Explore online activities that feature contemporary Upstanders who made choices to act on behalf of others and not be bystanders. Take a look at our recommended readings from our grades K-2 and grades 3-4 Teaching Trunks that teach acceptance and diversity. Hear from survivors and their message to younger audiences meant inspire students to take action.
Upstander Videos & Activities
Students will be presented with two Upstanders below, both of whom are featured in the Museum’s Make a Difference! exhibition and were former Student Leadership Day Keynote Speakers. These individuals took a stand for an issue that was important to them and were able to make a positive change in the world through their passion.Upstander activity Choices worksheet
Hudson Taylor – Working Against Gay Hate Speech
Hudson Taylor was a rare breed of division one wrestler and thespian. As a three-time All-American wrestler at the University of Maryland, he was ranked 2nd in the country heading into his senior season. He was, in addition, a theatre major, and the two worlds couldn’t have been more different on the topic of LGBTQ respect and inclusion. In theatre, Hudson had friends and classmates coming out and being accepted and welcomed. But on the wrestling mat, homophobic and sexist rhetoric and actions were rampant.
To stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community and confront the marginalization of LGBTQ people in sport, he decided to wear an LGBTQ equality sticker on his headgear. Though he encountered criticism from his teammates, he received national media attention and thousands of emails from parents and closeted athletes encouraged by his advocacy. That got Hudson thinking… if he could achieve that impact as a wrestler, in a sport that isn’t the most popular, what if he had been a football player, a team, or an entire league.
This experience inspired Hudson to launch Athlete Ally.
Ryan Hreljac – Providing Communities with Clean Water
Ryan’s Well Foundation grew from the passion and courage of one 6-year-old boy, Ryan Hreljac. Ryan was inspired to take action as a grade one student when he learned of the devastating consequences for people without access to safe drinking water. He was remarkably determined as he succeeded in rallying his community to help him raise the funds needed to build one well in Uganda, Africa. One well that has changed everything. Now more than 20 years later, Ryan’s Well Foundation is a team of people committed to providing access to safe water and sanitation as an essential way to improve lives in the developing world. Ryan also educates people about the importance of accessing safe water and sanitation services, and look to motivate people of all ages to take action and effect positive change in the world.
Featured “Make A Difference!” Survivor Videos & ActivitiesSurvivor Activity Survivor Answer key
Holocaust Survivor Cipora Katz
Holocaust Survivor Diet Eman
Recommended Reading & Activities
By: Margot Lee Shetterly
Students can hear the story ofHidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly read aloud on YouTube (approximately 14 minutes), and complete the following activities to further investigate the ideas of perseverance and teamwork.
Blending together the Civil Rights Movement and the Space Race, Hidden Figures tells the story of four African American women and their crucial contribution to NASA and the United States. This fascinating story is beautifully illustrated and tells this chapter of American history in an exciting and inspiring way. Shetterly expertly puts these women’s achievements within a historical context of segregation, the women’s rights movement, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Space Race.
Despite the challenges these women faced, they persisted, worked hard, and put a man on the moon. Showing the power of individuals to combat racism and sexism through strength and endurance, Hidden Figures is a reminder to students of the power of perseverance.view activities online
By: Leo Lionni
Students will listen to the story of Swimmy read aloud on YouTube (approximately 3.5 minutes). After listening to the story, students can complete the following activities below to learn more about teamwork, community, and acceptance of others’ differences.
Swimmy tells a story of a little fish who makes a big difference in helping his fellow fish. Swimmy is a little black fish, living among many red fish in a big school. He can swim faster than the others and is very smart. One day, however, the whole school Swimmy lives with is devoured by a very hungry big black fish, and poor Swimmy is the only one to escape.
At first, he is alone and sad in the deep vast ocean. Then, however, he sees that the ocean holds many beautiful wonders—rainbow-colored jellyfish, lobsters, seaweed from sugar-candy rocks, and so much more. Swimmy is delighted.
One day, Swimmy comes across another school of red fish, just like his own. He wants to share all his discoveries of the ocean with them. But the little fish are terribly afraid of the big black fish that can eat them all, just like what happened to Swimmy’s other friends. Together, Swimmy and the school of red fish come up with a plan to save everyone from the big black fish.View activities online
The Name Jar
By: Yangsook Choi
Students can hear the story The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi read aloud on YouTube (approximately 16minutes), and complete the following activities to further investigate the ideas of identity, culture, and community.
Having just arrived from Korea with her family, Unhei is anxious about making friends at her new school. She is especially nervous about her name because no one in her class is able to pronounce it. So, she decides to pick a new name. With the help of her classmates, everyone’s name goes into a jar. What will Unhei choose? Joey, one of her classmates, decides to steal the name jar, in hopes of convincing Unhei to keep her real name. Through Unhei’s story, students can learn that it is important to accept everyone and that we should all be proud of our culture and identity as that makes us special.