The Underground Railroad:Webquest

by Susan G. Barhan & Eleanor  J.Williams

This lesson was developed as a way to engage upper elementary students directly in learning about the Underground Railroad.  It was designed to help them create their own learning experience.

   The Underground Railroad contributed significantly to creating the United States as we know it today.  It is important that we, as a society, understand the variety of persons and events involved in its creation, maintenance, use and success.  There is no better example of the power that teamwork can achieve.


 Students will be divided into groups of 3 - 4 students

Each group will choose a role or combination of roles from the following list:


Freedom Seeker       




Bulletin Board (Teacher Created) with

  • map of free and slave states with UGRR Routes overlayed
  • pictures of famous people involved in the UGRR
  • pictures of stations and hiding places along the routes

Resource Station in close proximity to the Bulletin Board

  • encyclopedias
  • atlases
  • Get on Board by Jim Haskins; Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter
  • computer stations (Recommendation is 1 station for each group of students)
  • special passes available for the media center, art and music rooms
  • Videos:
    "Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad" Video. You Are There Series
    "Underground Railroad: Escape from Slavery" United Learning

Computer Stations

Use the following sites for your research

Taking The Train To Freedom

Aboard the Underground Railroad

Operating the Underground Railroad

Buxton Historic Site & Museum

Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site

Levi Coffin House

History Happens

Harriet Tubman

Ohio's Underground Railroad to Freedom

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center


For Teachers

For Students


Your final grade will depend upon the following criteria:
  • the use of specific vocabulary necessary to convey this topic in your chosen role
  • the documentation of the facts you have discovered in your research
  • the level of your creativity and originality
  • the depth of your research
  • the presentation of your project to the class

You will receive two grades, a group and an individual grade.


Freedom in the U.S. for all people regardless of race was not without much bloodshed in the Civil War. It took another hundred years to push equality of rights forward in the civil rights movement. There is more left to do.

Last Revised: 07/15/03