Lesson Plan Template
Title: Did Thomas Jefferson do enough?
Descriptive Subtitle: A comparison of documents demonstrating the difference between Jefferson’s views versus his actions on slavery.
Grade level: upper elementary – 4th Grade American Revolution studies in Georgia schools
Topic/subject: (pick topics or subjects, as many as applicable. Add your own as needed)
|Primary Documents & Jefferson Writings||History: U.S.|
|Slavery and Plantation Life||Civics|
|Jefferson’s Public Life and Politics||Language Arts|
|Equal rights and Legislation|
Name: Kenneth A. Blum
School: Oak Grove Elementary School
School Address (opt): 101 Crosstown Drive
City: Peachtree City
Duration: 30-60 min: could be much longer with extension exercises
Countless documents demonstrate Jefferson’s view on slavery as an “abomination [that] must have an end”, and yet he possessed over 600 slaves in his lifetime; freeing only a handful. This is a DBQ (Document Based Question) geared towards 4th grade students during their study of the Founding Fathers. The focus is Thomas Jefferson and the conflict created between his attitude on natural rights of freedom and his ownership of slaves.
In addition to the study of the American Revolution and the creation of our country through the Declaration of Independence, the culminating activity will be a written response by the students.
Prior knowledge: Students are introduced to Thomas Jefferson as an American hero in 1st grade. 4th grade studies Colonial American life and the Revolutionary War. This project would come after the study of the Declaration of Independence.
Prior: abolition egalitarian equality
During: abomination ardent avarice pretext
Based on Georgia 4th Grade Standards:
SS4H3 The student will explain the factors that shaped British colonial America.
SS4H4 The student will explain the causes, events, and results of the American Revolution.
SS4H5 The student will analyze the challenges faced by the new nation.
SS4CG1 The student will describe the meaning of
SS4E1 The student will use the basic economic concepts of trade, opportunity cost,
specialization, voluntary exchange, productivity, and price incentives to illustrate historical events.
ELAGSE4RI1: Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text
Students will understand …
that slavery is a complex institution intertwined with cultural beliefs as well as the economy of the American Colonies.
Students will be able to…
develop an argument using supporting evidence from primary and secondary resources.
Participation is a key part of this lesson. Responding appropriately to questions as well as participating in the movement to sides and the Hash it out are all key components to judging student attention
Written responses to each of the documents
A participation rubric is available at the end of the lesson (2 per page) as a quick check for students to gauge their own participation. The teacher can then review these rubrics to verify students’ responses as well as look for disparity in perceived and actual participation.
A written response can be assigned to students. This could be a ten minute free write or as formal as a multi-paragraph response.
Assessment Criteria (rubric, checklist, etc.):
See assessment handout
Lesson on Primary and Secondary sources. The Runaway Ad is from a newspaper print. Demonstrate how newspapers can be both primary and secondary.
Students could provide a written response to the question: Was Thomas Jefferson egalitarian? This could be a ten minute free-write all the way through a formal five paragraph style response.
Discussion of Jefferson’s words through the years. State Standards have covered suffrage (Stanton) and Martin Luther King, Jr in previous years. 5th grade Standards include Abraham Lincoln. Many students are familiar with Malala Yousafzai. How have Lincoln’s radical words shaped different issues through these people?
Reading Opportunities (class-wide or individual):