Activity Introduction

srf_y10_uscivilrights2_photoframeQuick summary: In this Finding Out lesson, students will explore civil rights, with a specific focus on the African American civil rights movement in the United States of America. They will use a ‘Think-Pair- Share’ visible thinking routine to explore their understanding of what civil rights are. The class will discuss a definition of the concept, with a focus on the differences and similarities with human rights. The class will analyse images relating to the reaction to desegregation in the USA, and respond to a set of prompts about them. Students will then research and organise into chronological order a set of key events within the USA civil rights movement. Students will dig deeper into key figures and events in the fight for civil rights, and create a set of exhibits for a class gallery walk. They will then reflect on their new understanding using a ‘Here Now/There Then’ visible thinking routine.

Essential questions:

  • How did people campaign for civil rights?
  • What is the connection between civil rights and rights and freedoms?

21st Century skills: 

Team Work Empathy Communicating Cultural Understanding

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions
Year 10 History:

  • The US civil rights movement and its influence on Australia (ACDSEH105)
  • Use chronological sequencing to demonstrate the relationship between events and developments in different periods and places (ACHHS182)
  • Identify and analyse the perspectives of people from the past (ACHHS190)

Syllabus outcomes: HT5-2, HT5-7.

General capabilities: Literacy.

Relevant parts of year 10 achievement standards: Students refer to key events, the actions of individuals and groups, and beliefs and values to explain patterns of change and continuity over time. They analyse the causes and effects of events and developments and explain their relative importance. They explain the context for people’s actions in the past. Students explain the significance of events and developments from a range of perspectives. Students sequence events and developments within a chronological framework, and identify relationships between events across different places and periods of time. They process, analyse and synthesise information from a range of primary and secondary sources and use it as evidence to answer inquiry questions. Students analyse sources to identify motivations, values and attitudes.

Relevant parts of Year 10 achievement standards:

Topic: Human Rights.

Unit of work: Story of Our Rights and Freedoms – Year 10

Time required: 180 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – support students through interactive activities and facilitate discussions.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a video and webpage to the class. Student web-enabled devices (enough for one between two). Civil Rights Timeline Cards. USA Civil Rights Gallery Walk Research Guide. Gallery Walk student notes, printed, one per student. Poster paper OR devices to create digital presentation (for gallery walk activity).

Keywords: rights, freedoms, civil rights, protest, people power.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

srf_y10_uscivilrights_photoframeTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students will understand the similarities and differences between human rights and civil rights. They will gain an understanding of the harm caused when people do not enjoy civil rights. Students will gain an overarching understanding of the origins of the fight for civil rights in the USA, as well as more in-depth knowledge about key people and events in the contemporary USA Civil Rights Movement.

Teacher content information:

The twentieth century was an important period in history. During this time the modern world underwent significant transformation as a result of political turmoil, global conflict and international cooperation. This in turn influenced Australia’s social, cultural, economic and political development. A significant aspect of the nation’s development the demand for, and achievement of, rights and freedoms..

There is no universally accepted definition of human rights, and our understanding is continually developing.

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" – Martin Luther King Jr.

1. Watch the video below as an introduction to the overarching theme of this lesson.

Human Rights Movements (

2. Complete the 'Think-Pair-Share' visible thinking routine in response to the question:

What do you know about the USA civil rights movement?

THINK: Spend a minute writing down what you know about the USA civil rights movement. PAIR: Once everyone has had a chance to record some ideas individually, share what you have written down with a partner or in a small group.

SHARE: Summarise the class sharing session.


3. Your teacher will display an image titled: 'The Problem We all Live With'. Closely view the image, and respond to the following questions:  

a) Where do you think the young girl is going? Describe the circumstances of the image. 

b) What do you think the girl is thinking and feeling? Wh

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