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  Lesson Plans
Ending Apartheid
One Step for Mankind One Giant Leap for Women

Robert Redmon
OverviewProcedure for teachersStudent Resources and Materials
Grade Level
Time Alloment
 Five 80-Minute Class Periods (Semester Block Scheduling)


1998 marked the 150th Anniversary of a movement by women to achieve full civil rights in the United States. Over the past seven generations, dramatic social and legal changes have been accomplished that are now so widely accepted that they go unnoticed by people whose lives they have changed. Many people who have lived through the recent decades of this process have come to blithely accept what has transpired. Moreover, younger people, for the most part, can hardly believe life was ever otherwise.

This was not so in South Africa, a country that was ruled until 1990 by apartheid. Not only did laws separate whites and blacks, but men and women were also separated by both political and ethical beliefs. Since the end of apartheid in 1990, many things have changed in South Africa for both Black South Africans as well as women.

In this lesson, students will explore how famous women helped pave the way for progress in many areas of our everyday lives. At the same time, they will see that despite what happens in this country, women in many other countries are still breaking down barriers whose absence we here in the United States have come to accept as the norm. Through the use video and the Internet, students will explore and research various famous women, then collaboratively construct animated storybooks about these women and their contributions to society. This "hands-on" activity allows students to choose from several famous women in all fields from medicine to sports and write about them and their accomplishments.

Learning Activities

Students will be able to:
  • Analyze the changing roles of African women in the post apartheid world of South Africa.
  • Research famous women from around the world, particularly those who helped advance woman's place in society. Using the World Wide Web, students will identify a famous woman and complete a short Web quest about the women they selected.
  • Evaluate and disseminate the information they have obtained during their research into a short story about their selected famous figure.
  • Apply critical thinking, decision making, and problem solving skill as they construct their animated storybooks.
  • Write a clear, concise, and organized story about their selected famous figure.
  • Explain how women from the past and present have helped contribute to the advancement of society in general, as well as to the advancement of women's roles in the world as a whole.
  • Design and create their own animated storybook using spatial relationships as related to basic geometric shapes.


New York State Learning Standards for Social Studies

Standard 1
Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments, and turning points in the history of the United States and New York.

Standard 5
Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of the necessity for establishing governments; the governmental system of the United States and other nations; the United States Constitution; the basic civic values of American constitutional democracy; and the roles, rights, and responsibilities of citizenship, including avenues of participation.

New York State Learning Standards for English Language Arts

Standard 1
Students will listen, speak, read, and write for information and understanding. As listeners and readers, students will collect data, facts, and ideas; discover relationships, concepts, and generalizations; and use knowledge generated from oral, written, and electronically produced texts. As speakers and writers, they will use oral and written language that follows the accepted conventions of the English language to acquire, interpret, apply, and transmit information.

New York State Learning Standards for the Arts

Standard 1
Students will actively engage in the processes that constitute creation and performance in the arts (dance, music, theatre, and visual arts) and participate in various roles in the arts.

Standard 2
Students will be knowledgeable about and make use of the materials and resources available for participation in the arts in various roles.

National Council for the Social Studies Standards for Grades 5-12

Students understand the economic boom and social transformation of the postwar United States and understand the struggles for racial and gender equality and the extension of civil liberties.

National Council of Teacher of English Standards for grades K-12

Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment.

Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.


Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions, media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, analyze, and discuss print and non-print texts.

Media Components


Africa # 8: Southern Treasure

Web sites:

Distinguished Women of the Past
This site has biographies of women who contributed to our culture in many different ways. There are writers, educators, scientists, heads of state, politicians, civil rights crusaders, artists, entertainers, and others. Some were alive hundreds of years ago, and some are living today.

National Women's Hall of Fame
In 1969, a group of women and men in Seneca Falls created the National Women's Hall of Fame, believing that the contribution of American women deserved a permanent home in the small village where it all began. The Web site has been a catalyst in the expansion of knowledge, appreciation, and understanding of women's contributions to the development of our nation.

Art Attacks
From the UK, this site features Neil Buchanan, the colorful, talented host and artistic creator of the well-known TV show that is also shown in Canada. There are lots of interactive arts and crafts as well as games that children can discover on this site.

Joan Irvine, the author of How to Make Pop-Ups has created this page to help children make animated pop-ups. These step-by-step instructions are just one style of animated pop-up pages that students can create in their books.


Per student:

  • 1 Pencil
  • 1 Famous Women Internet Scavenger Hunt/Web Quest Sheet
  • 1 Focus for Media Interaction Worksheet
  • Introductory Activity Materials: Famous Faces
Per group of 3-4 students:
  • 1 Set of Famous Faces pictures/names
  • 1 Set of Famous Faces descriptors
  • Culminating Activity Materials: Famous Women Animated Story Book
  • 3 Animated Storybook Student Design Guides and Research Organizers
  • 1 Pack of Construction Paper (assorted colors)
  • 1 Pair of Scissors
  • 1 Bottle of Glue/Glue Stick
  • 1 Set of Crayons/Markers/Colored Pencils (with a minimum of 16 colors)
  • 1 Computer with Internet Access