Lesson details

8, 11

Social Studies

English Language Arts


Inquiry-Based Literacy




England's Colonies

Examine context to broaden inquiry

Gather/evaluate information from primary/secondary sources

Meaning, Context, and Craft-Write narrative text

Organize/categorize information

Recommended Technology: 

For photostory videos: iMovie, Slidestory.com, videolicious, Animoto, Prezi, PowerPoint, Keynote, Microsoft Photostory

For digital books/comic books:  any word processor!, comic life, storybook creator app, Powerpoint, Keynote, iMovie

Other instructional materials or notes: 

Possible graphic organizer/mind map tools:

Any word processor, popplet app, Bubbl.us, Mind42.com

Diary of a Grain of Rice OR an Indigo Plant

Multiple days
Lesson type: 
Project Based Lesson
Lesson overview: 

The mid-1700s saw the rise of plantations across the South and the move from sustenance to cash crops saw a greater dependence on slave labor.  The labor-intensive, back-breaking work of planting and harvesting indigo and rice led to a surge in the African slave trade, and with it, both positive and negative impacts on the population, culture and economy of South Carolina. Seeing the world through another’s eyes oftentimes opens up perspectives that give new meaning to historical facts.  In the following scenario you will have an opportunity to convey history from a whole new point of view in order to gain a new perspective on South Carolina’s past. 


Your story begins sometime in the late 1700s on a South Carolina plantation where indigo and rice are the main cash crops.   You are either a grain of rice or an indigo plant being grown on one of these plantations where African slaves labor in the fields owned by wealthy southern families.  You will tell your story of what you see, hear, feel and smell to describe what life was like for those living on a plantation during this time period and to address the following driving questions: 

  • What was life like for various peoples on a South Carolina plantation during the 1700s?  
  • What were the contributions of these groups to South Carolina’s economy and way of life? 
  • What were the positive and negative effects of the growing slave population on the population of South Carolina, including way of life? 
Essential Question: 

Would South Carolina have been one of the most prosperous of the 13 colonies without slave labor? 

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Lesson created by:
Christine Horowitz and Kim Buice
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