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Read Kansas! Middle School - M-12 Danger on the Underground Railroad

This lesson explores the role of the Underground Railroad and the dangers experienced by John Doy, an abolitionist who helped slaves escape.  Students will read four primary sources about this topic and work in groups to analyze the content.  Groups will report back to the class on their segment of the story about John Doy.  Students will complete a timeline detailing the events of the story then answer the question "What effect did the capture, trial, and rescue of John Doy have on people in Kansas Territory?" This lesson can be completed in two days. Select each image to see a PDF with the front and back of each card.

M-12 Danger on the Underground Railroad M-12 Danger on the Underground Railroad
M-12 Danger on the Underground Railroad M-12 Hardships of the Underground Railroad

Lesson plan

Kansas History, Government and Social Studies Standards:

Standard #2: Individuals have rights and responsibilities.

  • 2.3 The student will analyze the context under which significant rights and responsibilities are defined and demonstrated, their various interpretations, and draw conclusions about those interpretations.

Kansas College and Career Ready Standards:

  • RH. 7.1: The student cites specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
  • RH.7.2: The student will determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
  • WHST.6-8.4: The student will produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • SL.7.1(a-d): The student will engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • SL.7.4: Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with pertinent descriptions, facts, details, and examples; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.