A WebQuest for 4th Grade (Social Studies)
Have you ever heard of the
Underground Railroad? The
Underground Railroad could be
considered a mystery, a huge
secret, even a crime. Who or
what kind of people were
involved? Where did it take
place? Was it really a train?
We are going on a journey
back in time to the 1800’s to 0
discover all of the secrets of
the Underground Railroad.
As a group we are going to fill in a KWL
Chart to find out what we think the
Underground Railroad is. We will revisit the
KWL Chart when the WebQuest is to
finished and discuss what you have learned. “Daddy” Hall (1783-1900)
Escaped on the Underground
Once this is complete, working independently, Railroad and went to
you are going to investigate key elements of
the Underground Railroad. There will be 6
activities. Websites are provided to help you
complete your research. For activity 5 you
will be placed in a group to compare the
information you gathered, and prepare a
presentation for the class. Activity 6 requires
you to write a 5 paragraph essay describing
the journey of a runaway slave to freedom.
► Before you get started, watch the following video.
► After you watch the video there will be 4 activities for
you to complete independently.
► You will be given an activity folder to keep your work
in. Each day you will return your folder to your
Included in your activity folder will be a Learning Log for
you to complete during the last 5 minutes of the class
► When all four activities are completed, look for the
group list to find out which group you are in.
► You will then meet with your group. Please make sure
Harriet Ross Tubman
Conductor of the
you have your folder. Underground Railroad for
► Activity 5 will be completed with your group. This
activity is a group presentation to the entire class.
► For the final activity, activity six, you will individually
write a 5 paragraph essay.
Good luck! If you have any problems, please see your
► Included in your folder will be a Learning Log for you to
complete each day.
► In this log you will write a short reflection on the material
that you researched / learned that day. Be sure to discuss
how the information you learned relates to what you
originally thought about the Underground Railroad.
Is it different from what you expected?
Did you know this information already?
Does it change your opinion or outlook on the Underground
► This is a daily activity – you have the last 5 minutes of
class to write.
► NOTE: If anything that you researched is confusing you,
please feel free to write about it in your Learning Log.
Activity One Terms
1. Underground Railroad
To get started we need to know the terms used
with the Underground Railroad. Using the Gipe 3. Quilt
Technique look up the following terms and write 4. Safe House
the definition in a 4 sentence paragraph. 5. Conductor
6. North Star
7. Drinking Gourd
Four sentence paragraph 8. Lantern
Sentence 1 – word is properly used
9. Spiritual Songs
Sentence 2 – provides attributes of a word
Sentence 3 – defines word
Sentence 4 – personal connection to the word 11. Stations
Patrols were groups of white men who caught
runaway slaves for money. They were people
who did not own land and whose only job was
to patrol the roads to catch runaways for their
masters. Once they were caught patrols would http://www.osblackhistory.com/glossary.php
get a good reward. This is how they made http://pathways.thinkport.org/secrets/language.cfm
You have decided that you want help runaway slaves find
freedom. You have a friend who owns a station house on the Underground
Railroad. He tells you that another station house is needed between his
house and the next stop. He says that your house is in a perfect spot for a
station house. You and your family have decided to accept the challenge.
You need to find a spot in your house to hide the runaway slaves while they
► Your assignment is to draw a diagram of
the floor plan of the house you live in.
Use the graph paper in your folder and a
► Find a spot to hide the slaves. (You
may need to move or add a few walls.)
► Add the changes to your floor plan with
a red pencil.
► Write a paragraph explaining the details
of your hiding spot. Be sure to include
how it is hidden, how you get into the
spot and how many people it will hold.
Since you have decided to become a station
master, you need to identify your house as a safe
station to the conductor.
► Look up the symbols used by the station houses
using the links below.
► Write a paragraph identifying the symbols.
► Design a quilt square with a hidden message
using this website:
Draw it on the paper provided in your folder.
► On the back, write another paragraph explaining
the hidden message in your quilt square.
You are a conductor for the Underground Railroad. You need
to pick a state where you want to gather runaway slaves to
lead them north. You are going to guide them to
1. Using Google maps identify the path you are going to take. http://maps.google.com/
2. Calculate the distance you will travel each day.
3. Mark the total distance you are going to be traveling on your worksheet.
4. Using Microsoft Excel, create a line graph showing how many miles you travel each week of
your journey and how long the journey will take. Your worksheet will explain how to calculate
5. Please Note:
1. The average person walks 3-4 miles per hour in the daylight on a clear path.
2. Remember you are trying to not get caught, so you need to travel only at night. Also, do not forget that
you will most likely be traveling in the woods or on pathless territory – so this might increase the time.
3. Do not forget that some of the slaves might not be in the best of health or might be injured – so
remember to take that into consideration.
6. Finally, write a short paragraph about what you will be using for your guide on this journey.
Travel safe and Good Luck!!
► In this activity you will be working with a group of
4 people. Make sure that you find out who is in
your group from your teacher.
► Each person in your group has to choose a role to
complete this task. Only 1 role per person.
► The role “Discussion Director/Presenter” is a
mandatory role which one member must choose.
The other roles can be chosen at your discretion.
Group Activity cont.
Discussion Director/ You will keep the discussion going, the group on task and you will make the presentation to
Presenter the class.
Illustrator You will put the quilt squares together to make a quilt. Write a short paper explaining the
Investigator You will look up slave songs which talk about how slaves escape. After you have
researched this, the group will write a song telling how to escape.
Summarizer Pick 1 of the following topics and write a summary about it.
A. One slave is sick or has a baby on the journey. What do you, as a conductor, do?
B. Your are a conductor traveling north with your group. The weather changes ( ex.
cloud covers the skies, it snows or gets very cold). How do you accommodate for
C. You are a station master. What supplies do you need for your station? Why?
Researcher You will research 3 or 4 constellations which you should recognize. On a sheet of black
paper you will draw 3 of these constellations that are easy to identify in the night sky.
http://www.astro.illinois.edu/~jkaler/sow/cm4.html ; ttp://www.astro.illinois.edu/~jkaler/sow/cm2.html
http://www.astro.illinois.edu/~jkaler/sow/cm3.html ; http://www.astro.illinois.edu/~jkaler/sow/cm6.html
Game Master As a runaway slave you spend a lot of time hiding and waiting for a safe time to travel. To
pass the time while you wait, you make up a game. You have 3 round stones, 3 sticks and
1 piece of string. Design a game that you can play with these things. Provide directions
and purpose for the game. (Make sure this is a game that you can play.)
► Youare a runaway slave. Write a 5 paragraph
essay telling about your journey north. Don’t
forget to include details you learned from this Web
Points Criteria Score
4 Hands in folder with all 4 activities completed inside
on time. Everything relates to the topic. Work is
completed neatly. Completes role with group and
receives favorable reviews from peers in group.
3 Hands in folder with most activities complete. Most
work relates to the topic. Completes most of the
role with the group and receives neutral reviews
from peers in group.
2 Hands in folder with a few activities complete. Work
relates to topic a little. Does not really work on role
with group. Receives unfavorable reviews from
peers in group.
1 Does not hand in folder. Work does not relate to the
topic. Work is sloppy. Does not work with group or
complete a role. Receives negative reviews from
peers in group.
Points Criteria Score
4 5 or more complete paragraphs. First paragraph is
an opening, last paragraph is a closing. Essay is on
topic. Essay uses excellent ideas from activities. No
punctuation or spelling errors. Essay is neat and
handed in on time.
3 Essay is not 5 paragraphs. Few punctuation or
spelling errors. Most of the essay relates to topic.
Some ideas are from the activities.
2 Essay is less then 3 paragraphs. There is not an
opening or a closing. Essay relates somewhat to
topic. Few ideas are from topic. Few punctuation
or spelling errors. Essay is sloppy or not on time.
1 1 paragraph essay. There is no opening or closings.
Essay is not on topic and no ideas from activities
are used. Punctuation and spelling errors. Essay is
not neat and is late.
Congratulations! You have completed the
Underground Railroad Web Quest. You have
worked very hard and I am sure it shows. As a
result of this hard work, you can now have an
educated discussion about the Underground
Railroad. You know what it is, who traveled on it,
the key terms and symbols for the railroad, and
how the journey was made. I hope you had as
much fun completing this Quest as I had making
it!! Now go tell everyone what you have learned
so you never forget!! If you would like to learn
more about the Underground Railroad feel free to
investigate some of the books on the next slide.
► Online Sites ► Books to Read
Information on Harriet Aunt Harriet's Underground
Tubman: Railroad in the Sky
By: Faith Ringgold
u/~sww/0history/hwny- Meet Addy: An American Girl
tubman.html (American Girls Collection
Series: Addy #1) By: Connie
Rose Porter, Melodye Rosales
Information sites on
Underground Railroad, Henry’s Freedom Box
Slavery and Frederick By: Levine
http://www.brainpop.com Dear Austin, Letters from the
By: Elvira Woodruff
Teacher Resource Page
The Underground Railroad WebQuest uses three
Literacy Strategies. It uses a KWL Chart to obtain prior
knowledge (don’t forget to revisit this at the end to discuss
what has been learned), the Gipe Technique for vocabulary
and the Learning Logs for daily reflections on the
This quest is a combination of two Taskonomies, the
retelling and compilation. Students are basically gathering
information and retelling how the Underground Railroad
worked. They are doing activities which help them
experience what some participants in the Underground
Railroad did. They also have to compile information to
create a presentation at the end of the quest. In addition
to this, students will write an essay which should
incorporate everything they learned in the quest. This
WebQuest should take about six to eight class periods.
Teacher Resource Page Cont.
► Additional text resources are:
Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky By: Faith
Ringgold. This is a story about a little girl who retraces the steps
of the Underground Railroad with Harriet Tubman as her guide.
Meet Addy: An American Girl (American Girls Collection Series:
Addy #1) By: Connie Rose Porter, Melodye Rosales. This is story
about the experiences of a little girl and her mother as they run
away from slavery to freedom in Philadelphia.
Henry’s Freedom Box By: Levine. This story is about a slave
named Henry who mails himself to freedom in a crate.
Dear Austin, Letters from the Underground Railroad By: Elvira
Woodruff. This story is about a little boy who writes letters to his
brother describing his experiences in Philadelphia and with the
Pennsylvania Academic Standards/Anchors
PA Academic Standards/Anchors
7.1.3.B Identify and locate places and regions.
Geography 7.3.3.B Identify the human characteristics of places and
regions by their cultural characteristics.
Components of culture
Ethnicity of people in the local
7.3.3.C Identify the human characteristics of places and
regions by their settlement characteristics.
Factors that affect where people settle
8.1.3.B Develop an understanding of historical sources.
Data in historical maps
Visual data from maps and tables
Author or historical source
8.1.3.C Understand fundamentals of historical
The existence of multiple points of view
Causes and results
8.1.3.D Understand historical research.
Event (time and place)
Facts, folklore and fiction
Conclusions (e.g., storytelling, role playing,
8.3.3.D Identify conflict and cooperation among social
groups and organizations in United States history.
Ethnic and Racial Relations (e.g.,
treatment of minority groups in
PA Standards/Anchors (Cont.)
1.4.3.A Write narrative pieces (e.g., stories, poems, plays).
Include detailed descriptions of people, places and things.
Use relevant illustrations.
1.4.3.B Write informational pieces (e.g., descriptions, letters, reports,
instructions) using illustrations when relevant.
1.5.3.A Write with a sharp, distinct focus identifying topic, task and
1.5.3.B Write using well-developed content appropriate for the topic.
Gather and organize information.
Write a series of related sentences or paragraphs with one
Incorporate details relevant and appropriate to the topic.
1.5.3.C Write with controlled and/or subtle organization.
Sustain a logical order.
Include a recognizable beginning, middle and end.
1.5.3.D Write with an awareness of the stylistic aspects of composition.
Use sentences of differing lengths and complexities.
Use descriptive words and action verbs.
1.6.3.A Listen to others.
Ask questions as an aid to understanding.
Distinguish fact from opinion.
Speaking and Listening
1.6.3.D Contribute to discussions.
Ask relevant questions.
Respond with appropriate information or opinions to questions
Listen to and acknowledge the contributions of others.
Display appropriate turn-taking behaviors.
1.6.3.E Participate in small and large group discussions and presentations.
Participate in everyday conversation.
Present oral readings.
Deliver short reports (e.g., Show-and-Tell, field trip
PA Standards/Anchors (Cont.)
M.4.A.2 Understand the meanings of operations, use
operations and understand how they relate to
M.4.A.3 Compute accurately and fluently and make
M.4.B.1 Demonstrate an understanding of measurable
attributes of objects and figures, and the units,
systems and processes of measurement.
M.4.B.2 Apply appropriate techniques, tools and formulas
to determine measurements.
R.4.A.1.1 Identify and interpret the meaning of vocabulary.
R.4.A.2.1 Identify and interpret the meaning of vocabulary
R.4.A.2.3 Make inferences and draw conclusions based on
R.4.A.2.4 Identify and explain main ideas and relevant
R.4.B.1.2 Make connections between texts.
S.4.A.3.2 Use models to illustrate simple concepts and
compare the models to what they represent.
S.4.A.3.3 Identify and make observations about patterns
that regularly occur and reoccur in nature.
Photo Credits: Slaves
► http://www.hsp.org/default.aspx?id=854 ► http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/entry.php?rec=626
► http://www.nationalgeographic.com/railroad/kids.html Information Sites
► http://www.footnote.com/page/1342_underground_railroad/ ► http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/underground/
► http://www1.phillyburbs.com/undergroundrailroad/signals.shtml ► http://www.antiquequiltdating.com/Quilts_and_the_Undergroun
► http://www.googleimages.com d_Railroad_Revisited_-
Website Credits Escape Routes
Quilts / Lantern/ Symbols ► http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h481.html
► http://pathways.thinkport.org/secrets/quilts2.cfm ► http://www.whispersofangels.com/secrets.html
► http://www.reallygoodstuff.com/pdfs/154227.pdf Songs
► http://www.osblackhistory.com/quiltcodes.php ► http://www.songsforteaching.com/folk/followthedrinkinggourd.ht
► http://educ.queensu.ca/~fmc/may2004/Underground.html m
► http://www.womenfolk.com/quilting_history/abolitionist.htm ► http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/ltc/special/mlk/gourd2.html
► http://www1.phillyburbs.com/undergroundrailroad/signals.shtml Signals
► http://www.foulke.org/history/essays/under.shtml ► http://www1.phillyburbs.com/undergroundrailroad/signals.shtml
► http://library.thinkquest.org/CR0212661/id39.htm#quilt ► http://link.history.com/services/player/bcpid7250894001?bctid=
► http://www.osblackhistory.com/glossary.php 7227461001
► http://www.africanaonline.com/slavery_codewords.htm Writing Sites
► http://www.footnote.com/page/1342_underground_railroad/ ► http://www.briarwood.issaquah.wednet.edu/Teachers/STARS/wri
Underground Website tinglinks.htm
► http://www.42explore2.com/undergrd.htm ► http://www.usd267.k12.ks.us/TL%20Student%20Pages/4th5thg
ad.html ► http://www.readwritethink.org/materials/persuasion_map/
► http://www.ohiohistory.org/undergroundrr/ Stars
Station Houses ► http://stardate.org/nightsky/constellations/
► http://www.waynet.org/levicoffin/default.htm ► http://www.astro.illinois.edu/~jkaler/sow/cm1.html
clearly connected to the does not encourage the final product is
task description students to think, reflect clearly and coherently
or expand their thinking; presented, product is
product is similar to clearly related to task;
other products that have product is unique and
been produced would clearly stretch the
Web links are broken or Web links are partially Web links are
inappropriate. functional; sites used are functional; sites used are
questionable, not helpful reliable, appropriate for
for completing task completing task.
valuation (The evaluation section states the criteria needed to meet performance and content standards.)
Criteria for successful Criteria for successful Criteria for successful
completion of Webquest completion of Webquest completion of Webquest
activities are not activities are at least activities are clearly
Clarity of Evaluation Criteria described. partially described. stated in the form of a
(3.3) rubric. The evaluation
Note: Once completed for each student, teacher instrument clearly
should be able to use data collected to edit or measures what students
modify Webquest. must know and be able
to do to accomplish the
onclusion (The conclusion brings closure and encourages reflection.)
Does little to summarize Summarizes what the Summarizes what the
what the students have students have learners have
accomplished and does accomplished but does accomplished or learned
not encourage extended little to encourage by completing this
Motivational Effectiveness of Conclusion thinking into other extended thinking into lesson. Includes some
(4.4) content beyond this other content beyond this rhetorical questions or