Underground to Canada Activities

Instructor: Kristen Goode

Kristen has been an educator for 25+ years - as a classroom teacher, a school administrator, and a university instructor. She holds a doctorate in Education Leadership.

'Underground to Canada' by Barbara Smucker is about the Underground Railroad used for the escape of slaves prior to the Civil War. The activities in this asset can be used to help students apply meaning during or after reading the story.

Underground to Canada

Underground to Canada, also known by the title Runaway to Freedom: A Story of the Underground Railway, is historical fiction about the Underground Railway used to help free slaves prior to the American Civil War. The activities below, intended for use with upper elementary or middle school aged learners, can be used to help students connect with the characters and draw personal meaning from the story.

Chapter Break Down

Materials: writing paper, pencils, props as needed by each group

  • Put students into six groups.
  • Assign each group a set of chapters from the book:
    • Chapters 1-3
    • Chapters 4-6
    • Chapters 7-9
    • Chapters 10-12
    • Chapters 13-15
    • Chapters 16-19
  • Instruct each group to develop of 2-4 minute presentation that:
    • Summarizes their assigned chapters
    • Explains meaning of what has taken place
    • Generates 3-4 questions that can be used to involve the class in discussion
  • Allow time for groups to work.
  • Once finished, have each group give their presentation to the class. Allow for class discussion with each presentation.

Acrostic Poetry

Materials: writing paper, pencils

  • Put the word slavery on the board in all capital letters with each letter placed underneath the letter before it.
  • As a group, talk about slavery as it relates to the book.
  • Work with students to generate a sentence about the story that begins with each letter on the board. For example:
    • S - Slaves wanted to escape from the south.
    • L - Lester and Adam were freed but later captured again.
    • A - Abolitionists wanted to help free the slaves.
  • Once finished with all the letters in the word, ask students to help generate a list of additional book related words or names (try to be sure they are all at least seven letters in length). Some examples might include:
    • Julilly
    • Mammy Sally
    • Underground
    • Freedom
  • Next, ask each student to write a sentence that begins with each letter of the word they have chosen. Each sentence must have something to do with the book.
  • Allow students to share their completed acrostic poems with the class when done.

Julillly and Me

Materials: drawing paper, markers or colored pencils

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com 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 Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
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? Study.com 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