Free Online Resources for Teachers to Bring Black History Month Studies to Life

Whether it's the story of people risking their lives to free slaves through the Underground Railroad, the dynamic message of Dr. Martin Luther King or the historic Supreme Court case of Brown vs. Board of Education, Black History Month presents a tremendous opportunity for teachers to share these valuable stories with their students.

To assist educators in finding unique and engaging lesson plans and educational resources reflective of Black History Month, which is observed in February, has created a special section on its home page that provides dozens of resources that bring those lessons to life. is the Verizon Foundation's free comprehensive program and online portal to more than 55,000 educational resources, including grade-specific, K-12 lesson plans, and other student interactives provided in partnership with 11 of the nation's leading educational organizations.

Among the resources in the Black History Month section are:

-- An Underground Railroad interactive online activity for students in grades 3-12. This resource, from National Geographic, allows students to take part in an interactive online journey through the eyes of a slave. The student begins his or her trek on the Underground Railroad, selecting different paths or answers that will help lead him or her to freedom, or back to the plantation. In addition, National Geographic's Xpeditions offers lesson plans to for use in conjunction with the interactive.

-- Exploring the Power of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Words through Diamante Poetry, a lesson plan for students in grades 9-12. This resource, from the International Reading Association and National Council of Teachers of English's, allows students to explore how powerful words communicate the concepts of freedom, justice and discrimination in Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech. This resource includes links to the video, audio and transcript of the speech.

-- Separate is Not Equal: Brown v. Board of Education, a collection of classroom activities for students in grades 4-12. This resource, designed by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, takes students through an online exhibit that marked the 50th anniversary of the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision that helped end segregation in public schools. The exhibition features images, videos and objects from the museum's collection. Also included are two virtual field trips, six lesson plans and a bibliography that helps students understand the background of the case.