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Teach with Movies: Amistad

Example Web Site and/or Technical Equipment Required


Website Example:

Tech Product Equipment

Computer(s), Internet access, projector, computer lab (optional)

Activity Description

In this activity, students watch the movie, Amistad, which depicts the 1839 revolt by enslaved Africans aboard the ship, Le Amistad. A U.S. Navy vessel seized the ship and the abolitionists filed a court case to free the Africans. The trial and subsequent appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court brought out the evils of slavery to the public and was a major step in turning the North against the South.

There is a post-viewing enrichment worksheet provided which helps to guide the discussion. Discussions can be continued in class or online in a discussion forum.


  1. Review the detailed Lesson Plans  .
  2. Review Online Resources .
  3. Download the worksheet and discussion questions. Discussion questions can be answered in class or as homework, as quick writes, journal entries, formal essays, or research papers.
  4. Make students copies as needed.
  5. Determine when and how discussion questions will be answered. If needed, create a blog for student responses and online discussions.
  6. Acquire a copy of the Amistad video. Be sure to check with your local library and request a copy.


  1. Introduce the lesson and the activity and give a little background information about the movie and the story depicted.
  2. Have students view the Amistad video and complete a plot analysis of the film.
  3. Divide students into groups and have them use the online resources to explore different facts about the story, themes, central conflict, people and places of this event.
  4. Have students read the Letters and Diary Entries and other supplemental resources.
  5. Have students post or write their response to discussion questions. Be sure to stress the importance of giving specific details to support their position.
  6. Have groups share their responses with the class.

Teacher Tips

Assign pairs/groups to conduct collaborative research, collect data, report back, share, publish, create digital portfolios

Select subjects and subcategories

English Language Arts

  • American Literature
  • English 1-4
  • English Electives
  • Literature
  • World Literature

Social Studies

  • U.S. History
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.