Begin the lesson by explaining to students a brief history of how the Underground Railroad came about. Explain that the Underground Railroad was a secret organization whose goal was to help slaves escape to the Northern states and to Canada. Add that the Underground Railroad was not an actual railroad and that railway terms were used as code words to describe a network of hideouts, homes, and abolitionists that worked together to help slaves escape. Continue the lesson by discussing one of the most famous “conductors,” Harriet Tubman. Give students a brief history about who she is and her contribution to the Underground Railroad.
Introduce William Still and the Fugitive Slave Act. Have students understand that he helped arrange for many slaves to escape to Canada and also wrote a book documenting many details we know today about the Underground Railroad. Guide students in analyzing a set of pictures showing the difficulty and dangers slaves took along the Underground Railroad. Then, have them write 3 emotions that come to their mind. Students then respond to 6 true or false statements about the Underground Railroad. Have them drag the correct symbols to display their answers.