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Civil War 5th grade

Life Skills:

  • Thinking & Reasoning
  • Social & Civic Responsibility

Time Frame:
4 class periods that run 45 minutes each.

Group Size:
Large Groups


This lesson was designed as a comprehensive summary of the Civil War era. It is an overview and not indepth.

emedia (@Pioneer Online Library) - "Causes of the Civil War" (This has copyright restrictions but it is ok for individual classroom use. It is not attached to this lesson because of copyright issues.)
Copy of the Emancipation Proclamation (if available)
Maps of the Civil War
Blank US Map with only outline of the states in 1860.
Social studies text.


  • Slave_-_Gordon_Cotton.bmp
    picture of a slave who had scars from being whipped. From
  • Causes_of_the_Civil_War_note_sheet.doc
    Sheet to take notes during emedia video clip
  • civil_war_kwl.kid
    KWL for students - blank
  • Civil_War_Vocabulary.doc
    Vocabulary broken down in pre-war, war and post-war. Important people.
  • United_States_in_1860.pdf
    PDF file of outline map of the United States in 1860. This is best viewed if you SAVE before you OPEN the file. You need to get permission to make copies of this map from
  • us_map.bmp
    Basic outline map of the United States
  • CIVIL_WAR_CONCEPT_MAP_template.isf
    This Inspiration template can be used for students to build a concept map. I chose a template because we had a short amount of time to complete the unit and I couldn't use any time for students to build from scratch.
  • Slave_ownership.xls
    An excel spreadsheet and pie chart of slave ownership in 1860.

Web Sites

    Houghton Mifflin Maps that can be reprint with permission.
  • Pioneer Online Library
    This site should be accessible from your school's webite. You can also log in with your myuen ID or the generic username/password. Once logged in, you need to choose eMedia.

Background For Teachers: - "Primary Sources" workshop 4 "Concerning Emancipation"

Web Sites

  • Annenberg CPB (aka Annenberg) has primary source documents and new insights into Abraham Lincoln. This is from the series "Primary Sources": Workshop 4.
  • Edu Place Historical Maps
    Site for Houghton Mifflin resources. You need permission to make classroom copies - form is on the site.
  • EduPlace Copyright page
    This is the page on the Houghton Mifflin site where you can submit a request to make copies of their materials.

Student Prior Knowledge:
The Civil War was fought between the northern states and the southern states.

Intended Learning Outcomes:
Students will see that the Civil War was more complex than just the issue of slavery or the abolition of slavery.
Students will recognize the connection between the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement.
Students will know important historical individuals from the Civil War.
Students will be able to describe the political and economic factors that contributed to the Civil War.
Students will be able to correctly identify the geographic regions of the Union and the Confederacy.

Instructional Procedures:
Activity 1
Begin lesson with the KWL for the Civil War. If there is a computer (with Kidspiration) and projector, this is a whole class activity. If not, this is quiet, individual attention activity. Students should focus on the "What I know" portion.

Activity 2
Discuss the % of slave owners. Pie chart is available on p 420 of the text. Either on the computer or on the board, write 2 columns; one with the % and one with the description. Have students match them up correctly without looking at their book. As a class, look at p 420 and make corrections as necessary. Conclude with the pie chart.

Activity 3
Watch eMedia movie clip "Causes of the Civil War". There are several choices. I chose the full clip and not the segments. You can access eMedia via Utah's Pioneer Online library. You should save and download this ahead of time. It uses the typical media players (Quick Time and Windows Media player).

Activity 4
Primary Sourced documents. From Annenberg CPB ( discuss some of the primary source docs. For this lesson, I chose the 4th Lincoln/Douglas debate and the letter from Lincoln to Horace Greeley.

Activity 5
Vocabulary - give students the vocabulary sheet. Students may do the vocabulary sheet individually or in small groups. This will require the text book. Vocabulary covers the chapters in Unit 7. This may also be a homework assignment.

Activity 6
Computer lab exercise - students use Inspiration or Kidspiration if available to complete a concept map or other graphic organizer. With either an Inspiration/Kidspiration template or a list of concepts, students or groups of students will be able to make a graphic representation of concepts related to the Civil War.

Activity 7
Group discussion: The Emancipation Proclamation. Discuss the ramifications of this event including sharecropping, 13th and 14th amendments and Jim Crow laws. This is a good place to tie in the Civil Rights movement - see page 470 in the text mentioned in the bibliography.

Web Sites

  • Pioneer Online Library
    Emedia is a resource on Pioneer Online. You need to log into Pioneer and access eMedia.

Strategies For Diverse Learners:
Students can read "Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt. A project is assigned where students have to relate the book to themselves. Possible projects could be a reflective paper, poster, poem or letter home from a soldier.

Students will color a outline US Map (can be done with or without state names) to show which states were northern, southern and border states.

Assessment Plan:
Students will create some type of graphic organizer (concept map, outline, etc)from a set list of concepts, battles, locations, vocabulary and important figures related to the Civil War.


Pioneer Online Library - emedia
Annenberg CPB
United States: Harcourt Brace Social StudiesHarcourt Brace, 2002.
Outline maps of the United States from
Outline map of the US in 1860 from

Joan Cartmill

Created Date :
May 17 2006 21:16 PM