Same Battle Different Continents

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Objective and contrast the biographies of Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela to respond to evidence based questions

Big Idea

We can all make the world a better place to live.

Creating the Purpose

5 minutes

Opening – Read a quote from a Huffington Post Article "I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood ... I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.“

A year later another speaker stated, "I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."

What did you hear that was similar in each of their speeches? What was their hope for the future of their worlds?

How is that similar to the beliefs and rules we have in our classroom? 

Today we are going to read about the bibliographies of Martin Luther King, Jr and Nelson Mandela, the two speakers in the quotes I read to you earlier. We will compare and contrast their lives to debate whether their beliefs were more similar or more different and how they affect our lives today. 


Guiding the Learning

15 minutes

I open the lesson by reviewing some of the MLK and NM vocab students need to know to understand the biographies and events of the time. We share book vs. student definitions and write the responses on the board.

Student listen as I tell read the story of Martin Luther King Jr Biography aloud.  I model questioning and thinking aloud as I read the passage and we discuss the evidence needed to complete one side of the Comparing and contrasting MLK and NM chart.

I complete the chart and model finding evidence and questioning to help students respond to each of the sections of the chart.

Students are then asked to identify their elbow partners. They read and complete Nelson Mandela Bibliography chart with this peer and respond to more same/different question with text evidence. I have students partnered with helpful peers and have selective seating for struggling and ELL students.

As students complete their worksheets, groups are asked to go up to the chart and complete each of the sections.  This gives slower students both a chance to finish and incentive to do so more quickly so they can participate, too. 

I keep the class MLK and NM chart as a reference and circulate the classroom to help with areas of difficulty and to question to encourage thinking

Independent Learning

20 minutes

Students are now asked to work independently to write a response to the Huffington Post comment that they "were having the Same Battle Different Continents" and to find evidence to back their responses.

They will also evaluate if their choices were worth the consequences they both faced. 

Then they will determine the effect that Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela have on their lives today. 

I circulate the classroom and assist where needed. I also look for responses to share with the class as a reference and to create peer tutors for resource.    

I set a timer for 20 minutes and then ask students to share their responses


Closing the Loop

5 minutes

Nelson Mandela quoted Martin Luther King, Jr. when he was addressing a joint session of the U.S. Congress – he stated "Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we are free at last,"

Why do you feel he used Martin Luther King Jr’s words?

I follow this with - They both believed in helping others – and we do, too.

I ask them “Why do people help others?”

And then follow with "How can we help people in our school? Our community? Our world?" and we chart our responses using the "Helping others brainstorm chart."

Our next steps lesson to create a plan to help other people and then to write a persuasive piece defining why this is a good cause.