Incredible Civil War Worksheets for Teaching History
The American Civil War was a defining moment in the history of the United States!
It was a war that tore the nation apart, pitting the southern states against the northern states. Fought over the issue of slavery and the rights of African Americans, some of the most important people in U.S. history, including Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Jefferson Davis, and many others participated in this pivotal era of American history!
As social studies and history teachers, it's important to engage students in the study of the Civil War!
One way to do this is through the use of well-designed and engaging Civil War worksheets. Such worksheets provide a framework for students to learn about the major battles, important people, and key terms associated with the war.
In this article, we will explore some of the ways in which Civil War worksheets can be used in the classroom.
Here are SEVEN of the most important topics to cover with your students when it comes to Civil War worksheets (irrespective of grade level!)
#1: Introduction to the Civil War
The first step in teaching the Civil War is to provide students with an introduction to the war itself. This can be done through the use of a timeline, which outlines the major events leading up to the war, including the election of Lincoln, the secession of South Carolina and other slave states, and the firing on Fort Sumter. A worksheet can be created that includes short answer questions to help students understand the causes and events leading up to the war.
#2: Important People
There were many important people involved in the Civil War, including Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Jefferson Davis. Worksheets that focus on these major figures, including biographical information, primary sources that they wrote or spoke, and help students understand the significance of these people in the context of the war.
Worksheet from my 5th Grade Social Studies Curriculum Bundle!
#3: North vs. South
Another important aspect of the Civil War is the divide between the northern states and the southern states. Worksheets can be created that help students understand the differences between these regions, including their economies, political beliefs, and social structures. Such worksheets may include primary sources from people living in both regions, and help your students understand the similarities and differences between the two regions.
#4: Confederate States
The Confederate States were made up of several southern states that seceded from the Union during the Civil War. Worksheets that focus on the experiences of people living in these states, including primary sources from soldiers and civilians, as well as short response essay questions will help your students understand the impact of the war on these communities.
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#5: Major Battles
The Civil War was fought in many locations across the United States, and there were many major battles that took place. Some of the most well-known battles include the Battle of Gettysburg and the Battle of Antietam. Worksheets about the Civil War's major battles can include everything maps of the battles, to primary source material about the soldiers who fought in them, and provide your students with a much better understanding of the significance of these battles in the context of the war.
Worksheet from my 5th Grade Social Studies Curriculum Bundle!
#6: The Emancipation Proclamation
One of the most important events of the Civil War was the Emancipation Proclamation. This document, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, declared that all slaves in Confederate states "shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free." A worksheet about the Emancipation Proclamation may include comprehension activities and short answer questions that help your students better comprehend the significance of this document in the greater context of the American history.
Slide from my lesson on the Emancipation Proclamation - Included as part of my 5th Grade Social Studies Curriculum Bundle!
#7: Union Soldiers
The Union Army played a crucial role in the outcome of the Civil War. Worksheets which focus on the experiences of Union soldiers, including primary sources from soldiers themselves, such as letters they wrote back home, will help students understand some of the lesser-known challenges faced by these soldiers during the Civil War.
In addition to the seven topics outlined above, it's imperative that worksheets covering the Civil War incorporate the use of primary sources and seamlessly supplement your lesson plans!
One of the best ways to engage students in the study of the Civil War is through the use of primary sources! Primary sources are first-hand accounts of events or experiences, and they can include letters, diaries, speeches, photographs, and more. I always try to use worksheets that include primary sources from the Civil War, along with comprehension activities and short answer questions. These worksheets can help students understand the war from the perspective of people who lived through it.
In addition to worksheets, I HIGHLY recommend using well-written and curated presentations that accompany worksheets. Such lesson plans should ideally not just come with worksheets and presentations, but also immersive activities, built-in discussion questions, and assessments that help students understand the various aspects of the war. For example, a lesson plan could focus on the Gettysburg Address, including a primary document of the speech, comprehension activities, and short answer questions that help students understand the significance of this speech in the context of the war!
Five types of Civil War activities and worksheets perfect for any grade!
#1: Map Activities
Maps can be an excellent tool to help students visualize the various battles and locations during the Civil War. You can use and/or create worksheets that have students label and color-code important locations, such as Fort Sumter, Gettysburg, and the Confederate and Union states.
#2: Primary Sources
As mentioned earlier, primary sources are an excellent way to engage students in the study of the Civil War. Primary source documents, such as letters, diaries, speeches, and photographs, along with comprehension activities and short answer questions.
#3: Timeline Activities
A timeline can be an excellent way to help students understand the sequence of events during the Civil War. Worksheets that have students fill in important dates and events, such as the election of Abraham Lincoln, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the surrender of Robert E. Lee and end of the Civil War.
#4: Comprehension Activities
Worksheets can be created that focus on comprehension activities, such as reading passages about major battles or figures, and answering questions about what was read. This can help students gain a deeper understanding of the causes and consequences of the war.
#5: Critical Thinking Activities
Critical thinking activities are a great way to challenge your students to think about the Civil War from different perspectives. For example, you can create or use worksheets that have students analyze the different viewpoints of Northern and Southern soldiers, or that have students consider the impact of the war on African Americans and women.
These are just a few ideas for Civil War worksheets! Ultimately, the best worksheets will depend on your students and your teaching goals!
By incorporating a variety of activities, you can engage your students and help them gain a deeper understanding of this important event in American history!
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