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School Groups - Classroom Discussion Idea

Overview | Details | Discussion Ideas
Little Rock
Promote A City

OVERVIEW: This exercise enables the students to learn about and share with each other many diversified areas. It develops in many a desire to visit these places and to learn more about them.

PURPOSE: This lesson will help students better understand his or her own state and the variety of places to visit close to home.

OBJECTIVE(s): Make a poster promoting Little Rock and present poster to classmates showing positive aspects of the city.

RESOURCES/MATERIALS: poster board, markers, other creative materials

ACTIVITIES AND PROCEDURES: Students will make a poster promoting the sites they saw in Little Rock or North Little Rock. Posters are turned in and students are given the opportunity to orally describe their poster and share with classmates the information from their poster. Most students become quite interested in the many things that can be seen in their own state.


Arkansas Personalities


OVERVIEW: This is a review activity to be used at the end of the tour.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this activity is to review various Arkansas personalities studied on tour, both living and dead.

OBJECTIVES: Students will be able to:

  1. Identify the important contributions of each individual.
  2. Formulate questions of a very specific nature.

ACTIVITIES: Each student will have a 3"x 5" note card taped to their back with the name of an historical personality the class has studied written on it. The personalities could be President Bill Clinton, Governor Orval Faubus, President Eisenhower, Daisy Bates, Elizabeth Eckford, David O. Dodd, General Douglas McArthur.

The student will not know the name of this person. Their goal is to try to identify "who they are" by asking questions that can be answered with a "yes" or "no" answer. No more than two questions at a time can be asked of any one person, the student must figure out who he/she is within 20 questions. Everyone who does this is a winner but the person who figures out who he/she is in the least number of questions is the grand winner. It might help if each student started with a paper numbered from 1 to 20. After each question, a number is erased (or checked) off.

RESOURCES/MATERIALS NEEDED: - 3"x 5" note cards - tape - lists of historical personalities


History Timeline


OVERVIEW: To make learning Arkansas History fun, use a visual symbolic timeline to review specific historical events in Arkansas History.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this activity is to enable students to sequence events and to tie together in visual form specific events that occurred in Arkansas History.

OBJECTIVE(s): As a result of this activity, the students will:

  1. Select important dates/events in a specific time period.
  2. Draw a symbol representing that date/event stimulating their creativity.
  3. Arrange these dates/events in correct sequence on a timeline with their appropriate symbol stressing good spacing.

This activity works best after the material has been discussed and then students can tie together a time period. It can serve as an excellent review technique.

RESOURCES/MATERIALS: Sample of various kinds of timelines. Show creative symbols which will spark their own creativity.


  1. Have students select major historic events that occurred in Arkansas History.
  2. Make a rough draft of their dates/events with an appropriate symbol for each event.
  3. Arrange each date/event with appropriate symbol on a timeline with dates/events above the timeline and dates/events below the timeline or simply divide a paper into equal parts and put dates/events into each part in correct sequence.
  4. Color in dates/events and symbol.
  5. Have students discuss and explain their timeline. Share timelines and display around the room.

Excellent way to reach all students and let them express themselves artistically and learn and relate historical facts.


Current Events


OVERVIEW: This is an activity for use in Civics (Government), U.S. History (11th) and World History (12th). This activity is designed to encourage students to read newspapers and to watch network and local news reports. This increases critical thinking skills, encouraging analysis and criticism. Students are encouraged to express opinions with support.

PURPOSE: Given above.

OBJECTIVES: Students will be able to:

  1. Analyze and critique newspaper articles and media news reports by comparison and contrast of content and presentation.
  2. Identify key words and concepts in a given news article.
  3. Identify words to add to a class vocabulary list.

ACTIVITIES: Students should pick one past "news event" that was covered on the tour. Answer the questions, who? What? When? Where? And why? Then have students clip complete articles from current newspapers on a current "news story." Again have them answer the who?, what?, why?, when? and why? questions. Students should compare their newspaper coverage to radio/television coverage of a story. Record television and radio broadcasts for classroom use. Or students can create a cartoon on a current news topic. Students can write editorials and letters to the editor. Also, encourage students to write letters to elected officials.

RESOURCES/MATERIALS NEEDED: State or local newspapers




PURPOSE: To give the students experience in using the mileage key on the map.

OBJECTIVE(s): The students will be able to use the mileage key of a map, plan a trip and keep within a set amount of miles given by the teacher.

RESOURCES/MATERIALS: Maps of your state, rulers, pencils, paper, little inexpensive plastic cars, and certificates.

ACTIVITIES AND PROCEDURES: The teacher announces that everyone in the class has a chance of winning a brand new car. They have to do one very simple thing in order to get their car. Ask "How many would be interested?" Tell them all of them will receive a car that will have "0" on the odometer. They have to plan a trip that will be between 700 to 800 miles. (Let them know that the tour they took was only 25 miles.) If they return from their trip and the odometer reads between 700 to 800 miles they will win their car. Of course, chart their trip on the map and make sure that they went to a lot of places and that they didn't go to the same place more than once. The student who see the most on his/her trip will receive a bonus prize! As each student finishes his/her activity have them write their trip on the board. As a class check each students calculations to make sure they are correct. If their calculations are correct award them a car and if they are incorrect give them a certificate of merit.


Cultural Acceptance

GRADES 4-12 (4th grade emphasis)

OVERVIEW: The setting of the room is a normal everyday classroom. Don't change the room. This may bring out many emotions, be prepared to deal with a variety of reactions.

PURPOSE: To be able to experience how it feels to be a minority.

OBJECTIVE: Student will be able to experience first hand racial indifference.


ACTIVITIES AND PROCEDURES: Pick out 4-5 students in the room that have on similar clothing. For example, stripes on the shirt, pink clothing, different colored shoe laces, tennis shoes or non tennis shoes. When you have the ones that are distinctly different in one certain area, have them go to the other side of the room. Give them stickers and tell them they could do anything they wanted to do for the rest of the day. Then tell other students they have two extra tests to take and they have no time to prepare. Keep up with this activity for approximately 15 minutes. See how students react then go right into a follow-up activity that is related to Central High School. When the initial activity is finished, you will have a strong focal point into discussing how minorities feel in everyday life. This brings in mind a multitude of activities that one can make thought-provoking for any age group.


Data Gathering


OVERVIEW: This lesson is designed to give students experience in gathering data on an issue, get a feeling for the emotional climate during a stressful time, and to stimulate critical thinking. It is a great device for an inquiry lesson on the Civil Rights Movement.

PURPOSE: This will further students' knowledge of the civil rights era from many different points of view through personal contact with those directly involved in that era. It will further develop data gathering skills by giving them experience in developing a questionnaire, interviewing, collecting and evaluating data and presenting findings on that data.

OBJECTIVES: Students will be able to:

  1. Interview at least 3 people who were over the age of 15 in 1957.
  2. Write a questionnaire to gather data on the attitudes, feeling, and/or experiences of the interviewee during that time.


  1. Develop and give a questionnaire of a minimum of five questions to at least three people who were at least 15 years old in 1957.
  2. Report the result of the questionnaire to the class and debrief with the teacher.
  3. Students will be asked to report on their interviews in an objective manner, reporting only questions, responses and description of the respondee.
  4. Students should be asked some or all of the following after everyone has completed their reports:
    • What was the emotional state of the respondee?
    • How did these people and their responses make you feel?
  5. Have students sum up their conclusions about this period with a short essay.


Little Rock Central High School

Preparation Questions

  1. Define the word "segregation."
  2. Are we still segregated today? In what way?
  3. What are "civil rights?" What "civil rights" do we have today?
  4. What is the Supreme Court? What kind of power does the "Supreme Court " have?
  5. Define the word "integration."
  6. How was "integration" used back in 1957?

Other relevant Central High School activities, lesson plans, and reading at:

Timeline of events at Central High

Newspaper Coverage of Central High

Other recommended lessons on Arkansas history
Trail of Tears
Mount Holly Cemetary
Oral History:
Civil War History in Central Arkanas
Top 10 Events in Arkansas History



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