This username and password
combination was not found.

Please try again.

Hotchalk Global

view a plan

Students create a Civil War digital diorama here, showing how physical and human geographic factors can affect a war’s outcome


Computers & Internet, Language Arts, Math, Music, Science, Social Studies  



Title – Battles of the American Civil War Digital Diorama
By – James Higgs
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Secondary Subjects – Math, Science, Social Studies, Music, Language Arts
Grade Level – 8th

Concept / Topic To Teach:

    Physical and human geographic factors limited the use of resources during the American Civil War.

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills Standards Addressed:

      113.24.b Social Studies, Grade 8:
        (8.1) History: The student understands traditional historical points of reference in U.S. history through 1877. The student is expected to:

          (C) explain the significance of the following dates: 1607, 1776, 1787, 1803, and


      (8.8) History. The student understands individuals, issues, and events of the Civil War. The student is expected to:

        (A) explain the roles played by significant individuals during the Civil War, including Jefferson Davis, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, and Abraham Lincoln;
        (B) explain the issues surrounding significant events of the Civil War, including the firing on Fort Sumter, the battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg, the announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation, the assassination of Lincoln, and Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House; and
        (C) analyze Abraham Lincoln’s ideas about liberty, equality, union, and government as contained in his first and second inaugural addresses and the Gettysburg Address.
    (8.11) Geography. The student understands the location and characteristics of places and regions of the United States, past and present. The student is expected to:

      (C) analyze the effects of physical and human geographic factors on major historical and contemporary events in the United States.

General Goal(s):

  • Students will develop a deeper understanding of how physical and geographic factors limit the use of resources during the Civil War by creating a digital diorama of a civil war battle.
  • Students will also create a PowerPoint presentation which shows:
    • How wars impact the resources of a country
    • How physical geography can be an advantage or disadvantage during war
    • How a country’s human geography can affect a war’s outcome.

Specific Objectives:

  • Students will create a 5-10 minute diorama of a major Civil War battle
  • Students will research and create a PowerPoint presentation on how a country’s resources impact its war time fighting ability, how physical geography affects battles and how a society’s values humans can affect a wars outcome.
  • Students will learn about the significant individuals and events of the Civil War era.
  • Students will analyze Lincoln’s words in the Gettysburg Address.
  • Students will re-create a key battle and explain the effects of physical and human geographic factors on the outcome of the war.

Required Materials:

Anticipatory Set (Lead-In):

  1. Give short biographies of significant characters of the Civil War:
    1. Abraham Lincoln
    2. U.S. Grant
    3. Jefferson Davis
    4. Robert E. Lee
  2. Introduce Civil War timeline
  3. Introduce major battles of the Civil War using a map
  4. Introduce the questions to be answered in the PowerPoint presentation:
    1. How do wars impact the use of resources in a country?
    2. How can the physical geography during wartime be an advantage or a disadvantage?
    3. How can the human geography of a country at war affect its outcome?
    4. How does Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address relate to these questions?
    5. What vision for the future does Lincoln shows us in the Gettysburg Address?
  5. Introduce Photo Story 3:
    1. Show an example photo story
    2. Show students how to access the online tutorials:
      • Discuss copyrights and crediting of photos and music

Step-By-Step Procedures:

  1. Divide class into groups of two or three.
  2. Set due dates for photo story presentation and PowerPoint presentation, a due date for teacher review that allows time for student to revise their work, and a due date for final class presentation.
  3. Give out copies of the significant person biographies, major battles of the Civil War, the three questions to be used to create a PowerPoint presentation, instructions on the use of Photo Story 3, and a listing of the suggested websites.
  4. Determine which group will research which battle.
  5. Sign up computer time for research, photo story development and PowerPoint development. Before, during and after school.
  6. Students will create a storyboard for their photo story project showing the pictures, captions, narration, effects and music they will use.
  7. Students will create a storyboard for their PowerPoint presentation showing the questions to be answered, their answers, effects they plan for the slides.
  8. Students will submit the work for approval and revision three days before final presentation.
  9. Students will present their work for the entire class.
  10. Students will create a ten-question multiple choice test on their project for the other students to use. Five questions will be on the Photo Story presentation and five questions on the PowerPoint presentation.

Plan for Independent Practice:

      The students will research the material, create the project and prepare their presentations.

Closure (Reflect Anticipatory Set):

  • Students will present their projects to the class and answer questions about the project during a discussion session.
  • Students will take notes on other student’s projects and ask questions about the projects during a discussion session.
  • Students will give their fellow students a ten-question multiple choice test on their project.

Assessment Based On Objectives:

  • A rubric will be used to grade the groups Photo Story 3 presentation for: general effect, use of music, use of photos, pacing, narration, research and accuracy of content.
  • A rubric will be used to grade the groups PowerPoint presentation for general effect, pacing, research and accuracy of the content
  • A written test will be developed from the student prepared tests to assess for student understandings.

Adaptations (For Students with Learning Disabilities):

  • Adaptations will be created based upon students Individual Education Plan and with input from the special education teacher.
  • Alternative assessments and presentations may be developed based upon this plan.

Extensions (For Gifted Students):

  • The breath and depth of the research will be expanded for GT students.
  • An individual plan will be developed with these students to let them explore further into the areas of the research which interest them.
  • Alternative assessments and presentations may be developed for them based upon this plan.

Possible Connections to Other Subjects:

  • Research into Civil War literature connects to English Language Arts, i.e. reading the Red Badge of Courage
  • Research into the use of Civil War technology and its affects on battles connects to science, i.e. the development and use of smokeless gunpowder.
  • Use of Civil War era music connects to the musical arts
  • Use of Civil War photographs and paintings connects to the visual arts
  • The use of statistics, monetary costs and battlefield dimensions connect to mathematics.

Lesson plan template used with permission from
Lesson developed with the use of CSCOPE lesson planner. Copyright 2009 TESCCC

E-Mail James Higgs !

Print Friendly, PDF & Email