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Units January 21, 2022

Mapping and Researching Race in the Early Colonies

Lesson Summary: Students will learn about the history of race in the early American colonies, discuss the start of slavery in Virginia, the treatment of Native Americans in New England, and the role of the Iroquois Confederacy in shaping the American government. They will also discuss how dominant historical narratives can shape our understanding of these groups' histories and our own histories. Downloads: Unit resources
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This unit was created by educators in eighth grade Civics in Pittsfield, MA as part of the 2021 cohort of The 1619 Project Education Network. It is designed for facilitation across approximately five days, or four lessons and independent work time over five class periods.

Objectives

Students will

  • Understand how racism against Black and Native American people influenced early colonial history, and how those attitudes still influence modern society, even in their own communities.
  • Practice research and information literacy skills, such as synthesizing information from different sources and evaluating the reliability of online sources.
  • Use maps and timelines to visualize and contextualize historical events.
  • Connect with local African American heritage to gain perspective about our historical surroundings and analyze connections to unit themes.
  • Apply knowledge of history to a creative project of students’ choosing.

Unit Overview

Students will learn about the history of race in the early American colonies, and discuss how dominant historical narratives can shape our understanding of these groups’ history. They will discuss the start of slavery in Virginia, the treatment of Native Americans at Jamestown and in New England, and the role of the Iroquois Confederacy in shaping the American government. Students will also practice independent research skills by investigating different historical events and mapping the locations of those events on a collaborative map. 

At the end of the unit, students will create a work of written or audio nonfiction, art, or realistic fiction inspired by what they have learned and their own independent research.

Performance Task

Refer to the attached document for student performance tasks based on grade level, resources, time commitments, and student interests. Detailed instructions for performance tasks are included in the final daily lesson plan.

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