Subject: Harriet Tubman

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Subject: Harriet Tubman

Topic: What Freedom Means

Grade Level: 2nd/3rd

Lesson Length: 1-2 hours

  1. Students will investigate through children’s literature the concept of freedom as related to the life of Harriet Tubman.

  2. Students will analyze their meaning of freedom and develop a paragraph citing specific examples from their everyday lives.

  3. Students will create an illustration that conveys their written definition of freedom.


  1. Minty by Alan Schroeder and Jerry Pinkney

  2. Chart paper and markers

  3. Pencil and paper for each student

  4. Drawing paper and crayons/markers for each student

  5. Index cards


  1. Give students a blank index card. Have them go to a place in the room by themselves and write what makes them different from everyone else in the room. Tell students not to put their name on the card.

  2. Read through cards and discuss the differences in the people in our room. Talk about how people should not be treated badly just because they are different. For example, how would you like to have to drink from a different water fountain or sit in the back of the room just because you wear glasses or have green eyes?

  3. Talk about how, in the past, people were treated badly because they were different. Discuss who slaves were and how they were treated.

  4. Introduce children’s book Minty by Alan Schroeder and Jerry Pikney. Briefly discuss the background of the story and explain how they will learn about a little girl that is about their age.

  5. Read story.

  6. Make a chart that shows how students are like Harriet Tubman when she was their age and how they are different from Harriet Tubman when she was their age.

  7. Have students think about what freedom means to them. Brainstorm ways their idea of freedom is different from Harriet Tubman's idea of freedom.

  8. Explain to students that they will be writing about and illustrating their definition of freedom. Provide students with the following writing prompt: To me, freedom means…

  9. Using the assessment rubric, review with students the expectations for the assignment. Be sure to stress to the students that they will need to include three specific examples from their everyday lives to support their definition of freedom.

  10. After students have completed the assignment, allow them to share their work.

Teacher Resources:

A. Websites

        1. Website created by a 2nd grade class on Harriet Tubman

        2. Website created by a 4th/5th grade class on Harriet Tubman

        3. Website containing Harriet Tubman's biography with children's literature link.

B. Related Literature

A Picture Book of Harriet Tubman by David A. Adler






Definition of freedom

Example #1

Example #2

Example #3


Related to Written Definition

Surface Features:

Paragraph Format




Teacher Comments:

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