Civil War/ Civil Rights Biography Project for 5th Graders

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NAME ____________________ DATE: __________

Biography Project

A biography is a book written about a person’s life by another person. An autobiography is a book written about a person’s own life.

You will select a book to read (on your reading level) and complete the following activities:

Project part Alone/Partner where?

Select Civil War/Civil Rights person to study with partner school

Select a biography or autobiography and read. alone school

Respond to reading in journal (at least 3 times) alone school + home

Timeline with partner school

ABC Book alone school + home

Present project with partner school


PRESENTATION: Share with the class:

1. . . . who you studied and the titles/authors of the books you read

2. . . . your timeline, including:

a. Date, state and city of birth

b. Childhood

c. Education

d. Family/Children/Marriage

e. Important things the person did in the Civil Rights movement or Civil War

f. The person’s beliefs: (What was their dream?)

i. If they did their work during the Civil War, did they side with the Union (North) or Confederacy (South)? Describe their feelings on slavery.

ii. If they did their work during the Civil Rights movement, explain their feelings and beliefs on segregation and equality.

g. Date, state, city where the person died and how they died

ABC BOOK : Your book should include:

. . . a title page

. . . 26 pages, one for each letter of the alphabet.

. . . Bibliography page: You have been learning about this in library.

. . . Back cover (blank)

Example : If your person was born in Alabama, you might choose “Alabama” for your word to represent the letter “A”. You would also write a few sentences describing where in Alabama the person was born, and other events that may have happened there. You would also include a drawing of the state and put a mark on the city where the person was born.

Guidelines for Pacing:

In the library this week, you will select a biography to read. January 17

Respond in Journal at least 3 times by: Tuesday, February 5

Finish reading the book by: Tuesday, February 14.

Timeline: Be prepared to work on it on Thursday, February 7 and 14

Presentation is due : Tuesday, February 19-22

ABC book is due : Tuesday, February 26


I ________________________ and ______________________ have read and understand what is required for this project.

I know that I am expected to ask questions and seek out help if needed.

I am aware that my effort on this project will affect my grades in several different subjects.

I know need to use my time appropriately and keep my materials organized.

I am part of a team and that it is expected that partners will BOTH work to complete the project. I understand that it is possible for one partner to fail and the other to pass if it becomes apparent that one partner is not doing their fair share.

OTHER (to be agreed upon by partners):





_______________________________ _______________________________

Partner Partner

_______________________________ ______________________

Teacher Date


Other adult

NAMES: _________________________________________________________ DATE: _________________


Presentation and Timeline (done in pairs):

Excellent=4 Good=3 Needs Work =2 Poor=1 Not completed=0


Timeline: 60% of Grade

Historical Content (spoken and on timeline) 4 3 2 1 0

Included events listed above? 4 3 2 1 0

Spelling/Grammar 4 3 2 1 0

TOTAL: _____ x .6= _______

Oral Presentation: 10% of Grade

Looks at Audience? 4 3 2 1 0

Speaks clearly? 4 3 2 1 0

Appropriate body language? 4 3 2 1 0

Was the presentation practiced enough? 4 3 2 1 0

TOTAL: ____ x .1= ________

Preparation: 30% of Grade

Partners shared responsibility equally? 4 3 2 1 0

Did presenters know their topic? 4 3 2 1 0

Were the books used presented? Yes No

Was the project ready on time? Yes No

TOTAL: _____x.3=______

Your Grade is: _______

Comments: This project counts for a reading and a social studies grade.

NAME ____________________________________ DATE: __________________


Grading Rubric for ABC Book (done individually)

Excellent=4 Good=3 Needs Work =2 Poor=1

Content 4 3 2 1

Mechanics 4 3 2 1

Composition 4 3 2 1

Expression 4 3 2 1

Pictures 4 3 2 1

Effort 4 3 2 1

Your grade is: ________________

Comments: This project counts for a reading , writing and social studies grade.

Biography Project:

Our school library contains multiple books on all of the people listed here. We also have a few books in our classroom library that could be used .

During After the

Civil War (1861-1855) Civil War (after 1865)

*Abraham Lincoln X (Union)

Sojourner Truth X

Harriet Tubman X

Martin Luther King, Jr. X

John Brown X

Rosa Parks X

*Frederick Douglass X

Ulysses S. Grant X (Union)

Robert E. Lee X (Confederate)

Jefferson Davis X (Confederate)

Harriet Beecher Stowe X

W.E.B. DuBois X

Susan B. Anthony X (women’s rights)

Thurgood Marshall X

Booker T. Washington X

Coretta Scott King X

John F. Kennedy X

Mary McLeod Bethune X

Abraham Lincoln – He was the 16th President. He wrote the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves at the end of the Civil War.

Sojourner Truth – Born a slave, fought for African American’s and women’s rights. She helped African American soldiers during the Civil War.

Harriet Tubman – Once a slave herself, she helped other slaves escape through the “underground railroad”.

Martin Luther King, Jr . – He was an important Civil Rights activist. He used peaceful means to communicate his dream to the American people.

John Brown – He violently disagreed with slavery. His actions contributed to the tension leading up to the Civil War, which started 16 months after his execution. Some people view him as a hero and other view him as a madman.

Rosa Parks -Her actions resulted in the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama which led up to equal treatment on public transportation.

Frederick Douglass -Born a slave, he was an abolitionist and the first African American to hold a high rank is US government.

Ulysses S. Grant – He was the 18th President, Union General in the Civil War

Robert E. Lee – He was the Confederate General during the Civil War

Jefferson Davis – He was the 1st and only President of the Confederate States of America

Harriet Beecher Stowe –She was an author that caused quite a stir about slavery before the Civil War with her book Uncle Tom’s Cabin .

W.E.B. DuBois – He was one of the founders of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and the African American to graduate from Harvard University.

Susan B. Anthony – She was a women’s rights activist, given credit for women being allowed to vote.

Thurgood Marshall – Civil Rights lawyer and 1st African American supreme court justice

Booker T. Washington – He was born a slave and freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. He felt that the key to making a better life for African Americans was education.

Coretta Scott King – She was the wife of Martin Luther King, Jr. She supported her husband in his efforts and was in the public eye herself, especially after his death. She also supported women’s rights. She died in 2006.

John F. Kennedy – He was the 35th President. He promised to help stop segregation and to put a man on the moon.

Mary McLeod Bethune – Her parents were slaves. She worked hard to create schools for African American children. She held many important positions, including Vice President of the NAACP.


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