4.8 Teaching Blackbeard the Pirate: Ideas and discussion questions
These teaching suggestions are designed to help fourth-grade teachers discuss the article “The Life and Death of Blackbeard the Pirate” with students.
- Before reading this article do a KWL chart with your students to determine what background knowledge they have and to set a purpose for reading.
- Read the first paragraph together. It also presents some good information for the teacher to guide student questions to further help set a purpose for the reading. For example:
- Why were the 1710s called “the golden age of piracy”?
- Why did pirate ships roam the Atlantic Ocean around North Carolina?
- Since Edward Teach was a notorious pirate, can we learn more about his life?
- How and why did Edward Teach get the name Blackbeard?
- The second paragraph tells us background information about Edward Teach. Ask students why Bristol, England produced so many pirates. Have higher level students research this question as an additional project.
- Some questions for discussion during the reading:
- What is privateering?
- Why do you think the British government supported privateering for a while?
- Do you think Edward Teach would have become a pirate if he had not been involved in privateering?
- Writing activity: Pretend that you have been involved with privateering. Now that the British government is not supporting that anymore, what are you going to do now? What skills do you have that made you a good privateer and how can they be used in other ways?
- For more information on Queen Anne’s Revenge have students explore these websites:
- The Queen Anne’s Revenge Shipwreck project: Information about attempts to recover Blackbeard’s ship. Sponsored by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. (It is a very kid friendly site)
- Secrets of the Dead: Blackbeard’s Ship: The companion website for the PBS series Secrets of the Dead offers its take on Blackbeard’s lost ship. Includes videos.
- A Brief history of Blackbeard and Queen Anne’s Revenge: By examining a variety of primary and secondary French documents, researchers have pieced together a limited history of the Queen Anne’s Revenge. (The reading level here is higher than 4th grade but may be appropriate for developmentally ready students.)
- Read aloud the description of Blackbeard from 1726 and have the students draw a picture based on the description. Have them look up words that are unfamiliar like “bandaliers.” After they have made a picture, have them compare their image to the picture in the article and other available pictures of Blackbeard.
- Use the site bubbl.us (a website that allows you to brainstorm visually) for collecting information with students about why North Carolina was a “good place” for piracy and/or for assembling all of the information discovered about Blackbeard. Start by putting the topic in the middle and allow the students to add the linking information from the middle and this can be done as a large group, small group, or even an independent activity (if they are familiar with the website).
- For more lesson plans about pirates see the Pirate Map lesson plan for grades 3-5 and Blackbeard: The most feared pirate of the Atlantic from LEARN NC’s website. Also UNC’s Documenting the American South Classroom Resources titled Pirates of the Carolinas
- For students interested in exploring the topic more have them explore these websites:
- Project idea: Have students create a presentation about what they learned about Blackbeard using technology like Glogster Edu, Storybird, Voicethread, or Prezi.
North Carolina curriculum alignment
Social Studies (2003)
- Goal 3: The learner will trace the history of colonization in North Carolina and evaluate its significance for diverse people's ideas.
- Objective 3.02: Identify people, symbols, events, and documents associated with North Carolina's history.