Lesson Plan

Researching and Writing about Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass was an influential black man in U.S. history. In this lesson, the historical context is set for students so that they can conduct their own research on Frederick Douglass, using a graphic organizer and multiple sources, before writing an informational essay on him. Ideal for fourth and fifth grade students, this lesson plan not only gives students practice in research and essay-writing skills, it also has them exploring a fascinating part of our country's history.
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Frederick Douglass was an influential black man in U.S. history. In this lesson, the historical context is set for students so that they can conduct their own research on Frederick Douglass, using a graphic organizer and multiple sources, before writing an informational essay on him. Ideal for fourth and fifth grade students, this lesson plan not only gives students practice in research and essay-writing skills, it also has them exploring a fascinating part of our country's history.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to research Frederick Douglass, and write an informational essay about him and why he is a crucial figure in history.

Introduction

(5 minutes)
Informational Writing Graphic OrganizerReading Comprehension: Frederick Douglass
  • Ask students to turn to a partner and share what they know about Frederick Douglass. Ask questions such as "Have you ever heard of Frederick Douglass? What is important about him? Why might we study him?". Call on students to share pertinent points from their discussions.
  • Document their input on a piece of chart paper. Add on to students' background knowledge on the chart (e.g. Frederick Douglass was enslaved during the 1800s, learned how to read and write, escaped slavery, and helped other enslaved people to freedom) and clarify any misconceptions. The idea is that the students are able to see that collectively they have some background knowledge of who he was, when he lived, and why he is an important figure.
  • Tell students that today they are going to conduct research on Frederick Douglass so that they can write an informational essay about his life and why he is an influential figure in United States history.