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South Africa's Desmond Tutu

Invite students to discover Desmond Tutu, a fascinating man who tried to bring nonviolent change to South Africa.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. Invite students to research the life of Desmond Tutu and the complex society of South Africa. As the first black Anglican bishop of Johannesburg, he was awarded the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize. Encourage students to uncover details about his lifeand his efforts to end apartheid, as well as pictures representing his accomplishments.
    2. To begin their artwork, students draw a picture of Desmond Tutu with Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils. Color his likeness using Crayola Multicultural Markers and Multicultural Crayons. Cut out the figure using Crayola Scissors.
    3. On a large piece of construction paper, small teams of students draw and color a map of South Africa identifying locations significant to Tutu's life.
    4. A small piece of foam can be used to make Tutu's portrait stand out on posters. Glue foam to the back of his portrait with Crayola School Glue. Attach the foam to maps.
    5. On separate paper, students write Tutu's name and idnetify important facts about his life and honors that they have included in their research. These will be glued onto posters. Allow time for glue to air-dry.
    6. Display posters in a prominent area of the classroom. If time permits, have students present their posters and research to small groups of classmates.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    SS: Compare ways in which people from different cultures think about and deal with their physical environment and social conditions.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    SS: Demonstrate an ability to use correctly vocabulary associated with time such as past, present, future, and long ago; read and construct simple timelines; identify examples of change; and recognize examples of cause and effect relationships.

    SS: Identify and describe ways family, groups, and community influence the individual's daily life and personal choices.

    SS: Explore factors that contribute to one's personal identity such as interests, capabilities, and perceptions.

    VA: Select media, techniques, an processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of choices.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Desmond and the Very Mean Word by Desmond Tutu; For Every Child by Caroline Castle; Desmond Tutu: Fighting Apartheid by Samuel Willard Crompton; A Little Peace of Me by Madeleine MacLeod Lippey

    Encourage students to investigate the history of the Nobel Peace Prize. Why did Desmond Tutu win this prize? What other well-known leaders have been awarded this prize and for what accomplishment?

    Students conduct an in-depth investigation into a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Research the childhood of the winner, education, professional career, and why the prize was awarded. Prepare an organized presentation for classmates. Create a costume for the presentation that makes use of recycled materials.

    Students investigate apartheid in South Africa. How did this practice affect various ethnic groups that lived in South Africa? When was apartheid stopped? How has life in South Africa changed since that time?


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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