Explore the life and legacy of baseball legend Jackie Robinson as we celebrate his birthday on January 31st. You and your students can celebrate an American hero with these 5 cross-curricular lesson ideas from our Units on Jackie Robinson, Civil Rights, and Force and Motion.
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. More information on the March on Washington can be found in The Civil Rights Movement Grows.
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.
Students can use plastic bats and balls to play a game of baseball in the school gym. First, have students make a poster outlining the basic rules of the game. After reviewing the rules, organize the students into teams and enjoy a game of baseball. To bring Physical Education into the Science classroom, read Forces in Sports, from our Force and Motion Unit.
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.
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.