Teachable Moment: Black History Month and Beyond – Garrett Morgan

So, you’re driving along in your minivan with kids in tow. As you approach an intersection, you gradually come to a stop as the traffic signal in front of you turns red.
This is a great moment to conduct a casual, yet educational conversation with your children about the benefits of having traffic lights.
The conversation would vary slightly, depending on the age(s) of your children.
With younger kids, it could sound something like this:

“Hey, Johnny and Sarah. What color is that light in front of us?”
The kids would eagerly reply, “Red!”
You say, “Yes. What does a red light tell us to do?”
“Stop!” Resounds from the back seats.
“That’s right!” You affirm. “Can you imagine how hard it would be to drive around town if there weren’t any traffic signals to tell people when to stop and when to go?”
Pause and listen to the the responses and reactions from the kids.
Acknowledge and show appreciation for their ideas and input. Wrap up with:

“We have Garrett Morgan to thank for the invention of our wonderful modern traffic signal!”

For fun and to help them remember the inventor’s name, join the kids in saying “Thank you Mr. Garrett Morgan!” each time you stop at or cross under a traffic signal during the remainder of the trip.

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