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Activity Overview


Understanding text structure can improve students’ comprehension of the text. Examples of informational text structures include compare/contrast, chronological, cause/effect, and problem/solution. In this activity, students will identify the cause and effect relationships in the text.


Example 1

  • Cause: "Drastic laws made the Road illegal in the north."

  • Effect: Agents put "God’s law" above the law of the land; they believed in "universal freedom for mankind" so they created "stations" in an abandoned barns.

Example 2

  • Cause: The second Fugitive Slave law was passed in 1850.

  • Effect: The District of Columbia alone complained that in this period the number of its slaves had been reduced from 4694 to 640 by "underground railroads and felonious abductions."

Example 3

  • Cause: "Unaccustomed to making their own way, unused to the rigors of northern climate, many of them met poverty and disease."

  • Effect: "The Canadians, however, did much to help them; they were willing to absorb the fugitives into their national life, to share their work, and to give them aid in establishing farms."

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 4-5

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual or Partner

Type of Activity: Cause and Effect within Plot

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RI/5/5] Compare and contrast the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in two or more texts.


Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)



Student Instructions

Create a storyboard illustrating cause and effect relationships in Flight to Freedom.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. In the first column, identify an event, legislation, or action taken during the time of the Civil War and the Underground Railroad.
  3. In the second column, describe the effects of that event, legislation, or action.
  4. Create an illustration using appropriate scenes, items, and characters.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.


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