Harriet Tubman Project Ideas

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Harriet Tubman is a key figure in the history of the United States. Students will learn more about her life and significance from pursuing the engaging interdisciplinary projects in this lesson.

Why Harriet Tubman Projects?

Many students learn about Harriet Tubman over the course of their education, but few have the opportunity to really focus in on her life and the important work she did. Harriet Tubman is a significant character in African American history and in women's history; she is also significant in history more broadly understood. Her story is a provocative, inspiring, and engaging one, with many morals to offer about bravery, altruism, and dedication. One way to help students learn more about Harriet Tubman is by having them do projects. Projects can be meaningful to students because they involve a variety of learning styles and modalities. Projects are also often more memorable than rote learning because they require creativity and dedication over time. The projects in this lesson can be modified to meet the age and level of a specific group of students, but they all help zero in on Harriet Tubman and her important contributions to history.

Underground Railroad Map

Obviously, one of the most important accomplishments of Harriet Tubman's life was the development of the Underground Railroad. Once your students have learned a bit about the Railroad and its purpose, have them research the different places throughout the country where there were 'stations' to help slaves to the North. Then, take a big map of the United States and ask your students to turn it into an Underground Railroad map. They should decide on a map key they can use to signify hiding spots and particular pathways. This project brings them closer to Harriet Tubman's life, while also helping them learn more about US geography.

Harriet Tubman Graphic Timeline

Though the Underground Railroad was her most famous accomplishment, Harriet Tubman's whole life was interesting and filled with poignancy. In this assignment, your students should work in small groups to create timelines illustrating Harriet Tubman's life. Give each group a long sentence strip and have them fill it in with years they consider significant over the course of Harriet Tubman's biography. For each year they write, they should include an illustration that depicts the events of that year and a brief caption of explanation. Have your students compare timelines and discuss similarities and differences in terms of what different groups found most significant.

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