Teaching children about various cultures and ethnic groups gives them an appreciation for the world around them and pride in their identities, as well as promoting tolerance. As Black History Month approaches, organizing a game of bingo for children to help them learn and recall the accomplishments of black educators, athletes and musicians will help children to retain the information while enjoying themselves.
"Black Firsts" Bingo
Smaller children may enjoy playing a bingo game in which they have to recognize the pictures of famous black Americans who have made history as being the first to accomplish a task, hold a position or complete an invention. Give children small paper circles in black, red or green (African pride colors) for covering their bingo squares. The squares on their cards should contain small pictures of individuals such as Freddy Adu and Marian Anderson. Instruct the bingo caller to say the person's accomplishment while the children look for the right picture to cover on their bingo cards. For example, if the bingo caller says "He was the first black soccer play to play in an American league," students should cover the picture of Freddy Adu with their bingo piece. This process continues until a student fills a whole row and has "bingo."
"Little Known Facts" Bingo
Tweens or teens may be intrigued to find out facts about black Americans who aren't commonly in history books. For this game, create large bingo playing cards with poster board and divide children into teams. Give them paper squares or circles for covering each bingo square, and fill each square with short phrases like "Helped create Washington, D.C. blueprints" or "Talent agent for The Supremes." Ask questions such as "What was Wally Amos' (of Famous Amos cookies) job before he started his cookie company?" or "Benjamin Banneker, a mathematician and scientist, was a free black who owned a farm in Maryland. What is his claim to fame?" Show your teens pictures of the people mentioned, which will help them associate a face with the accomplishments. To win this game, a team not only has to fill a bingo card row with markers first, but the squares marked all have to correctly match the accomplishments of the individuals mentioned during the game.
"Black Music" Bingo
Play a memorable game of bingo with your students by gathering musical works by black artists who have made history. Create bingo cards with pictures of people like Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and James Brown. Play a few seconds of an artist's song and give the students time to match the voice with the picture. For example, state a fact about musician James Brown by telling your students that Brown performed the day after Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, which helped to prevent violence and riots. Play a song by James Brown like "I Feel Good" or "Say it Loud -- I'm Black and I'm Proud" to help students guess the artist and cover Brown's picture with a bingo piece. The first student to cover a row of pictures with markers wins.
"Black Inventions" Bingo
Help children create large bingo boards filled with pictures of items that black inventors created. Call out the names of the inventors so they can use a bingo game piece to cover the invention picture on their cards that matches the name. For example, if you say "Nathaniel Alexander," they should cover the picture on the bingo board of the folding chair, which was originally patented to be used in churches and schools. Or, call out the name "Alfred Cralle," a black inventor who patented the ice cream scoop, so they can cover the picture of the scoop with a red, black or green bingo piece and try to cover a row on their cards first.
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