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K-5 Brown vs. Board of Education and School Desegregation Teaching Resources

Lesson Plans, Activities, Background Information and Other Curriculum Resources

Found In: language arts, social studies, prek-2, 3-5

Commemorate the 63rd anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown vs. Board of Education on May 17th, 2017. Use these curriculum resources to supplement your American History, Social Studies and English Language Arts teaching plans.

Lesson Plans

Brown v. Board of Education: Separate and Unequal Education Lesson
Students in grades 4-12 identify the purpose and goals of education and explain why African Americans challenged segregated schools. Lists National Standards.

Brown v. Board of Education: A Landmark in American Justice Lesson
Students in grades 4-12 examine integrationist and segregationist arguments with role-play and explore the impact of the Supreme Court's decision by analyzing primary source photographs. Lists National Standards.

Brown v. Board of Education: Achieving Equality Lesson
Students in grades 4-12 analyze political cartoons and letters to the editor to identify and analyze reactions to the Brown v. Board Supreme Court decision. Lists National Standards.

The Power of One Decision: Brown v. Board of Education ( PDF, 1.5 MB, 91 pgs.)
Students in grades 5-12 describe the impact of Brown v. Board of Education. Includes National Standards. (Use with the video: A Conversation on the Constitution: Brown v. Board of Education)

Additional Lessons

Curriculum Materials: Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site
Lesson plans and units for PreK-12.

Teaching Tolerance: Classroom Resources
A source of printer-friendly K-12 lesson plans about diversity, equal opportunity and respect for differences.

Background Resources

Separate Is Not Equal
A Smithsonian special exhibition. Includes history, annotated bibliography, timeline, project essay, teacher’s guide with six grade 4-12 units, and two electronic field trips (middle and high school).

Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
Information and compete text of the Supreme Court decision. A high resolution PDF can be downloaded.

History of Brown v. Board of Education
This resource puts the 1954 Supreme Court decision in context and includes an activity package with a re-enactment.

Brown v. Board at Fifty: “With an Even Hand”
This exhibit examines court cases that laid the groundwork for the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education, explores the Court’s argument and the public response, and concludes with an overview of the decision's aftermath.

Landmark: Brown v. Board of Education
Brown v Board of Education, desegregation, and the continuing struggle for civil rights.

Public School Desegregation ( PDF, 321 KB, 12 pgs.)
Covers Brown I (1954), Brown II (1955), and The Southern Declaration on Integration.

Still Looking to the Future: Voluntary K-12 School Integration ( PDF, 3 MB, 100 pgs.)
Includes a brief history of court-ordered desegregation and examines the benefits of racially and ethnically diverse schools and the harms of racially isolated schools.


Audio & Video

Brown v Board of Education in PBS' The Supreme Court
Brief video (4:53) describes the circumstances surrounding the Supreme Court decision.

Brown v Board of Ed
An audio interview (8:00) with Dale Cushinberry describing school life before and after Brown v Board of Education.

A Conversation on the Constitution: Brown v. Board of Education
In this video (26:39), Supreme Court Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony M. Kennedy discuss the case that ended racial segregation in schools.

Nine from Little Rock (18:30)
An Academy Award-winning short documentary film about the Little Rock Nine, the first nine African-American students to attend an all-white Arkansas high school in 1957.

History Channel
Features an article, videos, and speeches about Brown v Board of Education and the Civil Rights Movement.

Ruby Bridges Full Movie (1:30:43)
The story of the first African-American child to attend an all-white public elementary school in the American South.

last updated: March 12, 2018


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