Underground Railroad 

Introduction   ı   Tasks   ı   Process   ı   Underground Railroad Links   ı   Presentation Evaluation


The Underground Railroad was not a real railroad.  It was a network of people working secretly to help slaves escape to freedom in the Northern States and Canada.  This network of escape routes, or "Freedom Trail," operated for many years before and during the Civil War.

Escape routes stretched from the southern slave states into the North and on to Canada.  Fugitives usually traveled secretly at night, and were hidden in safe houses, barns, and haylofts in the day.  Thousands of antislavery campaigners, both black and white, risked their lives to operate the railway.


You will explore the Underground Railroad links and complete each task listed below.  Then, after your research is complete, you will create a PowerPoint presentation and present your findings.  Here are your tasks of the webquest:

Task 1 (At least 1 slide):

To present to your PowerPoint audience, begin with your introduction.  Write a two to three sentence statement that describes your thoughts and feelings (your reaction) about what you have learned:

  • about slavery

  • about courage

  • about the Underground Railroad

Then, in your next paragraph, explain what is meant by the term "Underground Railroad."

  • Is it really a railroad with with a train and tracks?

  • Who is a conductor on this railroad?

  • Explain some other words associated with railroads and how they are used as secret code words.

To the Railroad...

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Task 2 (At least 1 slide):

Adding to your introduction in task 1, now describe what life was like for a slave.  Write a paragraph answering some of the following:

  • Why did they runaway?

  • How did they escape?

  • How and when did they travel?

  • Describe some of the methods they used to remain undetected.

  • Describe some of the routes they used.

  • Who were the people that helped them, and why?

Be sure to add any additional information that you think is interesting and informative.


To the Railroad...

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Task 3 (At least 4 slides - 2 per person):

There were many important people to the Underground Railroad. 

Choose two of these important people from the list below and write a brief biography about each.  Include pictures and be sure to explain who they were, and what they did for the Railroad.  Include at least five important events / accomplishments in their proper chronological order.

Important people include:

  • John Brown

  • Anthony Burns

  • Ellen and William Craft

  • Levi Coffin

  • Frederick Douglas

  • Abby Foster

  • Thomas Garrett

  • William Lloyd Garrison

  • Lucretia Mott

  • Wendell Phillips

  • John S. Rock

  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton

  • Maria Stewart

  • Harriet Beecher Stowe

  • Harriet Tubman

  • Sojourner Truth

  • David Walker

  • Booker T. Washington


Must see links:

Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad

The Life of Frederick Douglass

African American History Challenge

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

More Railroad links...


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Task 4 (At least 1 slide):

Create a timeline about the Underground Railroad.  When did it begin?  What were some important events?


Railroad links...




Task 5 (At least 1 slide):

Pick a slave state location from which slaves escaped and pinpoint a final destination.  Research the route the slaves traveled to freedom.  Create a map to show the route you researched.




Must see links:

Aboard the Underground Railroad
visit sites along the routes

Underground Railroad Routes in 1860

Underground Railroad Routes in New York State

More Railroad links...

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Task 6 (At least 2 slides):

Imagine you are a runaway slave in pre-Civil war times Travel back in time and write an historical fiction short story about your journey.  Remember that your story needs to be as historically accurate as possible.  AND use what you learned and researched in tasks 1-4 to enhance your fictional story.  You may use photographs along with text to enhance your story.

Check out these sites for ideas to help you write your historical fiction story:

National Geographic's Underground Railroad

The Train to Freedom

More Railroad links..



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Explore the web sites throughout the webquest with the specific tasks in mind.  Read carefully the information the sites contain, and explore their related links listed.  Be thorough in your research, and explore all of the sites listed.  Use note cards for all your research. 

Using your research create your Power Point presentation.  You should have no fewer than 10 slides included in your presentation.  Don't forget to have a reference slide listing all your resources (that includes ALL your pictures as well).

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Underground Railroad Links


Presentation Evaluation:

Task 1 - 30 points
Task 2 - 30 points
Task 3 - 80 points
Task 4 - 30 points
Task 5 - 30 points
Task 6 - 40 points
Other requirements:
   Bibliography slide - 50 points
   Note cards will be collected - 50 points
   At least 6 pictures used in presentation - 30 points
   At least 6 examples of animation used - 30 points

Total - 400 points


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