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Underground Railroad

Students share information during an re-enactment about the Underground in Kim Peck's room. Pictured, from left, are Nathan Flores-Caison, Mathew Epp, Chase Peterson, Andrew Howell and Saylor Tsangarides.

“Welcome to the Underground Railroad,” Karson Hoinkes-Hawkins, a fifth grade student acting as a station master, tells a group of students outside of Kim Peck’s room.

Over the past couple of weeks, students got a chance to step back in time in their Social Studies classes with Kim Peck, who is a fifth grade teacher at Poplin Elementary.

Peck had the students create an Underground Railroad Simulation to showcase what they had learned. Peck said, “I wanted to teach students using the simulation because it gave students a chance to learn and teach others about the Underground Railroad.

Students began by researching the Underground Railroad, then they choose topics they were most interested in. Then as a class we decided which topics we could turn into a simulation.”

Students divided the topics and then created displays and exhibits using the information. Some parts of the simulation required students to become a famous person and retell their part in history, while others had more of an acting role. After students practiced, Peck invited the rest of the school to visit.

Visitors to the Underground Railroad first began with a conductor who welcomed the visitors to the simulation. Next students were paired with a conductor who took them through each of the stops along the way. Many now famous people were portrayed such as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas, John Parker, Henry Brown, and Levi Coffin.

Students also visited a drawing of the United States showing free states versus slave states, a detailed drawing of a cabin, a tour of famous stations, an exhibit on quilting and secret codes within quilts, and a picture of the Drinking Gourd constellation. Some of the visits were interactive. For example, visitors had to cross over a pretend river running through the classroom. This symbolized the Ohio River. Students learned slaves were told to look for the moss side of a tree in order to know which way was North.

Another interactive site involved two students who were pretending to be station masters and who shared information about hiding experiences. Students got a chance to climb under a table to experience what it was like to hide. Students also got a chance to view routes of the Underground Railroad using the promethean board.

“Because I reheard the information over and over, it helped me remember and learn it better. The simulation was an interesting way to learn about the Underground Railroad,” said fifth grader Cody Howell.


Written by: Beth Medlin, Media Coordinator and Kim Peck, Fifth-Grade Teacher
Posted: Mar 23, 2012 by Beth Medlin

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