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LESSON 8.22 The Civil War

Learning targets

(clear, understandable versions of standards in student friendly language)


History Alive! lesson plan

1. Identify significant events during the course of the war.

2. Evaluate the impact of the war.

In this lesson, students learn how the Civil War affected civilians and soldiers in the Union and Confederacy. They read about key events, battles, and developments of the Civil War. Finally, students apply their learning in a Processing assignment.
Recommended changes to HA! lesson plan

1. If Experiential Exercises pose an issue for students in the classroom, they can use the supplemental videos, clips, songs, and literature noted in the section additional background building.

2. Howard Zinn’s A Young People’s History Of the United States, Volume One provides an alternative perspective about the Civil War.
Chapter 9: “Slavery and Emancipation: The Civil War and Slavery” 137-142,Discussion Questions

1. How were African Americans affected by the Civil War?

2. How were African Americans treated in the North?

3. How did Jefferson Davis plan to utilize African Americans during the Civil War?

Chapter 10 “The Other Civil War,” (pg. 147-162), Discussion Questions

1. What class struggles existed in the United States prior to, during, and after the Civil War?

2. How were people of different classes, races, and ethnicities impacted by the Civil War?

3. How did the United States government support people from different classes, races, and ethnicities?

4. How did people in poverty work to improve their lives?
Since the text is inaccessible at an independent reading level for many ELL students and students reading below grade level, I had to read most sections of most chapters aloud.
Helpful supplements include: A Young People’s History of The United States, Beyond the Oregon Trail, Discovery Streaming, etc. I’ve included an extensive list of video, song, movie, mini-series, and literature links in the “background building” section.

Flexible grouping pattern of the lesson

Whole class




Language objectives

(identified cognitive functions correlated to the learning targets, such as sequence, compare/contrast, cause/effect, infer, and argue, as well as the signal words to be deliberately taught/used in discussion and writing; sentence frames in support section)


History Alive! Preview activity

(builds background; links to student experience)

Preview 22, p. 153 in ISN

Play CD Track 13, “The Bonnie Blue Flag,” and CD Track 14, “Tenting Tonight.” As students listen to each track, have them answer the questions for Preview 22 in their Interactive Student Notebooks. After each selection, ask students to share their responses. Explain that the lyrics and music in these songs reflect how attitudes toward the Civil War changed dramatically as the war dragged on and its atrocities mounted. Tell students that the uplifting “The Bonnie Blue Flag” was the Confederacy’s second most popular song (following “Dixie”) and reveals southerners’ confidence at the beginning of the war. In contrast, the haunting “Tenting Tonight,” written in 1863 by a northerner after receiving his draft notice, shows how weary many had become with the bloodshed produced after two years of fighting. Students will enjoy listening to the songs.

Pre-assessment activities/documents

(serves as self-assessment for students; informs instruction for teachers; charts or documents may be used as a place to gather concepts/information throughout lesson through debriefing; may include visuals, lesson questions, lesson vocabulary, language objectives, and/or learning targets)

See lesson questions

Lesson questions

(drive instruction; may create links to previous learning; may be included in pre-assessment)

1. What were the strengths and weaknesses of the Union and Confederacy at the beginning of the Civil War?

2. Why would a war that many believed would be short-lived last four years?

3. What were the critical battles and key developments during the war?

4. What were the war’s effects on soldiers, civilians, the physical environment, and future warfare?

5. Why is the Civil War considered the first modern war?

6. How did the Civil War resolve the challenge to the United States’ existence?

Additional background building

(streaming video segments, DVD, map review, read aloud of a related piece of fiction, etc.)

Please see document with this lesson for some awesome video clips, songs, movie, and literature suggestions!!

Key content vocabulary (italicized words assessed)

1. Confederacy (p. 303, 305, 308)

2. Secession (p. 303, 305, 306, 320)

3. Traitors (p. 303)

4. Regiment (p. 309)

5. Confederate (p. 310)

6. Emancipation Proclamation (p. 312)

7. Habeas corpus (p. 313)

8. Besieged (p. 315)

9. Abolitionists (p. 317)

10. Regiment (p. 317)

11. Retreat (p. 318)

12. Total war (p. 318)

13. Sovereign (p. 320)

14. Military tactics (p. 321)

See additional vocabulary for ELLs and students reading below grade level.


Lesson-specific instructional supports

* see Enrichment Plan for Compacting/Extensions

Suggested strategies for introduction Interactive Read-Aloud

Focus pages/paragraphs for guided reading group

Thinking/Process-Related Words

(for example, Bloom’s, etc.)

Add Cornell Notes here

p. 321, paragraphs 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7







Lesson-specific instructional supports

* see Enrichment Plan for Compacting/Extensions

Sentence frames

for parts of the lesson

______ is significant because _____________________________________________________________.


Lesson-specific instructional supports

* see Enrichment Plan for Compacting/Extensions

FORMATIVE ASSESSMENTS (for student and teacher use)

Check for understanding”

points during activities

Checkpoints in Student Interactive Notebook

Questions for

exit and entrance slips

22.2 Preparing for War

1. What key advantages did the Union (the North) have over the Confederacy (the South) at the beginning of the Civil War?

2. What key advantages did the Confederacy have over the Union?

3. What were the personal strengths and weaknesses of President Abraham Lincoln and President Jefferson Davis?

Geography Challenge

1. What are four interesting details on the map?

2. Where did most battles take place: in Union states, in Confederate states, or in border states?

3. In the early part of the war (1861-1862), which side won more battles? Why do you think this side was more successful?

-In the later part of the war (1863-1865), which side won more battles? Why do you think this side was more successful?
22.3 Bull Run

1. Why was the Battle of Bull Run significant?

2. How did Rose Greenhow help the Confederate army prior to the Battle of Bull Run?

3. How did women support the war effort?

22.4 Antietam

1. Why was the Battle of Antietam significant?

2. Why was the Union army’s victory unclear?

3. How effective was medical care at this time?

22.5 Gettysburg

1. What was the Emancipation Proclamation? Why was it important?

2. When was the first draft law enacted?

3. Why was the Battle of Gettysburg significant?

4. What problems did Lincoln face on the home front?

5. Why were there draft riots?

6. Why was Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address significant?
22.6 Vicksburg

1. Why was technology significant?

2. Why was the battle of the Merrimac and the Monitor significant?

3. Why was Vicksburg’s surrender significant?

4. What effect did the Union’s control of the Mississippi have on the South?

5. What problems did the South face on the home front?

22.7 Fort Wagner

1. What was the Massachusetts 54th Regiment?

2. How did African-Americans impact the assault on Fort Wagner?
22.8 Appomattox

1. What was Grant’s war strategy?

2. Why was Grant’s invasion of Richmond significant?

3. Why was the election of 1864 important?

4. What was the result of Sherman’s march through Georgia?

5. What was significant about Lee’s surrender at Appomattox?

6. Why were Grant’s terms of surrender generous?

7. How did the Civil War affect the United States’ identity?

8. Why was the Civil War the first truly modern war?

9. Which issues were still left unsettled after the Civil War?

22.3 Bull Run, p. 154

1. Why were many northerners surprised at the outcome of the Battle of Bull Run?

2. How did women participate in the Civil War?
22.4 Antietam, p. 154

1. What was important about the Battle of Antietam?

2. What hardships did Civil War soldiers face in combat?
22.5 Gettysburg, p. 155

1. Why was the Battle of Gettysburg considered a turning point in the Civil War?

2. What problems developed on the Union home front during the war?
22.6 Vicksburg, p. 156

1. Why was the Union victory at Vicksburg important?

2. What problems developed on the Confederate home front during the war?
22.7 Fort Wagner, p. 156

1. What was important about the actions of the Massachusetts 54th at Fort Wagner?

2. How did African-Americans contribute to the Union war effort?
22.8 Appomattox, p. 157

1. What is meant by “total war”?

2. What did the Union army do during their campaign of total war?

3. What terms did Grant offer Lee when he surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse?

Please see “Check for understanding” points during activities.


Processing Assignment

(also serves as a formative assessment)



Processing 22: p. 158 in ISN

Draw heads and facial features to express how three individuals felt about the end of the Civil War. Include the following: a Union or Confederate soldier, a northern or southern citizen, and an African-American. Make thought bubbles above the heads showing what each individual might be thinking. Each thought bubble should:

-describe how fighting in the Civil War affected the individual’s life

-explain how the end of the Civil War might change the individual’s life

-be free of misspellings and grammatical errors.

Imaginative Writing: p. 457 in HA

After students read, “Generals and Soldiers of the Civil War” on pg. 454-457 of HA, students will complete an imaginative writing assignment: Imagine that you are a young man living in the South or the North in April 1861, when the Civil War began. Write a statement that expresses why you ware willing to die for what you believe is right. Refer to the arguments made by Southerners like Robert E. Lee and Robert W. Banks or Northerners like Ulysses S. Grant and Sullivan Ballou. Select from the following forms of writing: a personal letter to a family member or friend, a letter to the editor of a wartime newspaper, or a report to your commanding officer. Your completed piece must be at least three paragraphs long and free of errors in spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar.


Label and illustrate a timeline with the following events: Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration, Battle of Bull Run, Battle of Antietam, Battle of Gettysburg, Battle of Vicksburg, General Lee’s Surrender. For each event, draw a creative and appropriate symbol near its proper place on the timeline. Write the date the event occurred and an appropriate headline

for each event.

Have each student complete poster for each of the following topics: Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration, Battle of Bull Run, Women Support the War, Battle of Antietam, Battle of Gettysburg, Battle of Vicksburg, The Massachusetts 54th Regiment, Sherman’s March Through Georgia, General Lee’s Surrender. Each poster should summarize the key issues around each topic and include a drawing representing that topic.




Modified from History Alive! June 2010

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