In fifth grade we have begun learning about the Civil War and its causes. Today students began working with an interactive story, called "Flight to Freedom." This story allows students to learn about the Underground Railroad by putting themselves in the story and making choices along the way.
Before we were ready to begin "Flight to Freedom," we needed to clear up some common misconceptions, such as "All Northerners opposed slavery" or "All slaves lived on large plantations." Students met with their numbered teams to read and discuss one of these misconceptions. They then brought that information back to their own teams to share in a Timed Round Robin.
Once we had a solid foundation of information about slavery, we were ready to begin the story. "Flight to Freedom" gave students the opportunity to interact with the story of Lucy and her escape from slavery on the Underground Railroad. The fifth graders were able to talk to characters, consider dialogue, and learn about the conditions that slaves faced in the early 1800s. Many of the choices that students made affected the outcome of Lucy's story. After participating in Part 1 today, students were eager to discuss their realizations about what slavery had been like. Many were shocked by the way the characters were spoken to or the labor they were required to undertake.
The chapter foreshadowed Lucy's escape to freedom, and students were eager to continue in helping her. Over the next week Fifth grade will work through "Flight to Freedom" and gather information about the Underground Railroad. Knowing the lives and experiences of slaves will help us understand why the Civil War had such a lasting impact on our nation.