Underground Railroad Lesson Plan


Tolman Senior High School

Pawtucket, Rhode Island      

Submitted by: Charlie Donnelly, Library Media Specialist                                                               


This lesson will be a collaborative effort between the Library Media specialist and the US History and/or American Literature classroom teacher(s.)


Course: US History/American Lit

Unit: Underground Railroad

Timeline: 3 classroom sessions

Lesson Goal:


Students will gain an understanding of the myths and realities associated with the Underground Railroad


GSE/Content Standards:


National Center for History in the Schools Standard 3 (Historical Analysis and Interpretation)

NCEE New Standards Writing E2b (Response to Literature)

NCEE New Standards Writing E2c (Narrative Account)



Whiteboard and writing instrument

Library Media Center


Instructional Procedures:


Students will be asked what they know about the underground railroad; the responses will be written on a whiteboard.


Students will be divided into groups of 4 or 5 and be given an assignment to either confirm or debunk the items on the whiteboard as well as to find out new information.   Library instruction in finding library and internet resources related to the Underground Railroad will be given by the library media specialist. A list of fiction and nonfiction books will provided to the students.


The students will be divided into groups of 4 or 5.


The class will then be reconvened and the list of Underground Railroad facts will be reviewed. Students will either add or remove items from the list.


US History: Students will rewrite their textbook’s description of the underground railroad based upon what they learned.


American Lit: students will be given the option to either produce a response to literature or produce a narrative account revolving around the Underground Railroad (Writing E2c)





Students will be asked “what did you learn today that surprised you or challenged your understanding of the Underground Railroad?”