Hidden Heroes: Teaching History and Anti-Racism Through Critical Thinking and Empowerment

Anne Galligan, 1st Grade, Hickory Grove Elementary

Curriculum Unit (PDF)


Young students are often taught to accept all the information they are presented by their teachers as fact or truth. This way of learning continues throughout their education. The information and way of learning presented to students enables the continuation of white supremacy and racism, both subtle and overt, within our classrooms and schools, and ultimately the systems and policies of the United States as a whole. This unit will not only expose students to historical and present-day examples of injustice and racism, but it will also equip students with critical thinking skills needed to analyze information and determine its truth or expose its perpetuation of oppression. Additionally, the students will learn about lesser known historical figures of Color who have worked to dismantle these systems and resist oppression. In doing so, the students will evaluate which skills and characteristics one may need to advocate for an end to systemic racism. The students are going to plan for how they can cultivate these skills and characteristics within themselves and embark on an anti- racist journey throughout their lives; resulting in foundational empowerment needed to do so. Through reading, researching, writing, and role playing, these students will be able to articulate their critical thinking skills, disagreement with the status quo, and demands for an end to oppression.