Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Project

 Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Project  An interactive installation featuring stories and live views from the historic California Tower

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Project

An interactive installation featuring stories and live views from the historic California Tower


About the Project:

  • Role: Digital Production Manager, Education Lead, CyArk
  • Technology: Laser scan, photogrammetry, animation, web development, video
  • Parners: Impact on Education, Trimble Navigation

The goal of this project was to engage students with the impact of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade through the virtual visitation of important historic sites along the different routes on the West Coast of Africa, Carribean, and USA. Teachers built curriculum to be accessible online for students to gain a better understand the repercussions of Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade’s global impact on our world and our own local communities still felt today. The first step was for me and my team was to successfully document three heritage sites: Natchez National Historical Park in the U.S., Annaberg Sugar Plantation on U.S. Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, and Cidade Velha on Cabo Verde off the coast of Africa.  The next step of the project was to bring the digital assets to the K-12 teachers and host a teacher workshop to build STEAM curriculum centered around the social sciences, math, science, literacy, and the visual arts.  As part of the lesson plans, students were able to track the progression of the Slave Trade through historic ports and maritime routes using an interactive map, 3D models, virtual tours of sites in Africa, the Caribbean, and the U.S. The teachers and principals in attendance represented elementary, middle and high school from the Boulder Valley School District from all different subject areas. This facilitated the creation of cross disciplinary educational material for a seamless K-12 curriculum where students can build on previous knowledge from pervious grades and apply this to new information on the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.


Creating K-12 Lesson Plans Around Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade World Heritage Sites

Seven teachers and three principals from Boulder Valley School District attended the workshop and represented elementary, middle, and high school. Day 1 began with presentations from Fran Ryan, CEO of Impact on Education, and myself. We then worked as a group to identify objectives and themes that would help to create a seamless K-12 curriculum. Teachers then broke off into smaller groups to begin outlining their lesson plans. Day 1 concluded with two primary objectives established: to create a cross disciplinary curriculum that could build on student's previous knowledge starting in elementary school and ending in high school, and to raise awareness and build empathy in young students around the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. On day 2, teachers continued to work in their smaller teams to refine and review lesson plans. Before the lunch break teachers presented a rough lesson plan for the group to review. In the afternoon teachers finalized their lesson plans adhering to educational standards and presented their final draft to the group. Topics included researching the global economic impact of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, the social ethics of past and present human trafficking, the importance of preservation and the science behind natural erosion of sites, and the urban and social development of the slave market town of Natchez, Mississippi. All principals and teachers had an opportunity to reflect on their experience and talk about the importance of using online resources through video interviews.

During the course of the 2-day workshop, we were able to produce six lesson plans and four educational videos. These lesson plans have been implemented and tested in several classrooms around the US and continue to be used today