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Tobacco: Fictional Biography

Subject: Eighth-grade, Social Studies
Written by:
Seth Brown and Sam Newell, Pitt County Schools, Greenville, NC

Lesson Plan Format


Students will use the information from the previous lessons to create a fictional biography based on the life of a real person from Pitt County in the early 20th century tobacco industry.



Competency Goal 5: The learner will evaluate the impact of political, economic, social and technological changes on life in North Carolina from 1870 to 1930.

Objective 5.01: Identify the role played by the agriculture, textile, tobacco, and furniture industries in North Carolina, and analyze their importance in the economic development of the state.

Skill Competency Goal 2: The learner will acquire strategies to access a variety of sources, and use appropriate research skills to gather, synthesize, and report information using diverse modalities to demonstrate the knowledge acquired.

Objective 2.02: Explore print and non-print materials.

Time Required for Lesson:
One class period.

Materials/Supplies Needed:
Access to the Internet and the Eastern North Carolina Digital History Exhibits; pencils and paper.

Recommended Digital Resources:

Pitt County Digital Tobacco History Exhibit (; previous lessons.

Lesson Plan Format

Focus and Review:
Using the notes and information from the previous lessons on the Pitt County tobacco industry have students list 10 interesting facts they learned. Orally discuss these facts as a class and have students describe why it’s interesting and ask if other students thought it was interesting by show of hands. This can form the basis of which historical facts students will include in their biography.

Statement of Objectives/Inquiry Formation:
Students will create a fictional biography based on a real person from the early 20th century Pitt County tobacco industry using accurate historical facts.

Teacher Input:
The teacher will introduce the fictional biography concept. Students should identify a real tobacco employee from the census data used previously in the unit. They should incorporate their list of 10 interesting facts and any other facts they find through other independent research. The teacher can review pictures from the Records/Photo link in the previous lesson and the other photos in the in the Illustrated City of Greenville, Pitt County, North Carolina, found by clicking on the Business link.

Group Activities:
After students write their first draft of their fictional biography they should get in small groups or with partners and peer edit their stories. Students should question each other on the accuracy of their facts.

Individual Activities:
Students should write their fictional biography based on the above assignment.

Reflection and Closure:
Students should share and display their fictional biographies.

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Page Updated 01 September 2004
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