America's Abolitionists: A Digital Biography Project

By: Laura Eby



Students will use text and web resources to research an abolitionist from the Antebellum era. Students will take research notes, construct a storyboard as a rough draft and compose a digital biography using a video pre-writing software (i.e. Photostory, imovie, moviemaker). Students will present their final product to the class.

Keywords: biography, black history, American history, technology, research


1. Students will use various resources to gather information on an important member of the abolitionist movement.
2. Students will use research information to construct a video biography.
3. Students will synthesize research notes and storyboard to compose a digital biography using video editing software (iMovie or Movie Maker).


Standard 1: Use research and inquiry skills to analyze American History using primary and secondary sources. (SS.8.A.1)
Standard 3. Examine the experiences and perspectives of significant individuals and groups during this era of American History. (SS.8.A.4.3)
Standard 10. Analyze the impact of technological advancements on the agricultural economy and slave labor. (SS.8.A.4.10)
Standard 11. Examine the aspects of slave culture including plantation life, resistance efforts, and the role of the slaves' spiritual system. (SS.8.A.4.11)


Academic Preparation

Students should be familiar with American slave trade, economy, and culture. In addition, students should be familiar with the abolitionist movement that helped end slavery in America.
Teacher should arrange for computers as necessary.


Day 1: Explain project instructions & provide project rubric. Students will begin researching their assigned (selected) abolitionist using their textbook, library and web resources.
Day 2: Students will continue taking notes as they continue their research.
Day 3: Students will create a storyboard (digital or on paper). This will serve as a rough draft for the digital biography. Teacher should review and suggest corrections as necessary.
Day 4, 5, 6: Students will use video editing software (iMovie, Movie Maker) to compose a digital biography of assigned abolitionist.
Day 7: Students will present their finished product to the class.


Students knowledge of the abolitionist movement from their abolitionist's perspective will be assessed by the content of their digital biography.

Extensions and Adaptations

Students can research opponents of the abolitionist movement and present the opposing viewpoint.

Estimated Lesson Duration

3hr 00min