Lesson Plan

Lesson 1: Pre-Civil War

Importance of lesson: The students must understand the events and the decisions that led to the tension between the North and the South. To understand the Civil War, the students must have a solid understanding of the disunion.

Tool box:

Presentation on the ways of life in the south and north.. explaining the geography, culture, economy, political beliefs, and government of the north and south. Also, a couple of slides on the Missouri Compromise and the Compromise of 1850.

Lesson 2: Furthering understanding of South and North

Game: Assign each student to a state with a description to that specific state, then have them write whether their state would’ve agreed to the compromises discussed in the prior class, and if they’d agree to leave the union.

Show video on the life of southern states and northern states prior to Civil War

Lesson 3: Start of Civil War

Show 3 separate short videos narrated by Ken Burns to show the beginning of the Civil War and an overview of it

The students will then answer questions according to the videos

By the end of class, the students will work with peers in order to establish set answers to the video questions

Assign readings on the battle of Vicksburg and Gettysburg

Lesson 4: The End of the War

Discuss the Union victories at Vicksburg and Gettysburg

Show power-point discussing the 1864 election between Lincoln and George McClellan

Debate whether Lincoln or McClellan’s view on the Civil War was more humane and justified.

Students must know that America chose Abe Lincoln to continue fighting the Civil War.

Have students create a timeline of events from the election of 1864 up to General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.


Lesson 5: Test

25 Multiple choice questions surrounding the ways of life between the union and confederacy, elections and battles

5 short answers

The next week, we will, as a class, go over the answers to the test before the grades are handed out.



    • Robert Goldberg
      Robert Goldberg

      Hi Musician,

      I liked how you choice the civil war, interesting topic to cover AND KEN BURNS were you in my civil war class??? At any rate I think lesson three is your strongest in my opinion but I do think there is a thing missing from lesson 4. I think you might want to add something about Lincoln's assassination perhaps place it in the section. "Students must know that America chose Abe Lincoln to continue fighting the Civil War". I have heard this before from other places but I feel that reviewing the test before giving back the grades is not the best idea. I find this true especially with short answer and essay as I can look what I put in a section about, say the election of 1864 and what was expected to be in that section and I can see oh I didn't mention McClellan's history in the military so that's why I got a 4/5 on this section. 

      • Brianna Iliceto
        Brianna Iliceto

        I think you did a great job with this! I like how you will incorporate the media tool into this because students tend to like watching videos and benefit from them. They will also benefit from answering questions about the videos they saw (and it will prove if they were actually paying attention haha... this will further encourage them to pay attention to everything and make things more interesting for them)

        I also like how you will incorporate a game because that adds fun into the classroom. 

        It is very interesting how you state you want to go over the exam before they are given back. I think that idea would work because if the exams were handed back, students may get distracted and compare their grades and not bother listening to the corrections. It also tests students knowledge once more to see if they remember what the answers to certain questions were 

        • Jamie Soldinger
          Jamie Soldinger

          Hi Olivia!

          I like how you organized your lesson plans.  I really like your second lesson of the game.  I think a game can always be useful in a classroom.  Most students enjoy playing a game instead of sitting down and listening to a lecture.  I also really enjoy your video lesson.  I think students interacting to solidify answers will be very useful to their overall understanding of the lesson.  I know Brianna spoke about your idea of going over the test before it is handed back.  I think that could be very useful and you will have majority of the students attention.  I can also see how this might be a little tricky because students might not remember what answer they wrote down and it could lead to some anxiety.  

          • Nicholas Neuner
            Nicholas Neuner

            Your lesson plan was well done and thought out, also there is a fair amount of content to it. With that content I think there is more that you could give your students, such as the values and beliefs of the south/north, what it means to be a Union and confederacy. I noticed you were also focused on the victories of the Union, which given the short time, is more valued than that of the confederacy, but I think the students may benefit from understanding that it wasn't a quick and clean war with one side being consistently the victor. I think this is a great starting point, and seeing how it plays out, especially with the activities you have presented, will be exciting. 

            • Courtney Pabst
              Courtney Pabst


              You did a great job of laying out your unit as a "story" that we spoke about in class with the intro, climax, resolution, etc. I think the overall flow from lesson to lesson is great. I also enjoyed the amount of fun ways you plan on teaching your students about the civil war. Watching videos and having debates are always going to keep your students entertained and engaged, and I really like how it seems as though your class will be very content oriented, but also fun and enjoyable. Nice job!

              • Bianca Stewart
                Bianca Stewart

                I really liked your lesson plan and coming from someone who is not at all fond of social studies and civil war, you're plans and how you utilized the toolbox would make me engaged in the class. Technology is a very good tool especially for this unit because a visual aid always helps out those students struggling to keep up with readings. So overall with your other lessons, I think you did pretty good.

                • Christina Katechis
                  Christina Katechis

                  Hi Olivia,

                  I like the way your lessons unfold, however I would suggest using small assessments either throughout the lessons, or assigning & collecting HW to see if the students have a clear understanding of the material, and if not to brush up on whatever necessary. Using videos, note taking, lectures and debates is a great way for students to get the information needed and also practice what they've learned. I just feel like you might want to give mini assessments to measure student understanding before it is too late for some students. I can see how going over the test before the grades are given back is useful, I had to think about it for a second, but I see it. I think since they won't have their grades in front of them they won't be distracted and they have a chance to discuss the answers as a class.

                  Nice job! 

                  • Jaclyn Dellisanti
                    Jaclyn Dellisanti


                    The inclusion of Ken Burn's documentary is very useful! I am actually currently watching them in a course I am taking now and they are pretty useful. Also, are you going to go over the whole test or the questions that the most students got wrong? And just the multiple choice or the short answer too. I also think it is smart to incorporate reading and not make it so lecture heavy. The debate tool was a good idea as well.

                    • Duffy Brennan
                      Duffy Brennan

                      I think this is very good, I like the inclusion of the Ken Burns documentary because I know that those did help me learn about a certain topic when I saw those. I also think that the lesson does provide students to be creative with their thinking and have plenty of interaction and I think that is very important.

                      • Taylor Bolger
                        Taylor Bolger

                        Hey Olivia,

                        While looking at your third lesson I had a thought that it might be beneficial to space the short videos out over the course of a few days when you teach the lesson or at least have students take notes during the videos to ensure that they pay attention, I also really like how for lesson five you decided to go over the test before you give the test back. I think doing so will ensure that students can't change their answers (as if you were to give it back beforehand). Lastly, I saw a couple people mention that you should bring up more of the confederacy when you teach these lessons so that the story you tell is not simply one sided. Other than that, great work!

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