Rosemary Thomas


July 24, 2001


Our Shepherd Lutheran


Indianapolis, Indiana


(Overall theme)

Underground Railroad via spiritual and text

Classroom sessions or estimated time

Five 45 minute sessions

Grade Level(s)

4th  Indiana History


To realize the significance in the Negro spirituals concerning the Underground Railroad


To realize the cultural, geographical, historical, physical, and Psychological aspects involved in the Underground Railroad

*Geography Standards Addressed

l. How to use maps---and technologies.

6. How culture-----influence

10. The characteristics-----cultural mosaics.

12. The processes-------settlement.

14. How human actions---.

17. How to apply ------past.



*Indiana Social Studies Academic Standards addressed

Trace historical periods, places, people, events, and movements which led to Indiana as a state.

Explain roles of various individuals, groups, and moments in social conflicts leading to Civil War.

Identify the contributions and challenges experienced by people from various cultural, racial, and religious groups in Indiana during different historical periods by reading biographies, historical accounts and stories.


Upon completion of the activities, the student will:

Know Indiana’s position in being a free state.

Be familiar with the process of the Underground Railroad

Be able to locate places involved with the Underground Railroad on  Indiana and United States


Recognize the significance of the Underground Railroad in the spirituals.





*Teacher Background Materials

Knowledge of purpose , intent, and location of Underground Railroad

Knowledge of spirituals related to Underground Railroad


“A  Divided Nation.” Indiana.  Macmillan McGraw,1997.   Fourth grade textbook

Blockson,Charles. “Underground Railroad.” National Geographic July, 1984.  Adult background.

Boomhower,Ray.”Levi Coffman:President of the Underground Background.”  Traces, Summer:1997. Highlights of a Hoosier conductor

Clifford,Eth, and John McMcDowell.Freedom Road .  Crossing the Ohio River

Crump, Claudia. Hoosier Heritage. Newark: Silver Burdett, l992.   Fourth Grade Textbook

Exploring the Common Past;Researching and Interpreting the Underground Railroad. Washington,D.C.: National Park Services, 2000.

Article on spirituals

Hamilton, Virginia. Many Thousand Gone. New York: Scholastic, l993.   Reference for teachers and pupils

Levine, Ellen. If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad. New York:Scholastic,l993.  Information for children

Rappaport,Doreen. Freedom River. New York: Hyperion Books for Children,2000.   Children Literature

Ringgold, Faith. Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky. New York: Scholastic,1991.   Children’s Literature for enjoyment and learning

Savarino, Malia. “The Underground Railroad”. Outdoor Indiana Nov/Dec 2000.  Hoosier information

Schmid, Will. “World Music Drumming: A Cross Cultural Curriculum.” Hal Leonard Corp.,l998.   Idea for music from Dr. Richard Parker, Taylor University

“The 1851 Constitution and the Negro Register.” Indiana Historical Bureau Feb.1993.  Facts on law

Underground Railroad. Washington,D.C.   Division of National Park Service 1998.   Teacher information

Wisehart,Randall. Luke’s Summer Secret..


Textbook and Constitutions of Indiana

Computer   to research


Indiana maps and U.S. maps with Underground Railroad routes

Copies of spirituals such as:

   “Follow the Drinking Gourd” http://www2.lhric.org/pocantico/tubman/gourd.htm (July,2001)

  “Go Down Moses”

  “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”

   “This Train”

  “Chariot’s a Coming”

  “Good News, Neighbor”

  “Nobody Knows the Trouble I See”

Transparency of maps for teacher

Transparency markers for laminated maps

Bland laminated Indiana and United States map or blackline maps for students

Selected literature listed

Overhead projector

Material for drums, banjo, and spoons

Indiana maps and U.S. maps with Underground Railroad routes

Copies of spirituals such as “Drinking Gourd”; “Go Down Moses”; “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”;  “This Train”


Blank IN maps

Indiana History textbook

Selected literature such as Drinking Gourd,  Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky, If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad,  Luke’s Summer Secret


*Purpose of Materials

Markers for indicating Underground Railroad routes on laminated maps

Transparency maps for teacher to use on overhead

Indiana  history textbooks for reading and reference to Indiana position as a free state

Spirituals for singing and research

Literature for enjoyment and reference




Pre-activity- Make instruments : drums(oatmeal boxes), spoons, and banjo (cigar box qnd rubber bands).

Sing spirituals listed earlier and express rhythm and beat.

Analyze selected spirituals on word maps.

Continue singing and expressing spirituals.

Read material in text concerning Indiana’s position as a free state and the Underground Railroad.

Read Luke’s Summer Secret to the class.

Using children’s literature and web sites read for understanding concerning the Underground Railroad.

Construct a time lline from 1827-1860’s concerning Underground Railroad and Indiana’s revisions  to the constitution.

Using laminated maps locate Underground Railroad routes by cities and counties.

Conclusion: Roleplay slaves and conductors on the Underground Railroad with simulated stations while continuing singing of spirituals.



*Teaching Strategies

Group activity of singing spirituals

Analyze spirituals by word mapping

Time lines for events

Interpreting events listed in text

Hands on construction of instruments

Researching web for Underground Railroad material

Role playing


*Assessments (key questions to simulate critical thinking)

Choose a position , either for helping slaves or ignoring the slaves.  Describe in a paragraph your position.

Analyze the meaning in your favorite spiritual.

Indicate an Underground Railroad route.





Adaptations and/or Extensions

Select a spiritual and write your own lyrics.

Write a journal in the first person of traveling on the Underground Railroad  from Eagle Hollow, Kentucky through Madison, Indiana and Indianapolis to Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

Check the list of web sites and select three and write a paragraph on each sites.