The lesson introduces students to plantation and those who were part of the community, such as the owners, slaves, and community groups.  Most students are aware of plantations and the conditions slaves endured while working on them.  However, this lesson explores other members of the plantation as well.  The lesson may be used in conjunction with lessons related to slaves, Colonial Times, and other similar topics, and could be adapted for older students.

Plantations Lesson Plan Includes:

  • Full Teacher Guidelines with Creative Teaching Ideas
  • Instructional Content Pages about Plantations
  • Hands-on homework activities
  • Answer Keys
  • Common Core State Standards
  • Many Additional Links and Resources
  • Built for Grades 5-6 but can be adapted for other grade levels.

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The historical lesson offers information about plantations.  It details the rise of cotton as the biggest cash crop in the United States.  While the lesson does touch on slavery as it relates to plantations, it also addresses the other people involved in the running of plantations, such as the owners. overseers, slaves, and community groups.  The lesson also includes information on how plantations impacted the communities that surrounded them.  The lesson can be used in conjunction with lessons related to slaves, Colonial Times, and other similar topics, and could be adapted for older students.

Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction: 

  1. Ask students: What thought come to your mind when you hear the word plantation?
  2. Allow for responses and discussion. Ask students if they would like to live on a farm and to explain why or why not.
  3. Allow for responses and discussion. Introduce Plantations.
  4. Distribute Plantations content pages. Read and review the information with the students.  Save the final question for the lesson closing.  Use the additional resources to enhance understanding.
  5. Distribute Activity pages. Read and review the instructions.  Pair students.  Explain to students they are to place themselves in the shoes of each letter writer.  What would it be like to be the person?  How would they feel?  Allow students time to complete the letters, give additional paper if necessary, and circulate through the room facilitating the discussions.
  6. Once completed students will share one or more of the letters with the class. Next, students explain and discuss the reasons why certain letters were easier or more difficult to write than others.
  7. Distribute Practice page. Check and review the students’ responses.
  8. Distribute the Homework page. The next day, check and review the students’ responses.  Ask students to correct the False statements.
  9. In closing, ask students: If you were living during the 1860s, what would you do to change plantation life so that it would be fair for everyone?
  10. Allow for responses and discussion.

Common Core State Standards:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.2, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.5

Class Sessions (45 minutes): At least 2 class sessions.

Additional Resources: 

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Additional information

Grade Level

5th Grade, 6th Grade


Social Studies