Harriet Tubman Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Use this lesson plan to teach your students about Harriet Tubman. Students will read about her life in slavery, then follow her journey as an abolitionist and spy. Finish up with a fun activity.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • determine key ideas in the lesson article
  • identify Harriet Tubman's accomplishments
  • sequence order of events in Harriet Tubman's life


  • 1 hour


Key Vocabulary

  • Harriet Tubman
  • Abolitionist
  • Underground Railroad
  • Fugitive Slave Law of 1850
  • Suffragist

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.2

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.3

Identify key steps in a text's description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.7

Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.


  • Prepare students for learning about Harriet Tubman by listing a series of true/false statements on the board and asking students to identify which are true and which are false. For example, it is widely believed that Tubman freed hundreds of slaves on the Underground Railroad yet the actual number is significantly less, around 50.
  • Pass out copies of the lesson Harriet Tubman: Biography, Timeline & Facts and instruct students to read the first two sections 'Harriet,' and 'Born into Slavery.' Ask:
    • What does 'not all of them wore the Union grey' mean?
    • How old was Harriet when she died?
    • Why don't we know the exact date or place of Harriet's birth?
    • Why did Harriet change her name? Would you do the same thing? Explain.
  • Now have students read 'Harriet's Escape. Discuss:
    • Why do you think Harriet and her brother returned after escaping?
    • Who helped Harriet escape the second time?
  • Have students find Maryland and Pennsylvania on a map and view the distance she traveled.
  • Now instruct students to make a three-column chart titled 'Abolitionist,' 'Spy,' and 'Activist.' Have students read the next three sections, recording key events in each column.
  • When students are finished, have them share their ideas as you record on the board. Students should record facts they missed.
  • Discuss Harriet's contributions to each of these categories and ask students to imagine doing each. Brainstorm adjectives that describe Harriet, such as 'brave' or 'determined.'
  • Have students read the Lesson Summary and complete notes.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account