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        Drawing Conclusions - Is This a Map of the Underground Railroad?

        After watching a video segment, students complete a graphic organizer to establish evidence regarding the authenticity of a map and whether it is or is not a map of the Underground Railroad.  They then write a paragraph presenting their conclusions, along with the details that they base those conclusions on.

        Lesson Summary


        Students will watch a video segment in which map collector Anne Zorela suggests a map she acquired outlines the routes of the Underground Railroad.  Students watch a video segment and complete a graphic organizer in which they identify the evidence Anne uses to support her conclusion about the map.  They also outline the points of disagreement made by History Detective, Professor Gwendolyn Wright and state why they either agree or disagree with Anne’s conclusion.

        Why is this an important concept?

        Learners must be able to draw conclusions in order to fully develop their reading comprehension skills.  Students must be able to utilize specific details within the context of a work in order to draw such conclusions.  The learner must be able to connect the details and make an inference regarding the author’s intent based on what is presented.  This is a higher order thinking skill that must be developed over time.

        Grade Level:


        Suggested Time

        (1) 40-minute period

        Media Resources


        The Lesson

        Part I: Learning Activity

        1. Provide the purpose for this activity: Students identify the reasons that support Anne’s theory or present an alternative to her conclusion regarding the map that may have been used for the Underground Railroad.  Finally, students analyze these details and decide whether or not they agree or disagree with the map's owner.

        2. Ask the students to define “conclusion.”  What is a conclusion?  In order to draw a conclusion about a topic, what must you do?  What type of information do you need?  Discuss these questions during a guided question and answer session.

        3. Tell students that they will be watching a video about a map that Anne bought at a garage sale.  Tell them that as they watch the video, they should try to determine what conclusion Anne draws about her map.  Next, ask them to identify what information she uses to support her conclusion.

        4. After viewing, discuss the segment with students.  Ask them to share their answers regarding Anne’s conclusion with the class during a teacher-guided question and answer session.  Focus on the video details students use to support and explain their answers. 

        Part II: Assessment

        1. Distribute Underground Railroad Map Graphic Organizer handout.  Have students watch the video segment a second time and use details from the video to complete the graphic organizer.  Also, tell them that at the end of the graphic organizer they are asked to write a paragraph that states whether they agree or disagree with Anne’s conclusion and use details to support their view.  Tell them they are allowed to use background knowledge as well as details mentioned in the video to support their point.  Hand out the Underground Railroad Map Graphic Organizer handout, and review it so students understand how the graphic organizer and paragraph will be assessed. 

        2. After the second viewing, allow students to use remaining class time to complete graphic organizer and paragraph.  Collect graphic organizers and accompanying rubric at the end of class for evaluation.

        For students who need additional guidance:

        • Work with students individually to support their note-taking and paragraph writing skills.
        • If needed, arrange for students to watch video again.
        • Use listed websites to find additional details about the Underground Railroad, as well as detailed instruction on how to properly format a paragraph on the writer’s website.


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