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Lesson Plans

Even though these lesson plans are catered towards a specific site, you can still learn valuable experiences about the Underground Railroad. Please click on the link for more details. Please check back periodically as we continue to add to the list.

 
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Join local abolitionists and conductors as you follow in the footsteps of freedom seekers working their way north to freedom. Delaware, with its availability of many types of transportation, its unique location on the border of freedom and its population of Quakers committed to the abolition of slavery, played a major role in the escape system known as the Underground Railroad. Explore the hiding places and routes used by local abolitionists in Odessa to conceal and conduct runaways along their journey to freedom.

 
 
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There are several lesson plans included with this project. Each lesson plan includes procedures, background information, and transcriptions of the documents. Please note that the transcriptions include the original spelling of the words in the documents. These plans may be presented as written or they can serve as a springboard to stimulate more ideas for the classroom.

 
 
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This lesson plan looks at Fort Donelson and the Underground Railroad. Students will be able to understand the meaning of the Underground Railroad, recognize the significance of codes and become familiar with groups who helped freedom seekers. To learn more just click on the link below.

 
 
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“War for Freedom” brings teachers and students close to the day-to-day lives and thoughts of black Americans moving from enslavement to emancipation. Each War for Freedom unit guides students to do research with original historic documents, to re-create moments of drama and personal choice, and to synthesize their learning and imagination in creative collaborative projects. Fort Pulaski National Monument is a site that looks to tell the story of African-Americans and their war for freedom during the Civil War in and around Savannah. Click on the link below to view Fort Pulaski's web-based War for Freedom curriculum.

 
 
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This lesson plan is part of the National Park Service's "Teaching with Museum Collections" project and teaches about Douglass' life during and after slavery using the park's online museum. The plans include Douglass' "Hat" and "Continuing Douglass' Footsteps".

 
 
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Philadelphia is where Americans began their quest for freedom and independence from Great Britain. It is also the place where George Washington served two terms as our nation's first President. While in office he signed into law the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793. This notorious law mandated the return of enslaved persons to their owners and made it a crime to aid in the escape of the enslaved. Nine enslaved people from the Mount Vernon plantation were brought to Philadelphia to serve the President and his family. Two of those individuals were Oney and Hercules. They both found their way to freedom before Washington completed his second term in office. To learn more about this story and others, click here. An Underground Railroad lesson plan is also attached.

 
 
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These teaching components contain lesson plans and supporting material, such as images, scripted trials, other documents and online resources. To learn about Indiana’s role in Slavery and the Underground Railroad take a look at “Accessing Indiana’s Past: Isaac Blackford and 19th Century Slavery Cases” and “Slave Cases: Teaching the Underground Railroad”. If you’re interested in seeing a webcast, check out Sojourner Truth or the Polly Strong case.

 
 
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This website is organized around thirteen defining migrations that have formed and transformed African Americans and the nation. Each migration has a bibliography (references) and a gateway of related websites.

 
 
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This lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places and is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into the classrooms across the country. It could be used in sectional conflict leading to the Civil War or a variety of civics issues. Students will study the role the Old Courthouse in St. Louis played in national events of the 19th century. The “Dred Scott” case played a major role for all African Americans. To learn how, click on the link below.

 
 
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This lesson plan looks at John Rankin and the Underground Railroad. It includes several lessons: “Is It Breaking the Law?”, “Freedom Timeline”, and “Make a Choice”.  Just click on the link below to get started.

 
 
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The goal of this curriculum based education program is to illustrate the reality of slavery through firsthand accounts by those who endured it. This lesson looks at Jameson Jenkins: Conductor on the Underground Railroad.

 
 
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The "Freedom Seekers" lesson plan provides the students with an overview of Charles and Margaret Carroll, Maryland plantation owners, and their industrialized plantation, the Mount Clare house, so that students can fully examine and deconstruct the enslaved population and: a) how they lived and worked on the Carroll's estate; and b) the various ways that they negotiated for their freedom.

 
 
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Charles and Anna Marie McClew established this farm in 1850. The house, barn and orchards have remain unchanged for over 150 years. This farm offers an authentic setting for sharing Underground Railroad history.

 
 
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This lesson plan set consists of four parts: each of which focuses on a different individual. Although the lessons are geared toward fulfilling certain Virginian Standards of Learning, they can be adjusted to accommodate other grade levels. The lessons may be used either collectively or individually. Included with these lesson plans are background essays, worksheets, photographs, and other primary source materials.

 
 
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These materials were developed to meet the needs of many different classrooms and to give teachers flexibility. They were written with middle-school children in mind, but students vary enormously by age, reading ability, emotional readiness for a difficult topic, and previous knowledge.

 
 
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Here you will find materials for teachers and students related to Pennsylvania history, including primary sources, lesson plans, readings, online exhibits, information on educators' workshops, and much more.

 
 
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"A Slave, A Plantation, A War" is a lesson plan that teaches about life on a plantation in the south and how the Civil War changed everything.

 
 
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This on-line exercise looks at fourteen objects from the collection of the Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent. They each reveal a different story about the quest for freedom from slavery. Some objects, like the American Anti-Slavery Society Declaration and the presentation pitcher, tell stories about African Americans and whites working together through organizations to end slavery. Others, like the shackles, reveal the inhumanity of slavery. The story of the free labor child’s dress is an example of non-violent resistance as a way to challenge slavery. It stands in stark contrast to the story told by the portrait of John Brown, who supported violence as a strategy to end slavery. The dramatic story behind the coverlet reveals how the network of Underground Railroad activists worked to support people seeking freedom from slavery. Click on the link below to get started.

 
 
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Turn your students into 'history detectives' with educational resources at Rokeby. These include letters, activities, primary source documents and a multi-media kit for teachers and students. The three topics include the Underground Railroad, Speaking Truth to PowerFrederick Douglass in Vermont.

 
 
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William Henry Seward was recognized as an abolitionist leader and helped to shape the national debate on slavery in the years prior to the Civil War. His home in Auburn, New York, was one of several centers for Underground Railroad activity in Cayuga County. Frances Miller Seward, William's wife, oversaw the care of the Auburn home, sheltered freedom seekers and provided educational opportunities for African Americans. In 1859, the Sewards offered seven acres of farmland nearby to Harriet Tubman as a permanent home. This document-based learning allows students to interpret historical themes and concepts using primary sources. Students will become aware of the importance of words and images in expressing debate on public issues and how the Sewards advocated the end of slavery. Click on the link for more information and on the attachments for the lesson plans.

 
 
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These lesson plans were developed by teachers to provide educators with practical exercises using resource materials and bibliographies for children and adolescents up to the 12th grade.