Utah Lesson Plans
Social Studies
Material Type:
Upper Elementary, Middle School, High School
  • Gale
  • UOL
  • UOL3-5
  • UOL6-8
  • UOL9-12
  • Uollesson
  • Uolsocialstudies
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    Education Standards

    Nelson Mandela

    Nelson Mandela


    This resource is a Social Studies student activity that utilizes Utah's Online Library resources - specifically, Gale's Reference Collection Grades 9-12 (Power Search and Topic Finder) to help students learn about Nelson Mandela. 

    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: Can one person change the world?

    The man known as Nelson Mandela was named Rolihlahla at his birth in 1918. His father was chief of the Thembu tribe in South Africa. His father had three wives and thirteen children. Rolihlahla was the first child of his father's 3rd wife. Have students research the life of the remarkable man we know as Nelson Mandela. What was his life like as a young child? How did he come to live with another tribal chief named Jongintaba? How did his life change after he moved to the household of Jongintaba? How did Nelson Mandela's education prepare him to have a job during the 1940s? South Africa had a system of segregation called "apartness"; in Afrikaans, the main language of the majority of white settlers of South Africa, the word was "apartheid". Have students research what apartheid was and what life was like for black South Africans under apartheid.

    How did Nelson Mandela come to be imprisoned? How long was he imprisoned? After his release, what are some of the things that he accomplished as the first black president of South Africa?

    How has the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela changed the lives of black individuals throughout the world?

    If students are using Gale Reference Collection Grades 9-12, they can use the Power Search feature at the top of the listing of databases. They will find more than 6,700 magazine articles, articles from more than 2,000 academic journals, more than 150,000 newspaper articles, and dozens of images, videos, and audio files. If students want to analyze which topics are referred to most frequently in the various articles, they can scroll down the menu on the right of the Power Search hits and choose Topic Finder. They will see a visualization in either wheel or tile layout.


    Curriculum Connections:

    Social Studies - 5th Grade
    Social Studies - 6th Grade
    Social Studies - Utah Studies
    Secondary - Social Studies - U.S. History II