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Harriet Jacobs Primary Source Lab

Class/Subject: 8th grade Social Studies

Time: 50 minutes

Big Idea
Students obtain an understanding of the importance of narratives in history through
primary source documents.

Essential Questions
1. How do slave narratives compare and contrast with other works about slavery
from a white perspective?
2. What were the realities of slave life?

Student Objectives/Student Outcomes:

1. Students will understand the importance of Harriet Jacobs in the context of

history and the time period.
2. Students will understand the realities of slave life from the perspective of a former

Content Standards:

1. 16.A.4b - Compare competing historical interpretations of an event.

2. 16.D.4a (US) - Describe the immediate and long-range social impacts of slavery.


1. Computer lab
2. PowerPoint
3. Excerpts from Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl reading
4. Projector
5. Portfolio
6. Primary source document based question (DBQ) handout

Teacher’s Goals:
To effectively introduce Harriet Jacob’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and help
students learn how to analyze a primary source document in the context of the historical
time period.
I. Introduction - introduce students to the context of Harriet Jacob’s novel.
A. Show PowerPoint with pictures and captions that will put the excerpts from the
novel into the context of the lectures from the Civil War.
B. Also connect back to the lecture on the life of a slave from early in the unit.
II. Hand out the excerpts from Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs
that students will spend the period analyzing.
III. Students will spend the rest of the period analyzing the excerpts from Incidents in
the Life of a Slave Girl based on the DBQ handout.
A. The DBQ will be typed on the computer and handed in at the end of the period.
B. Students will be allowed to use the computers to further research Incidents in the
Life of a Slave Girl
IV. Students will have 5 minutes at the end of class to come together and discuss any
problems, questions, or interesting thoughts they may have about the reading or the
questions. Both the teacher and other students may answer and respond to these

I. Informal assessment: Walk around classroom and answer any questions that
students may have.
II. The DBQ handout will prompt students to critically analyze the excerpts. Students
will be making connections to prior knowledge as well as learning how to navigate the
internet to find relevant information.
III. Questions/ comments at the end of class along with the responses from