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Disciplinary Unit: Lesson Plan 1

I. General Information:
Grade Level: 4th Grade
Discipline: Social Studies/ELA
Unit Topic: Slavery and the Underground Railroad
Time Frame: 45 Minutes (four days)
Text: Slavery in the United States by Rebecca Rissman
Other Materials: Vocabulary words on index cards, iPad (for each
student),and post it notes, double-entry diary sheet, chart paper

II. Essential Questions

1. How does history shape the present?
2. How have various groups of people influenced the development of America?
3. What can we learn from analyzing major historical events?

Essential Understandings:
1. Slavery was an American cultural, political, and economic issue.
2. Slavery divided America both regionally (North and South) as well as
philosophically from the colonial period until the Civil War.

III. Standards/Indicators

Social Studies:

Standard 5.0 History


4. Analyze how the institution of slavery impacted individuals and groups in Maryland.

a) Compare the lives of slave families and free blacks
b) Describe the anti-slavery movement in Maryland.
c) Describe the growth of the Underground Railroad

English Language Arts:

Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and
when drawing inferences from the text.

Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text,
including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs,
diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain
how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.
IV. Lesson Objectives
Students will be able to analyze the impact of slavery in the United States.
Students will be able to to use information within a text to answer questions.
Students will be able to closely read a text to determine the causes of slavery.

V. Evaluation/Assessment:
Formal: Students will create a movie trailer on slavery or the Underground
Railroad. Students and teacher will create a success criteria before they start their movie
trailer. Students will be expected to use text evidence in their movie trailer. movie
trailer. Above grade level students will create a movie trailer on their own.

Informal: Througout the lesson various informal assessments will be admiistered

to check for understanding before their formal assessment. Teacher will ask questions
during the lesson to prompt responses.

VI. Procedures:
1. Students will receive an envelope with words that are related to slavery and the
Underground Railroad and complete a word sort.
2. Students will sort the words into categories or look at what all of them have in
common (Theme).
3. When listening to the students talk about the words and what categories they have
put them in, this will help me see their prior knowledge on slavery and the
Underground Railroad.
4. Tell students that will be exploring this part of history to examine what life was like
in the past, what caused this event to happen.
5. Share essential questions and understandings.
6. Students will share what they think that they mean and discuss the vocabulary in
each of the questions and understandings.

Day 1:
1. Show students the cover of the book on Epic or students can pull up the book
on their iPads.
2. Explain purpose for reading: We will be reading this book to learn more
about slavery and the Underground Railroad in the United States from
beginning to the end.
3. Read the text aloud or students can listen to the text with headphones on
4. After reading: Ask the students what was this text was about? Students will
share their response on Seesaw.

Day 2:
1. Give students the purpose for reading: Today will reread this text to find
interesting facts and why you thought it was interesting. We will be reading
to find out the interesting facts and why they were interesting to the student.
2. Model how to annotate with the first Chapter, stopping after each paragraph
and writing down interesting facts and why they were interesting.
3. Students will work with a partner or group to closely read the rest of the text
annotating interesting facts about slavery or the Underground Railroad.
Students may use graphic organizer or post It notes to mark the text.
4. I will be pulling students who may need my support in findng interesting
5. Students will come back together and students will go into groups of 4 to
share what they found out today.

1. Describe the interactions that took place between blacks and whites in early
colonial America.
2. What was the economic impact of emancipation on the South?
3. Why did the Northern States question slavery?
4. What was life like for enslaved Americans?
5. What were conditions like on the slave ships?
Day 3:
1. Explain to the students that we will be rereading the text and our purpose for
today is to answer questions about the text using text evidence.
2. Post the following questions on chart paper before the lesson.
Describe the interactions that took place between blacks and whites in early
colonial America.
How did slaves come to the U.S.?
Describe the living conditions of most slaves.
Why did slavery exist?
Why were there so many more slaves in the South than the North?
What were some of the challenges that slaves faced while traveling to the
3. Introduce the questions to the students before they will reread the
text for the third time.
4. Students will mark spots in the text that answer the questions.
5. After reading the text, students will walk around the room and place
post its on the charts answering the questions.

Day 4:
1. We will look at the questions and answers from the previous day. These
questions will help the students create their trailer.
2. Students and teacher will create a success criteria for creating their movie
trailer about slavery and the Underground Railroad.
3. Within the success criteria there will be a spot for students to include text
evidence in their trailer.
4. Graphic organizer will be provided to help students create their trailer.
5. Students will create their movie trailer.

Closure: Students will receive the words again from the 1st day. Students will take
the words and sort them into categories again to see if there categories changed from
the 1st day. We will talk about the categories that students have placed the words into
within their groups. Then, students will work in groups of four. Students will watch each
others videos and share feedback on their video according to the success criteria.
Explain to the students that they will get the chance to read like a historian and look at
others pererspectives on slavery and the Underground Railroad.

Wicketts, L. (n.d.). Slavery in America: Building Background Knowledge. Retrieved April

18, 2017, from