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In this simulation, students experience life in the plantation South from multiple perspectives. The objective is to deepen their understanding of antebellum society.
The document is a set of experience "cards". Print it onto cardstock, cut each paragraph separately, and shuffle the deck.
Put students into groups of 6. Assign each student a number 1-6. *Do this carefully, having discussed the activity beforehand! This is not a fun "game" to be presented for student enjoyment. Students will be taking on roles that are emotionally triggering, particularly for students of color.
1. The Plantation Master
2. The Plantation Mistress
3. The Plantation Overseer
4. A Free Woman of Mixed Race
5. An Enslaved Woman
6. An Enslaved Child
Students take turns drawing a card and reading it. Students keep track of the points gained or lost by their character. Although all characters experience gains and losses, the game is "rigged" to show students how white, wealthy, and free characters gain points more easily.
**Be sure to carefully prepare students for this activity, and debrief them afterward! It is emotionally heavy and requires students to have a firm foundation on the time period. I strongly advise that you do not use this activity without carefully making sure all students are able to handle some of the more upsetting experiences. That said, this activity has been VERY SUCCESSFUL in my classroom with 8th grade students.