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The Underground Railroad

Please Note: this material was created for use in a classroom, but can be easily modified for homeschooling use.

Objectives

  • Students will use vocabulary related to the Underground Railroad.
  • Students will identify key facts related to the Underground Railroad.
  • Students will evaluate their personal responses to the Underground Railroad.
  • Students will make a judgment about the morality of the Underground Railroad.

Materials

  • Discussion questions
  • Set aside time for students to gather as a group and share and discuss their activity worksheet responses.
  • Challenge the whole group to discuss the moral issues (e.g., right vs. wrong) that the Underground Railroad posed.

Vocabulary

  1. bounty hunters = people being paid to hunt for runaway slaves and return them to their masters

  2. conscience = the sense or character that gives a person the feeling to do right or good

  3. derogatory = negative

  4. fugitives = people running away from something illegally

  5. stamina = endurance

  6. terrain = a piece of land or geographical area

Discussion Questions

  1. What was the Underground Railroad?
  2. Who traveled this path and why?
  3. Why was the Underground Railroad so dangerous?
  4. Why did the runaway slaves need to make it all the way to Canada?
  5. If you had been a slave in the 1850s, would you have tried to escape on the Underground Railroad? Why or why not?
  6. If you had been a white person living along the path of the Underground Railroad, would you have allowed runaway slaves to hide on your property? Use the back of this sheet or a separate piece of paper to explain your reasoning.

Assessment

  • Use a checklist to assess students' understanding of the factual, legal, and moral implications of the Underground Railroad. Assign a point value to each item.
    1. _____ The student accurately answers the factual questions posed on the worksheet.

    2. _____ The student is able to articulate his or her feelings about the Underground Railroad.

    3. _____ The student supports his or her opinion with facts.

    4. _____ The student participates in a discussion of the moral issues posed by the Underground Railroad.

  • Find a variety of assessment techniques to use with this lesson.

Extension Activities

Students take a "cyber-journey" through the Underground Railroad: the path to freedom for slaves in the 1850s. This is an excellent resource to enjoy during Black History Month (February) and when studying the most influential parts of American history.
Grades
3 |
4 |
5
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