Lesson Three:  Old vs. New Slavery

Grade Level: 7/8                                              Subject Area: Social Studies
Time Needed: 60 minutes                                 Topic: Modern Day Slavery

Lesson Essential Question:
How does slavery today differ from slavery in the past?

Materials Needed:

·         Paper and writing utensils
·         Computer/means of listening to audio files from http://www.pbs.org/wnet/slavery/memories/index_flash.html

Students will be able to describe compare and contrast modern day slavery and the slave trade of early America.
Students will be able to explain why slavery looks different today than it has in the past.

NCSS Standards:

III.  People, Places, and Environments
IV.  Individual Development and Idenity
V.  Individuals, Groups, and Institutions
VI. Power, Authority, and Governance
X.  Global Connectedness

MMSD Standards:


·         Explain how values and beliefs influence different economic decisions including money systems.  
·         Describe the nature of the labor force and the relationship between productivity and income.
·         Explain the relationship between economic development and the ways people satisfy their needs and wants.  

Behavioral Science

·         Identify common problems, needs and behaviors of people from similar and different environments and cultures.
·         Use concepts such as role, status, and social class in describing the interaction of individuals and social groups.
·         Compare and contrast the rights and responsibilities of citizens in diverse societies.
·         Identify and interpret examples of stereotyping, conformity, propaganda, and racism.


·         Identify causes of events and hypothesize about influence on the past, present, and future of a specific culture.
·         Use primary &  secondary sources to interpret and develop an understanding of a historical event
·         Use historical sources to create questions, conduct research and develop conclusions

Political Science

·         Analyze and evaluate local, state, tribal, national, and international problems and issues
·         Explain how laws are developed, how the purposes of government are established, and how the powers of government are acquired, maintained, justified, and sometimes abused.

 Lesson Context: This lesson takes place during a unit focused on modern day slavery (also called human trafficking), with the overarching goal of teaching about slavery within the context of human rights and responsibilities. 

Lesson Opening:  Brainstorm a list of what students know about the slavery of the colonial era, particularly the mid-Atlantic slave trade.  This list will access students’ background knowledge of what characterizes slavery while setting the stage for comparing old slavery with modern day slavery. 


·         As a class, listen to a number of excerpts from “Slavery and the Making of America,” a PBS publication:     http://www.pbs.org/wnet/slavery/memories/index_flash.html

·         Recall the case studies we read for the previous lesson.  How do the two sets of testimonials compare? 

·         Break students into groups of 4-5.  Students will create a Venn diagram of similarities and differences between slavery today and slavery in the past (focusing on the Atlantic slave trade.

·         Have groups share out and create a list as a class.  On the board create a table of characteristics of modern day slavery and slavery in the past.  This will probably require some assistance, as students may be unaware of the global events and characteristics affecting slavery today.  However, case studies from the first lesson should help. 

·         Today we have a very high population world-wide, and high rates of poverty in many places.  Because of this, there are high numbers of people in difficult conditions, and who are very exploitable.  As we have learned about in economics, high supply lowers costs.  So slaves are plentiful and cheap.  Slavery is also not acceptable today like it once was, so that those who own slaves do not want anyone to know, causing them to avoid legal ownership of slaves.  With all the available slave labor, slaveholders do not need to keep slaves in good condition so that they can work.  Instead they can work slaves until they cannot work anymore, then go find more slaves.  Finally, slavery today is no longer always bound up in racial or ethnic divisions.  A child soldier may be enslaved by fellow countrymen, just as a coal miner in Brazil may be of the same race as his/her captor.    
Closing:  Journal – What are some ways old slavery differs from modern day slavery?  What in our list stands out to you?  What characteristics of the our world today allow the existence of slavery?

Much like slavery in the past, slavery today deals with individuals being unable to get out of a situation in which they are unpaid and live under threat of violence.  However, because of the way our society works, slavery today looks different in many ways from slavery in the past.  Discuss how the global society that allows slavery might also serve to help us end it.  This might include more communication across country lines, more accountability, more awareness, and more education for those who are being enslaved.  

Assessment: Monitoring of group discussions will serve as informal assessment.  Group Venn diagrams will serve as formal, formative assessment.