Lesson plan

Activist Heroes

Fully adaptable, this lesson can be used to to highlight African American leaders, famous women, veterans, or any other group of individuals who have acted heroically and have positively influenced our nation!
Grade Subject View aligned standards

The students will be able to identify the heroic actions of various leaders, connect qualities of individuals to specific actions that display these characteristics, research and read about the characteristics of various heroes, and produce informative text that includes a main idea and supporting details.

(5 minutes)
  • Ask the students to describe qualities that make someone a hero.
  • List these qualities on a piece of chart paper or the board and then challenge students to think of specific actions that are connected to these qualities. For example, students may say that someone is generous. An action that shows generosity could be giving meals to the homeless.
  • Draw an arrow between each trait and action. If desired, use the provided SMARTBoard file or PDF to record the students' ideas.
  • Tell the students that they will be researching various heroes and finding out what they did to help our country.
(5 minutes)
  • Read aloud a section of a picture book about a famous hero. This can be tailored to your unit of study. For example, if you are spotlighting famous African Americans, you could read a section of the book, A Picture Book of Fredrick Douglass by David A. Adler.
  • As you read, model the process of locating the actions of the heroes that made them heroic.
  • In a think aloud format, tell the students why these actions were important.
  • Model the process of recording these details by writing them on the board.
  • Model the process of writing sentences to explain these ideas.
(5 minutes)
  • Display the worksheet What Makes a Hero? on the board or print it out and enlarge it.
  • Invite the students to read the sentences with you and to then locate the actions that make that person a hero.
  • As the students name these details, underline them or highlight them on the board.
(30 minutes)
  • Tell the students that they will be researching their own famous hero and locating specific actions that make these individuals heroic.
  • Model the process of researching, locating details, and recording specific actions of the heroes.
  • Assign or allow each student to choose a different hero that corresponds with your unit of study.
  • Distribute the Museum Display worksheet and tell the students that they will be creating an artifact to represent their hero.
  • Tell the students that they will be writing a description of their hero and will be choosing one artifact to represent that hero.
  • As needed, explain the meaning of an artifact.
  • Next, have each student research a different individual and find the specific actions of the individuals that were heroic.
  • Provide scratch paper for them to plan their work before writing the final copy on the Museum Display worksheet.
  • Rotate around the room, guiding students through the research process.
  • Enrichment: Challenge students to use a Venn diagram to locate two similar heroic individuals. Have the students compare and contrast the accomplishments of those two people.
  • Support: Utilize leveled readers for students who need support in reading. Narrow selections to key parts and use highlighter tape on sections of the book to help the students locate the details. Put students in pairs or triads so that they have the support of interaction and feedback from their peers. Provide a structured outline for students to locate resources and research individuals.
(10 minutes)
  • Utilizing a page from 11 Black History Heroes or Amelia Bloomer ask students to highlight important details that reveal heroic actions.
  • Have students write characteristics of the individuals in the margins of the paper.
  • As an extra challenge, have students complete the questions at the bottom of each page.
(5 minutes)
  • Invite the students to share their finished Museum Display worksheets which show an artifact that could represent the hero that they researched.
  • After they share their work, invite other students to identify the heroic actions that were identified.

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