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Internet Lessons for Learning About the Civil War

Of Human Bondage: Exploring Perspectives on Slavery
During the Civil War Using Primary and Secondary Sources

In this lesson, students explore how experiences and observations about a specific event or time period can vary greatly through discussion and research slavery during the Civil War. Students investigate, using primary and secondary sources, different perspectives on slavery from historical figures during the Civil War and write research-based narratives from the point of views of their historical figures. Standards 8.9.1, 8.9.5, and 8.9.6A

Unionism vs. Secessionism in Virginia, November 1860-April 1861
This lesson, part of the Valley of the Shadow project, is a compare/contrast exercise using newspaper articles of the day to analyze opinions and attitudes in Virginia toward staying in or leaving the Union. Teachers may allow students to go on-line for the articles or use them as handouts. Links are provided. Standards 8.10.0, 8.10.1, and 8.10.2

When Johnny Went Marching Off...
Four young people from the same community have gone to war. One of them has become quite expert in the new technology of photography and spends his/her days recording battle sites, groups of soldiers, ordnance, etc. One is a reporter writing accounts of battles and troop movements. A third gave up a career as a teacher, but not his/her interest in the lives of leaders. He/she writes biographies of army generals when not serving as "aide de camp" to the General. The fourth is an ordinary soldier (or laundress/cook) who, as often as possible, writes letters to family and friends back home about daily life in the army. After the War, three of the friends meet at the home of the photographer. The soldier, unfortunately, died in battle. The family and friends of the dead soldier (laundress/cook) have, however, made his/her letters available to the three survivors. The survivors have decided to collaborate on a group memoir for publication. Standards 8.10.6 and 8.10.7

Fight for Equal Rights: Black Soldiers in the Civil War
The issues of emancipation and military service were intertwined from the onset of the Civil War. There were a series of laws passed to free slaves whose masters were in the Confederate military. Laws were changed to allow African Americans to fight for the Union. Examine documents including a recruiting poster from the time. Write a journal entry and compare the issues faced in the 1860s to those faced during the Korean War when the military was finally fully integrated. Standard 8.10.5

Black Troops in Union Blue
Nearly 180,000 free black men and escaped slaves volunteered for service in the Union Army during the Civil War. But at first they were denied the right to fight by a prejudiced public and a reluctant government. Even after they eventually entered the Union ranks, black soldiers continued to struggle for equal treatment. Placed in racially segregated infantry, artillery, and cavalry regiments, these troops were almost always led by white officers. Black soldiers, including more than a dozen Congressional Medal of Honor winners, fought in 449 Civil War battles. More than one-third of them died during the war. Through their courage and sacrifice, these black men helped press the African-American fight for equality. Discussion questions guide the reading. Standard 8.10.5 and 8.10.7

Not Just a Man's War
Step into the experiences of women during the Civil War. You play the character of a young woman in 1862 who has only recently left your girlhood home to join the war effort for your side in the Civil War or War Between the States. You will be writing letters to one person in your family...a grandparent, parent, husband, brother or sister...to share your concerns. You want to help your side of the war and will not leave your job until the war is over. Standard 8.10.7

American Civil War
You and your team will look into the Civil War by looking at the perspectives of people representing conflicting interests during the war era. Your job will be to analyze your individual and gain an understanding on his/her views, feelings and how the war effected him/her. The goal of this project is for you to gain a deeper understanding of the who, what, where and why the American Civil War occurred. The reasons and the answers that are gained from researching this will help in understanding some of today's real world conflicts. Standards 8.10.0, 8.10.5, 8.10.6, and 8.10.7

Attitudes Toward Emancipation
The Emancipation Proclamation brought America a step closer to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence. Through the Internet, students will explore the many obstacles and alternatives America faced in making this passage toward "a more perfect Union." They evaluate the provisions of the Emancipation Proclamation; trace the stages that led to Lincoln's formulation of this policy; explore the range of contemporary public opinion on the issue of emancipation; and document the multifaceted significance of the Emancipation Proclamation within the context of the Civil War era. Standard 8.10.4

Behind Rebel Lines Cyberguide
Behind Rebel Lines is the story of a patriotic woman, Sarah Emma Edmonds, who wants to fight for her country in the Civil War. During that time, both the Union and Confederate armies forbade the enlistment of women. Sarah was one of many women who served her country by enlisting as a male soldier. Here are six internet-based activities to learn more about women in the Civil War. Standard 8.10.6 and 8.10.7 Standard 8.10.6 and 8.10.7

Bull Run
Bull Run tells the stories of sixteen different people whose lives intersect at the battle at Bull Run, the first major battle of the Civil War. It was commonly thought that this battle near a little creek called "Bull Run," would be the last battle of the Civil War. Respond to literature using interpretive, critical and evaluative processes. Produce responses to a major theme in the book in the form of letter and journal writing. Standard 8.10.6

Choices and Commitments: Soldiers at Gettysburg
On July 11, 1863 Lieutenant John James of the Virginia Infantry of the Confederate States of America sat down to write his family about his experiences at Gettysburg. He was at a loss for words to describe the fighting in which half of the men with whom he had marched into battle the hour before were now casualties. Standards 8.10.6 and 8.10.7

Civil War Andersonville Prison: An Economic Microcosm
How did prisoners in Andersonville Prison cope with the scarce resources they had to provide for their needs? Learn how people deal with scarcity in the face of unlimited economic wants by devising command or market economic systems. Standards 8.10.7 and 12.1.1

Civil War Photographs
The American Memory Civil War Photographs site has arranged the images chronologically by campaign in three areas of the United States: 1) the main eastern theater, 2) the Federal Navy and the seaborne expeditions against the Atlantic coast of the Confederacy, and 3) the war in the west. Examine photographs produced during the Civil War as a means of understanding the technological process which posed both possibilities and limitations in production. How can photographs be used as evidence to represent a given time period in American history? Standards 8.10.6 and 8.10.7. Analysis Skills: Research, Analysis and Point of View - Assess credibility of primary and secondary sources and draw sound conclusions.

Drummer Boy of Shiloh
In this Language Arts SCORE CyberGuide, students will read Ray Bradbury's short story The Drummer Boy of Shiloh and study the fictional account of a young teenage boy's passage into manhood during America's bloodiest battle. Students will find information about a "real" drummer boy of the civil war and participate in a small group discussion. Students will view various Civil War photos and then "become" one of the people photographed. Students will either write a diary entry or a letter as one of the characters. Standards 8.10.6 and 8.10.7

Gettysburg Address, Battlefield Commemoration
Students examine newspaper articles, Civil War letters, battlefield photographs, and battlefield maps to provide historical context for Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Standards 8.10.4 and 8.10.6

Lincoln: A Photobiography
This unit provides resources for students to focus on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. Using Russell Freedman's 1988 Newberry Medal winner, Lincoln: A Photobiography as a jumping off place, students write an essay comparing and contrasting Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, research the presidential campaign of 1860 and create a campaign poster for Lincoln, view photography from the Civil War and write a newspaper article to accompany a photograph, create a biography poster illustrating a chapter from Lincoln: A Photobiography showing the difficulties Lincoln faced throughout his life, design a Dialog Jacket and/or Character Map using Lincoln's famous quotes and writings . Standard 8.10.4

What Do You See? - Using Selected Civil War Photographs, 1860-1865
Make an in-depth analysis of a single photograph from the American Memory collection "Selected Civil War Photographs, 1861-1865." Using the skills developed, find and analyze other images. From your conclusions, develop links between the Civil War and American industrialization. Standard 8.10.7 and 8.12.1. Analysis Skill Historical Research, Evidence and Interpretation.
Author: Bob Hines and John Day

Who Am I? A History Mystery
Select a mystery character from the Civil War. Then find the primary source objects that hold the key to their identity. Are you up for a challenge? Standard 8.10.5

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