Science and Slavery teaching resources

These free, curriculum-linked resources are designed to support a KS3 lesson on diet, nutrition and disease in the historical context of the transatlantic slave trade.


These resources are part of the legacy of the slavery and the natural world project. In partnership with community groups, the Museum commissioned new research into links between its collections and the history of slavery. The resources are, in part, based on this research and include images from the Museum collections.

Find out more about the slavery and the natural world project

Learning outcomes

Pupils will:

  • have a greater understanding of how scientific thinking can be applied in different cultural contexts
  • have an increased understanding of diet in the historical context of the slave trade
  • be able to compare diets and consider their effect on health


Teachers can use these resources as a complete unit of work in class, or select elements to adapt to other programmes of work.


This presentation provides a basic overview of the slave trade.  There is a version with audio narration and a version without if you prefer. If you are using the version without audio, you can download a transcript of the narrative.

NB: The sound in the audio PDF presentation does not play when the PDF is viewed in a web browser. In order to play the audio you will need to save the PDF file to your computer first and then open it using Adobe Reader. Each slide has a play and stop button which control the audio for that slide.

Science and Slavery presentation - audio version PDF (9.4 MB)

Science and Slavery presentation - without audio PDF (1.3 MB)

Transcript PDF (133.1 KB)

Lesson plan

A four-part series of activities with curriculum links.

Science and Slavery lesson plan PDF (209.9 KB)


Images and nutritional information for pupils to use during the activities.

Science and Slavery resources PDF (784.4 KB)

Teacher notes

An introduction to the context of slavery and how our collections relate to the history of the slave trade.

Science and Slavery teacher notes PDF (60.9 KB)

If you have used this lesson plan, we would like your feedback. Please email us if you can help with a short survey to help us to improve the resources we offer.

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