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This lesson provided by:
Author: Natasha Flowers
System:Leeds City
School:Leeds City Board of Education
Lesson Plan ID: 33196

Rise Up! A Look at the Lives of Aviators Bessie Coleman and Amelia Earhart.


Text study to introduce theme. The lesson will also examine bias and prejudice faced by women in nontraditional fields. The lesson utilizes rich pictures books and primary source documents.

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.

Content Standard(s):
ELA2015(6) 11. Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. [RI.6.1]
ELA2015(6) 17. Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue. [RI.6.7]
ELA2015(6) 20. By the end of the year, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the Grades 6-8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range. [RI.6.10]
ELA2015(6) 34. Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and details to accentuate main ideas or themes; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation. [SL.6.4]
LIT2010(6-8) Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies1. Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
LIT2010(6-8) Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies7. Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.
Local/National Standards:  
Primary Learning Objective(s):

I can contribute ideas and insights to class discussions.

I can use text evidence to defend my ideas.

I can read closely primary source documents for information related to my topic or essential question(s).

Additional Learning Objective(s):

I can write to learn more about a subject.


Approximate Duration of the Lesson: 91 to 120 Minutes
Materials and Equipment:

Talkin’ About Bessie by Nikki Grimes and Night Flight: Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic, highlighters, sample brochures to use as models, blank paper, markers/colored pencils. and chart paper.


Technology Resources Needed:

Interactive whiteboard, computer and projector.


Students should know how to compare and contrast.

Students should know how to take notes.

Students are very familiar with the routines and procedures for working in cooperative groups.

Teacher should assign students to groups of three.

Teachers should make a schedule for using the resources so that each group has access to them.

Teacher should view all of the video resource links.

Teacher should read the picture books.

Teachers should gather brochures students can use a models.

Teachers should read aloud or make available the featured pictures books to class. This should be done 1-2 days before this lesson.




1. Pose this question to the group: What are the pros and cons of being the first at something?

2. Guide group into generating a list. Record answers on the board.

3. Allow participants to select one of the items from either list to “defend”.

4. Give them this starter sentence to begin their paragraph: I think being the first at something is _____ because _____. One reason I believe is ____________.

5. Give 5 minutes to complete responses.

Transition: Being first comes with a steep price. We are going to use primary and secondary source documents to examine the lives of Bessie Coleman and Amelia Earhart. Both of these women paid a big price to be first.


1. The Case for Ladies in the Cockpit: You are the agent for Bessie Coleman and Amelia Earhart. Your job is to present each pilot’s best qualities in and out of the cockpit to investors.

2. Show the video of clips depicting the life of both women. This will provide some preliminary background information. Discuss.

3. Divide the class into groups of three (no more than four): Odd numbered groups will study Bessie and  even numbered groups will study Amelia.

4. Provide each student with this character trait list. Provide each group with a piece of chart or butcher paper.

Tell groups to select 5-8 words from the list they feel represent their pilot so far. These words should be recorded on the chart paper.

5. Groups will study the resources about their pilot and take notes.

Resources include:

Picture Book(s)

Talkin' About Bessie and Nobody Owns the Sky

Amelia and Eleanor Go For A Ride and Amelia Earhart the Legend of the Lost Aviator 



Use the schedule to assign resources to students.

Give each student a copy of the Notes Notes Notes graphic organizer.

The research phase should take approximately 2 class periods depending on the number of resources you have available.

Day 3

Have groups review their notes. Lead them in a discussion to reach a consensus on the three words groups will use to market their pilot to investors. Remind them text evidence will be needed to support each character trait the group selects.

6. Create brochure or poster using evidence from the text to make their case.

7. All Ideas must be supported by direct evidence in the text.

Attachments:**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download. NotesNotesNotesGraphicOrganizer.pdf
Assessment Strategies:

Bring the group back together. Tell them tomorrow they will present their brochures to the class.

Tell each student to get one sheet of paper. 

1. “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
― Winston Churchill write this quote on the board. Read it aloud to students.

How does this quote relate to what we learned about Bessie and/or  Amelia today?

3. Collect slips before students leave room.


Students could do a triple Venn Diagram on Amelia, Bessie, and Maggie Gee, the first Asian American female pilot to fly for the U.S. Armed Forces.

The book title is Sky High: The True Story of Maggie Gee


Preview or Reteach character traits so students are able to apply them to the new information about each pilot.

Pre-teach or re-teach how to take notes from a video or website.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior

Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.
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