A Civil Rights Timeline
Math and Language Arts Activity
Students make and annotate a timeline of the Constitutional amendments that
extended civil rights.
WHAT YOU NEED
- Copies of the Constitution of the United States
- Construction or drawing paper (large)
- Reference materials on the Constitution and civil rights milestones
- Felt-tip pens
- Tacks or two-sided tape
WHAT TO DO
- Tell students that they are going to create a Civil Rights Timeline based on
Constitutional amendments that advanced civil rights in the United States.
- Divide the class into study teams to read through the Constitution and
decide which amendments were significant in extending civil rights.
- Bring the teams together to discuss their findings. Have each team choose
one amendment to research. Students write the date and the amendment on a piece
of drawing paper, then add pertinent historical information.
- Have students organize the amendments chronologically in a timeline. The
first point on the timeline should represent the year the Constitution was
One team can be responsible for studying important judicial decisions that
advanced civil rights, such as Brown v. Board of Education, then
adding information about them to the timeline.
Students can use index cards to add mini-biographies of major actors in the
advance of civil rights, such as leading abolitionists, suffragists, and civil
rights lawyers and litigants.
Have students calculate the years between the ratification of the original
document and the passage of each amendment. Lead students in a discussion that
relates events on their timeline to such momentous events as the Civil War,
World War I, and World War II, each of which led to important societal changes.
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