Field Trips

Prized Possession: Escaping on the Underground Railroad Pre-Visit Activity

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Grade Level:
Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
Social Studies
Common Core Standards:
6.SL.1, 6.SL.1.a, 6.SL.1.b, 6.SL.1.c, 6.SL.1.d, 6.SL.2, 6.SL.3, 7.SL.1, 7.SL.1.a, 7.SL.1.b, 7.SL.1.c, 7.SL.1.d, 7.SL.2, 7.SL.3, 8.SL.1, 8.SL.1.a, 8.SL.1.b, 8.SL.1.c, 8.SL.1.d, 8.SL.2, 8.SL.3, 6-8.WHST.9


Title: Prized Possession: Escaping on the Underground Railroad
Goal: Prepare students for their visit to the new Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center. 
Background: A decade and a half before slavery was abolished in the United States and a little more than 100 miles from the safety of Pennsylvania, Harriet Tubman operated on the edge of freedom. Born in Dorchester County, Maryland, in 1822. Tubman emancipated herself from slavery in 1849 at age 27. She earned the nickname “Moses” for risking her own life about 13 times to guide more than 70 people—many of them beloved family and friends she had left behind—from lives in slavery to new lives of freedom..
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards: D2.His.2.6-8. Classify series of historical events and developments as examples of change and/or continuity.
Resources for Instruction: Small sticky notes and copy of the book, Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad by Susan Dudley Gold (pictured here).
1. Ask students, to answer the following questions: One thing you would never throw away? Have them write their answer on a sticky note. 
2. Content. Put students in groups of four, “Going Underground” – distribute a copy of this chapter, Chapter 2 (pages 18 – 29) to each group. 
3. Guided Questions. Students should respond aloud to 2-3 of the following questions after reading “Going Underground” in their small group.
a. Describe a time when you stood up for something you believed in.
b. Describe a time when you helped a friend or a stranger?
c. Describe a time when you had to rely on someone else for support.
d. Describe a time when you had to move away. How did it make you feel?
e. What does freedom mean to you?
4. Ask students to create a list as a group responding to: If you had to take a long trip or journey:
a. What five items would you bring along? Why
b. Who would you want on your trip? Why
Additional Resources: Underground Railroad Network to Freedom -


Last updated: December 21, 2016