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The legacies of transatlantic slavery, key stage 4

Key facts

  • Suitable for: Key Stage 4, Post 16, Post 18
  • Subjects: Citizenship, History, Personal, social, health and economic education, Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural
  • Session type: Museum led
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Class size (maximum): 30
  • Venue: International Slavery Museum
  • Free


Students will be given an opportunity to explore the lasting history of transatlantic slavery through a variety of resources including objects, images and written sources. Allowing students to make links between the aftermath of slavery and the world today.

Further details

school children looking at objects from the museum's collection

The legacies of transatlantic slavery are both complex and far-reaching. Transatlantic slavery was responsible for the forced migration of between 12 to 15 million people from Africa to the Americas from the middle of the 15th century to the end of the 19th century.

Guided by an experienced member of the museum’s education team, students explore this history through a variety of resources including objects, images and written sources. The session is designed to encourage students to make the links between the aftermath of slavery and the world today. 

Students work in five small groups to look at different aspects of the legacies of transatlantic slavery:

  • Black people in Liverpool
  • Global inequalities
  • America after slavery
  • Racism and stereotyping
  • Civil Rights and activism

Each group uses different sets of artefacts to aid and deepen their understanding of this complex and difficult history.   

The museum educator guides the discussion through strategic questioning that encourages the students to focus, observe, and interpret the objects for themselves.  During the session the students’ confidence in handling objects, their visual literacy and critical thinking skills are developed. 'Legacies of transatlantic slavery' also enables students to develop presentation skills as groups present their findings and students listen and learn from each other.

This unique learning experience illustrates the massive impact of transatlantic slavery on the world and the ways it still impacts on many lives. It is a session unique to the International Slavery Museum. The approaches used in this session enable students to develop a deeper understanding of Fundamental British Values. It is recommended that students have a basic understanding of transatlantic slavery before taking part in this session, obtained in the classroom or by spending time exploring the museum beforehand.

Curriculum links

Key stage 4 – History

  •  A high-quality history education will help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It should inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. 
  • Teaching should equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement.
  • History helps pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time. 

Key stage 4 – English

  • Understand and critically evaluate texts through:reading in different ways for different purposes.
  • Drawing on knowledge of the purpose, audience for and context of the writing including its social, historical and cultural context.

Key stage 4 – Citizenship

  • Diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding
  • The different ways in which a citizen can contribute to the improvement of their communitydeepen pupils’ understanding of democracy, government and the rights and responsibilities of citizens.

Fundamental British Values

  •  Democracy. Understand the evolution of a society characterised by equality of rights.
  •  Individual Liberty. Explore essential knowledge and skills in order to broaden life choices and learn to voice opinions in a constructive and collaborative manner.
  •  Rule of Law. Learn the importance of accountability and safety. Understand the evolution of the equality of laws and rights which underpin British society.
  • Tolerance. Learn to recognise the multi-cultural, multi-faith nature of the United Kingdom, and to challenge prejudice.
  • Mutual Respect. Learn to embrace diversity in all its forms and contribute to an inclusive community. Actively challenge prejudice and bullying behaviour.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

Pupils will:

  • Gain knowledge and understanding of the impact transatlantic slavery had and continues to have.
  • Gain knowledge and understanding of the campaign to end slavery.
  • Gain knowledge of the inequality caused by transatlantic slavery.


Pupils will:

  • Develop observation skills by working with the museums handling objects.
  • Improve their speaking and listening skills in a group discussion context.
  • Learn to give reasoned answers backed up by evidence. 


Pupils will be introduced to:

  • The use of handling objects in a museum context.
  • The role of a museum such as the International Slavery Museum.
  • Key terms and appropriate language to use in relation to the legacies of transatlantic slavery.


Pupils will:

  • Increase confidence in identifying and challenging racial stereotypes.
  • Understand how transatlantic slavery still impacts on today’s society.
  • See the International Slavery Museum as an informative and creative place to visit.