The Underground Railroad Classroom Activities

Book review

From School Library Journal

Gr 3–5—A fun, informative venue for learning about significant places in U.S. history. Clear, engaging writing and a dynamic, easy-to-follow layout go far to explain the significance of each symbol and its place in American history. Occasional "Freedom Fact!" sidebars call readers' attention to incidental details "Before Reading" and "After Reading" questions and activities—a natural choice for use in the classroom.

Classroom Activities

Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
What was the Underground Railroad?

How did people help each other on the Underground Railroad?

Who traveled?

How did they travel?

Where did they travel from and where did they travel to?

How did the Underground Railroad help the slaves?

Why did people risk their lives to help guide the slaves?

Who were some of the major people who helped form and run the Underground Railroad?

Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story.


 Identify basic similarities and differences between two texts on the same topic (e.g., in illustrations, descriptions, or procedures).


Choose two or more books on the Underground Railroad to compare and contrast.



How were the major events and people described in the books: similarities and differences.

Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe.


 Explain how specific images…contribute to and clarify a text.


Interpret information presented visually…and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.


 Compare and contrast the overall structure…of events, ideas, concepts, or information in two or more texts.


Write information/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and prove some sense of closure.


Participate in shared research and writing projects.

Students will investigate the role of the Quakers in helping the escaping slaves.



What are some factors people had to consider as they thought about escaping from slavery?

Determine the main ideas and supporting details of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.


Divide the class into small groups and inform them that they’ll be gathering information about the Underground Railroad to develop brief skits about what it was like for the escaping slaves. Explain that their goal will be to try to gain an appreciation for what escaping slaves had to endure in order to achieve freedom in the North.