George Washington: General, President, Slave Owner

Times change; behaviors that were once considered acceptable can be seen in a very different light. Middle schoolers revisit the legacy of George Washington in a three-day lesson plan that uses primary sources to reveal Washington as a military leader, the first president, and as a slave owner.

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Instructional Ideas
  • Begin the lesson by projecting an image of Emanuel Leutz's painting "Washington Crossing the Delaware"
  • Ask viewers to identify who they believe is the most important figure in the painting, the details that lead them to make this assessment, and what they believe the artist wants viewers to feel about this figure
Classroom Considerations
  • Although designed for a self-contained learning center, the lessons are appropriate for any classroom
  • Class members require access to computers with internet
  • Plan extra prep time to collect and prepare materials
  • The first lesson in a three-part Colonial and Revolution series
Pros
  • The lesson is carefully scaffolded so that all learners can successfully complete the assignments and activities
Cons
  • None