The Civil War Curriculum | Goal 6 | Elementary School

Kepis1863: The Shifting Tides

By the Civil War Trust, Endorsed by History™History (tm) Logo

Grades: Elementary 

Length of Time: 50 minutes

Goal: Students will be able to discuss the effects of the battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg, paying particular attention to the Gettysburg Address.


1.  Students will list the sequence of events leading to the battles of Vicksburg and Gettysburg and highlight each event on a map.
2. Students will engage in group discussion about the meaning and significance of the Gettysburg Address. 

Materials Used:

1. Shifting Tides PowerPoint
2. Shifting Tides Timeline and Map
3. Shifting Tides Timeline  Answer Key
4. Two Highlighters of Different Colors
5. Gettysburg Address
6. The Gettysburg Address in Your Own Words


Print out the PowerPoint with notes prior to class. There are notes included with the slides that can be on the printed slides, but won’t be seen by your students during the presentation.

Activity 1

1. Use the Shifting Tides PowerPoint to guide the lesson. 
2. Hand out the Shifting Tides Timeline and Map, copied back to back.
3. Allow students a few minutes to fill in the timeline.
4. As you discuss the events on the PowerPoint, students should highlight each battle on their maps according to whether it was won by the Union or Confederacy.  They may create their own key using the boxes located on the Shifting Tides Timeline and Map worksheet.  Students should also keep a tally of the “winners” for each battle. 
5. When you arrive at the Gettysburg Address in the PowerPoint, pass out the Gettysburg Address, read it as a group, and discuss its meaning as a class.

Activity 2

Partner students and hand out The Gettysburg Address in Your Own Words.  Review the discussion questions on the worksheet.  Students should use the questions to help them work out the meaning of the Address. 


1. Allow one or two groups of students to share their completed The Gettysburg Address in Your Own Words.  

Assessment in this Lesson: 

1. Completed Shifting Tides Timeline and Map
2. Completed The Gettysburg Address in Your Own Words
3. A written paragraph about why the Gettysburg Address is still important today. As a homework assignment.

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