Civil War and Reconstruction

Lesson 1: Where the States Stood
Time Estimated: days

Students will:

  1. Understand the immediate causes of the Civil War, including the Election of 1860, secession, Ft. Sumter, and secession of more states.
  2. Identify Union, Confederate and border states.
  3. Analyze the geography of the period to hypothesize on the military strategy of the Union.
  1. Hook: Show the students a few photographs of the war that feature destruction, injury, and devastation:
    This will draw the students in and get them interested in the drama of the conflict. You may also want to create a poster or a power point with statistics that also illustrate the devastation of the war – statistics on casualties and economic destruction
  2. Ask students to review some of the key events of the 1850s that led to the out break of the Civil War that caused this devastation. Write some review questions on the board and have the students jot down their answers using their notes from SOL 7. Go over the answers to the review questions, then ask students whether they think war was inevitable at this point or if there was something the politicians of the time could have done to prevent war.
  3. Distribute Class notes 1 handout to students. Go over this with them, giving them answers to fill in where necessary (see teacher version)
  4. Distribute Civil War reference map and colored pencils to students. Go over the directions with students. They will use their notes to complete the maps. They should select one color for loyal states, one color for border states, and one color for seceded states. They are to color in the key and then color the states appropriately. In addition, students should indicate the Union blockade of southern states as part of the Anaconda Plan. If you think the students may need some more assistance, they can use their textbook’s map as a guide.
  5. Collect the maps or go around the room to check their assignment.

If you find that your students are having trouble with the map activity, have them use their textbooks for more assistance. Many special education students have a difficult time with maps and allowing them to see another map as a guide can be very helpful to them.


Walk around room to see how students are doing completing their Civil War class notes.

Collect and/or check the Civil War reference map.