Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

Click to open and customize your own copy of the Frederick Douglass Lesson Plan.

This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Frederick Douglass, and supports the standard of describing the contributions of significant leaders. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of creative projects.


Ask students: What is an autobiography? How might an autobiography be more meaningful than a biography, or story about a person’s life written by someone else?  


  • Read aloud the description on the Frederick Douglass topic page.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding. 
  • Have students read one of the following Related Reading articles: “Trivia,” “Quotables,” or “Did You Know?” Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: APPLY
Students express their understanding through one or more of the following activities, which also address essential literacy skills. They can work individually or collaborate.  

  • Make-a-Movie: Create a talk-show style movie where you interview Frederick Douglass about his accomplishments.  (Essential Literacy Skill: determine central ideas)
  • Make-a-Map: Make a concept map sequencing the major events and accomplishments of Frederick Douglass’s life.  (Essential Literacy Skill: Make inferences and cite specific evidence)
  • Creative Coding: Code a museum with artifacts representing Frederick Douglass’s legacy. (Essential Literacy Skill: determine central ideas)
  • Primary Source Activity: Analyzing a speech Frederick Douglass wrote for the unveiling of the Emancipation Memorial. (Essential Literacy Skill: Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats)


Reflect: Students reflect on what they’ve learned about Frederick Douglass. Prompt them by asking questions such as:

  • What makes reading and writing powerful skills? 
  • Why was Frederick Douglass’s work so impactful? 

Assess: Wrap up the lesson with the Frederick Douglass Challenge

Additional Support Resources:


Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments