|Lesson Plan: Dred Scott Decision.
Step one: Find out how much students already know.
1.Break students into small groups.
2. Have students in the group pass around a paper on which each student will write one statement about how slaves were treated in the 1850s. Students may not repeat an entry. Paper should go around twice. Fist time around the students should write down the first thought(s) that pop into their heads, then they will read all previous entries and the second time around make a more thoughtful comment.
Step two: Short Discussion
Have each group read some of the thoughts that are written on their papers . This will open up the class to discussions on the topic of slavery. What do they want to know more about? Ask students if they have ever heard of the Dred Scott decision.
Step three: Teacher/Librarian introduces the LOC website
Using the Library of Congress web site, let’s see if we can find a primary source that illustrates the point of view of either the African Americans or the Southerners in the Slave States.
Example: look at http://www.loc.gov/item/mfd000317
Who is the author and what connection does he have to the Dred Scott Decision?
Is this a primary source? Why or why not?
Step Four: Students read documents dealing with the Dred Scott case
Go to the American Memory section of the Library of Congress web site.
Using the search engine, look for documents dealing with the Dred Scott court case.
Explore the opinion of Chief Justice Taney http://www.loc.gov/search/?q=dred+scott+decision
Find out how slaves were treated in courts http://www.loc.gov/search/?q=Defense+of+Dred+Scott+court+documents
Step Five: Assessment- Students prepare a one page essay for the next class
Why do you think that the US Supreme Court ruled that our Constitution did not give Dred Scott the right to request his freedom?
Cite a Primary Source from the Library of Congress that best represents your point of view, using excerpts from the source to validate your conclusions.