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Icons and Inspirational Figures

  • Martin Luther King Jr.
    Grades 3-7

    Students will watch a short video and engage in two primary source activities in order to explore how King’s deep-seated commitment to nonviolence contributed to the expansion of social justice in the United States, particularly for African Americans.
  • Benjamin Franklin
    Grades 3-7

    Benjamin Franklin was one of America’s most prolific Founding Fathers. This "American Icons" lesson highlights how Franklin's wide-ranging interests made him the American epitome of the Age of Enlightenment!
  • Alexander Graham Bell
    Grades 3-7

    Teach students about scientist and humanitarian Alexander Graham Bell, his inventions, and his work with the deaf community, with this "American Icons" lesson plan!
  • Booker T Washington
    Grades 3-7

    He was a teacher, an accomplished orator, and an adviser to two Presidents during the early 1900s... Invite students to explore in-depth why Booker T. Washington is a great American icon!
  • Amelia Earhart
    Grades 3-7

    Use this multi-media lesson plan to teach students about the groundbreaking career of Amelia Earhart! The lesson culminates with an activity instructing students to design a compass rose that pays tribute to Earhart as a leader in aviation and women’s rights.
  • Sojourner Truth
    Grades 3-7

    What was Sojourner Truth? Teach students about the the iconic 19th century abolitionist and feminist and her work to eradicate institutional discrimination.
  • Sitting Bull
    Grades 3-7

    Invite students to examine what makes Sitting Bull an American icon with this lesson featuring the Lakota tribe leader's determination to protect Native American land and culture in the face of Westward Expansion.
  • Freedom Riders: The Inspiration
    Grades 6-12

    Teach students how Mahatma Gandhi inspired the Freedom Riders and others who were engaged in the struggle to end racial discrimination in the United States. The lesson includes a background essay, discussion questions and study guide.
  • Malala Article
    Grades 7-12

    Offer students a glimpse into the life and work of Malala Yousafzai, a young outspoken critic of the Taliban in Pakistan, and her fight for girls' education and human rights.
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton
    Grades 3-7

    Using the following videos, excerpts, and activities, students learn about American icon and women’s rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, while gathering takeaways about organizing people to make change.
  • Keep Your Head Up
    Grades 9-13+

    Help students examine attitudes about race and the effects of racial injustice in America with the following lesson; they will also explore the success of prominent African Americans Oprah Winfrey and Robert L. Johnson.
  • Alan Shepard
    Grades 4-8

    What type of person would willingly blast off alone into the unknown vastness of space with no guarantee of return? Students get to know American icon Alan Shepard in this PBS World Explorers video!
  • Change the World
    Grades PreK-1

    "I'm going to be the best me that I can be!" Invite students to sing along with Sesame Street and aspire to dream big!
  • Don't Give Up
    Grades PreK-1

    Sing along with Bruno Mars as he advises young kids to "don't give up" and "keep on trying" in this inspirational Sesame Street melody about perseverance!

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