Understanding transatlantic slavery, key stage 3

This object handling session introduces students to Liverpool’s involvement in transatlantic slavery. It looks at fundamental aspects of transatlantic slavery and its impact on the lives of those involved.

Funding for school visits

We at National Museums Liverpool consider this is an essential education for all young people. Should you feel that your class would benefit from a visit to the International Slavery Museum to do this workshop with teaching from our specialist team, but for your school cost is a barrier, please get in touch with our Box Office team on 0151 478 4444 or email tickets@liverpoolmuseums.org.uk

Thanks to generous support from The Zochonis Charitable Trust, The Ravensdale Trust, The Elizabeth Rathbone Charitable Trust, The PH Holt Foundation and The Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund, we are able to offer funding to support a limited number of schools in working with us.

Workshop details

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. This session introduces students to Liverpool’s involvement in the trade, to fundamental aspects of transatlantic slavery, and its impact on the lives of those involved.

Students work in five small groups to look at different facets of transatlantic slavery: traditional life in West Africa, forced migration, enslavement and life on the plantation, ways that people resisted as well as abolition movements. Each group uses different sets of artefacts to aid and deepen their understanding of this complex and difficult history.

'Understanding transatlantic slavery' also enables students to develop presentation skills as groups are invited to 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.

Curriculum links

KS3 History

  • How people’s lives have been shaped by Britain and how this nation has influenced and been influenced by the wider world.
  • Britain’s involvement in the Transatlantic Slave Trade, including its effects and its eventual abolition.

KS3 Citizenship

  • The precious liberties enjoyed by the citizens of the United Kingdom
  • The ways in which citizens can work together to improve their communities

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 lives of enslaved people before and during transatlantic slavery.

  • Gain knowledge and understanding of the campaign to end slavery.

  • Gain knowledge of the inequality of 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 an appropriate language to use in relation to 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.