EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS

Lesson plans

In order to present the trans-Atlantic slave trade database to a broader audience, particularly a grade 6-12 audience, a dedicated team of teachers and curriculum developers from around the United States developed lesson plans that explore the database. Utilizing the various resources of the website, these lessons plans allow students to engage the history and legacy of the Atlantic slave trade in diverse and meaningful ways. The lessons are all aligned with national standards in history (National Center for History in the Schools), social studies (National Council for the Social Studies), and geography (National Council for Geography Education) and range in both their grade levels and activities. The lessons also suggest readings for more information about the Slave Trade.

These materials were created for purposes of curriculum and instruction and are not intended for commercial republication. Please contact individual authors for additional permissions.

The 1808 Slave Trade Abolition Deadline (Download, PDF, 152KB)
Author: Heather Dahl
Grade Level: 10th – 12th grade
Course: US History, US Government
Key Words: Abolition; Slave Trade; United States; Primary Sources; Graph skills
Standards
  • NCHS History Standards
    • US Era 2 (Colonization and Settlement) Standard 3
    • US Era 4 (Expansion and Reform) Standards 2 and 4
  • NCSS Social Studies Themes
    • II Time, Continuity, Change
    • IV Individual Development and Identity
  • Geography
    • World in Spatial Terms Standard 1
    • Human Systems Standard 9
Abstract
In this lesson, students will examine the data of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and primary sources related to the slave trade. The data will easily reveal to students a steep incline before 1808 and, in fact, a continuation of imported enslaved Africans after the slave trade was abolished in the United States and Great Britain. Students will also examine perspectives on slavery, as the deadline for ending the slave trade approached and passed. The lesson allows students to develop their own conclusions about both the intention and impact of the 1808 deadline on the overall history of slavery.
One Country’s Slave Trade (Download, PDF, 104KB)
Author: Kristine Leach
Grade Level: 6th – 8th grade
Course: Social Studies
Key Words: Slave Trade; Graph and Map skills
Standards
  • NCHS History Standards
    • US Era 2 (Colonization and Settlement) Standard 3
    • US Era 4 (Expansion and Reform) Standards 2 and 4
  • NCSS Social Studies Themes
    • II Time, Continuity, Change
    • IV Individual Development and Identity
  • Geography
    • World in Spatial Terms Standard 1
    • Human Systems Standard 9
Abstract
This lesson focuses students on one specific country that participated in the slave trade. Students will gather information from the database to document the slave trade for the country they have chosen and will then look at specific data, such as the numbers of enslaved people transported during different time periods and the areas of embarkation and disembarkation. This lesson offers students a more detailed example of the slave trade than would an overview of the slave trade.
The Countries of the Slave Trade (Download, PDF, 108KB)
Author: Kristine Leach
Grade Level: 6th – 8th grade
Course: Social Studies
Key Words: Slave Trade; Nations; Middle Passage; Graph skills
Standards
  • NCHS History Standards
    • US Era 2 (Colonization and Settlement) Standard 1A
    • World Era 6 (First Global Age) Standard 4B
Abstract
This lesson is a comparative look at the number of enslaved people transported by each of the seven flag countries listed on the database and also an examination of the ordeal of the Middle Passage. Students will gain an understanding of the immensity of the international slave trade but will also focus on the human experience of the Middle Passage.
Slave Trade Memorial (Download, PDF, 168KB; Download presentation, PPT, 1.2MB)
Author: Michael Poreda
Grade Level: 6th – 8th grade
Course: US History, World History
Key Words: Slave Trade; Memorial; Middle Passage; Mortality Rates; Writing skills
Standards
  • NCHS History Standards
    • US Era 2 (Colonization and Settlement)
    • World Era 6 (First Global Age)
  • NCSS Social Studies Themes
    • IX Global Connections
    • X Civic Ideals and Practices
Abstract
This lesson asks students to demonstrate mastery of their knowledge about the Middle Passage by designing a memorial. The lesson contains several steps which teachers can use at their discretion to build an appreciation for what enslaved Africans were subjected to as they were forced to the New World, why this part of history should get a public memorial, and how that memorial should be expressed in words and image. The lesson uses mortality statistics from the database to help students gain an understanding of how many people died on a voyage, as well as reading comprehension questions and a PowerPoint Presentation of various monuments.
Finding Historical Evidence (Download, PDF, 112KB)
Author: Brian Hamilton
Grade Level: 11th – 12th grade
Course: AP World History; African and African-American Studies
Key Words: Slave Trade; Slavery; Historical arguments; Evaluating evidence
Standards
  • NCHS History Standards
    • US Era 1 (Three Worlds Meet) Standards 1 & 2
    • World Era 6 (First Global Age) Standards 1A, 1B, 2A, 4A, 4B, 4C, & 6
  • NCSS Social Studies Themes
    • I Culture
    • II Time, Continuity, Change
    • III People, Places, Environments
    • V Individual, Groups, Institutions
    • V Individual, Groups, Institutions
    • VI Power, Authority, Governance
    • VII Production, Distribution, Consumption
    • IX Global Connections
  • Geography
    • World in Spatial Terms Standards 1-3
    • Places and Regions Standards 4-6
    • Human Systems Standards 9-13
    • Issues of Geography Standard 17
Abstract
This lesson puts equal emphasis on the history of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and on the craft of forming historical arguments. Students are asked to read a recent work from David Brion Davis, a leading historian of slavery, and to compare his arguments with evidence from the database. This forms the foundation for a discussion of what kinds of claims are harder to defend than others and why some types of evidence are more convincing than others.
Database Scavenger Hunt (Download, PDF, 96KB)
Author: Brian Hamilton
Grade Level: 7th – 12th grade
Course: US and World History
Key Words: Slave Trade; Slavery; Historical arguments; Evaluating evidence
Standards
  • NCHS History Standards
    • World Era 6 (First Global Age) Standard 4B
  • NCSS Social Studies Themes
    • II Time, Continuity, Change
    • VII Production, Distribution, Consumption
    • IX Global Connections
  • Geography
    • World in Spatial Terms Standards 1-3
    • Places and Regions Standards 4-6
    • Human Systems Standards 9-13
    • Issues of Geography Standard 17
Abstract
This lesson is an introduction to the database that can also serve as an introduction to the trans-Atlantic slave trade. It exposes students to the vast amount and variability of material in the database, and helps to develop the necessary technical skills for using a database. Students will analyze the historical data as a means of learning to formulate compelling research questions.
Researching the Transatlantic Slave Trade (Download, PDF, 645KB)
Author: Christine Kadonsky; David Eltis
Grade Level: 9th – 12th grade
Course: World History; US History
Key Words: Abolition; Slave Trade; United States; World History; Primary Sources; Graph skills
Standards
  • NCHS History Standards
    • U.S. History Era 1(Three Worlds Meet)–Standard 1
    • World History Era 6 (First Global Age)–Standard 4
  • NCSS Social Studies Themes
    • II. Time, Continuity, Change
    • VII. Production, Distribution, Consumption
    • IX. Global Connections
  • Geography
    • World in Spatial Terms Standards 1-3
    • Places and Regions Standards 4-6
    • Human Systems Standards 9-13
    • Issues of Geography Standard 17
Abstract
In this lesson, students will learn how to search The Trans--Atlantic Slave Trade Database. They will discover the scope of the slave trade over four centuries. Students will search the database to learn more about five noteworthy voyages. Students will review the African Names Database to learn the name of Africans liberated from ships attempting to trade illegally. By completing this lesson, students will have a better understanding how historians use databases and statistics to conduct historical research.
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