Unit of Study Title: The Civil War
Topic Area: Social Science
Grade Level: 6-8
Time Frame: 2 to 3 weeks
Key Words: Civil War Union Confederacy War between the States

Unit Designer: Tracy Upton (TU001)
Unit Designer E-mail:
School District: Milbank
Date Added: 6/25/2002 3:23:18 PM
Date Last Revised: 6/26/2002 8:55:55 AM

Peer Reviewer: Eric Schultz
Peer Reviewer E-mail:

SD Content Standard Goals (SD Content Standards):

Social Science
Students will understand the emergence and development of civilization over time and place.
Students will understand the interrelationships of people, places, and the environment.

SD Content Standard Indicators:
Analyze the chronology of various historical eras to determine connections and cause/effect relationships.
Evaluate the impact of historical events, ideals, and documents on the formation of the United States government

SD Content Standard Benchmarks:
summarize the causes, key events, and effects of the Civil War with emphasis on philosophical differences between the North and South, as exemplified by men such as Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun on the constitutional issues of the doctrine of nullification and secession; geographic and economic differences between the agricultural South and industrial North; Abraham Lincoln’s presidency and his significant writings and speeches and their relationship to the Declaration of Independence, such as his "House Divided" speech (1858), the Gettysburg Address (1863), his second inaugural address of 1865; the views and lives of leaders and soldiers on both sides of the war including Ulysses S. Grant, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, and Sojourner Truth; and the critical developments in the war including the major battles, geographical advantages and obstacles, technological advances, and Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.

Other Content Standards:
1. S.D. English determine the appropriate technology to gather, organize, and retrieve information. (
organize text to support a specific focus, point-of-view, and/or purpose
use a variety of techniques to generate, draft, revise, edit, and publish texts
organize information to achieve a particular purpose. (example: adapt message to audience and context)
design visual aids using various techniques to emphasize key ideas. (example: color, boxing, underlining, highlighting)
use audio-visual equipment to enhance oral communication.
National Technology standards
Technology productivity tools
Students use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity.
Students use productivity tools to collaborate in constructing technology-enhanced models, prepare publications, and produce other creative works.

Brief Summary of Unit:
Few events in U.S. History capture the imagination of people like the civil war. Students will go through The Civil war from Fort Sumter to Appomattox. Students will be involved in a variety of activities to gain an understanding of the events of the War and why this war stirs the emotions of the American people.

Students will Understand:
Students will gain an understanding about the chronological course of the civil war.
Students will understand how individuals within a nation in crisis will seek to use available resources to accomplish a goal.
Students will gain an understanding to the feelings of individuals in our nation during the war.

Essential Questions to Guide this Unit and Focus Teaching and Learning:
What advantages and disadvantages did both sides have at the beginning of the war.
How did each side create and follow through with strategies to take advantage of their strengths or overcome their weaknesses.
How did both sides try to win the war at sea.
How did the Union gain control of the Mississippi.
What key battles were fought and why were they important.
Why was the North unsuccessful in their attempts to capture Richmond.
How was the North able to finally defeat the South.
Why did Lincoln announce the Emancipation Proclamation.
What was it really like on the battlefield. How are battles fought.

Key Knowledge and Skills Students will Acquire:
1. Students will identify various components of a major battle.
2. Students will relate why these tactics were not appropriate given the technology of the day.
3. Students will relate the results of battle by this strategy.
4. Students will be able to identify the advantages and disadvantages of both sides.
5. Students will be able to describe the strategy of the North and South.
6. Students will be able to identify various naval battles and modern improvements used by both sides.
7. Students will be able to tell how the Union gained control of the Mississippi and the result of that.
8. Students will explain why the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by Lincoln and what effect that had on the course of the war.
9. Students will be able to explain why Grant was successful in the east when his predecessors were not.
10. Students will be able to tell of what life was like on the home front in both the North and South.
11. Students will be able to describe why there was opposition to the war and the draft.

Assessment Plan:
Students will complete various readings and short essay questions for each of those readings.
Students will complete a powerpoint of one of many topics dealing with the Civil war.
Students will complete a teacher created test at the end of the unit.

Learning Activites:
Students will be working extensively with maps. They will be labeling the states, geographical areas, and major battles and movements as we progress through the war.
Students will work in their books, reading and completing written assignments.
Students will be working in the Computer lab. They will be reseaching and developing a power point on and area of interest.
Students will be working cooperatively in groups and "do battle" against other groups. Winning being based on correctly answering questions about the war.


Internet Resource Link:







  Power point    How battles are fought.


1.        Discussion activities as the power point progresses.

2.        Students will be divided into groups each person will assume one of the following roles.  Each person will research and write a report on a subject within their roles.  Possible topics are given with each but are not required. Topics also can often be combined in a presentation.

a.       Cook

                                                               i.      food of the civil war

b.       Supply sergeant

                                                               i.      uniforms or other materials a soldier may use

c.       Doctor

                                                               i.      medical practices…equiptment

d.       Nurses

                                                               i.      role of women..focus on Clara Barton or other famous nurses

e.       Spy

                                                               i.      role of the spy….famous spies in the War

f.         Prison Camp Commandant

                                                               i.      report on prison camps

g.       General

                                                               i.      Pick a general or battle to report on

h.       Band director

                                                               i.      find and report on civil war songs

i.         Artillery

                                                               i.      What type of cannon were used and for what

                                                             ii.      What type of ordinance (shells) was used

j.         Admiral

                                                               i.      tell of a naval battle

                                                             ii.      report on ironclads, blockades, other materials

k.       Cavalry commander

                                                               i.      Report on Cavalry, Sheridan, Stuart, or tactics/equipment…. Famous battles

l.         Enlistment

                                                               i.      how was recruitment handled, bonuses, draft,  numbers enlisted.

m.     Transportation

                                                               i.      railroads, steamboats, wagons

n.      African Americans in the Civil War

                                                               i.      Discrimination,  54th Massachusetts, battles involved in

o.       Others by option…


3.        Following links for further interest









SUPERIOR          GOOD             AVERAGE                POOR      

1.        Presentation is well organized with and introduction, body, and conclusion.

2.        The assigned theme is closely followed.

  1. Student makes wide and creative use of graphics, sound, transistion and other tools. 
  2. Presentation flows well and is visually attractive.
  3. Information is factual and well presented.
  4. Extra effort is indicated.
  5. Sources are indicated.

1.        Presentation is organized with an introduction, body and conclusion

2.        The assigned theme is followed.

3.        Student presentation includes graphics and other tools.

4.        Presentation flows well.

5.        Information is factual.

6.        Sources are indicated

  1. Presentation has an introduction, body , and conclusion.
  2. The  assigned theme is followed
  3. Student presentation has mainly text with some graphics and transitions.  Not in their own words.
  4. Information is on the subject but not well organized.
  5. Sources are indicated
  1. Presentation shows little organization
  2. Information doesn’t follow the topic very well.
  3. Presentation has little information presented with few graphics.  Effort was minimal.
  4. What? I was supposed to have a source?
  5. Copied like a Xerox!