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Lesson Plan: Historical Event- Underground Railroad

Subject:  ELA- Reading

Grade: 4

Lesson Objective: To understand and explain what the Underground Railroad is and why it was needed

Common Core Standard:  CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.3- Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.




  • What kind of things that happened in the past do you like to read about?  (Allow the students to answer.)



  • There are many things that happened in the past and the one of the ways that we can learn about those things is by reading.
  • Many books have been written about things that have happened in the past.  Some of those books are fiction and some are nonfiction.  The fiction books tell stories about things that could have happened during those times.  The nonfiction books have information about what really happened. 
  • When reading a nonfiction text about something that happened in the past, it is important to carefully read and pay attention to specific information.
  • Specific information is information that refers to a specific fact or description.  The opposite of specific information is general information.  For example, if you are reading about how to bake bread, general information is that you need flour.  Specific information is that you need 3 ½ cups of flour.
  • After you have read about something that has happened in the past, it is important to be able to take the information that you have read and put it into your own words.  You should always use specific information to explain the event.
  • Now, you are going to be reading about the Underground Railroad.  When you are reading, pay attention to the specific information that is in the text.
  • After you have read the paragraph, you are going to write about the Underground Railroad in your own words explaining what it is and why it was needed.  You will underline in the paragraph where you found the information that you use.
  • Does anyone have any questions?



  • Who would like to share your answers?  (Allow the students to share and go over the answers.)

Written by Kimberly Greacen, Education World® Contributing Writer

Kimberly is an educator with extensive experience in curriculum writing and developing instructional materials to align with Common Core State Standards and Bloom's Taxonomy.

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