One of the challenges of teaching history is that certain topics and time periods are pushed to the end of the school year. One such time period occurs in curriculum which splits American history into two years (usually 7th and 9th grades). At the end of the first year, teachers have to scramble to cover the American Civil War, a time period that deserves quality instruction and resources. Today, we’ll share with you a few of those important online resources for teaching the American Civil War.
WebQuests: The following WebQuests are a great way to get students actively engaging the content with a twist on traditional research projects.
- Civil War Museum – This webquest allows the students to research aspects revolving around the Civil War as well as how to effectively compile it into a museum structure.
- The South will Rise Again – This WebQuest is a depiction of troop movements during the Battle of Gettysburg. Students are to recreate the Battle of Gettysburg and create alternative movements of the battalions to make the South win the war. Students must know who commanded what unit with how many soldiers they were in charge of. Students must take in to consideration the topigraphical and land formations in the battle grounds.
- Letters from the Civil War – This WebQuest involves students taking roles as a Union or Confederate soldier during the Civil War. They are writing letters to each other telling about their wartime experiences.
- A Nation Divided – It is the year 1861 and President Lincoln has assigned you a very important job. In hopes of showing future generations how life was different during the Civil War, he has asked that you document this tragic time in history. You will be asked to document the places and people you come into contact with by creating a scrapbook of your journey. It is your task to show how this great nation was once a divided nation. Now to begin your journey….
Civil War Lesson Resources:
- eHow Civil War Activities for Middle School - From eHow Family, here are some interactive activity ideas for middle school students.
- Civil War Trust – Lessons for Middle School – The Civil War Trust uses educational resources to preserve the history of the Civil War.
- Civil War Units of Study – Inspired by the popular documentary by Ken Burns, teachers share unit ideas for studying the Civil War.
- Civil War Task- What if the South had Won – Here’s an interesting twist on looking at history. Students have to fully understand what happened to ponder what could have happened.
- For Which Side Would You Have Fought – This lesson assists students in comprehending the thinking of Americans choosing sides leading up to the Civil War.
- Larry Ferlazzo’s Blog – Civil War Simulation – Of course Mr. Ferlazzo has a plethora of resources for this topic. Would expect anything different?
- Causes of the American Civil War – Here’s an informational resource from the UK.
- Classroom Simulation – Compromise Between North and South – In this unit, students simulate the Crittenden Compromise Convention.
- The American Civil War Simulation – Here is another simulation where students choose sides and play out the events of the war.
Other Civil War Resource Links:
- Best of History Websites
- Civil War Lesson Plans and Activities
- Online Resources for a Civil War Project
- Larry Ferlazzo’s Best Sites for Learning About the American Civil War
- Dr. Marty Levine, Professor Emeritus of Secondary Education, California State University, Northridge
What resources have you turned to when teaching the Civil War? What’s your unique approach to teaching this topic? What are some other topics that land at the end of the year that we should cover?
Zac Early is an instructional specialist and blogger for the eMINTS National Center. H/T to eMINTS staff Ruth Henslee, Jen Foster, and Michelle Kendrick for helping to gather these resources.