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The Underground Railroad is one part of history that not only African-American students need to be educated on but all students. The key purpose of this unit is to inform and education students on the Underground Railroad and slavery. Students need to understand the impact of these events in American society.

Throughout 1-2 weeks (if necessary) students will experience slavery and Underground Railroad by completing numerous activities. Most of the learning will be done in the classroom. One Friday the students will go on a field trip to The Rankin House in Ripley, Ohio to see an actual stop on the Underground Railroad.

  • Slave
  • Freedom (what is meant for slaves)
  • Civil War
  • Emancipation Proclamation of 1863
  • Abolitionist
  • Fugitive Slave Act
  • Underground Railroad
  • Conductor
  • Master
objectives goals
  • To educate students about the importance and impact the Underground Railroad has in history.
  • Students will learn what is meant to be a slave. (Daily life)
  • Students will understand the importance of slavery in the United States.
day 1 activities
Day 1 Activities

Students will look up vocabulary words. Then students will use the map of the United States to identity and label the routes of The Underground Railroad in Ohio. When students are finished they are to select a book from the classroom library (about the Underground Railroad or something dealing with slavery) to read over the course of the week.

day 2 activities
Day 2 Activities

Students can travel down the Underground Railroad as if they were slaves themselves. Along the way students will have to make choices that slaves would have had to make. Use the computer and go to this website.

After students are finish have them write a one page paper about the experience. (From a slave point of view)

day 3 activities
Day 3 Activities
  • Students will watch the DVD, A NationDivided: American Civil War. After viewing students will write a letter to President Lincoln about their thoughts on the war.
day 4 activities
Day 4 Activities

Students will visit a virtual slave plantation to see how it operated daily.

After completing the virtual tour students can create a diagram of a typical slave house.

activity 5
Students will go on a

field trip to the Rankin

House in Ripley, Ohio.

This will allow students

to see first hand an

actual stop on the

journey to freedom.

Activity 5

Unit Test

  • Who was not a conductor on the Underground Railroad?
    • Harriet Tubman
    • Abraham Lincoln
    • John Rankin
    • None of the above
True or False.
  • The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 freed all slaves.
  • Slaves got their freedom after 10 years.
  • The Underground Railroad was a real railroad with stations all down the Ohio River.
  • Slaves were often separated from their families.
Slaves were free if they escaped and made it to Canada.
  • The slave populations in the South were majority made up of…
    • Latinos
    • African-Americans
    • Asians
    • Spaniards
Slaves were…
    • Treated fairly by everyone.
    • People that wanted to be slaves.
    • People that were taken from their native land forced to work in poor conditions.
    • None of the above
essay question choose one
Essay Question (Choose One)
  • Describe the daily life of a slave.
  • Explain in detail what the Underground Railroad is. (names of conductors, stops, etc…)
  • What is the Civil War? Explain one cause of it.
teacher resources
Teacher Resources



A virtual slave plantation that students can explore.


An enter active game where students can travel down the Underground Railroad and make choices along the way.


Harriet Tubman& The Underground Railroad

This site has book lists, vocabulary words, crossword puzzles, maps, photos, classroom activities and much more.

teacher resources17

Underground Railroad (History Channel) (2002)

A NationDivided: American Civil War.

American History for Kids; Slavery and Plantation LifeDirector:Christopher Lewis

Harriet Tubman: Animated Hero Classics (1996)

Race to Freedom: The Story of the Underground Railroad (1994)

Slavery and the Making of AmericaStarring:Morgan Freeman Narrator

Teacher Resources
more teacher resources
More Teacher Resources


  • Stories from American History on Music Video "On An Underground Railroad“ lyrics and music by Kinny Landrum
  • “Slave Work Songs” by Colonial WilliamsburgThis site has a list of different songs with the lyrics. Each song is able to be listened to from the site.
  • Slave Shout Songs From the Coast of Georgia by Mcintosh County Shouters
teacher student resources
Teacher/Student Resources


  • The Underground Railroad for kids : from slavery to freedom with 21 activities by Carson, Mary Kay.
  • Many thousand gone : African Americans from slavery to freedom /by Hamilton, Virginia 1936-2002
  • Jip : his story /by Paterson, Katherine
  • A good night for freedom /by Morrow, Barbara Olenyik.
  • Amos Fortune : free man /by Yates, Elizabeth, 1905-
  • An apple for Harriet Tubman /by Turner, Glennette Tilley.
  • Harriet Tubman and the underground railroad /by Martin, Michael, 1948-
  • The Underground railroad /by Hudson, Wade.
  • I came as a stranger : the Underground Railroad /by Prince, Bryan, 1952-
  • The Emancipation Proclamation /by Armentrout, David, 1962-
student resources
Student Resources





more student resources
5. TO BE A SLAVE by Julius Lester (Puffin Books, 2000)

6. Time For Kids: Harriet Tubman: A Woman of Courage by Editors of TIME For Kids

7. . If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad (Paperback)

8. Encyclopedia of the Underground Railroad by J. Blaine Hudson

More Student Resources