February is Black History Month in the United States & Canada. This is a great time for children to learn at home about the individuals who have impacted our society, especially reflecting back on the civil rights movement. Your children will most likely be completing assignments in school about Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, Rosas Parks, and Jackie Robinson, however there are many other black inventors, entrepreneurs, scientists, entertainers, and politicians that made an impact on our lives today.
To help your children learn more about this topic, the Internet is a great resource. There are many online articles, videos, photo galleries, and interactive activities that you can use as resources at home to help your children learn more.
History.com – Black History Month
The History Chanel online always has great resources on any historical topics, including black history month and the civil rights movement. Their website is very interactive and great for middle and high school aged children. There are videos, taped speeches, photo galleries, articles and interactive activities about important topics like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Separate is not equal, and the Harlem Renaissance. Individuals from the past and present are also highlighted like Barak Obama, Condoleeza Rice, Beyonce, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Malcolm X. Watching and reading with your children will provide and opportunity for them to learn about the past, and see the accomplishments and changes that society has had over the last 50 years. The interactive activity on this website includes a time line of important historical moments for blacks in the United States. The timeline is interactive and when you select on the photo a short article appears.
Scholastic – Culture & Change: Evolution of Black History
Scholastic also has an interactive timeline available on black history. Their timeline starts off in 1492 and goes all the way until 2001. Important events and milestones are indicated on the timeline include a short synopsis of information for each important date. People who have made a big impact, referred to as trailblazers, are denoted on the timeline with a yellow star. For many of the dates there are also web links that provide additional information, photos, and videos from other outside, child appropriate websites. Another interactive element to this page is that children are allowed to nominate an African American Trailblazer for the timeline. They can choose from a list of existing candidates or type in their own nomination. To be a trailblazer, the individual must have “broken the color barrier in a field previously open only to whites.” This would be a great activity to complete after researching more online.
National Geographic – The Underground Railroad
The National Geographic has an online interactive activity about the Underground Railroad. A scenario is launched where you choose to stay in harsh conditions or to try to escape from slavery. You follow Harriet Tubman through the woods, find a safe house, meet various important people (both white and black) who helped the blacks escape to freedom until you reach Canada, where you can be free. This would be a great activity to complete with your children so you can discuss the journey.
There are many great online resources to learn more about Black History month. These resources will be great additions to expand a child’s learning at home.
Article By Laura Ketcham-VanHellemont
Picture By army.kaiserslautern
Free Educational Resources by SmartTutor.com