Lesson Plan Feature: Underground Railroad: The William Still Story

Tonight at 10pm, WGBY will air Underground Railroad:  The William Still Story, the story of one of the most important yet largely unheralded individuals of the Underground Railroad.  Still was determined to get as many runaways as he could to “Freedom’s Land,” smuggling them across the US border to Canada.

To accompany this dramatic story, PBS offers a selection of standards-based lesson plans such as the following for grades 6-8:

Hidden Messages in Spirituals:  Students come to understand the concept and historical context of spirituals by reading and listening to them to discover the meaning of the secret messages found in the lyrics.  They then compose a personal spiritual that includes a line from a known spiritual.

Social Media and the Underground Railroad:  Students explain the significance of studying, recording, and publishing history, recognize the dangers and benefits of personal record keeping (public vs. private sharing), and understand social media as an effective, but sometimes dangerous, messaging tool.

To Follow or Not to Follow?:  After defining the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, students explore the claims of law on personal conscience (right vs. wrong) and consider the relationship between individual rights and the rule of law in contemporary society

We hope you look at these and other lessons from William Still’s story as well as other lessons from Black History month programming on WGBY.

2 thoughts on “Lesson Plan Feature: Underground Railroad: The William Still Story

  1. Sounds interesting! Love that those historically-based lessons plans have much more to do with life than just reading and repeating history — well rounded students make well rounded people!

  2. I’m glad you find these lessons meaningful. PBS has an astounding number of resources for the content areas as well as history / interdisciplinary studies that have real-world relevance.

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