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Day 8: Route to Freedom:Mapping North Carolina’s UGR routes


Art, Computers & Internet, Language Arts, Social Studies  




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

Day 8 Lesson: Route to Freedom: Mapping North Carolina’s UGR routes

Note, this is one part of a larger unit which can be found here .

By – Elizabeth Hodgson and Rachel Vogelpohl
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Secondary Subjects – Art, Language Arts, Computers / Internet
Grade Level – 4


Social Studies
1.01 – Locate, in absolute and relative terms, major landforms, bodies of water and natural resources in North Carolina.
1.02 – Describe and compare physical and cultural characteristics of the regions.
1.04 – Evaluate ways the people of North Carolina used, modified, and adapted to the physical environment, past and present.
1.05 – Assess human movement as it relates to the physical environment.
3.04 – Compare and contrast ways in which people, goods, and ideas moved in the past with their movement today.

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.
2.07 – Determine usefulness of information and ideas consistent with purpose.
4.03 – Make oral and written presentations using visual aids with an awareness of purpose an audience.
4.10 – Use technology as a tool to gather, organize, and present information.

2.10 – Use search strategies to locate information electronically.
3.04 – Create a multimedia project and cite sources of copyrighted material.
3.05 – Evaluate information found via telecommunications for content and usefulness.


  • Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky by F. Ringgold
  • Computer with internet access
  • WebQuest focus sheet
  • KidPix software
  • Traditional art supplies: construction paper, crepe paper, glue, markers, paint, glitter, crayons, clay, scissors, colored pencils, etc.
  • Digital camera


    Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky by F. Ringgold
    Read Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky, a fictional account of the harrowing escape of two young slaves who escapes to the North on the UGR by following the codes for the routes that help lead her to safety.

    Mapping Project
    With their groups, students will create a map of North Carolina and its major geographic regions. They will design an UGR escape route through and out of North Carolina, paying close attention to the geographic region(s) through which their route travels. A key must be included that details the pros and cons of traveling on the route during the day or at night, the time of year to make the journey, and the forms of transportation that could be employed for that particular region(s). The key is to clarify the route for the observers of the map, and it is also to show the groups’ understanding of the material.

    To create their maps, which will be hung and presented, students may choose KIDPIX software, Microsoft Word (for written descriptions), or traditional art supplies.

    Presentation of Mapping Projects
    The mapping projects will be hung in the classroom and each group will have to present and explain its map. This will be a period of discussion, which each group acting as the experts on its particular UGR-route representation. The “audience” will have a chance to comment on, critique, and ask questions, and each presenting group will be assessed on the knowledge of their map and their knowledge of the variables that would affect travel on its designed route.

    Multiple Intelligences:

    Verbal/Linguistic: (reading, discussing story, discussing map with group members, presentation of map)
    Visual/Spatial: (creation of map project)
    Interpersonal: (group work on computer, brainstorming with group members, working with group members to create map project)
    Note: Activity also appeals to auditory (listening to story, discussion, and presentations), visual (computer research, viewing map presentations), and tactual (navigating computer keyboard/mouse, creation of the map) learners.


    Two separate assessments:
    1. Assessment of students’ map projects, using the map rubric .
    2. Assessment of students’ presentations, using the presentation rubric .

    E-Mail Elizabeth Hodgson and Rachel Vogelpohl !

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