LESSON 1: What Are Barriers?
STUDENT PRINTABLE 1: "About My Father"
TIME REQUIRED: One 40-minute class period
LESSON OBJECTIVE: Through reading and class discussion, students will understand who Jackie Robinson was and what the concept of a barrier means.
- Distribute copies of Printable 1, "About My Father," and have volunteers read the story of Jackie Robinson’s life aloud.
- Ask students what they think the word barrier means. Guide them to define barrier as: a problem or obstacle that stops you from moving forward.
- Tell students that barriers can be physical or conceptual. Explain that a physical barrier is something you see, such as a fence. A conceptual barrier is something that you can’t see, such as being afraid of something.
- As a class, ask students to suggest different barriers that people face. Ask students to explain why each barrier prevents people from moving forward or accomplishing something. Create a list of suggested barriers on the board.
- After barriers have been written on the board, ask students to choose three of the barriers from the list on the board. Instruct them to write a short paragraph for each barrier explaining how they themselves would face and overcome it.
- Ask students to read their paragraphs aloud. Encourage students to ask one another questions about the barriers they have chosen.
- Move on to Lesson 2: "Values and Barriers" to learn about values and how Jackie Robinson used values to face challenges and barriers.
- In 1949, two years after Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier, he and three others (Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe, and Larry Doby) became the first-ever African-American players selected for an MLB All-Star Game. How is this achievement a result of Jackie Robinson’s earlier achievement? (Answers might include: Breaking barriers can open doors for others to follow.)
- Have students research a figure from the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s–1960s and report on barriers he or she broke.
Mini-Poster: "Jackie Robinson's Nine Values": Download this printable featuring MLB players and Jackie Robinson's Nine Values.
Essay Contest: "Breaking Barriers Essay Contest": Encourage students to write essays about barriers they have faced in their own lives, and how they have used Jackie Robinson's values to face those barriers.