Bring Iowa’s African American history to life with a wide variety of programs for preschool, elementary and middle school age children.
Enjoy learning in a new environment by bringing your class, scout troop, youth group or other organization to the African American Museum of Iowa. Learn more about opportunities for field trips.
Supplement your classroom or home school curriculum with a traveling trunk from the African American Museum of Iowa. See our list of traveling trunks.
Schedule a hands-on workshop with our museum educator at your school, child care center, church, library or other community location. Count on us for an engaging, age-appropriate lesson covering local African American history and/or culture.
Most programs are $35. (Dr. Carver’s Lab and Superheroes of Science are $50.) Mileage is $0.50 per mile outside of Cedar Rapids.
Review our list of programs and request a workshop. Don’t see the topic you’re looking for? Let us know what you’d like to see!
Learning Safari (PreK–Grade 2)
Each Learning Safari program is 30 minutes. It includes a book or story and hands-on activity.
- Learning to Work Together — See how much can be accomplished with a little cooperation through a reading of Head, Body, Legs: A Story from Liberia.
- What Does Day of the Dead Mean? — Learn the origins of this international holiday, and make connections to the Egungun figure from Nigeria and the holiday that occurs in the spring.
- Being Thankful — Hear Todd Parr’s The Thankful Book and share your thoughts through words and images. Place autumn leaves on a tree with a thankful message.
- Superheroes of Science —Learn about four African American scientists who made life better for everyone, and then create a hero’s cape that shows your superpower.
- Thinking like a Problem Solver — Hear A Very Tall Man, a Ugandan story about a man who has an interesting problem. Then, use your creativity to solve a few problems of your own.
- Embracing Peace — February 11 is set aside for children in the country of Cameroon to rededicate themselves to the importance of nonviolence in their daily lives and strive for education. Connect this rededication with the nonviolent efforts of Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.
- Martin’s Big Words —Who was Dr. King? Why do people today still think his words are so important? Work together to create a project to keep Dr. King’s dream alive while learning cooperation and service.
- Eat Your Way Through Africa — Learn about all kinds of foods grown in Africa that we enjoy on a regular basis here in Iowa.
- Fun with Gourds —Talk about the many ways people in Western Africa used gourds, and then decorate your own gourd.
- Celebrating Kwanzaa — Learn about the African American celebration of family and togetherness, Kwanzaa! Learn a bit of Swahili, practice counting and colors, and create decorative items.
- Rainbow of Faces — Discuss multiculturalism and diversity through food. Our story compares children’s skin colors to caramel, peaches and espresso to prepare us for making a self-portrait of our own.
- Spring Planting with Carver — George Washington Carver loved plants! Learn how plants and insects are related and plant seeds to grow at home. You might even meet some of Carver’s insect friends!
Student Workshops (Grades 3–8)
Dig into African American history and culture with workshops that can be adapted for students in grades three through eight. Students will have opportunities to write, think, answer questions, and make connections.
- Painting Like a Pro — Art and science are two sides of the same coin. Learn about scientists like George Washington Carver and Percy Julian who dabbled in paint manufacturing, check out various African American painters and sculptors, and make a small artistic creation of your own.
- Dr. Carver’s Lab — George Washington Carver considered himself a “cookstove chemist,” using household materials to complete most of his experiments. Hear about Dr. Carver’s accomplishments, and then assist with some cookstove experiments of your own.
- Iowa’s Underground Railroad — You won’t find Harriet Tubman in this workshop. It’s all about Iowa’s Underground Railroad. Learn common Underground Railroad codes, discover how to navigate using the stars, and then make your own daring escape from slavery.
- Superheros of Science — African Americans have been inventing and innovating in a variety of fields, including science and medicine. Get to know three amazing inventors, innovators and scientists and the impact of their work.
- Behind the Beat —Explore African American history through music, from the African beats brought to the colonies during slavery, to spirituals used to communicate on the plantation, to the jazz of the Harlem Renaissance, to the popular music of the Civil Rights movement.