S.C. Sea Grant Consortium

Coastal Heritage Curriculum Connection

Explore Curriculum Connection guides, which are written to accompany each issue of Coastal Heritage, a quarterly publication of the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium.

Coastal Heritage, Winter 2014 issue: Carolina’s Gold Coast: The Culture of Rice and Slavery

Focus Questions

  • Who were the Lords Proprietors and what was their role in the settlement of South Carolina?
  • Describe the conditions of the first settlers in South Carolina. What crops were initially grown and by what methods? When and why was rice introduced in this area?
  • What are the main differences in how upland (“providential”) rice and tidal rice were grown? What is a rice trunk?
  • Who were the Carolina Cowboys and why were they important?
  • How did enslaved Africans influence the rice culture in South Carolina?

Use the Curriculum Connection to address these South Carolina Standards


1st Grade
1-2: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the special characteristics and needs of plants that allow them to survive in their own distinct environments. (Life Science)

3rd Grade
3-2.1: Illustrate the life cycles of seed plants and various animals and summarize how they grow and are adapted to conditions within their habitats.

6th Grade
6-2: The student will demonstrate an understanding of structures, processes, and responses of plants that allow them to survive and reproduce. (Life Science)

9th-12th Grade
ES: Summarize the overall process by which photosynthesis converts solar energy into chemical energy and interpret the chemical equation for the process.

Social Studies

1st Grade
1-4.3: Recall the contributions made to democracy in the United States by historic and political figures, including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks.

3rd grade
3-2.7: Explain the transfer of the institution of slavery into South Carolina from the West Indies, including the slave trade and the role of African Americans in the developing plantation economy; the daily lives of African American slaves and their contributions to South Carolina, such as the Gullah culture and the introduction of new foods; and the African American acts of resistance against white authority.

8th grade
8-1.5: Explain how South Carolinians used their natural, human, and political resources uniquely to gain economic prosperity, including settlement by and trade with the people of Barbados, rice and indigo planting, and the practice of mercantilism.

Lesson Links

When Rice Was King
Visit the National Park Service website: www.nps.gov/history/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/3rice/3rice.htm for information on rice culture in Georgetown, South Carolina, as well as lesson plans for your classroom. (5th-12th)

Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor
Explore the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor that stretches from Florida to North Carolina www.nps.gov/guge/index.htm . Check out the section of the corridor that is located in South Carolina www.gullahgeecheecorridor.org .  Pick one area along the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor and create a timeline that captures important events related to rice culture. (3rd – 12th)

Rice Culture: Pros and Cons
What were the benefits of growing rice in South Carolina? What were the drawbacks? Divide your class into groups: a) enslaved Africans, b) plantation owners, c) exporters/importers, and d) emancipated slaves. Engage your students in a debate about the growing of rice based upon their “role”. What are the pros and cons for each group, depending on the time in history? (9th – 12th)

Additional Resources and Opportunities

Rice Trunks
Watch the S.C. Department of Natural Resources video, “Ageless Structures” www.dnr.sc.gov/videosum.html to learn more about how rice trunks were used to irrigate rice fields. (3rd – 12th)

Colleton County Rice Festival (April 22-27, 2014)
Experience arts, crafts, history, and cuisine during this 6-day event in Walterboro, S.C. More information on the festival can be found here: thericefestival.org . This event is suitable for students of all ages and adults! (K-12 and adults)

Lowcountry Rice
The summer 2006 issue of Coastal Heritage, “African Roots, Carolina Gold,” focused on the African contribution to the immensely lucrative rice industry. This issue is available online at www.scseagrant.org/african-roots-carolina-gold.

Learn more about Carolina Gold rice with the website dedicated to providing research articles on the subject: www.carolinagoldricefoundation.org/index.html . Also visit the Lowcountry Rice Culture Project www.lowcountryriceculture.org to learn more about the efforts to capture the heritage and culture related to rice in the lowcountry of South Carolina. (3rd – 12th)

Field Trip Opportunities

Caw Caw Interpretive Center (Charleston County)

Drayton Hall (Charleston County)

Middleton Place

Beaufort Museum (Beaufort County)

Penn Center (Beaufort County)

Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture (Charleston County)

Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor