The Civil War Curriculum | Goal 1 | Elementary School
By the Civil War Trust, Endorsed by History™
Approximate Length of Time: 50 min.
Goal: Students will be able to identify the causes of the American Civil War.
- Students will be able to compare the cultures and economies of the Northern and Southern states.
- Students will be able to summarize the main points of the Missouri Compromise, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and the Declaration of Causes of the Seceding States.
- Students will be able to discuss the actions of John Brown at Harpers Ferry and the reaction of the country.
- Chart Paper
- Sticky notes
- Comparing Cultures and Economies Chart
- Drawing Paper
- Disunion Information Cards (with questions)
- John Brown PowerPoint
- Comparing Cultures and Economies Essay
- Ask: What is your favorite thing to do? Have students their response on a sticky note and put the note on a sheet of chart paper labeled "Our Favorite Things."
- Read aloud a few of these items.
- Tell students to consider no longer being able to do the things they like the most.
- On a new sticky note, have students write how losing things makes them feel.
- Put these on a separate sheet of chart paper labeled "Losing Our Favorite Things," and have several students discuss their feelings.
- Ask the students to think about what it might be like to never have the opportunity to do a favorite activity again- or how their lives may be different if they could no longer play with or use something they love. Example: What might it be like to never be able to play with your best friend again, or how would you feel if there were no more television shows to watch or video games to play?
- Now we are going to learn about a time when some people felt they were losing their way of life, while others who never had the opportunity to experience certain things were able to for the first time.
- Hand out a Comparing Cultures and Economies Chart to each child.
- Read over the information as a class and discuss.
- Ask for suggestions as to how you could illustrate the information on the chart.
- Work in small groups, using the information on the chart to draw an illustration of life in the North and life in the South.
- Display these pictures around the classroom or in the hallway.
- Place students into small groups of 3 or 4.
- Give each group a set of Disunion Information Cards.
- Have students cut out the cards and place them in chronological order.
- Ask each small group to read the information on the cards.
- Have each small group use the cards to answer the associated questions as a group.
- Print the John Brown PowerPoint with the notes for yourself and the students.
- Hand out copies of the John Brown PowerPoint with those notes.
- Present the John Brown PowerPoint.
- Complete the discussion questions on the last slide, either discussing as a class or having students write their answers.
- Ask: Based on what we learned today, do you think people knew a war was coming? Do you think they could have worked harder to solve their problems without violence? What else do you think they could have done before going to war?
- Using the Comparing Cultural and Economies Essay, discuss the differences between the Northern and Southern states.
Assessment in This Lesson:
- Illustration of life in the North and life in the South.
- Disunion Information Cards and question sheet.
- Informal assessment during John Brown presentation questions.
- A Written paragraph comparing the cultural and economic differences between the Northern and Southern states.