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Harriet Tubman Triarama

Follow the Drinking Gourd! From the United States into Canada, Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad helped slaves escape to freedom.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Students research information about the life of Harriet Tubman and her role in the Underground Railroad in the United States and Canada.
    2. Ground: Place white paper on a patterned surface. Remove the paper wrappers from earthy colors of Crayola® Crayons. Rub the sides of crayons on the paper to make an earth-textured pattern. With Crayola School Glue, attach the crayon rubbings on the inside of a recycled box lid or piece of cardboard to form the ground.
    3. Sky: Cover the work area with recycled newspaper. Using Crayola Tempera Paint and paintbrushes, paint the night sky on cardboard or oak tag. Dry.
    4. With Crayola Scissors, cut a star from white paper. Glue it to the night sky. Add light rays if you like. Glue the night sky into a box lid. Attach folded cardboard to the back for more support if needed.
    5. Cabin: Use corrugated cardboard or peel away the top layer of paper on cardboard to expose the corrugated layer inside. Cut the corrugated cardboard vertically to make a cabin and horizontally to form a roof.
    6. With Crayola Markers, draw a door, windows, and color indentations on the roof. Glue the roof to the cabin. Glue the cabin in front of the painted sky.
    7. Trees and shrubs: Using various shades of green Crayola Crayons, cover a few coffee filters. Draw lines of green and yellow washable marker on top of the crayoned area. Spray the filters with water. Dry.
    8. Cut brown construction paper for tree trunks. Glue coffee filters to trunks and to the background of the diorama. Crumble other coffee filters into a ball and cover them with painted coffee filters to form shrubs. Glue them in front of the cabin.
    9. Harriet Tubman: On white construction paper with Crayola Colored Pencils, draw a picture of a Harriet Tubman dressed in clothing typical of the 1800s. Use Crayola Multicultural Crayons or Multicultural Markers for her face and hands. Glue her to the ground in front of the cabin. If needed, glue a craft stick to her back for support.
    10. Star Quilt: On white paper, sketch a patchwork quilt and color it with Crayola Fabric Crayons. The design will transfer in reverse. Press hard so the colors will be bright when they are transferred to fabric. Brush away any flecks of crayon.
    11. Cut white fabric that is slightly larger than the crayon design. Color transfers best on fabric that is 100% synthetic or has a high synthetic content. Choose a safe, large, flat location to iron. Make a bed of newspaper. Cover the newspaper with white paper. Place the fabric on the plain paper, face up. Lay your colored design face down on the fabric. Cover with more white paper.
    12. Have an adult iron the fabric: Set an iron on cotton, with no steam, and preheat it. Place the iron in one spot, press down, then lift and move the iron to another spot. Repeat until the entire design has been transferred. Gently lift design paper. Cool.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

    LA: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    SS: Compare and contrast different stories or accounts about past events, people, places, or situations, identifying how they contribute to our understanding of the past.

    SS: Demonstrate an understanding that people in different times and places view the world differently.

    SS: Explore factors that contribute to one's personal identity such as interests, capabilities, and perceptions.

    SS: Analyze a particular event to identify reasons individuals might respond to it in different ways.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

    VA: Use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Who Was Harriet Tubman? by Yona Zeldis McDonough; Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford; Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero by Kate Clifford Larson; The Underground Railroad: Authentic Narratives and First-Hand Accounts by William Still

    Students read Nettie's Trip South by Ann Turner. Students take on the role of a newspaper reporter from the North. Making a first trip to the Southern states, students (reporters) are challenged to write a newspaper article focused on the issue of slavery in the pre-Civil War slave states. What do you see? How did you react to your first experience around slaves? What would you want your readers to take away from your article?

    Students sketch a map of North America and use it to link the major routes on the Underground Railroad.

    Students research the role of Quakers and others who risked their lives to assist slaves in their quest for freedom. When did the Quakers first ask for an end for slavery?

    Investigate the role of constellations in slave escapes. Find and draw The Big Dipper (also known as the drinking Gourd) which points the way to the North Star. These night symbols led slaves north to freedom.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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