Social Studies

Grade Level


Framework Standards

D4.6.6-8, D4.7.6-8, D4.8.6-8

Changemakers: Taking Action

The Changemakers series of inquiries provide teachers multiple opportunities to incorporate the history of the Underground Railroad into their curriculum across the academic year. Additionally, there are opportunities for cross-disciplinary study and collaboration. While the inquiries are aligned to eighth grade Ohio and Kentucky standards, we hope teachers across grade levels and disciplines utilize these materials. Throughout this series, lessons and activities will connect the Underground Railroad and the abolitionist movement to today through personal and community stories. Spanning various subjects, the overarching theme focuses on the impact changemakers have during their lifetime, the evidence they leave behind, and their ongoing impact today. Lessons and activities are unique and can build upon each other.

The theme is “Changemakers in the Past, Present & Future.” The series begins with an inquiry about historical myths and assumptions emphasizing historical and critical thinking. The second and third inquiries require students to apply these skills while developing questions and completing research regarding two historical narratives: John Parker and Francis Watkins Harper. The next two series inquiries provide the opportunity to consider, reflect upon, and engage the question of how we are connected to the past. The fourth inquiry has students consider the legacies and evidence we leave for future generations, including the powers that limit and restrict such evidence. The fifth inquiry engages students in changemaking to identify and address a problem of today to create a better tomorrow.

In inquiry 5 of 5, “Changemakers: Taking-Action,” students investigate the role of changemakers in society by clarifying what it means to make change and what propels people to do so. Students use what they’ve learned from changemakers of the past and present to address a societal need and change the future.

Students will engage in social justice work by identifying a societal need and taking collective action to make change. This inquiry uses resources from and, both partners of ASHOKA. Information about these organizations can be found at The Changemaking materials provide students and teachers for a framework for learning how to make meaningful societal change, challenging students to look beyond acts of direct service and toward system change and shifting mindsets.

Changemakers is a place to connect with people who are transforming our world for the good of all. There are thousands of us. We are all ages. We are building new solutions to the challenges we face — from education to mental health, environmental sustainability to social justice – in any field you can dream of.

Here we find support and learn together. Discover stories, resources, and opportunities to take your impact to the next level. Join the changemaker movement.


This inquiry embodies the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center principles of courage, cooperation, and perseverance by illustrating how each is necessary for making change. We encourage teachers and students to visit our museum and continue this exploration through our exhibits and focus on narratives. The Freedom Center uses education to inspire individuals to create positive change in society. A visit would be an excellent addition to the “Changemakers in the Past, Present & Future” series of inquiries.

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