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Day 2: Conductors of Freedom:The Role of Abolitionists and Quakers in the UGR Movement


Language Arts, Social Studies  




Title – All Aboard! Exploring the Secrets of the Underground Railroad – An Interdisciplinary Unit

Day 2 Lesson: Conductors of Freedom: The Role of Abolitionists and Quakers in the UGR Movement

By – Elizabeth Hodgson and Rachel Vogelpohl
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Secondary Subjects – Language Arts
Grade Level – 4


Social Studies
1.04 – Evaluate ways the people of North Carolina used, modified, and adapted to the physical environment, past and present.
3.02 – Identify people, symbols, events, and documents associated with North Carolina’s history.
3.04 – Compare and contrast ways in which people, goods, and ideas moved in the past with their movement today.
4.02 – Identify religious groups that have influenced life in North Carolina and assess the impact of their beliefs.
4.05 – Identify and assess the role of prominent persons in North Carolina, past and present.

English Language Arts
1.04 – Increase reading and writing vocabulary through: wide reading, word study, knowledge of homophones, synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, knowledge of multiple meanings of words, writing process elements, writing as a tool for learning, seminars, book clubs, discussions, examining the author’s craft.
2.02 – Interact with the text before, during, and after reading, listening, and viewing by:
setting a purpose using prior knowledge and text information, making predictions, formulating questions, locating relevant information, making connections with previous experiences, information, and ideas.
2.05 – Make inferences, draw conclusions, make generalizations, and support by referencing the text.


  • President of the Underground Railroad
  • “Character Trait and Evidence Analysis” graphic organizer
  • Mendenhall Plantation focus sheets
  • Bag lunches
  • Pencils

    Character Trait & Evidence Analysis

    Focus Sheet: Mendenhall Plantation

    1. Where is Mendenhall Plantation located?

    2. Who owned Mendenhall Plantation?

    3. How did the plantation owners live? (Describe an ordinary day on the plantation.)

    4. What were the plantation owners’ views on slavery?

    5. Mendenhall Plantation was a stop on the _____________ ______________.

    6. How did the plantation owners move slaves during the Civil War?

    7. How did runaway slaves know that Mendenhall Plantation was a “safe place”?

    8. An additional fact I learned during my visit to Mendenhall Plantation is:


    The reading and completion of the graphic organizer described below should be completed by 8:30 a.m., at which time the students should get ready to leave for the day’s field trip.

    President of the Underground Railroad by G. Swain
    Read President of the Underground Railroad by G. Swain, a fictional account of the life of Levi Coffin, a Quaker from North Carolina considered to be the president of the UGR. The story recounts his life and the events that helped develop his resolve to help the slaves escape to freedom.

    Character Trait and Evidence Analysis Chart
    In groups of 3-4, students must discuss and complete a Character Trait and Evidence Analysis Graphic Organizer about Levi Coffin.

    Field Trip to Mendenhall Plantation
    For the remainder of the day, the class will take a field trip to Mendenhall Plantation, a Quaker plantation in Guilford Country that was a depot of the UGR. Students will complete a focus sheet while they tour the plantation–a focus sheet of questions and clues that students will need to answer based on information they will gather at the plantation.

    Multiple Intelligences:

    Verbal/Linguistic: (reading, discussing story)
    Interpersonal: (working in groups to brainstorm, discuss story)
    Kinesthetic: (field trip and activities at the plantation)
    Note: Activity also appeals to auditory (listening to reading, discussion, field trip guide), visual (viewing of graphic organizer and plantation exhibits), and tactual (participating in hands-on activities during the field trip) learners.


    Completion of field trip focus sheet
    Teacher observation

    E-Mail Elizabeth Hodgson and Rachel Vogelpohl !

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