Black History Month is an extra opportunity for students to learn more about the gifts of African Americans to society. Scientists, architects, artists, historians and inventors have made vast contributions that often go unnoticed in the myriad of historical information. Crafts will give students something to help them remember the events.
Benjamin Banneker, the essayist, inventor, mathematician and astronomer who helped design our nation’s capital, is an excellent example of an early American genius. For younger students, construct a paper clock to commemorate the clock that Banneker made, a clock thought to be the first clock fully made in America. Older students will enjoy making a solar system from Styrofoam balls of varying sizes.
Although we know Robert E. Peary as the man who discovered the North Pole, Matthew Henson was actually the first man to set foot on the pole. Make adorable Arctic polar bears from milk jugs. Check out these cute instructions on Danielle’s Place. Then, make a snow globe with baby food jars. You can find easy instructions on TLC Family’s site.
Phillis Wheatley, a slave from Senegal, began writing poetry at an early age. Her poetry was circulated throughout England. Many of her poems were written during the Revolutionary War. Make copies of her famous poem, “To His Excellency George Washington.” Stain or paint a wooden box or an 8 by 10 plaque that has a wire of hanging on the back. Decoupage the poem onto the item. Spray the dried project with a shiny sealant.
Harriet Tubman, or the “Moses” of her people, led many slaves to their freedom, using the Underground Railroad. Because of her dedication to the cause, over three hundred people were freed. One of the means of communications that conductors on the railroad used was quilts. Use the information found here to help the students create a quilt block that might have been used to signal the slaves about the safety of the house, where clothes were available and other clues. It can be pieced together or drawn on to paper.
George Washington Carver was a humble genius. His contributions to the African Americans of his day, as well as his contributions to mankind, are numerous. He created over 300 products from the lowly peanut. Give students a large assortment of simple items, items like: blocks of wood, paper rolls, cotton balls. Let them build their own creation.
Martin Luther King, Jr. helped bring about social reform that would create unity. Give each student a 12 inch by 18 inch sheet of paper. Make placemats. Help students trace the outline of their hand on several different colors of paper. Glue the hands onto the placemat, overlapping the thumbs and pinkies. Cover the placemat with clear contact paper.
Black history month is a great time to teach children about a section of our history that is often over-looked. Crafts offer a way to keep and refresh the children’s memories long after the lesson is over.