Have students try these activities to extend their knowledge and interest in baseball, Jackie Robinson, and the civil rights movement.
Language Arts/Social Studies
- Resources Used: Robinson After Baseball
Jackie Robinson and his wife joined the March on Washington on August 28, 1963. It was in Washington that Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Have students read the speech and discuss how Jackie Robinson helped contribute to the work needed to achieve the dream.
Do your students like baseball statistics? Then have them find out about Jackie Robinson’s baseball statistics. They can make their own baseball card for Jackie Robinson by sketching his picture on the front of an index card and writing his baseball stats on the back.
Do students have a baseball dream team? Students who are baseball fans may enjoy putting together a team of baseball greats. Ask students to create the lineups for two dream teams. Encourage them to briefly explain in writing why they chose each player in their lineups.
Do students know the words of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”? The words to this baseball tune were written in 1908 by Jack Norworth. They were later put to music by Albert Von Tilzer. Have students find the lyrics and sing the song together.
Perhaps students know someone on the high school baseball team. Maybe they know the Little League coach. They might be baseball players themselves. Have students interview a player or coach they know. Help them brainstorm questions they can ask. Encourage them to record the responses. Have students imagine they are writing a sports column for a local newspaper. Ask them to write a short article based on their interview. Post their articles on a bulletin board.
Obtain a DVD or video of the 1950 film The Jackie Robinson Story starring Jackie Robinson. View the film with your students and use it as a springboard to discuss character, segregation, and integration.
- Resource used: Major League Baseball
Jackie Robinson helped integrate baseball as a player. Following his baseball career, he continued to work for equality and justice for African Americans. Encourage students to find out about Robinson’s civil rights activities. Ask them to consider why he might be a particularly good spokesperson for integrating society and respecting the rights of all Americans.