Harriet Tubman Activity
Long before people could become famous just for being famous, there lived a woman who earned her fame – through acts so brave and noble, we’re still celebrating her achievements nearly 100 years after her birth.
Harriet Tubman – Union spy during the Civil War, first American woman to lead a military expedition, and “conductor” in the Underground Railroad – made headlines as recently as late June, when a congressman’s effort to keep her off the $20 bill failed.
There was also news of an HBO telepic starring Viola Davis, a 10-year anniversary celebration of her statue’s unveiling, and the establishment of Harriet Tubman National Park – in not one, but two locations: Cambridge, Maryland, where she was born, and Auburn, New York, where she resided for the last 50 years of her life.
Tubman, of course, is the iconic woman who escaped slavery in Maryland in 1849 and organized the network of safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.
Born Araminta Harriet Ross, Tubman would become known as the “Moses of her people” for the 10 years she spent leading hundreds of slaves to freedom. She further cemented her courageous reputation when, during the Civil War, she joined the Union army as a nurse and cook before becoming an armed scout and spy. In that role, she guided the Combahee River Raid, which liberated more than 700 slaves in South Carolina.
Tubman would spend the rest of her life aiding African-Americans, and was regarded within her lifetime as a champion and a hero. In fact, a survey at the end of the 20th century named her one of the most famous civilians in American history before the Civil War – third only to Betsy Ross and Paul Revere. And she continues to inspire today: In what has been called a “sweeping and historically significant” move, the U.S. Treasury is expected to replace slaveholding Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with Tubman.
Harriet Tubman Activity
Has there ever been a better time to celebrate her achievements with your students? A lesson on Harriet Tubman’s life would complement any number of thematic units in history or ELA, or be a natural fit during Women’s or Black history months. My Harriet Tubman Collaboration Portrait Poster is the perfect complement to such a lesson.
(See the FULL resource HERE or Pin it for later).
The poster, a large mosaic that is colored, cut out and assembled, becomes a visually stunning tribute to the abolitionist leader and the perfect Harriet Tubman Activity to do with your students. There are 30 pieces to this poster and then final poster is approx. 35″ x 42″ (depending on your printer settings).
This Harriet Tubman activity can serve as an anticipatory set to pique your students’ interest, or as an extension at the end of their studies. The symbolism behind working together to create a single image will touch your students, and they’re sure to take pride in their own piece when they see it on display.
If you’ve never created one of my collaboration posters with your students these free bonus activities are a nice way to introduce you to the concepts behind the larger poster – then when you are ready you can try the full Harriet Tubman Activity.
My collaboration portraits usually come with two options. The first poster (above left) works for all age groups from pre K all the way to adults and simply requires that you color the pages according to the instructions given. The second variation is great for middle school, high school and all art students. This second option (above right) give the children the option to draw their part of the poster and work together to create a portrait drawing of Harriet Tubman.
This Harriet Tubman Activity was designed to be easy for teachers and fun for kids. All you need are coloring materials, a pencil and bulletin board space. After all, if Harriet Tubman is to grace the $20 bill, why not also the walls of your classroom?
Thanks for reading and making art with your kids!