Underground Railroad Webquest
A Webquest for 5th grade English and Social Studies
Designed by
Rachael Gallant

Rachael Gallant's email

Introduction   The Task   The Process   Evaluation   Conclusion   Credits and References

You are a former slave that needs to convince a family member to runaway from the plantation they live on. You have been a passenger of The Underground Railroad, you know how hard the travel is, and you know the risks. You have decided to become a conductor on the UGRR in order to escort your loved one to safety. You are willing to risk your own freedom for the freedom of your loved one. First you must make sure they are willing to go with you. You need to figure out what you're going to say to them....

The Task

By researching the UGRR, you will figure out WHERE your loved one is likely to be from and WHY they must leave the plantation they work on. You will write a persuasive letter that must convince them to become a passenger on the UGRR.

The Process
You will research the UGRR by visiting and exploring the sites below. While you're exploring these sites, write down any facts that you think will be important to know when you write your letter.

Here are a list of questions that need to be answered in your letter:
Now you are ready to visit these sites and find out what you need to know to convince your loved one to become a passenger on the UGRR. Be sure to write down the answers to the questions above so you can use them when you write your letter.

Underground Railroad: Escape From Slavery

Underground Railroad: Questions and Answers

Now that you have visited these sites, you can begin to write your letter in Microsoft Word.
Be sure that you answer ALL the questions listed above.
When you are answering the questions, it's important that you answer them in a style you would use when writing a letter to someone.
DO NOT just list the questions and answer them!
Keep these things in mind while writing  the letter:

Below is rubric that tells you how I will grade your letter.
Student has not answered any questions.
Student has answered a few questions
student has answered most questions
Student has answered all questions
Student has  not  written  in the style of a  letter
Student has written in the format of a letter however, the letter has been written with no clear audience, topic, or purpose
The student has written in the style of a letter that has a clear topic, audience, and purpose.
The student has written in the style of a letter that has a clear topic, audience, and purpose. Furthermore, the student has used persuasive language and seems natural to the reader.
There are 8 points possible. Here is the grade breakdown:
8 points = A+    7 points = A   6 points = B   5 points = C   4 points  = D   3 points or below = F

Congratulations on completing this Webquest! The subject of this Webquest is serious and there were times, I'm sure, when you felt sad or angry while learning about slavery and the Underground Railroad. Here are some questions I would like you to think about on your own. If you have more questions or you want to discuss your answers with me, just come on up to my desk and we can have a conversation.

Why is it important to learn about our country's past?

If you were really a runaway slave trying to communicate with another slave, would you have used a letter as a form of communication? Why or why not?

Credits and References
Thanks to Judes Tumuhairwe for helping me get the picture to actually show up on the website.

Here are links to the websites used:

Scholastic's Underground Railroad Interactive Website
Duckster's Underground Railroad Informational Site
PBS's Teacher's resource guide to Underground Railroad

Here are books I have read as background to this subject:

Allen, Thomas B., and Carla Bauer. Harriet Tubman, Secret Agent: How Daring Slaves and Free Blacks Spied for the Union during the Civil War. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2006. Print.
Koestler-Grack, Rachel A. The Story of Harriet Tubman. Philadelphia: Chelsea Clubhouse, 2004. Print.
Poulakidas, Georgene. The Civil War. New York, NY: PowerKids/Primary Source, 2006. Print.