Instructional Unit Content

Grade Range:
Creative Problem Solving
Lesson Plan
Language Arts
1+ Hours
Emily Shaver
Instructional Unit Content
Content Area Standard
GPS: ELA7R1: The student demonstrates comprehension and shows evidence of a warranted and
responsible explanation of a variety of literary and informational texts. Students will be reading
primary and secondary documents concerning segregation issues in the United States (South) during
the 50’s and 60’s.
ELA7R1d. (Informational) Recognizes and traces the development of the author’s argument for and
against an issue.
ELA7R1e. Identifies evidence used to support an argument.
ELARC2: The student participates in discussions related to curricular learning in all subject areas.
The student:
ELARC2c. Relates messages and themes from one subject area to those in another area.
TAG Standard
Creative Thinking and Problem Solving
2. The student designs, applies, evaluates, and adapts a variety of innovative strategies to when
problem solving (e.g., recognizes problems, defines problems, identifies possible solutions, selects
optimal solution, implements solution, and evaluates solution).
3. The student incorporates brainstorming and other idea-generating techniques (synectics,
SCAMPER, etc.) to solve problems or create new products.
10. The student monitors and reflects on the creative process of problem solving for future
The focus of this lesson is to creatively identify and solve the conflict between races during the Civil
Rights Movement, 1954-1963.
Enduring Understanding(s)
At the end of this lesson the student will understand
a. The impact bigotry had on the Civil Rights Movement.
b. Many problems and solutions can be attributed to the same set of events.
Essential Question(s)
How do bigotry and the Constitution affect disenfranchised groups? (e.g., African Americans)
Concept(s) to Maintain
The Civil Rights Movement
The Rules of Brainstorming
Evidence of Learning
What students should know:
a. African Americans were a disenfranchised group during the 50’s and 60’s.
b. Brown vs. Board eliminated separate but equal law.
c. Murder of Emmet Till was murdered for speaking to a white woman (flirted).
d. The story of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
e. “Little Rock Nine” – test of the Board vs. Brown ruling at Central High School
f. May 1961 Freedom Riders. Black and White civil rights activists ride buses to test ruling
that segregation at bus terminals was illegal.
g. Famous Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”-MLK, Jr.’s attempt to
get publicity for the racial inequality in the South.
What students should be able to do:
a. design, apply, evaluate, and adapt a variety of innovative strategies to when problem solving
(e.g., recognizes problems, defines problems, identifies possible solutions, selects optimal
solution, implements solution, and evaluates solution).
b. incorporate brainstorming and other idea-generating techniques (synectics, SCAMPER, etc.)
to solve problems or create new products.
Suggested Vocabulary
Civil Rights
“Freedom Riders”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Little Rock Nine”
Brown vs. Board of Education
Phase 1: Hook
1. Students will participate in a Guided Imagery Exercise. Students will record and discuss
feelings that result from the guided imagery.
Phase 2: Examine the Content
2. Mess: Civil Rights mess packet. Students will read the mess individually.
Students will work in small groups to list all the facts and opinions obtained from the reading.
Each group will generate a list of unanswered questions to research for homework or in the
media center.
Phase 3: Creative Problem Solving
Review the Rules of Brainstorming: 1)Go for quantity. 2) Wild and crazy ideas are okay. 3)
Piggy-back on the ideas of others. 4) No judgment—positive or negative.
Problem-Finding: Each group will brainstorm the problems seen as a result of the mess.
Opportunity is provided for grouping of similar problems and selecting from the top three.
From the top three problems, each group will develop a solvable problem statement beginning
with “How might we…”
Idea-Finding: Each group will brainstorm solutions to the problem statement. Opportunity is
provided for grouping of similar problems and selecting from the top five.
Solution-Finding: Each group will develop criteria to evaluate the five solutions and use a
decision-making grid to determine the best solution. Opportunity is provided for research to
make valid evaluations against the criteria.
Acceptance-Finding: Each group will develop an action plan for implementing the solution.
Phase 4: Synthesis Activity
Each group will develop a persuasive letter for sharing its solution with the citizens of
Birmingham, AL.
Summarizing Activity
Shapely Debrief
In regards to the Civil Rights Movement
 Something I learned that squares with my beliefs
 Three points to remember
 One question still going around in your mind
Anchor Text(s):
Websites and multiple resources for research for a variety of reading level.
Handout 1:
Handout 2:
Handout 3:
Handout 4:
Hook- Guided Imagery Exercise
Civil Rights Mess Packet
Rules of Brainstorming
Shapely Debrief
Guided Imagery for the Mess of the Civil Rights Movement
Please find a comfortable sitting position. You may rest your head on your desk if you like.
Close your eyes and sit very quietly. Take a couple of moments and notice how your body feels.
Are you holding your breath, or do you breathe evenly? Notice if you feel any tension or stress
in any part of your body. Now you’re going to relax your body as you relax your breath.
Breathe in … and … out … and … in …and … out. Feel the tension in your body created by a
hard day at school. Breathe … in … and … out … Feel the tension run from your body and out
your toes. Breathe in … and … out … exhale. Allow yourself to let go of any thoughts or
worries. Continue to breathe in … and … out.
You wake up on what seems to be an average morning and begin getting ready for school. At
8:15, you begin the 2 minute trek to your bus stop, looking around for your best friend. You
begin to worry when they don’t show because you know the bus will be coming soon. Suddenly
a stretch Escalade appears in the distance. You see your best friend and several other kids from
school peeking their heads out of the sunroof, having the time of their lives. Your friend waves
to you as the limo disappears down the road. You think it’s very strange, but believe you’ll hear
the explanation when you arrive at school.
When your bus arrives at school, however, you begin to have more questions than explanations.
When you enter the rotunda, you notice several students hovered around a table. Curious, you
inch your way toward the table and notice many students receiving brand new IPads! When you
make your way to the front of the line, the adult handing out the devices scoffs and says, “These
are for Elites only”. “Elites only?” you wonder, “What does that mean?”
Your day gets weirder at lunch when an announcement is made over the PA. The principal says,
“Elite students meet at the outdoor picnic tables. You will receive a special lunch catered for you
by Papa Johns. All other students, report to the cafeteria for your normal lunch”. You wonder
what is what happening to your school.
You ask your friend when you finally see them in the hall. They look around nervously and pull
you aside to explain. “Some students have been chosen as elites. That means we get the best
treatment in the school. Limo service, catered lunch, technology, you name it,” they explain.
“Everyone else gets the same old stuff. Look, I can’t be seen talking to you anymore. I don’t
think it’s a good idea for us to be friends”. And with that, your friend is gone.
You are infuriated and hurt by the unfairness of this treatment! You march straight to your
principal’s office and demand answers. But to your shock, instead of changing the situation, your
principal sends you immediately to ISS! After school, you seek answers from your parents and
neighbors but they all seem to understand that the elites receive separate and better treatment
than everyone else, and you should probably learn to accept this new reality.
How do you feel? What are you going to do? Concentrate on all of the thoughts and emotions
running through your mind.
Now bring yourself back to the present as I count to five. Open your eyes at the count of five. 1,
2, 3, 4, 5. Slowly open your eyes and write how you felt and reacted as a young person in North
Georgia who has just learned that your school has been divided.
The Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1963
May 1954
Supreme Court decides Brown v. Board
(David Halberstam, The Fifties, Chapter 28)
The Supreme Court, under Chief Justice Earl Warren, announced its decision in the case of
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas on May 17, 1954. The decision declared that
the system of segregated public schools in the United States was unconstitutional. A unanimous
Court ruled that "separate" was inherently unequal.
August 1955
The Murder of Emmet Till
(David Halberstam, The Fifties, Chapter 29)
In August of 1955, Emmet Till, a fourteen year old from Chicago, was sent to visit relatives near
Money, Mississippi in Tallahatchie County. The young man, in part to show off to his relatives,
allegedly "flirted" and used sexual language in speaking to a 21 year-old white woman working
in a country store owned by her husband Roy Bryant. A few days later (on Saturday, August
27th), Till disappeared. His body was eventually found, wired to an old factory fan, on the
bottom of a river. Till had been severely beaten and shot in the head. Roy Bryant and his halfbrother, J.W. Milam, were arrested and tried for murder. The trial was the first of many such
violent incidents to draw substantial coverage in the national media. Bryant and Milan were
acquitted by an all-white jury although they later "sold their story" of murdering Till to Look
magazine for $4,000.
J.W. Milam & Roy Bryant
December 1955 - December 1956
Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott
(David Halberstam, The Fifties, Chapter 36)
The Rosa Parks story has become legendary in the annals of civil rights history. On December 1,
1955, she boarded a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. During her ride, she was told to move out of
her seat and to the "colored section" in the back. She refused and was arrested. Her arrest
triggered a systematic response among the civil rights community in Montgomery --- a boycott
of public transportation. Leading the boycott effort was a young Reverend Martin Luther King,
pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery. The boycott lasted over a year and
ended on November 13, 1956 when the U.S. Supreme court ruled that the Montgomery
segregation law was unconstitutional.
October 1957
Central High School
Little Rock, Arkansas
(David Halberstam, The Fifties, Chapter 44)
To comply with the Brown v. Board decision, plans were made to integrate Central High School
in September of 1957. When nine black high school students arrived to attend Central High, they
were met by an angry crowd. Despite his pledges of cooperation, the governor of Arkansas,
Orval Faubus, in fact, ordered the Arkansas National Guard to keep the black students, known as
the "Little Rock Nine," out of the school. Faced with this defiance of a federal court order,
President Dwight Eisenhower responded by sending troops from the 101st Airborne to Little
Rock with orders to protect the nine students.
May 1961
The "Freedom Riders"
In May of 1961, a group of civil rights activists sought to "test" enforcement of a recent Supreme
Court decision outlawing segregation in bus terminals. The group consisted of black and white,
male and female. They boarded two busses in Washington, D.C. and were bound to New
Orleans. Their route would take them through South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. At various
bus terminals, the black "Freedom Riders" would go to the white dining areas and waiting rooms
while the white "Freedom Riders" would go to the area reserved for blacks. Over the course of
the journey, the Freedom Riders and sympathizers (including a representative of the Justice
Department dispatched by Attorney General Robert Kennedy) were beaten at an Alabama bus
terminal. One of their buses was firebombed as well.
Birmingham, 1963
As 1963 began, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership
Conference) were coming off a campaign in Albany, Georgia, which the New York Herald
Tribune called "one of the most stunning defeats of King's career." Faced with little change in
Albany, King seemed "very depressed." [34] He was looking to start another campaign, and he
badly needed a victory.
King was invited to Birmingham, nicknamed "Bombingham" because it was the site of eighteen
unsolved bombings in black neighborhoods over a six-year span and of the vicious mob attack
on the Freedom Riders on Mother's Day 1961, all with no arrests. In 1957, the Rev. Fred
Shuttlesworth was chain-whipped by a crowd because he attempted to enroll his children into an
all-white school. His wife was stabbed. Again, there were no arrests. In 1961, a black man was
dragged from the streets to a shack and then mutilated. There were no arrests.
On "B Day" (for Birmingham), April 3, 1963, SCLC staged sit-ins and released a "Birmingham
Manifesto," which was largely ignored, to reporters.
On April 6, police arrested 45 protesters marching from Sixteenth Street Baptist Church to city
hall. The next day, Palm Sunday, more people were arrested. In addition, two police dogs
attacked nineteen-year-old protester Leroy Allen as a large crowd looked on. In response to the
protests, Judge W.A. Jenkins, Jr., issued an order preventing 133 of the city's civil rights leaders,
including King, his friend and fellow SCLC leader Ralph Abernathy, and Shuttlesworth from
organizing demonstrations. But the plan called for King to be arrested on Good Friday, April 12.
After a few hours of debate, King told his staff, "Look, I don't know what to do. I just know that
something has got to change in Birmingham. I don't know whether I can raise money to get
people out of jail. I do know that I can go into jail with them." [35] King was arrested and put in
solitary confinement. There, he read an ad in the Birmingham News, taken out by local white
ministers, that called him a troublemaker. He responded to the ad, writing in the margins of the
newspaper and on toilet paper. His response was eventually published as his "Letter from
Birmingham Jail":
While confined here in the Birmingham City Jail, I came across your recent statement calling our
present activities "unwise and untimely" . . . . Frankly I have never yet engaged in a direct action
movement that was "well timed," according to the timetable of those who have not suffered
unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in
the ear of every Negro with a piercing familiarity. This "wait" has almost always meant "never."
King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is now famous, but at the time, few people noticed his
protests. The media largely ignored his arrest. It appeared nothing was going to change in
Birmingham. The black adults were afraid to protest – their livelihood and their families
depended on white business owners. King was running out of options.
CPS Step 1: Fact Finding
List all of the important details and facts that you glean from the mess.
List at least three questions that you need answered to completely understand the mess.
CPS Step 2: Problem Finding
Brainstorm the many, varied, and unusual problems that result from the mess.
Create a problem statement.
How might we _________________________________________________________________
CPS Step 3: Idea Finding
Brainstorm the many, varied, and unusual possible solutions to the problem.
Brainstorm the many, varied, and unusual criteria that can be used to evaluate the
solutions to the problem.
CPS Step 4: Solution Finding
CPS Step 5: Acceptance Finding
Develop an action plan for implementing your solution. Be sure to include
 who should be involved
 a timeline
 a way to evaluate the success or appropriateness
Rules of Brainstorming:
1) Go for quantity.
2) Wild and crazy ideas are
3) Piggy-back on the ideas of
4) No judgment—positive or
In regards to the conflicts that arose during the Civil Rights Movement.
Three important
A question going AROUND in my mind.