Utah Lesson Plans
Social Studies
Material Type:
Upper Elementary, Middle School, High School
  • Ebsco
  • UOL
  • UOL3-5
  • UOL6-8
  • UOL9-12
  • Uollesson
  • Uolsocialstudies
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
    Media Formats:

    Education Standards

    Jackie Robinson

    Jackie Robinson


    This resource is a Social Studies student activity that utilizes Utah's Online Library resources - specifically, EBSCO's Explora Elementary, Middle, and High School to help students learn about Jackie Robinson. 

    About Utah’s Online Library

    Utah's Online Library provides Utah educators and students free access to high-quality reference collections such as EBSCO, Gale Reference Collection, World Book, eMedia, and LearningExpress Library.

    This activity was designed to help educators utilize this amazing resource in their classrooms.

    Note: Utah educators and students visiting Utah's Online Library from a school computer should be automatically authenticated. When at home, students must use the home access login that their teacher or school media specialist can provide. Utah educators can use either their my.uen login or the home access login.


    Essential Question: How can sports influence societal attitudes? How did Jackie Robinson influence the Civil Rights Movement?

    Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born in 1919 in Cairo, Georgia. He was the youngest of five children. His grandparents had been slaves. His parents were sharecroppers. His father left when Jack was a baby. His mother, Mallie, had relatives in California, and she moved with her five children to southern California. Mallie worked as a maid and eventually bought a home near Los Angeles. Jackie was very good at sports when he was in school. By the time he was in high school, he excelled at track, baseball, and football. Jackie's brothers, Mack and Frank were also good at sports. His brother, Mack, qualified in track to go to the 1936 Olympics in Germany. The gold medal in the 200-meter dash was won by Jesse Owen, and Mack won a silver medal in the same event! He arrived at the finish line only a half-second behind Jesse Owens. The sports acclaim did not ultimately help Mack in the non-sports world. He eventually took a job as a street sweeper because there were so few opportunities for African Americans.

    Jackie was accepted to UCLA and became a star basketball player. He also successfully played on the football, golf, and tennis teams. He chose to leave UCLA in order to earn money. He worked at a few jobs including playing semi-professional football in Hawaii. He left Hawaii just days before the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. He was soon drafted into the army and was able to attend Officer Candidate School. What were the circumstances around an accusation and military trial that Jackie was involved in while at Fort Hood, Texas?

    Jackie was discharged from the Army in 1944 and soon began playing for one of the all-black baseball teams, the Kansas City Monarchs. As Jackie toured around the country with the baseball team, what was life like for them? Where did they sleep when they were in a town with no all-black hotel (since they were not allowed to stay in a white hotel)?

    Have students describe how Jackie came to be recruited by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1945. Trivia question: How did the Dodgers get the name "dodgers"?

    What were some of the obstacles that Jackie faced as he first began playing for the Dodgers' minor league team called the Montreal Royals and then eventually for the Brooklyn Dodgers?

    What was Jackie Robinson's involvement with Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement?

    Jackie Robinson became the first African American ever inducted into the Baseball Hal of Fame.

    Utah's Online Library has student-friendly information for students who want to learn more about Jackie Robinson. EBSCO's Explora Elementary provides information at reading levels appropriate for primary-aged students. EBSCO's Explora Middle and High School let students narrow their searches by choosing whether they want magazine articles, newspaper articles, biographies, books/encyclopedias, primary source documents, or images.


    Curriculum Connections:

    Social Studies - 5th Grade
    Social Studies - 6th Grade
    Social Studies - Utah Studies
    Social Studies - 8th Grade