Life as a slave
Life as a slave

Life as a slave

I can examine and describe what life was like for a slave in America.

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General

In this lesson, students will learn about the life of enslaved people in America. The lesson includes a video about the introduction of slavery into the 13 American colonies. Students will learn about the hardships and difficulties in the lives of slaves, including the type of work they were forced to do, the food they would eat, and where they would live. They will also learn how slaves coped and communicated through music and storytelling.

Learning Objective

Students will be able to describe the unjust difficulties and hardships in the lives of slaves.

Introduction

Students write down what they already know about slavery. Then, have students watch a video about the introduction of slavery into the 13 American colonies. Have students write down 3 facts they learned from the video.

Instruction

Begin the lesson by discussing how slaves were brought to America and forced to work. Explain that the voyage coming to America was a tough one, and many did not survive. Continue on explaining what happened once slaves arrived in America, describing the slave auction, and how enslaved people were sold and forced to separate and split from their families. Explain that the majority of slaves worked on plantations where plantation owners used slaves to make a profit.

Describe the cruel treatment of slaves and guide students in analyzing a set of images. Have students write down 5 words that they would use to describe a day in the life of a slave. Explain that many enslaved people tried to cope with their hardships and sadness through the use of music and storytelling. Click on the link to listen to the song, “Follow the Drinking Gourd.” Finally, describe how many enslaved people risked their lives for a chance at freedom.

Quiz

Students respond to ten multiple-choice, fill-in, and true/false questions.

Closing

Students will be taken to a website where they will read the biographies of several 18th century enslaved individuals who lived in the home of George Washington in Virginia. Students will choose one biography, and share what they learned.

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