Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Interactive Civil Rights Activity - The Boycott: Riding the Bus

I think if you look at my blog closely, the times I am in graduate school will be painfully obvious. Well, I have a couple of weeks without grad school and I am teaching a leave of absence in computer lab for 5th and 6th grade - so look out for some resources!

Have you seen this website?! One of our teachers wanted an interactive activity on the civil rights movement for her computer time. I found this one, and it excited me so much that I made a worksheet to go with it. The kids were completely engaged in it.

The website is Before The Boycott: Riding the Bus, which is a "learning adventure" from the National Civil Rights Museum.

In this activity, you'll learn what schools, restaurants, cars, housing, and more were like for African-Americans in Montgomery, AL in 1955. Most of all, though, you'll learn what the buses were like for African-Americans in Montgomery, AL in 1955. This website has more reading than interaction, but there are animations for situations that occurred on the buses back in the day. Even with the reading, though, this website seems interactive because the bus animations illustrate what is being said, and, like I said already, the kids were completely engaged. It passed the kid test!

I don't want to give everything away, but I will give one example of an illustration from the activity. On one of the animations (the screenshot pictured above), it illustrates how African-American passengers had to pay the driver, exit the bus, and then go in the back entrance to ride the bus. To make things a bit more "real" you can hover your mouse over any passenger with a circle around his/her head to learn more about him/her, and you can click "Bus Conditions" to learn about the people on the bus and where they are going.

The activity continues through to the event that started the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the boycott itself. At the end of the activity, the computer uses the student's responses to several questions to generate a newspaper article that can be printed.

Here's a copy of the Before the Boycott - Riding the Bus Interactive Activity Worksheet (MS Word Version) and the Key (MS Word) for that worksheet. The worksheet is set up like a reading guide, and the questions are ordered in order of answer appearance. The one drawback to the website is that you cannot go back (which I am sure is to make it more realistic - real buses wouldn't go back either). If you miss answering a question, you have to start the activity over to find the answer. If you click every link on each page and read carefully, though, you shouldn't have to start over (said the students)!


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