Dred Scott Decision: Peel the Fruit Routine

8th Grade Historians examined the Dred Scott Decision today. This landmark case reinvigorated the anti-slavery movement and propelled the United States toward war. Dred Scott, a slave, sued for his freedom because he had lived in free territory with his master. The Supreme Court ruled that Scott wasn't considered a citizen and therefore had no grounds to sue. The Court also stated that slavery couldn't be denied in the western territories. This ruling was a huge step back for all people against slavery.

Students completed a Peel the Fruit Visible Thinking routine to delve deeper into the feelings and thoughts surrounding this case.

The outer ring asks students to state what they notice about the topic. The second ring requires students to pose questions about the case and the impact it had on America. (These questions can be rhetorical.) The third ring requires students to practice an essential social studies skill: they must consider different perspectives and viewpoints, step into those roles, and predict how those people may have felt about the topic. This is also another great character education activity because students are becoming more empathetic while they examine these viewpoints. The final ring asks students to get to the core issue at the center of the topic. 

Peel the Fruit is a challenging and intriguing routine that effectively scaffolds learning and expects students to go beyond rote memorization to synthesize learning. 


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