arguments understandable for kids. Great for upper elementary grade levels.

Learn More:YouTube

34. Supreme Court Digital Escape

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Bring the excitement of an escape room to your K 12 lesson plans! This digital activity is a fun way to learn all about the US Supreme Court. A great addition to lessons about Thurgood Marshall, Civil Rights, and other important legal moments in Black History.

Learn More:Think Tank Teacher

35. Space Capsule Challenge

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That’s one small step… This STEM activity is a great way to incorporate Black History Month into your science lessons. As they create a space capsule, teach them about amazing Black women in space history, like Dorothy Vaughan, Katherine Johnson, and the other women of Hidden Figures.

Learn More:Vivify STEM

36. Dr. Mae Johnson’s Rocket

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This fun activity for kids is perfect for any budding astronaut! As your kids build and design their own rockets, tell them about the first black woman in space: Dr. Mae Johnson! Discuss the importance of her historic flight in American History.

Learn More:The Butterfly Teacher

37. DIY Rockets

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Looking for a way to transform history into lessons for today’s STEM curriculum? Let your kids follow in the footsteps of the women from Hidden Figures as they calculate how to build their own rockets. Grab a plastic bottle, some backing soda, and vinegar. Then watch the rockets fly!

Learn More:Lemon Lime Adventure

38. Underground Railroad Quilts

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Help your kids create their own freedom quilt. Cut out the different shapes and colors of paper for the quilt squares. Then have your kids create the squares for their story. Share the stories of the Black History heroes who help slaves escape to freedom.

Learn More:Lammy’s World

39. Underground Railroad Quilt Code Game

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Watch your kids escape to freedom with this entertaining game. Explore the meanings of different quilt patterns. Then see how they make their way towards freedom in Ohio. Use pictures of seminal people from the abolition movement as game markers.

Learn More:Deceptively Educational

40. Who Is Harriet Tubman?

Start your Harriet Tubman lessons here. This video discusses what life was like for slaves in America and what the Underground Railroad was like. Learn all about Tubman’s role in helping slaves escape to freedom. Perfect for elementary students of all ages.

Learn More:YouTube

41. Lantern Craft

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Follow the lantern to freedom. This fun craft is an easy way to teach your kids about slavery and the role Harriet Tubman played in helping slaves escape. The included timeline worksheet is a great summary of your Harriet Tubman lessons.

Learn More:Non-Toy Gifts

42. Who Is Frederick Douglass?

Follow along as Clint Smith tells the story of Fredrick Douglass. From his life as a slave to one of America’s greatest writers, Smith covers it all. Learn how Douglass inspired people to join the fight for the end of slavery, about his meeting with President Lincoln, and how he became a Black History hero.

Learn More:YouTube

43. Black History Bingo

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End your lesson on African-American inventors and heroes with a game of bingo! The bingo board reminds kids of each person’s achievement. Includes a number of lesser-known but vital contributions African Americans made to our everyday lives.

Learn More:My Free Bingo Cards

44. Civil Rights Crossword

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Kids love crossword puzzles! Add this worksheet to your K 12 lesson plans. It covers political figures, key moments, and important sayings that came out of the Civil Rights Movement. A great way to conclude student lessons on Black History Month.

Learn More:Education.com

45. George Washington Carver Activity

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Tell your kids the story of a great African American scientist! As your kids craft their peanuts, share the 300 different ways Carver used peanuts. Ask them to imagine a world without peanut butter! Celebrate Carver’s achievements with some of your favorite peanut snacks.

Learn More:Grade School Giggles

46. DIY Traffic Light

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Imagine a world without traffic lights. Thanks to William Potts we don’t have to! Add this fun craft to your repertoire of biography projects, and teach your little ones about one of America’s great Black inventors.

Learn More:Create Your Own Toys

47. Traffic Light Snacks

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Make history tasty! This fun snack is an awesome way to teach your kids about Black inventor William Potts. Use some graham crackers, chocolate spread, and chocolate candies. Substitute peanut butter for a George Washington Carver tie-in!

Learn More:The Seasoned Mom

48. Play A Game of Baseball

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Celebrate Jackie Robinson’s legacy with a game of baseball! If you have the chance, take your kids to see a professional baseball game. Watch as they cheer on players of all races!

Learn More:MLB

49. Misty Copland Dance Video

Inspire the dancers in your family with this video. Watch them spin and twirl along with Misty Copeland, the first female African American principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre. Grab your pointe shoes and dance along.

Learn More:YouTube

50. Make Your Own Tap Shoes

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Do you have some metal washers and string lying around? Then create your very own tap shoes! Make a pair for your kids as part of your lesson on African American dancers. See if they can keep up with Bill Robinson’s “Bojangles”!

Learn More:This Little Project

51. Toilet Paper Roll Figures

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Help your kids create figures from African American history. Use some toilet paper rolls and craft paper to make figures. Then teach your kids about who they are, what they did, and how they changed the course of history!

Learn More:Happy Toddler Playtime

52. Handprint Craft

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Trace your hands on different shades of paper. Then decorate them to look like important figures from Black History. Hang them up around your classroom or on the refrigerator!

Learn More:Happy Toddler Playtime

53. Who Is Ruby Bridges?

Inspire your kids to change the world! Watch and learn all about how Ruby Bridges fought for her right to an education. Talk to your kids about how they can make a difference today.

Learn More:YouTube

53 Black History Month Elementary Activities - Teaching Expertise (2024)
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