Lesson: Basketball

Grade Levels
One class period
Associated Entries
Basketball Assessment Questions
James K. Nelsen
Oscar Robertson, star Bucks point card from 1970-1974, dribbles the ball against the Detroit Pistons.
Students use the topic of basketball to explore how historical narratives are built. They read and annotate text to determine main ideas, support details, and overall structure of the text. Students determine the meaning of unfamiliar words. Finally, they will answer eight questions that are written in the format of a Common Core standardized test.


RH.1 and RST.1. Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources
RST.2. Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
RST.5. Analyze the structure an author uses to organize a text, including how the major sections contribute to the whole and to an understanding of the topic

Introductory Activities

  1. Ask the students to complete a “Think-Pair-Share” of everything they know about the Milwaukee Bucks. Give them two or three minutes to write down everything they know. Then give them another two or three minutes to share with a partner and write down new ideas. Finally, have students share their revised lists with the whole class, writing a big list on the board. Briefly discuss each point as you write it down.

Developmental Exercises

  1. Ask students to annotate the “Basketball” entry. They should underline the topic sentences in the following paragraphs: two, three, and five through eleven. They should also number the supporting detail sentences. For all paragraphs, they should put a box around any unfamiliar words and place a star next to anything really important. (20 minutes)

  2. Ask students to find any unfamiliar words in the Basketball entry. Ask if anyone knows the definition to each unfamiliar word. Try to work the definitions out as a class. (5 minutes)


  1. Have students answer the assessment questions using their annotations for help.

Extension Activities

Several other sports-related entries exist in the Encyclopedia of Milwaukee, including Auto Racing, Bicycling, Bowling, Boxing, Curling, Football, Golfing, Hockey, Ice Skating, Professional Baseball, Professional Wrestling, Roller Derby, Roller Skating, Running, Sandlot Baseball, Soccer, and Tennis.

Students could work in groups to explore these topics and create presentations based on what they learned. They could also write essays similar to the one described in the Women in Milwaukee History Document-Based Question Lesson.