Civil Rights Beginning the PBL Process

We have begun a new journey with project based learning using the social studies curriculum on civil rights. Before beginning, I realized that I would develop one guiding question that the students would all be responsible for answering regarding the topic of their choice: What can I learn from the past civil rights struggles to help resolve current issues that still exist today?

I had the students to first explore the areas of the civil rights movements that involved gender, age, race, and disability by viewing videos on YouTube and United Streaming from the past and present to gain enough knowledge to make a decision about what their interests would be. They were required to focus on inquiry, formulating questions to help them discover where their real interests lay, as well as give them a sense of ownership by allowing them to make a decision based on this.


What are Civil Rights?  Brainstorm with your group a list of rights that you have as a citizen of a democratic society.

Everyone is guaranteed certain unalienable rights. These enforceable rights, or privileges, are referred to as civil rights. When ever these rights are denied due to membership in a particular group or class, it is defined as discrimination. Statutes have been enacted to prevent discrimination based on a person’s race, color, gender, religion, age, disability, and national origin.

As you reflect, answer the following question:  How would you define fairness in your life?

Guiding Question:  What can I learn from the past civil rights struggles to help resolve current issues that still exist today?

Explore the following United Streaming and YouTube videos and record some unanswered questions that you would like to further explore.

Click on the link to view the YouTube and United Streaming videos.  In the Thinking Routines section of your spiral, head your paper and label your activity as “Inquiring minds want to know.”  Don’t forget to add a headline at the top.  View at least two videos for each area of the civil rights movements: race (Native American & African American), disability, age, and women.  Write at least two  questions for each video that you would like to further explore.  You will view a minimum of 8 videos and will formulate at least 16 questions.