Bullet Journaling with Washington

This activity connects students to George Washington's meticulous record keeping by equating it with modern day bullet journaling. Students will look at a 1793 Farm Report made by one of Washington's overseers and was sent to him while he was President. They will then keep a bullet journal for a week to experiment with recording their own information. By reflecting on their experience they will be able to get a better understanding of Washington and his personality. 

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A Grub Hoe

This activity is designed to question students' assumptions on how labor was divided at Mount Vernon. Students will look at an artifact (the grub hoe) and then analyze primary and secondary sources to reinterpret that artifact. They will learn that enslaved women primary worked in the fields, while enslaved men usually did "skilled" tasks. This is an activity that will illustrate how gender binaries are constructed and have changed throughout history. It also reinforces students' STEM skills, such as percentages and ratios. 

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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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Snuff Box and Hogshead

This activity compares two containers of tobacco- one on the production side and the other on the consumption side to show how tobacco was made and sold in the Colonies and in England. Students will analyze a snuff box and hogshead as well as British advertisements for tobacco and snuff to understand the importance of tobacco to the 18th century. It also shines a light on how slavery was the foundation of Colonial and English economy, government, and lifestyle. 

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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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