Lesson Plan

Where Is the Love? Lesson Plan

Image of five hands grabbing the wrists of the person on their right, forming a circle.
Grade Level:
Eighth Grade-Twelfth Grade
African American History and Culture, Civil Rights Movement, Constitutional Amendments, Constitutional Law, Government, History, Law, Leadership, Social Studies
30 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 24
National/State Standards:
Segregation, Civil Rights, brown v. board of education


Students will discuss the continual struggle for civil rights in America after watching a YouTube video.


Students will integrate and evaluate multiple sources of info about Brown v. Board of Education and the struggle for civil rights before and after the case through discussion, music, and video. Students will prepare and participate through conversations by expressing their own ideas clearly about discrimination and racism today. Students will use reasoning and evidence from these discussions to be inspired to do their part to educate and stop discrimination.


Use the information provided in this text to help explain the significance of Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site to your students.

In 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court made a definitive assessment of the 14th Amendment's "equal protection" clause by examining the Plessy v. Ferguson case. The court determined that separate railroad cars for separate races were constitutional as long as the cars were "separate but equal." That decision gave states the ability to segregate all aspects of society. Restaurants, theatres, hotels, and schools are just of few examples of places that were segregated in American society. However, very few states upheld the philosophy of separate but equal, only maintain the separation of the races without equal accommodations. 

Schools became a battle ground to challenge the legal precedent of Plessy. Organizations, such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), fought to create separate but equal schools. Despite the NAACP's best efforts, many segregated schools in America were not equal. The schools were in substandard buildings, they had limited textbooks that were handed down from the white schools, and teachers were not compensated as well as their white counterparts.

Eventually, the NAACP changed its legal strategy. Instead of equalizing schools, the NAACP began to argue that separate school could never be equal. They started to look for communities that wanted to challenge school segregation in an attempt to overturn Plessy v. Ferguson. They found communities in South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, D.C, Delaware, and Kansas. The lawsuits from the five communities came together under the name Brown v. Board of Education

The Brown case originated in Topeka, Kansas when 13 plaintiffs attempted to enroll their children in schools closest to their home. In all 13 cases, the children were denied enrollment because of their race and they were told to enroll in one of the four segregated schools for African Americans. What makes the case from Kansas different from the cases in South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Delaware is the fact that segregated schools were considered equal in comparison to the white schools in Topeka. All the segregated schools were in nice brick buildings, they had good text books, and the teachers were paid almost exactly the same as the white teachers. Based on the context of the Topeka case, the U.S. Supreme court could examine the impact of "separate but equal." Using psychological evidence, the lawyers for the NAACP proved that segregation had a negative impact on school children's development because it made those students feel inferior. Therefore, they were able to prove that separate schools are inherently unequal. In 1954, the U.S. Supreme court unanimously agreed with the NAACP and overturned Plessy v. Ferguson. Separate but equal was no longer constitutional.  

The former Monroe school, which is home to the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, stands as a reminder that separate facilities are not equal. Even though the Monroe school was an excellent educational institution with quality facilities, good textbooks, and great teachers, the school could never be as equal because segregation laws made children who went to segregated schools feel inferior. As a result of Brown v. Board of Education, children of all races, ethnicities, and abilities get to go to school together. Additionally, Brown v. Board of Education established a legal precedent to challenge segregation in all aspects of society. Buses, lunch counters, and other segregated public accommodations were challenged through the efforts of the Civil Rights Movement and leaders, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., forever changing the landscape of American society.


True/False Question-give the true/false questions to begin of the lesson. 

Selected Quote-use the selected quote from the "Where Is The Love" song in step 2 to facilitate a discussion on the continuing struggle for equality in America.  

Guided Questions-the guided questions will help the student analyze the images in the video and will be used to guide discussions on the continuing struggle for equality.

YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilWKcI23gkI


1. Ask students to answer True/False questions and turn paper over. (Emphasize that there is no right or wrong answers it's just their own thoughts and experiences)

2. Tell them that the lesson is called "Where Is The Love," and ask them if that sounds familiar to them or what does it make them think of. They should say the Black Eyed Peas….Yes and tell them that the lyrics of the song go so well with our lesson about civil rights today. Read to them a couple of verses written on the selective Quote.

3. Then ask them:

a. What vocabulary words do they see that are in those words. (Segregation, Integration, Racism, Discrimination, Unity, Love, Hate, Respect)  
b. Do they see a pattern or any kind of relationships with those words? They should see that they are opposites but guide them until they do see it then have them read a couple of words and their opposites. Point out that they are also positive and negative.

3.Tell them the story of Brown v. Board of Education demonstrating the meaning of Segregation/Integration. Include: Plessy v. Ferguson, Monroe Elementary and plaintiffs. (See background information for the story of Brown, Plessy, Monroe Elementary, and plaintiffs.)

4. Explain that the short video is on YouTube that you are about to show them and you would like then to pick out an image while they are watching it and write it down on their paper. Then wait until the video is over to finish filling it out because the video is short so you don't want them to miss anything. Images can be photos, images or words. (start video and pause on 1st image) Demonstrate how you would answer those questions only as an example they will have a chance to choose their own later.

a. What is it? The first photo is a picture of a lot of people marching and holding signs.
b. What does it mean? It means to me that a lot of people are not happy with the way things are and they want to change it because their signs say "We March – Integrated Schools Now, We Demand – Equal Rights Now – Freedom"
c. How does it make you feel? It makes me feel sad that people were treated unfairly because of the color of their skin. But on a positive side, it makes me proud that people showed strength, courage, unity, and sacrifice to make a difference. d. Is there any connection to what's going on today? Yes, there are still people protesting in different places around the world but very small numbers in the U.S.

6. Play to the next image and pause, quickly ask the questions a loud and answer them even ask students to help.

7. Then remind them to only jot down an image that really stands out to them then we will take a few minutes after to finish the other questions.

8. Play.

9. Give them a few minutes to complete their questions, remind them that they can use the vocabulary words on the board. Try to include a positive as well as a negative response because as in life it's all about attitude such as is the glass half full or half empty?

10. Ask students to share and discuss.

11. As them what they can do to make a difference and read:

Where is the love?
To Discriminate only generates hate
It's up to you our future leaders to educate and be role models
Where is the love? 

12. Have everyone step out to see if they can clasps their wrists together like on the video. Then ask them what it means….UNITY…..


Collect the Questions Guide from the students. Examine the answers the students provided on the answer sheet. There is no right or wrong answer; however, students must clearly explain their answers with evidence from the images shown in the video.


Segregation, Integration, Civil Rights, Equality