Ice Cream at Mount Vernon

An inquiry-based module that provides primary and secondary sources to help students answer the question: Why was ice cream an exclusive treat at Mount Vernon long ago? Using a familiar sweet treat as an entry point, students research and analyze the lives of enslaved individuals, as well as the specialized skills and objects that went into serving a single dish of ice cream. Source materials include farm reports, material culture objects, rooms, maps, and biographies. This project was developed in partnership with McGraw Hill Education. 

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The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret: The Founders' Failure to End Slavery

This DBQ style lesson asks students to use multiple primary and secondary sources to evaluate the statement: Ideals and moral concerns regarding human equality and the evils of slavery espoused over the course of the Founding Era were impossible to carry out and enforce due to the economic necessity and racial dynamics of slavery. This lesson was created by 2016-2017 Life Guard Teacher Fellow Michael Ellis.

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Which Grace: Analysis of Historical Resources

A lesson challenging students to analyze primary and secondary sources to answer the question How many enslaved individuals named Grace, Isaac, and Suckey were there at Mount Vernon from 1750-1799? Using information available to researchers and scholars at the Washington Library, students become historians as they work to answer a question that has no definitive answer. As an optional extension, students can create a biography about one of the individuals identified in their research. 

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