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Here’s a great, in-depth lesson plan on the Civil War


Language Arts, Social Studies  



Title – Civil War
By – Jill Harris
Subject – Social Studies, Language Arts
Grade Level – Grade: 5
TEKS: (5.1) Listening/Speaking/purposes. The student listens actively and purposefully in a variety of settings. The student is expected to: (A) determine the purposes for listening such as to gain information, to solve problems, or to enjoy and appreciate (4-8). (5.15) Writing/purposes. The student writes for a variety of audiences and purposes, and in a variety of forms. The student is expected to: (A) write to express, discover, record, develop, reflect on ideas, and to problem solve (4-8). (5.4) History. The student understands political, economical, and social changes that occurred in the United States during the 19th century. The student is expected to: (D) describe the causes and effects of the Civil War.

— Overhead projector
— 10 Facts About The Civil War transparency
— K-W-L transparency and paper copy (one for each student)
— Book cover color sheet (one for each student)
— Markers, crayons
— Civil War Jeopardy game
— TCM 290 – one for each student (pp. 39, 65, 66, 76, 77)
— Civil War quiz

Anticipatory Set:
The teacher will put a K-W-L chart on the overhead, and give a paper copy to each student. The teacher will ask the students to list what they know about the Civil War, and put these things under the “K” column. The teacher will demonstrate this procedure to the students. The teacher will ask the students what they would like to know or learn about the Civil War and instruct the students to write these things under the “W” column. The teacher will make some cornbread muffins before the lesson (using the instruction sheet p. 62). Instruct the students to sit in a circle. While the students eat their muffin, the teacher will discuss the war soldiers’ diet and present the 10 Facts About The Civil War to the students in a story form.

The students will identify the ten facts about the Civil War by completing a matching quiz, and construct a Civil War book.

The teacher will display ten facts about the Civil War on the overhead and allow volunteers to read the facts. After the teacher discusses the objectives to the students, the teacher will turn off the overhead and introduce the Civil War Jeopardy game. Using the attached sheet, the teacher will instruct the students on how to play the game, and model one or two questions.

Checking for Understanding:
To check for understanding, ask the students for a thumbs up/thumbs down response to the following sample statements:
— A Civil War is a war between two parts of the same country.
— Slavery was the sole cause of the Civil War.
— Slavery was abolished in the United States.

Guided Practice:
The teacher will create a Civil War word bank on the chalkboard. Ask the students to contribute words to the bank from the jeopardy game. The students will complete a Civil War crossword puzzle using words from the word bank. The teacher will monitor students offering assistance if necessary.

Independent Practice:
Give the students a copy of the Union and Confederate Soldiers. Have students color the soldiers and list the appropriate facts for each soldier. Example: The students would list the following facts for each soldier, Union – won the war, Abraham Lincoln was President, etc. Confederate – lost the war, seceded from the Union, led the first attack, etc.

Briefly restate the objective. Using the K-W-L overhead, have the students contribute to the “L” column listing things they learned about the Civil War. Give the students a copy of the cannon with the Confederate and United States flags picture to color (I scanned this picture from the title page of TCM 290 and enlarged it). They will use this picture as their book cover (for added strength, these pictures can be copied onto tagboard). Students will color and staple to the handouts to complete their Civil War book.

The teacher will administer a Civil War matching quiz as a form of assessment.

The class will participate in a Civil War play using the fact sheet, and role-playing the events.

The teacher will number the students 1-10. Using the Famous People Portraits sheet, the teacher will cut out the pictures and all the “ones” will get Abraham Lincoln, all the “twos” will get Jefferson Davis, and so on. The students will use various sources to do an out of class research on their famous person. Give students a copy of the Famous Person
sheet. They will glue their person’s portrait on the left hand corner, and using complete sentences write about their famous person (fill the page).

Scholastic: 50 Graphic Organizers for Reading, Writing & More ISBN 0-590-00484-0
Teacher Created Materials: Thematic Unit Civil War – TCM 290 ISBN 1-55734-290-3

***I took the following 10 facts about the Civil War and made a Civil War Jeopardy game. I also used these same facts to create a Civil War Matching quiz.


1. A Civil War is between 2 parts of the same country. Secession (leaving the Union) of the South led to the Civil War.
2. Some causes of the Civil War included slavery, state’s rights, different ways of making a living, etc.
3. The war began when the South attacked Fort Sumter in April 1861.
4. Jefferson Davis was President of the South (Confederacy) during the war.
5. Abraham Lincoln was President of the United States during the war.
6. Abraham Lincoln read his famous speech, Gettysburg Address, at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to honor soldiers who died there.
7. Lincoln’s Cabinet approves the Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery in parts of the South in 1863.
8. The war was over when General Lee surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox Court House, Appomattox, Virginia April 9, 1865.
9. Reconstruction was necessary for rebuilding the South after the war.
10. After the war, the United States formed the new state governments that had to approve the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery.

Resources: United States Adventures in Time and Place. Teacher’s Multimedia Edition Vol. 2. MacMillan/Mc Graw Hill, 1997.
Civil War TCM 290.
History of the Civil War by James Robertson Jr.
How Our Nation Became Great by E. Richard and Linda Churchill.

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