Black History Games


Name of Activity:

Black History Games

Purpose of Activity:

To provide physical activity opportunities while teaching awareness of some of the famous inventors and entreprenuers during Black History Month.



Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

Chairs or carpet squares, music, CD player, hair care items, shirts, blocks, red items, spoons, jump ropes, buckets or hoops, eye pictures, balls, paper cups.

Description of Idea

In February we celebrate Black History Month. These games help to teach us about the great men and women who have made important contributions to our country, which provide us the quality of life that we experience today. The following games can be played on different days during Black History Month, or used as a “Field Day” for different classes to rotate around to.

Inventor/Entreprenuer: George Washington Carver

Background information: George Washington Carver was a life-long learner. He was a scientist, a botanist, and an educator at Tuskegee University for 47 years. He revolutionized agriculture in the Southern United States. Mr. Carver was an early innovator for green living and was involved with early recycling.

Name of the Game: Carver’s Musical Chairs

Materials: Music and CD player, chairs or carpet squares, enough for one third of the class.

Directions: One person is chosen to be “It”. Divide the rest of the students equally into three groups called soybeans, sweet potatoes, and pecans. While the music is playing, all students are walking around the line of chairs or carpet squares. When the music stops, “It” will call out either soybeans, sweet potatoes, or pecans, and just those in that group will quickly take a seat. “It” will attempt to take a seat as well, leaving one person out. The person without a seat will become the next “It” and the game starts again. Change the locomotor movements with each game, from walking, to running, to galloping, and to skipping. Tell the person who is “It” to call out a different group each time, to give everyone an opportunity to try for a seat, and also to keep all alert to listening for their group. When “It” is successful in taking a seat, he/she becomes part of that group.

Inventor/Entreprenuer: Madame C. J. Walker

Background Information: Ms. Walker was the first black woman millionaire in North America but her passion was to improve the lives of impoverished women by developing hair care products. Although she had a poor beginning, she showed the world that anyone with determination and good work ethics could improve one’s life and the lives of others.

Name of the Game: Walker’s Relay

Materials: Equal number of hair care items for each group (comb, brush, travel size shampoo and conditioner, hair ornaments such as barretts and headbands), two buckets or hoops for each group.

Directions: Divide students into equal teams, no more than three or four in a team. The teams will stand at one end of the gym next to their bucket or hoop, run to the other end of the gym to retrieve an item from the bucket and return to teammates to place the item in the “home” bucket. The next person will run to the other end of the gym and retrieve the next item, and the game continues until all items are retrieved.

Inventor/Entreprenuer: Elijah McCoy

Backround Information: Mr. McCoy was quite the inventor and innovator. He produced the technology to keep trains lubricated while they ran. He also invented the lawn sprinkler and ironing board. He helped cut down chores for all people. Even though many people did imitations of his inventions he earned the nickname “The Real McCoy” because his products worked well and other people chose to purchase them.

Name of the Game: The Real McCoy Ironing Board

Materials: A shirt for every group and a wooden block to be used as a pretend iron.

Directions: Students are divided into equal groups of three to four in a group. At the starting line, the first in each group will run to the other end of the gym, spread out the shirt and pretend to iron it with four big strokes of the iron, then put the shirt on and run back to the rest of the group. That person will remove the shirt, hand it to the next person in line, who will run to the other end of the gym, pretend to iron the shirt, put it on, and return to the rest of the group. The relay will continue until everyone in every group has had a chance to iron the shirt, or until the teacher says the relay is done.

Inventor/Entreprenuer: Garrett Morgan

Background Information: Garrett Morgan is famous for his invention of the traffic light and the gas mask. Many lives were saved through using a traffic light to control the flow of traffic. The gas mask saved the lives of soldiers, protecting them from deadly toxins during World War I. Gas masks are still used today to protect our soldiers in the Iraq War.

Name of the Game: Morgan’s Traffic Light

Directions: Two lines are established at opposite ends of the playing area. One line is the goal line, the other is the starting line. One player is “It” and stands on the goal line and closes his eyes. The rest of the players are at the start line. When “It” calls “green light,” players move toward him. When “It” calls “red light” he opens his eyes and all of the players must stop moving. Any player who is caught in motion must return to the starting line. Keep playing until a player reaches the goal line, then select another person to be “It”.

Inventor: Dr. Charles Richard Drew

Background Information: Dr. Drew is a famous doctor that revolutionized the world with the concept of blood banking. This allows people to give blood, have it stored safely and shipped to people in remote places. Anyone who needs blood is able to receive it. Unfortunately, Dr. Drew died in a car accident because he lost too much blood.

Name of the Game: Dr. Drew’s Relay

Materials: Red items such as red plastic eggs or red foam peanuts, buckets or hoops, a spoon for each team.

Directions: Divide students into teams of three or four. Place buckets or hoops at each end of the gym, for each team. Players will start the relay by placing an object on the spoon and running to the other end of the gym to drop the object into the bucket. Then the player will run back to the team so the next person in line can do the same. The player must not touch the item as he/she is moving towards the blood bank bucket. The game is over when all the red items are in the bucket.

Inventor/Entreprenuer: Otis Boykin

Background Information: Mr. Boykin invented electrical resistors that are used in home computers, television sets, radios, and guided missiles. He also invented the pacemaker, a medical heart simulator that corrects faulty heartbeats. Pacemakers improve the lives of many people, young and old alike.

Name of the Game: Boykin’s Heart

Materials: Valentine Hearts, each cut into two pieces, zigzag or curved like a puzzle piece.

Directions: Tell the students that they will get half of a heart and must find the person with the matching half. Once they find that person, they can get a jump rope and jump until all have found the matching heart piece. Let everyone jump for a few more minutes, then have them find their pulse to check their heart rate. Talk about the importance of a healthy heart and how aerobic exercise makes our hearts and lungs strong.

Inventor: Dr. Patricia E. Bath

Background Information: Dr. Bath has made it possible for many blind people to see. She invented the method of eye surgery that allow surgeons to remove damaged or faulty parts of the eye and put in a new lens. She also founded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness.

Name of the Game: Dr. Bath’s Corners

Materials: Four sets of pictures of eyes for the four corners of the room.

Directions: This is a game of chance, as students will not know which corner will be called until after they are in one of the corners. The four corners that players can go to are clearly identified with a set of eyes and a number from one to four. One player starts in the middle, closes his/her eyes, and slowly counts to ten while the other players quietly go to one of the corners. Then the person in the middle will call out a number, one to four, and open his/her eyes. Those players in the corner that is called will leave the game and go to another section of the gym to practice tossing and catching a ball, working on eye-hand coordination. The game continues with the remaining players and a newly selected person to stand in the middle. Eventually, all students will be called out and moving over to the section to practice tossing a ball.

Inventor/Entreprenuer: Lonnie G. Johnson

Background Information: Lonnie G. Johnson spends most of his time inventing mechanical and electrical systems for NASA rockets, but he’s best known for another creation: the world famous Super Soaker water gun. It has earned over 200 million dollars and has transformed fun for children and adults alike in the summer months. He has over 40 patents and does work for NASA through his company, Johnson Research & Development.

Name of the Game: Johnson’s Tower

Materials: Paper cups

Directions: Put students into teams of two or three. Each team will attempt to create the highest tower with the cups. The team that makes the highest tower in the allotted time wins. If the creation falls, the team must start again.

Assessment Ideas:

Following each game, ask the students questions about each of the inventors. For example, ask what George Washington Carver is famous for, etc.

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities:

Students with disabilities can be paired with a non-disabled peer to complete the tasks.

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