This article describes an inquiry lesson, recommended for upper elementary and middle level students. One primary aim of the lesson is to explore shipwreck archeology to focus on the overseas journeys of enslaved African people during the transatlantic slave trade. A second aim is for students to recognize how the slave trade’s exploiters caused sustained damage to the principles of Black equality, producing systemic racism for centuries and into contemporary times. In this lesson, students inquire and discover nuanced information about the historic slave trade by studying clues from sunken slave ships. Students begin by closely observing artifacts found in the Henrietta Marie, an English merchant ship. Collaborative groups rotate through digital research centers: a) transatlantic slave trade maps, b) ships and transit, and c) additional artifacts. Students collect written and visual data, create interpretive narratives about the transatlantic slave trade, and provide evidence for their claims. Further knowledge is constructed as interpretations are compared with facts. To extend archeological research, additional resources focus on the Clotilda, discovered in the Mobile River, Alabama (2019), and the rich legacy of surviving, enslaved Africans who built Africatown near the city of Mobile.
"Inquiry: Tragic Journeys of Enslaved African People Exposed through Shipwreck Archaeology,"
The Councilor: A Journal of the Social Studies: Vol. 82:
2, Article 1.
Available at: https://thekeep.eiu.edu/the_councilor/vol82/iss2/1
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