Fox and SCES Year One
Dr. Evelyn Blalock/Heather McLendon
Learning Objective/Exit Outcomes:
- Students will explore themes of democracy and abolitionism by examining the life of Frederick Douglass.
- Students will determine the problems (obstacles) and possible solutions (tactics) that a central figure (Frederick Douglass) or character in a story might use to get to their goal (objective).
- Students will imagine obstacles that abolitionists like Frederick Douglass might have faced, including those which are external (social restrictions, physical barriers) as well as internal (learning to read in secret, self-doubt, fear, etc).
SS3H2 The student will discuss the lives of Americans who expanded people’s
rights and freedoms in a democracy.
a. Frederick Douglass (civil rights)
b. Explain social barriers, restrictions, and obstacles that these historical figures had
to overcome and describe how they overcame them.
SS3CG2 The student will discuss the character of different historical figures in SS3H2a.
a. Describe how the different historical figures in SS3H2a display positive character traits of cooperation, diligence, courage, and leadership.
b. Explain how the historical figures in SS3H2a used positive character traits to support their beliefs in liberty, justice, tolerance, and freedom of conscience and expression.
ELAGSE3SL1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
b. Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., gaining the floor in respectful ways, listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).
d. Explain their own ideas and understanding in light of the discussion.
TAES3.7 Integrating various art forms, other content areas, and life experiences to create theatre
c. Develops dramatic pieces related to other content areas
TAES3.8 Examining the roles of theatre as a reflection of past and present civilizations
a. Describes various theatrical experiences
b. Describes how theatre arts connect to self and to the present world
Open space to make a large circle. Students can be sitting or standing. A blindfold of some kind. Various objects to be used as “mines”. These could be any typical classroom objects: chairs, bags, jackets, water bottle, trash can, etc.
Students will first play the game using objects only, without a backstory. In Dr. Blalock’s class, students will remain seated at their desks while giving directions to the person on the “journey”. Ms. McLendon and Dr. Blalock will model giving directions, and will help students who might need assistance in giving their own directions.
Once the class understands the game, Ms. McLendon will debrief the game: What was it like to be the person on the journey? What did you notice? How did you feel? What was it like giving directions? What made it challenging? What did you do that worked?
Dr. Blalock will help tie in the idea of Frederick Douglass, who went on many kinds of “journeys” just like this game during his lifetime: the journey of teaching himself to read in secret, his journey from slavery to freedom, his journey to advocate for emancipation/enlighten America to the cruelties of slavery, etc.
For this game, I like the idea of focusing either on his journey to literacy or his literal journey from Talbot County, Maryland to New York City. Once students have a context for the abolitionist movement/Frederick Douglass, set up to play Minefield again. This time, students might take the place of some of the objects on the ground, each student will represent an obstacle that Frederick Douglass might have faced in his path to freedom, both external and internal: being caught by someone, getting lost, being mistreated along the way, self-doubt, fear, etc. Each human obstacle gets a line of dialogue that the class/teachers come up with together. The human obstacle will say their lines over and over whenever the person on the journey comes close to them. Those on the outside will have to give directions while all this is happening.
Debrief the activity as before, and connect to what Frederick Douglass and others in the abolitionist movement would have had to overcome in order to convince America to change for the better.
This game take a while to set up, but it would be great to use again for another character/historical figure who encountered obstacles. Now they know the game, and next time it won’t take as long to set up.
It would be awesome to use Google Maps to either show in class or have students plot out themselves all the stops on Frederick Douglass’ journey along the way, just to see how far he went! (249 miles, 5 hours by car!)
- On September 3, 1838, Douglass successfully escaped by boarding a Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad train (the line was newly merged) to the great Northern cities. (This depot was noted as a site of other slave escapes along one of many routes of the famous “Underground Railroad” and during the Civil War.)
- Young Douglass reached Havre de Grace, Maryland, in Harford County, along the southwest shore of the Susquehanna River, which flowed into the Chesapeake Bay.
- Dressed in a sailor’s uniform provided to him by Murray (his wife), who also gave him part of her savings to cover his travel costs, he carried identification papers that he had obtained from a free black seaman.
- Douglass crossed the wide Susquehanna River by the railroad’s steam-ferry at Havre de Grace to Perryville on the opposite shore in Cecil County
- He continued by train across the state line to Wilmington, Delaware, a large port at the head of the Delaware Bay.
- From there, because of the not yet completed rail line at that time, he went by steamboat along the Delaware River further northeast to the “Quaker City” of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, an anti-slavery stronghold
- Finally, Douglass continued to the safe house of noted abolitionist David Ruggles in New York City.