Lesson Plans & Curriculum Resources

Boston Public Schools, Busing, Desegregation


High School Lesson Overview:
In this lesson, high school students will consider the history of Boston’s school desegregation and court-mandated busing, and the legacy of these events in the city today.  Students will engage with high quality primary and secondary sources that include visual, audio, and video documentation and reporting, and will be asked to analyze these sources.  The lesson includes optional pre-work listening to and responding to a WBUR story on busing, and then an in-class experience that includes a document analysis do-now, a stations-based document/source analysis activity with a template for students to provide responses to each source.  Teachers have the option of modifying the lesson to fit the needs of their class and the time constraints that they face in pacing and the school calendar.

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Boston Public Schools, Busing, Desegregation
Middle School Lesson Overview:
There are widely held perceptions that the Civil Rights Movement needed to target only injustice and segregation in the South. However, Boston, like many other northern cities, was home to de-facto segregation and was not exempt from the civil rights struggles that gripped the nation. Boston became a battleground for one of the country’s most polarizing civil rights issues: the struggle for integrated schools. In 1855, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts banned segregated schools; however, by the 1960s and 1970s, Boston schools were racially segregated and unequally cared for. During the 1974-1975 school year, the city was embroiled in conflict as it attempted to implement the court-ordered busing of students in predominantly white or black schools. This unit teaches the events of Boston’s busing to middle school students using a variety of artifacts and skill-based tasks. These adaptable lessons focus on developing geography skills through use visuals, charts and maps to complement  the learning of content and primary source analysis. They can be done independently, or a teacher could instruct all the lessons as a mini-unit.
    
Boston Public Schools, Busing, Desegregation, History
Elementary Lesson Overview:
The Boston Busing and Desegregation Unit is a series of lessons designed to introduce our students to the civil rights movement in the Northeast. Unfortunately, many students are unaware that a desegregation crisis occurred right in the city of Boston. By continuously exploring different perspectives through images, primary source documents, and audio embedded within this unit, the students are exposed to the history of the events connected to the Boston busing and desegregation crisis as well as essential concepts of reading and thinking like a historian as explored by the Stanford History Education Group. This unit is designed with six lessons that address standards across grades 2-5, therefore teachers can adjust according to the needs and levels of their students by combining and completing the activities in centers or facilitated as whole class lessons.

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