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Barrier Breakers
Lesson Plan

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and Answer Key)

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Barrier Breakers
Lesson Plan

(includes Handout, Worksheet
and Answer Key)

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Integration and the
"Barrier Breakers":
Black Baseball 1945-1960
("Charting History")

Lesson Summary:
Students will learn about the integration of Major League Baseball. This lesson could be used to supplement material on the Civil Rights Movement.

Key Features of Powerful Teaching and Learning:
(National Council for the Social Studies: “A Vision of Powerful Teaching and Learning in the Social Studies: Building Social Understanding and Civic Efficacy.”

Meaningful: Students will learn methods of historical analysis.

Integrated: Students will engage reading and math skills in analytical exercise.

Active: Students will explore biographical information, represent that information in chart form, and interpret the charts in order to complete the exercise.

Students will learn about the integration of Major League Baseball. This lesson could be used to supplement material on the Civil Rights Movement.

1. Students will learn about the important individual baseball players who helped integrate Major League baseball.
2. Students will learn to analyze historical information through charts, graphs, and statistics.

Materials/Primary Resources:
• "Barrier Breakers" players handout
• "Barrier Breakers" players worksheet and answer key
• "Barrier Breakers" reference charts for teacher
• Graph paper and rulers
• Colored pencils and/or chalk
Crossing the Line: Black Major Leaguers, 1947-1959,
   edited by Moffi & Krondstadt
Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues,
   by James Riley
• Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet

Procedures & Activities:
1. Students will read and discuss the "Barrier Breaker" handout.
2. Students will complete an in-class assignment sheet analyzing the material from the handout into graphs and charts. They will be given a worksheet to complete after the activity using the charts they created.

Use the following for lesson and discussion:
Part 1: "Barrier Breaker" handout
Read in class the overview printed on the “Barrier Breakers” handout:

From 1947 - 1959, over 100 African-American and Latino men endured the grueling process of integrating Major League and Minor League baseball organizations throughout North America. Even though the two groups came from different cultures and countries, they were both referred to as “black.” During this time period, they helped open the doors of inclusion to many in their respective communities. It took more than a decade before every major league team had at least one minority team member. Many encountered hardships and name-calling.

This list includes those who were part of Major League baseball team rosters for at least part of a season during this time period. Some did not have very distinguished baseball careers, while others became some the best-known baseball players of all time. Many won several awards and would become National Baseball Hall of Fame inductees.

Part 2: "Barrier Breaker" worksheet
1. Using Page 1 of the handout, answer questions 1-10 on the worksheet provided.
2. Using Page 2 of the handout create charts, using graph paper.
a. Chart #1 can be a “Bar Graph” or “Line Graph” and should measure the total number of minority players who integrated Major League baseball teams by year from 1947-1959.
b. Chart #2 can be a “Bar Graph” or “Line Graph” to measure and compare the number of American born and Non-American born minority players who integrated Major League teams by year from 1947-1959.
3. Using Page 2 of the handout and the charts you have created, answer questions 11-30 on the worksheet.

(Teacher should demonstrate the construction of “Bar Graphs” and “Line Graphs” and offer examples of how each should look)

After World War II, America faced many societal challenges. The integration of baseball was an important event in American history that affected many individuals and communities. Historians study these events and other events by using math, charts and graphs to determine patterns, trends, and changes over time.

Extension and Enrichment:
• Students could create a virtual exhibit of their research material focused on their subjects. Students could refer to Crossing the Line and The Biographical Encyclopedia to chart/graph other information on the players (such as, states and countries where players were born, average age of players during their major league debut, and other interesting facts).
• Students could create their own sets of questions and observations by using the Major League baseball statistics of these players. Students should separate the pitchers from the other types of players. Sources to use include Crossing the Line and internet sources such as and

Students will be assessed on the in-class activities, creating charts, and on worksheet answers.

Alternative Assessment:
Students can create charts and plot information using Microsoft Excel and print their graphs in color for display.

Resources for Diverse Learners:
• Students could start with a “graph template,” with part of the graph information filled in and certain plot points placed on the graph. Students should be challenged to fill in the rest of the chart in order to answer questions on the work sheet.
• Students could be limited to constructing one type of graph for the assignment and would be assigned just one part of the activity to complete.

Barrier Breakers Worksheet and Answer Key:
Please see link at top left to download.

Grade level: 9-12
Subject: Social Studies

NCSS Standards: I, II
ISTE Standards: 1, 3, 5, 6
Missouri Standards: 2, 7

Time Allotment:
One, 60-minute period