Beacon Lesson Plan Library

The Arthur Ashe Story

Edward Blackwell, Jr.
Colleges and Universities - Florida


Students learn and share their information on Arthur Ashe. In the process, they use the Internet to find information about Arthur Ashe and to create a biography using chronological order. This lesson is appropriate for grades 4 through 6.


The student understands explicit and implicit ideas and information in fourth-grade or higher texts (for example, knowing main idea or essential message, connecting important ideas with corresponding details, making inferences about information, distinguishing between significant and minor details, knowing chronological order of events).

The student uses a variety of reference materials to gather information, including multiple representations of information for a research project (for example, maps, charts, photos).


- Pencil for each student
- Computers connected to the Internet for each small group
- Four balls representing four different sports including a tennis ball
- The Arthur Ashe Worksheet one for each student (See Associated File)
- Life’s Questions Worksheet one for each student (See Associated File)
- The Arthur Ashe Story - My Final Reflection one for each student (See Associated File)
- Internet Permission Form one for each student (See Associated File)
- Lesson Rubric one for teacher (See Associated File)


Teacher and Student Pre-requisites:
This lesson plan is designed to meet ISTE 1 (Basic operations and concepts) and ISTE 5 (Techonolgy research tools) standards.

To facilitate this lesson, a teacher will need to have mastered basic computer access, Internet access, and the use of Favorites to save a Web address.

To complete this lesson, a student will need to have mastered basic computer access, Internet access, and the use of Favorites to retritve a Web address.

Teacher Preparation:
1. Read through materials in The Arthur Ashe Associate File.
2. Make sufficient copies of all forms found in file.
3. Hand out the Internet Permission form.
4. Collect the Internet Permission form.
5. Read through Web links and determine most appropriate for class.
6. Place the appropriate link’s URL address in the Favorites or Benchmark of the computers to be used by the class.
7. Gather four balls representing four different sports, including tennis.



1. Hold up one of the balls and ask the students to identify the sport which uses it in play. For example, a basketball is used to play basketball, etc. End with the tennis ball.

2. As each ball is associated with its proper sport, put the name of the sport on the top half of the blackboard leaving a place for writing names under it.

3. When all the balls have been associated correctly with each sport, ask the students if they can think of anyone who plays the particular sports very well and would be considered a sports hero.

4. Place as many names under the appropriate sport as are named by the class.

5. If no one mentions the Arthur Ashe’s name under tennis, suggest to them that a sports hero for tennis is Arthur Ashe.

6. Ask the class, if anyone has heard about Arthur Ashe.

7. Introduce the concepts of biography (when someone else tells a person’s life story) and autobiography (when the person tell his or her own life story).

8. Explain that chronological order is often used in biographies and autobiographies to organize the story.

9. Make sure they understand the meaning of chronological order.

10. Lead a discussion on biographies. Why study the life of another person?

11. Ask the students to suggest answers to this question.

12. Make sure the following points surface:
The life of another person can teach answers to Life’s Questions:
How to identify a personal gift or talent?
How to overcome trials or difficulties to achieve a goal?
How to deal with failure without losing hope?
How to deal with success without becoming full of pride?
How to give back to the community?

13. Introduce Arthur Ashe to the class. Students may not know who he was.

14. Tell the students a little about Arthur Ashe. He was the first African American to achieve international status in the sport of tennis. He lived and worked in South Florida during part of his life.

15. Ask the students if they can think of any other sports heroes who live and work right now in South Florida.


16. Hand out The Arthur Ashe Worksheet.

17. Explain to the students, they will be working in small groups at the computer terminals to answer the questions on these worksheets. Each group will share with the class the results of their work with The Arthur Ashe Worksheet. These results will be used to create an Arthur Ashe Chronology

18. Place all students is his or her small group. (The number of groups and the size of each group should reflect the number of computer terminals available and the various skills needed to complete the task. Each group could have a captain who makes sure every student in the group completes at least one answer on the worksheet, a navigator who makes sure every student in the group has an opportunity to work at the computer terminal and a presenter who presents the group’s results to the class.)

19. Take class to computer terminals where the appropriate Internet sites have been added to the Favorite (Internet Explorer) or Benchmark (Navigator) button.

20. Captain turns on computer and accesses the browser.

21. Another student clicks on appropriate [Favorites] button at top tool bar and scrolls down the list of Favorites to the appropriate Internet site and clicks on the site.

22. When the site with Arthur Ashe biography appears, each small group will read the biography of Arthur Ashe. After reading the biography, the group is to select three “important” events and list them in chronological order on the worksheet.

23. During this activity the teacher can walk around the room to make sure the small groups understand the task and have no questions.


24. Have each small group share their selected three dates with the class

25. Record each date and activity on the board.

26. After all the groups have shared their selected dates, etc., ask the class if any of the groups have selected the same date and activity.

27. Create a chronological order of important events in Mr. Ashe’s life with listed events.

28. Ask the class how knowing more about Arthur Ashe helps them understand life better. Use the Life’s Questions Worksheet as the basis for this discussion.

29. Tell them as a final activity, each student will be given a opportunity to think and to write about what he or she has learned about life from the study of Arthur Ashe's life.

30. Tell them they will have so many minutes to organize and write their answers.

31. Answer any questions the students may have.

32. Distribute The Arthur Ashe Story ... My Final Reflection and ask the students to begin writing.

33. Collect the writing.


1. Monitor the small groups, checking on student involvement and the answers being placed on the worksheets.
2. Create a common chronology on blackboard, correcting errors and inconsistencies that may surface in the group presentations.
3. Assess each student's final reflection based on the Lesson Rubric.
4. Give final, over-all evaluation using The Arthur Ashe Story Check List.
Students who need help should receive formative feedback in order to search Internet, work with others, and complete the final reflection.


The final reflection papers along with computer-generated pictures from the various web sites could be used to create a bulletin board.

Web Links

Biography: Arthur Ashe provides a printable biography.
Arthur Ashe

The Learning Network provides a short biography here.
Information Please

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