Civil War: Activity Pack


The Civil War (1861-1865) is America’s bloodiest war to date. It cost close to 1,100,000 casualties and claimed over 620,000 lives. These lesson plans are based on History Detectives episodes that examine a variety of artifacts—a weapon, an early photograph, a letter, a piece of pottery—that highlight African-American involvement in the Civil War. They offer students opportunities to research and create paper or interactive biographical posters, delve into the intersection of military and social history, and survey slave art and culture.


Lesson Plans


Before the War: Investigating Abolitionists' Tactics  

Students watch an excerpt from the John Brown Pike investigation in which they learn about abolitionist John Brown and his 1859 attack on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. They then create posters depicting prominent abolitionists and the tactics they used to advance the cause of ending slavery.


Blacks on the Battlefield: Learning About the Role of African-Americans in the Civil War  

After watching excerpts from the episodes Chandler Tintype and Civil War Letters, each of which looks at how blacks were involved on both sides in the fighting of the Civil War, students engage in a Web scavenger hunt to find out more about the role of African-Americans in the war.


Face Jug: Examining the Significance of an African-American Artifact 

In the episode Face Jug, students encounter a 19th century protective relic created by African American slaves and freedmen in the Edgefield District of South Carolina. They then research this unique art form and create four panel comics that depict its historical and contemporary significance.


Related Reproducibles


McRel Standards

These lessons are aligned to the McRel National Standards. They can also be aligned to the National Standards for History.