Lesson Plans Based on Movies & Film Clips!                                         

Terms of Use   



    SUBJECTS — U.S./1750 - 1812 & Diversity;

    Age: 12+; Not Rated; Drama; 1977; 90 minutes; Color. Available from Amazon.com.

    Description:     Roots is a video presentation of Alex Haley's Pulitzer Prize winning book, Roots: The Saga of an American Family. Volume III shows the end of Kunta Kinte's dream of escaping to freedom.

    Benefits of the Movie:     The series describes important aspects of the black experience in the U.S. and, for all Americans, helps in facing the legacies of slavery and segregation.

    Possible Problems:     MINOR. There is some violence but it is appropriate to the film's message.

    Parenting Points:     Review the description of the "bargain with the devil" on slavery that was necessary to get the Southern states to join the American Revolution and to adopt the U.S. Constitution. See Learning Guide to "Roots, Volume I". Describe this information to your child. Ask and help your child to answer the Quick Discussion Question and the Question on Morality and Ethics.

    Alex Haley

Benefits of the Movie
Possible Problems
Parenting Points
Selected Awards & Cast
Helpful Background
Discussion Questions:
      Subjects (Curriculum Topics)
      Social-Emotional Learning
      Moral-Ethical Emphasis
            (Character Counts)
Bridges to Reading
Links to the Internet
Assignments, Projects & Activities

MOVIE WORKSHEETS: TWM offers the following movie worksheets to keep students' minds on the film and to focus their attention on the lessons to be learned from the movie. Teachers can modify the movie worksheets to fit the needs of each class. See also TWM's Historical Fiction in Film Cross-Curricular Homework Project and Movies as Literature Homework Project.

Additional ideas for lesson plans for this movie can be found at TWM's guide to Lesson Plans Using Film Adaptations of Novels, Short Stories or Plays.

    Selected Awards, Cast and Director:

      Selected Awards:  The "Roots" series won a Golden Globe Award as the Best Television Series of 1978, nine Emmy Awards, and many other honors.

      Featured Actors:  John Amos, Lynda Day George, Louis Gossett, Jr. Loren Greene, Vic Maro, Robert Reed, Madge Sinclair.

      Director:  Marvin J. Chompsky.

QUICK DISCUSSION QUESTION:  Did Kunta Kinte do the right thing by having a child with Bell and giving up his dream of running away to freedom?

Suggested Response: Given the situation he was in, with his foot maimed, and no path to freedom, it seems that he did the right thing. But it was very sad to give up the dream of freedom.

Select questions that are appropriate for your students.

    Social-Emotional Learning Discussion Questions:


    1.  Did Kunta Kinte do the right thing by having a child with Bell and giving up his dream of running away to freedom?

Become a TWM Fan on

    Moral-Ethical Emphasis Discussion Questions (Character Counts)

    Discussion Questions Relating to Ethical Issues will facilitate the use of this film to teach ethical principles and critical viewing. Additional questions are set out below.


    (Treat others with respect; follow the Golden Rule; Be tolerant of differences; Use good manners, not bad language; Be considerate of the feelings of others; Don't threaten, hit or hurt anyone; Deal peacefully with anger, insults and disagreements)

    1.  Is it possible for a slave owner to act respectfully toward his or her slave? Suggested Response: No. The very nature of the slave/master relationship is for the owner to take advantage of the slave. The slave serves the owner without recompense. A good employer/employee relationship is much different. The employer pays for the work of the employee at a reasonable rate. An employer can also train an employee so that he can undertake new responsibilities, have a more satisfying job and make more money.

Teachwithmovies.com is a Character Counts "Six Pillars Partner" and uses The Six Pillars of Character to organize ethical principles.

Character Counts and the Six Pillars of Character are marks of the CHARACTER COUNTS! Coalition, a project of the Josephson Institute of Ethics.

Click here for TWM's lesson plans to introduce cinematic and theatrical technique.

    Bridges to Reading: Older children who are good readers will enjoy the book Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley. Books recommended for middles school and junior high readers include: To Be A Slave by Julius Lester, illustrated by Tom Feelings.

MOVIES ON RELATED TOPICS: All other "Roots" episodes.

    Links to the Internet: None.



© TeachWithMovies.com, Inc. All rights reserved. Note that unless otherwise indicated any quotations attributed to a source, photographs, illustrations, maps, diagrams or paintings were copied from public domain sources or are included based upon the "fair use" doctrine. No claim to copyright is made as to those items. DVD or VHS covers are in the public domain. TeachWithMovies.org®, TeachWithMovies.com®, Talking and Playing with Movies™, and the pencil and filmstrip logo are trademarks of TeachWithMovies.com, Inc.

TWM grants free limited licenses to copy TWM curriculum materials only to educators in public or non-profit schools and to parents trying to help educate their children. See TWM's Terms of Use for a full description of the free licenses and limits on the rights of others to copy TWM.