Grade Levels: K-3

In this set of activities adaptable for grades K-3, parents and educators will find ideas for teaching about slavery, the Underground Railroad, and Harriet Tubman. These activities are designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. Harriet Tubman topic page, which includes a movie, quizzes, online games, printable activities, and more.

Classroom Activities for Teaching About Harriet Tubman

Tubman Timeline Plate
Brainstorm important events in Harriet Tubman’s life together, such as her birth, her escape from slavery, the start of the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment. Then have students create their own timelines on paper plates. They can label important events around the edge of the plate. They may need to conduct research to find important dates. Have students decorate the timeline plates by illustrating certain events.

Tubman Coin
Have your students make a commemorative coin celebrating the life of Harriet Tubman. Take a look at different coins, such as the state quarters and the Western Expansion nickels. Compare and contrast their designs together. What would they put on a coin for Harriet Tubman? Have students draw pictures of both sides of the coin and hang them from the ceiling so students can share their work.

Tubman Tunes
Slaves sang songs that chronicled life in the fields. They also sang songs that revealed safehouses, conductors, and stationmasters along the Underground Railroad. Together research these historical songs on the Internet. If possible, have students play the songs for the whole class. Then, work with the class to make up their own song that teaches something. You may wish to follow the tune of a familiar song and change the lyrics.

Family and Homeschool Activities for Teaching About Harriet Tubman

Underground Railroad Map
Together with your child, research different routes along the Underground Railroad. Look at a map together and trace the distances along the routes. How far did slaves travel? How long did it take them? Where did they sleep and what did they eat? If you live along one of the routes, visit one of the stations together.

It is important for children to have role models that inspire them. Harriet Tubman is only one of countless extraordinary people that risked their lives to accomplish great deeds. Have your child think of his or her favorite heroes, real or imaginary. They can be figures in history or characters in books and movies. Encourage our child to make a character trait chart and list all of the qualities that make his or her hero great.

Follow the Stars
Slaves escaping on the Underground Railroad could use the stars to help them navigate. The North Star, or Polaris, was used to find north. Help your children identify the Big and Little Dippers. The North Star is the star at the end of the “handle” of the Little Dipper. Have your child imagine what it would be like to travel by the stars. Would it be harder or easier on a moonless night? What other ways can they determine north, south, east, and west?