Projects about Plantation Life
Hands-on History Series
Have you wanted to do some projects on black history with your fourth through
sixth graders but not known where to turn? Projects about Plantation Life may
be what you are looking for.
The short introductory chapter includes a few paragraphs about what plantations
were, a diagram of a model plantation, and maps showing the part of Africa where
most slaves came from and the slave states in the southern United States.
Each of the following three chapters describes a different type of plantation at a
different time--Virginia in 1770, South Carolina in 1850, and Mississippi in 1860.
The chapter includes a brief overview of the plantation, a short dramatization, and
three projects. Projects vary from making a model slave quarters, a yoke for hauling
water, and marbles to cooking hoppin' john, designing calling cards, playing the graces
game and the ringtaw game, and others.
Projects differ in difficulty. Older students could handle them with little guidance but
younger students will need help.
The book includes a glossary, suggested books and web sites, and an index. Other
books in the series include Projects About American Indians of the Southwest,
Projects about Colonial Life, Projects about the Plains Indians, and Projects about
Growing up near Mount Vernon gave Marian Broida an interest in hands-on history
for children. She has written several activity books for children and books for adults
on health care.
Criticism of this book
One librarian has sent in concerns about this book. The major problems she sees with it
is that it does not express a sense of outrage against the evil and injustice of slavery.
Since that message, I read the book with that concern in mind. The book does not say
explicitly that slavery was evil. It does demonstrate the fear under which the slaves,
even the slave children, lived. The unfairness of the status of black and white children
comes through as well.
This book cannot be a child's only teaching about slavery. It can be a part of his or
her teaching. In the hands of a wise parent or teacher who will get the child to
consider what's going on, I think it would be powerful.
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