• Skip Navigation •

The Underground Railroad in Ohio

 Grade Level: 4

Estimated Duration of Lesson: 1-2 days

Standards & Indicators:
History/Historical Thinking & Skills #2: Use primary and secondary sources to answer questions about Ohio History.
History/Heritage #7: Sectional issues divided the United States after the War of 1812. Ohio played a key role in these issues, particularly with antislavery movement and the Underground Railroad.

Primary Sources Used:
*Hiding places in house, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
*Ohio’s Underground Trails by Wilbur H. Siebert (map): Ohio Historical Society
*John Rankin home (photograph): National Park Service 
*Freedom Stairway (photograph): Ohio Historical Society
*Reuben Benedict home (photograph): National Park Service
*Spring Hill (photograph): National Park Service 
*Col. William Hubbard House (photograph): National Park Service 
*Ohio Road Map

Other Resources:

Video: Underground Railroad (TeacherTube video)

Powerpoint: Underground Railroad   (at OSU’s Harvey Goldberg Center for Excellence in Teaching page on Slideshare.net:

Lesson Summary: Ohio served as the northern “trunk line” of the Underground Railroad, a system of secret routes used by free people in the North & South to help slaves escape to freedom. Escape routes developed throughout Ohio with safe houses where slaves could be concealed during the day. Many cities in Ohio today have houses that were once used by fugitive slaves heading north along the Underground Railroad.

Instructional Steps to Implement the Lesson:

Class Starter: Using the Underground Railroad power point, students will view photograph on typical hiding places found in a safe house and respond to provided questions. (preassessment)

Guided Lesson: Students will continue to view the Underground Railroad power point. Stops on the Underground Railroad will be located and highlighted on each student’s Ohio map.

Closing: Think-Pair-Share Strategy: Discuss first with a partner then the entire class, why the Underground Railroad was important in Ohio.

Post-Assessment and Scoring Guideline:
Students will answer the following question in a written response: "Explain the role Ohio played as a part of the Underground Railroad."

Here is the Post-Assessment Handout

Scoring based on teacher expectations.

Materials Needed by Teacher:
Underground Railroad power point

Materials Needed by Students:
Ohio map
Post-Assessment Handout

Lesson Plan Created By:
Nancy Dravenstott
Austin Kaufman
Tami Sprang

Latest News!

The Connecting to the Past Quilt

Remember making a history-themed quilt square at the Orientation? Molly has put them all together and taken a picture.

Following the links: