Ideas for teaching the topic of the abolition of slavery NB: Before you begin teaching about the topic of slavery it is vital that you introduce traditional and positive stories about the areas in Africa affected by slavery to avoid pupils first knowledge of these areas in Africa being negative It is also very important to identify the positive impact that black people had in this era to ensure that a sense of empowerment prevails. There are many individuals which you could choose from, e.g.
Nanny of the Maroons
Further information on each of these named individuals is included on the numbered fact sheets referred to in orange text within the activities below. Introducing the topic
After teaching a lesson on one of the above individuals, you could establish what the children know using mind-maps or KWL grids.
You could introduce an aspect through pictures such as the quilt and discuss its possible significance (see fact sheet 6)
Alternatively a photograph of another key figure e.g. Newton (fact sheet 4) or Wilberforce (fact sheet 9) could be displayed to initiate discussion.
Studying artefacts or posters from the era is another way to engage children.
Or how about setting up a space in your classroom representing how much room slaves had on ships, ‘The space between decks was divided into two compartments 3 feet 3 inches high; the size of one was 16 feet by 18 and of the other 40 by 21; into the first were crammed the women and girls, into the second the men and boys: 226 fellow creatures were thus thrust into one space 288 feet square and 336 into another space 800 feet square, giving to the whole an average Of 23 inches and to each of the women not more than 13 inches.’ "Aboard a Slave Ship, 1829," EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2000).
Listen to ‘Amazing Grace’ (fact sheet 4) – a traditional/contemporary version and discuss the emotions it evokes or ask the children to speculate on its origins, (don’t forget to mention the local link), John Newton, a one-time resident of Olney wrote it and it is now world famous having been sung by many famous artists such as Destiny’s Child.
Cross-curricular links to Art & DT
Designing a stamp to mark the bicentenary
Designing a poster informing people of the fact that there are more slaves today than there have ever been (fact sheet 11).
Designing a symbol in which ever medium to mark the abolition or the bicentenary
Making a class quilt/picture/photo using symbols to represent the class, (fact sheet 6)
Make traditional crafts from Africa (ideas and resources are available for free loan from the multicultural resource centre at EMASS)
Cook some traditional African recipes, invite parents and members of the community to help/inform (please visit our resource centre at EMASS for recipes)
Cross-curricular links to literacy
Hot seat one or more of the key figures (fact sheets 3 ,4 ,5 ,8 & 9).
Write a diary entry from the viewpoint of a key figure, a slave or a slave trader (as above)
Write a poem about any aspect (all fact sheets)
Write a letter to a key figure, expressing admiration or anger depending on recipient! (fact sheets 3 ,4 ,5 ,8 & 9).
Role-play aspects of the topic
Study African/Caribbean texts (available for free loan from the resource centre at EMASS)