Dred Scott Case Common Core Analysis of the Justice’s Opinions:
Dred Scott was an enslaved African American who sued for his freedom and his case went all the way to the Supreme Court. This is a great activity to help your students dive deeper into the Dred Scott v. Sanford case by annotating primary resource documents in a step by step process. Students work in cooperative groups and analyze one of the excerpts from the Justice’s opinions. There are four different excerpts, two from Chief Justice Roger Taney speaking for the majority who ruled against Scott, and two excerpts from Justice Curtis’ dissenting opinion which argued in support of Scott. The excerpts are approximately 300 to 425 words and one modified excerpt is included for Special Education and or English Learners. Each student in the group gets their own handout and after reading their excerpt and looking up or inferring the meaning of difficult words students will then determine and Highlight the “Gold” of their document, along with creating a 3 D Billboard that displays the main topic of the excerpt. Finally students write a short summary of the excerpt. As a concluding activity groups write up their Billboards on the white/chalkboard without labeling which excerpt it belongs with (Teacher can do this so that students don’t know which group created which billboard) and then all groups read the other three excerpts and try to match up the Billboards with the proper excerpts. This lesson is in Microsoft Word and includes Teacher Instructions, Group Instruction Handouts, copies of the four excerpts, and a detailed annotations guide to help students learn how to annotate. This lesson can be used over two periods or done as part of a block period lesson.