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Units February 7, 2022

1619 Project Humanities: Research Extension

Lesson Summary: Students apply analysis of The 1619 Project texts and podcasts, Born on the Water, and their own research to complete a project that demonstrates their learning. Downloads: Unit resources Links: The 1619 project: complete pdf 1619 podcast and transcripts

This unit was created by educators in in Cherokee Heights Middle School, as part of the 2021 cohort of The 1619 Project Education Network. It is designed for facilitation across approximately fifteen class periods or three weeks.


Students will be able to...

  • Explain (in writing and speaking) an answer to ONE of the essential questions below using evidence from research
  • Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with pertinent descriptions, facts, details, and examples
  • Use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation
  • Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations to clarify claims and findings and emphasize salient points
  • Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source

Essential Questions:

1. How does the legacy of slavery still show up today?

2. What would it mean to start our study of American history with the year 1619? Why is that significant?

3. Which stories in history are elevated, and which are hidden? Why?

Unit Overview

In this unit, students build on what they learned in the unit in the unit The 1619 Project: Building Background by reading the book Born on the Water by Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renée Watson, making connections to themes from the unit The 1619 Project: Building Background, and then completing a project that demonstrates their learning from both units. Students will select a project that will require them to apply details from the unit, and their own research, to respond to one of the essential questions for the unit.

Students will choose from four project options outlined, and then will evaluate each others' final projects using a peer evaluation form. Students can also demonstrate their learning in their own way if approved by the teacher.

Performance Task

Students use the project packet and one of the project choices to complete one of the following projects:

Choice 1: Mapping Your Community's Connections to Slavery  (Graphic organizer)

Choice 2: Constructing Your Family History: Oral or Imagined History (Graphic organizer)

Choice 3: Highlighting Black American Innovators: Research, Visuals, and Presentations (Graphic organizer)

Choice 4: Writing your own Children’s Book (Credit to Engage NY for Graphic Organizers) 

a. Graphic Organizer for Born on the Water 

b. Organizing your own book

c. Storyboard

Students are also invited to explore one of the following stories that connect to themes from The 1619 Project to use as the inspiration for  their own projects:

> Shot: Caught a Soul by Gloria Browne-Marshall 
> After Lockdown, Challenges Remain for North Carolina's Ex-Offenders
> Analysis of Police Misconduct Record Laws in All 50 States
> Residential school survivors reflect on a brutal legacy: ‘That could’ve been me.’ by Daniella Zalcman


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