The #1 Curriculum and Assessment Partner for Educators

[Celebrate Black History Month] Free Resources for the Elementary Classroom

[Celebrate Black History Month] Free Resources for the Elementary Classroom

Each February in the United States, we observe Black History Month, where we honor and celebrate the achievements and important contributions made by black Americans throughout our nation’s history.

Black History Month provides a wonderful opportunity for educators to teach their students about the pivotal role black Americans have played in U.S. history, and to help students recognize the importance of social, political, and economic equality as it applies to race. To help you celebrate Black History Month in your classroom, we have prepared a Black History Month Classroom Resources toolkit from Edmentum, stuffed with fun activities and resources your students will love.

Black History month is also the perfect time to help your students get acquainted with some of the many influential black Americans from our nation’s history, including those who aren’t as well-known. We’ve compiled this list of outstanding resources to share with your class that spotlight the lives and accomplishments of just a few extraordinary black Americans. Kick off your lesson with this video on the Origins of Black History Month, which discusses the man behind the movement, Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Then, browse these resources and help your students discover other important figures and historical events to celebrate as you explore black history: 

Harriet Tubman: Famous conductor of the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman, helped escort over 300 Southern slaves to freedom during the Civil War. She even bragged to Fredrick Douglass that in all of her 19 trips, she “never lost a single passenger.”

Madame C. J. Walker: Madame C.J. Walker was a resourceful entrepreneur and self-made millionaire who sold beauty products for black women. She used her money to make a difference in her community and empower the people around her.

George Washington Carver: George Washington Carver is most famous for  discovering over 300 uses for the peanut, but his legacy extends far beyond. He worked tirelessly to improve the lives of Southern sharecroppers, and laid the foundations for agricultural scientists to consider the many possibilities available when it came to sustainable agriculture and renewable resources.

Rosa Parks: There’s always more to learn about one of the most influential American civil-rights activists and leaders, Rosa Parks. You should also check out this link for 10 Things You May Not Know About Rosa Parks.

Katherine Johnson: Katherine Johnson is a mathematician and former NASA employee, whose calculations helped to successfully launch the first American astronauts into space, orbiting around the Earth, and the first ever human mission to the moon. You may recognize her story from the 2016 film “Hidden Figures” where Johnson was portrayed by award-winning actress, Taraji P. Henson.

Ruby Bridges: Ruby was the first African American child to integrate an all-white elementary school, in November of 1960. Even though she was only a child, Ruby’s courage helped to advance the Civil Rights Movement.

Mae C. Jemison: On September 12, 1992, physician Mae. C. Jemison became the first African-American woman in space. She acted as the science mission specialist, and conducted several experiments on motion sickness and weightlessness on herself and her fellow crew members.

Bill Russell: Before there were athletes like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, or LeBron James in the NBA, there was Bill Russell. Not only did Russell win 11 championships over his 13 season career playing basketball in the 1950's and 60's, he was also the first black coach in the NBA. He is appluaded for his impact on professional basketball. 

Barack Obama: Barack Obama became the first black man to have been elected President of the United States on November 4, 2008. He served for two terms, and although he is no longer in office, Obama continues to help others, and work to make America a better place.

Check out these additional resources to learn about and celebrate Black History in your classroom:

20 Pertinent Classroom Resources for Black History MonthPBS

PBS curated a list of 20 lesson plans and resources for teachers that cover topics ranging from civil rights events to discussions about race in current events. The resources provide authentic student-driven learning experiences that help all students participate in Black History Month.

24 Children’s Books to Read to Your Kids in Honor of Black History MonthHuffPost

Use story time within your classroom as one of the great ways to teach kids about the accomplishments of black pioneers and trailblazers. With the suggestions from organizations dedicated to embracing diversity in children’s books, Huff Post gathered a list of 24 Children’s books about black figures or that are focused on black culture.

20 Black History Month Activities for February and BeyondWeAreTeachers

WeAreTeachers created a list of their favorite Black History Month activities for the classroom that allow students to learn the history, discover the cultural impacts, and follow the movements throughout present day.

50 Iconic Black Trailblazers Who Represent Every State in AmericaHuffPost

As part of HuffPost’s Black History Month they created a list of black icons from each state in the United States that feature those who have made monumental advancements in politics, music, sports, literature, and beyond.

Interested in exploring more content to celebrate important events and holidays this month? Check out our other FREE February classroom resources from Edmentum for fun, interactive toolkits celebrating Safe Internet Day and Presidents' Day! And be sure to check out our blog on five awesome inventors whose inventions we use every day to get to know a few more of the many influential black Americans from our nation’s history.