Frederick Douglass National Historical Site: Champion a Cause

Summary

Students will describe the role of Frederick Douglass as an advocate for equality and justice for all people. Students will identify causes Frederick Douglass believed in. Students will define and discuss being involved in a cause and share causes they personally believe in. Students will write a presentation about a cause they believe in and advocate for their cause to the class.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • America the Beautiful Quarters

Objectives

Students will describe the role of Frederick Douglass as an advocate for equality and justice for all people. Students will identify causes Frederick Douglass believed in. Students will define and discuss being involved in a cause and the causes they personally believe in. Students will write a presentation about a cause they believe in using research and advocate for their cause to the class.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Social Studies

Grades

  • 4th
  • 5th
  • 6th

Class Time

  • Sessions: Three
  • Session Length: 45-60 minutes
  • Total Length: 151-500 minutes

    Groupings

    • Whole group
    • Small groups
    • Pairs
    • Individual work

    Background Knowledge

    Students should have a basic knowledge of:

    • Methods of communication
    • Writing process
    • The Civil War and its major causes and outcomes

    Terms and Concepts

    • Quarter
    • Reverse (back)
    • Obverse (front)
    • Timeline
    • Cause
    • Abolition
    • Communication
    • Civil Rights
    • Advocacy

    Materials

    Preparations

    • Make copies of the following:
      • “Frederick Douglass’s Causes” worksheet (one per student)
      • “Champion a Cause Brainstorming” worksheet (one per student)
      • “Champion a Cause Presentation” worksheet (one per student)
      • “Champion a Cause Presentation” rubric (one per student)
      • Locate a text that gives basic information about Frederick Douglass
    • Make a chart of eight quotes by Frederick Douglass that demonstrate his commitment to various causes (education, abolition, civil rights, etc.)
    • Bookmark Internet sites that contain information about Frederick Douglass and the causes he championed
    • Identify potential causes appropriate for your school or community

    Worksheets

    Lesson Steps

    Session 1

    Step 1. Display and examine the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site reverse quarter design. Locate this site on a class map. Note its position in relation to your school’s location. As background information, explain to the students that the United States Mint began to issue the quarters in the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program in 2010. By the time the program ends in 2021, there will be a total of 56 designs on the back of the coin. Each design will focus on a different national site—one from each state, territory and the District of Columbia.

    Step 2. Tell the students that the front of a coin is called the "obverse" and the back is called the "reverse." Ask the students to tell you what they see in the image on the quarter’s reverse. Explain that the coin image depicts Frederick Douglass seated at a writing desk with his home in Washington, D.C. in the background. Tell the students that they are going to be learning about Frederick Douglass’s accomplishments as a writer, speaker, and an advocate for equality and justice for all people.

    Step 3. Ask the students to examine the coin image again. Explain to the students that the image features Frederick Douglass’s home in Washington, D.C. Douglass lived in this home from 1877 until his death in 1895. The home is called Cedar Hill. It has been preserved by the National Parks Service as a historic site hosting many artifacts and honoring Douglass’s civil rights achievements.

    Step 4. Explain to students they are going to learn more about Frederick Douglass and his experiences advocating for causes he believed in. Explain that Douglass was born into slavery on a plantation on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in 1818. By fifteen, he was a literate, independent teenager who educated other slaves. In 1838, he disguised himself as a sailor and boarded a train to New York City, where he declared himself a free man. Douglass worked to help others still enslaved. He wrote an autobiography speaking out against slavery and then moved to the British Isles, where British supporters ultimately purchased his freedom. He returned to the United States and recruited African Americans to fight in the Union Army during the Civil War and even met with Abraham Lincoln. Following the Civil War, Douglass moved to D.C., where he served as the U.S. Marshal for the District of Columbia, the Recorder of Deeds, and the Minister to Haiti and Chargé D’Affaires to the Dominican Republic. He continued to work on civil rights issues until his death.

    Distribute the “Frederick Douglass’s Causes” worksheet to students. Explain that they will be making notes on the worksheet about Frederick Douglass and the different ways he communicated his beliefs in the selected text. Review the directions for the worksheet. If necessary, define the different types of communication (speech, books, newspaper, etc.). Introduce the students to the selected text about Frederick Douglass. As a group, preview the text and illustrations to generate observations about what is occurring at different points in the text. Read the selected text to the class and attend to any unfamiliar vocabulary. As the text is read aloud, provide students time to make notes. After reading, ask students to turn to a partner and share one way that Frederick Douglass spoke about a cause he believed in and one way he communicated his message.

    Step 5. Display the chart of quotes by Frederick Douglass. Read the quotes aloud and attend to any unfamiliar vocabulary. Ask students to work with a partner and choose one of the quotes from the chart to read, discuss, and illustrate together. Have students discuss which of Frederick Douglass’s causes their quote represents; have students write down that cause on their illustration. When all students have completed their illustrations, have them form groups based on the quote they chose. Allow the groups to present their illustration and understanding of the quote and the cause it represents. Lead a class discussion on what these quotes tell the students about Frederick Douglass and his beliefs. List student responses on chart paper.

    Session 2

    Step 1. Ask the students to examine the coin image again. Review the activities and discussions from the previous session. Explain that since Frederick Douglass was born a slave, he worked very hard to speak out against slavery. The anti-slavery movement was called abolition. Using information from websites, share Frederick Douglass’s contributions to the abolition movement in the United States. Frederick Douglass also contributed to the causes of education/literacy and women’s suffrage; share appropriate texts and resources on these causes. Ask students how they communicate about causes they believe in. Explain to students that they will be doing research on a cause they care about and presenting their cause to the class. If necessary, share some ideas about causes appropriate for your school or community.

    Step 2. Distribute the “Champion a Cause: Brainstorming” worksheet to students. Explain to students that they will be doing research on a cause they care about and presenting their cause to the class. If necessary, share some ideas about causes appropriate for your school or community. Have students research their causes and complete the worksheet.

    Step 3. Explain that students will be using the research from the “Champion a Cause: Brainstorming” worksheet to prepare their presentation. Distribute the “Champion a Cause: Presentation” worksheet to students. Assign homework in which the students have time to think about their causes, do any further research, and complete the “Champion a Cause: Presentation” worksheet.

    Session 3

    Step 1. Review the activities and discussions from the previous sessions and how Frederick Douglass used communication tools such as newspapers, speeches, and books to champion his causes. Have students take out their completed “Champion a Cause: Presentation” worksheets. Distribute the “Champion a Cause” rubric. Review the rubric and writing process. Using the information from the previous session, allow time for students to complete the worksheet and type a final draft.

    Step 2. Allow time for students to give presentations on their causes.

    Differentiated Learning Options

    • Allow students to dictate written responses on the worksheets.
    • Allow students to complete worksheets and proposals with a partner.
    • Provide students with sentence starters for their proposal.

    Enrichments/Extensions

    • Have students research other education, suffrage, and civil rights advocates.
    • Have students compare Frederick Douglass to other education, suffrage, and civil rights advocates.
    • Have students learn about championing the cause of conservation using the “Conserving the World Around Us: Theodore Roosevelt’s Legacy” lesson plan for grades 4-6.
    • Take anecdotal notes about the students’ participation in class discussions.
    • Use the students’ worksheets, anecdotal notes, and the “Champion a Cause” rubric to evaluate whether they have met the lesson objectives.

    Assess

    • Frederick Douglass's Causes Worksheet
    • Brainstorming Worksheet
    • Presentation Worksheet
    • Rubric

    Common Core Standards

    Discipline: Language Arts
    Domain: W.3 Writing
    Grade(s): Grade 3
    Cluster: Text Types and Purposes
    Standards:

    • W.3.1. Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.
      • Introduce the topic or text they are writing about, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure that lists reasons.
      • Provide reasons that support the opinion.
      • Use linking words and phrases (e.g., because, therefore, since, for example) to connect opinion and reasons.
      • Provide a concluding statement or section.
    • W.3.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
      • Introduce a topic and group related information together; include illustrations when useful to aiding comprehension.
      • Develop the topic with facts, definitions, and details.
      • Use linking words and phrases (e.g., also, another, and, more, but) to connect ideas within categories of information.
      • Provide a concluding statement or section.
    • W.3.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
      • Establish a situation and introduce a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
      • Use dialogue and descriptions of actions, thoughts, and feelings to develop experiences and events or show the response of characters to situations.
      • Use temporal words and phrases to signal event order.
      • Provide a sense of closure.

    Discipline: Language Arts
    Domain: W.3 Writing
    Grade(s): Grade 3
    Cluster: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
    Standards:

    • W.3.7. Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
    • W.3.8. Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.
    • W.3.9. begins in grade 4.

    National Standards

    Discipline: Social Studies
    Domain: All Thematic Standards
    Cluster: Individual Development and Identity
    Grade(s): Grades K–12
    Standards:

    Teachers should:

    • assist learners in articulating personal connections to time, place, and social/cultural systems
    •  help learners to appreciate and describe the influence of cultures, past and  present, upon the daily lives of individuals
    • assist learners to describe how family, religion, gender, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, and other group and cultural influences contribute to the development of a sense of self
    • have learners apply concepts, inquiry, methods, and theories in the study of human growth and development, learning, motivation, behavior, perception, and personality
    • guide learners as they analyze the interactions among ethical, ethnic, national, and cultural factors in specific situations
    • help learners to analyze the role of perceptions, attitudes, values, and beliefs in the development of personal identity and their effect upon human behavior
    • have learners compare and evaluate the impact of stereotyping, conformity, acts of altruism, discrimination, and other behaviors on individuals and groups
    • help learners understand how individual perceptions develop, vary, and can lead to conflict
    • assist learners as they work independently and cooperatively within groups and institutions to accomplish goals
    • enable learners to examine factors that contribute to and damage one’s mental health; and analyze issues related to mental health and behavioral disorders in contemporary society