Slavery Unit By: Christina Deering

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Slavery Unit

By: Christina Deering

(3 Lessons and Project)

Guiding Questions:

  1. How did the culture of the North, shape the lives of Africans and African- Americans.

  2. How did the cost of slavery determine economic choice of various colonies

  3. How can primary documents help shape our knowledge of the past

Guiding Standard:

4.6.spi.2. determine how the issue of slavery caused political and economic

tensions between government policy and people's beliefs (i.e., abolitionists,

plantation owners, state's rights, central government, Loyalists).

Standards for this unit:

-4.1.02 Discuss cultures and human patterns of places and regions of the world.

a. Explore similarities and differences in how groups, societies, and cultures address similar human needs and concerns.

  1. Compare how people from different cultures think about and handle their physical environments and social conditions.

-4.2.01 Describe the potential costs and benefits of personal economic choices in a market economy.

c. Analyze how people in different parts of the United States earned a living in the past and do so in the present.
-4.2.spi.3. identify major industries of Colonial America using a map of the

original 13 colonies.

-4.4.02 Describe the Constitution of the United States and the Tennessee State

Constitution in principle and practice.

c. Explain the purposes of the United States Constitution as identified in the

Preamble to the Constitution.

5.04 Recognize the role desire for freedom played in the settlement of the New



  1. Students will be able to read and infer facts and inferences about slavery from historical documents.

  2. Students will be able to write a reasonable historical account of slavery in colonies in Boston and Nashville.

  3. The students will view primary documents from make reasonable assumptions about the documents.

  4. The students will analyze personal inventories and draw conclusions from historical records.

Lesson 1:

Guiding Question:

Why did slavery exist and how was slavery different in various colonies?

Prior Knowledge:

We are going to take a pre-test with clickers on slavery in New England and the South. The purpose of the pre-test is to determine the amount of prior knowledge that the students already have and look at the areas that need to be covered in depth.

(Previous lessons have shown that the students lack knowledge about the existence of slavery in New England and how it was different than slavery in the South.)

Pace: Two 50 Minute Class Periods


  • Two Tickets to Freedom

  • Boston Gazette Advertisement

  • Andrew Jackson’s advertisement

  • 1746 Brookline property map

  • Students’ journals


  1. Begin the lesson with a read aloud Two Tickets to Freedom.

  2. Discussion of slavery in the New England.

  3. Read Advertisements from the Boston Gazette July 8th, 1728; advertisements for slaves that have runaway and for sale, then read the advertisement that Andrew Jackson placed for one of his slaves

  4. Analyze Brookline 1746 Slave-owners’ property map

  5. How did runaway slaves change their social conditions by moving to New England?


  • Read the first chapter from Meet Addy and analyze her experience leaving slavery in the South for better conditions.


Students record their thoughts on slaves who moved to the North to escape slavery. Do you agree with Addy’s mother’s decision to move to the North? Why did she only take Addy with her?

Lesson 2:

Guiding Question: What can you tell about a historical figure from their belongings?

Pace: Three 50 Minute Class Periods


  • Isaac Royall’s inventory

  • Hermitage inventory

  • Absalom Boston’s inventory

  • Photographs of Royall and Jackson’s estate

  • 4 boxes

  • Sand

  • Artifacts

  • Primary documents:

  • Students’ journals


  1. 2 groups of 4 will look at the Probate Inventory of Isaac Royall, Sr.

2 groups of 4 will look at the personal inventory of belongings found in and around the slave quarters at the Hermitage

2 groups of 4 will look at the personal inventory of Absalom Boston’s estate in 1855

  1. Discuss what one can infer about a person based on their belongings.

  2. Look and analyze photographs of slave quarters at the Isaac Royal Estate and The Hermitage.

  3. The students will make inferences based on the primary documents about the owners’ views on slave families and units. (The Hermitage encouraged their enslaved people to develop close-knit family unit, whereas Sir Isaac Royal is documented as not being very concerned with keeping families together.) Students should make inferences as to why that would be.

  4. The students will take a look at several primary documents and make inferences about slavery based on their findings

Primary Documents:

  1. Hands-on-activity:

Students in their original groups will look through sand boxes and analyze artifacts that are found and determine who would have owned the item and what it would have been used for. (Assessment)

  1. Journal – each student will pick a artifact/primary document and write a fictional account of a person who would use this item and what their life would have been like.

Homework/Assessment: Students will make take an inventory of their personal belongings to bring to class. They will pair up and analyze each other’s inventory and make assumptions about one another.

Lesson 3:

Guiding Question: What events lead to the end of slavery in the United States?

Pace: 65 Minutes/ Class Period


  • Post-Its

  • Product Map of the first 13 states

  • A copy of the Constitution

  • Chart paper


  1. Students will analyze a product map of the North and the South, looking at the industries that were available in different regions of the country. Students will discuss how those industries played a role in slavery and bringing about the end of slavery in the United States. (Ultimately, students will come to the conclusion that the plantations in the South depended on free labor to keep their farms prospering)

  1. The students will be give a list of words – people, places, and events that were instrumental in the end of slavery

  1. The students will write each word on a post-it. Then, the students will organize the words by categories that they select. Once, the students have put their words into groups, they will explain to their classmates, how they organized their words. (grade)

  1. Read the Preamble to the Constitution and discuss how this document played a role in ending slavery. How did these principles apply to enslaved people?

Unit project

Description: The students will write a diary as an enslaved person living in the Northern region of the United States, an enslaved person living in the Southern region of the United States, or as a free African-American living in either region.

  • The students will look at the following journal:

The students will write a minimum of five journal entries. The journal entries will include the following:

  • Their name (if they are named after someone and who)

  • Their age

  • An inventory of their belongings, if they have any

  • Where they were born

  • A description of their family and where their family members are living

  • What kind of household they work in and what state it is located

  • Describe their day-to-day work

  • How they learned to read and write

  • Any other important information

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