Lesson Plans

LMC’s free downloadable lesson plans teach students inspiring lessons about the impact that individuals have made in civil rights, environmentalism and more. These lesson plans help teachers guide students to understand the concept of an Unsung Hero, while providing a platform for delving into specific Unsung Heroes and their many achievements. The lesson plans are ideally suited for secondary students (grades 6-12), but could be used for upper elementary as well. They can be used for all ability levels, although students with a lower reading level may need help in interpreting complex vocabulary.

The Unsung Hero Lesson plans should extend over a few class periods (typically ninety minutes), with additional time for the homework or extension activity. In this time, students will understand the concept of heroes on a general level (famous heroes) and intimate level (personal heroes). Students will also be introduced to the concept and characteristics of Unsung Heroes, as well as analyze and summarize the role of an Unsung Hero.

These lesson plans represent cross-disciplinary lessons rooted in 21st century learning skills and character education, and satisfy numerous state and national standards, including the Common Core.

Lesson Plans Available for Free Download:

Desegregation and the Legacy of Ken Reinhardt

Ken Reinhardt and Little Rock Nine student at Little Rock Central High graduation

Facing threats and violence, high school senior Ken Reinhardt stood up for the Little Rock Nine during the 1957 school de-segregation crisis in Arkansas.

This comprehensive lesson plan teaches students to:

  • Define and give examples of prejudice, discrimination, and persecution as well as empathy, respect, and understanding
  • Analyze the broader social, political, and economic effects of segregation
  • Relate Ken’s bravery in confronting prejudice in 1957 to modern day situations in their own lives

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Standing in Solidarity: Ralph Lazo and Japanese Internment

Ralph Lazo at Manzanar Camp

Mexican-American teenager Ralph Lazo voluntarily lived in a Japanese internment camp during WWII to protest government-sanctioned discrimination.

This short lesson plan will teach students:

  • An understanding of the experience of Japanese-American internment
  • How to analyze the impact Ralph Lazo made as a lifelong advocate of social justice
  • The characteristics of Ralph – such as conviction and compassion – that make him a hero and other things that students should know

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Jacob Valentine: Environmentalism and Protecting the Endangered

Jacob Valentine - environmentailst, unsung hero

When construction of Interstate 10 in the 1970s threatened the habitat of the Mississippi sandhill crane, Jacob Valentine II’s fight to save the birds from extinction helped lead to the 1973 Endangered Species Act.

This short lesson plan will guide students to:

  • Understand the role Jacob played in shaping the nascent environmental movement in the U.S.
  • Assess the challenges environmentalists face through problem-based learning
  • Discuss the concept of “vision” as it relates to heroism

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L. Alex Wilson: Commitment to Truth in the Face of Adversity


Facing extreme violence while reporting on the 1957 Little Rock school crisis, L. Alex Wilson demonstrated an unshakeable commitment to truth through actions that helped shape public consciousness at the height of the Civil Rights movement.

This short lesson plan teaches students to:

  • Understand the contributions L. Alex Wilson’s legacy played in shifting public opinion at a pivotal and divisive time in U.S. history
  • Appreciate the dignity, resolve, and non-violence Alex demonstrated under distressing circumstances
  • Examine different ways to memorialize and celebrate leaders from our past

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