Learning about the Civil War can be fascinating and engaging! Whether through video, text, or creative projects, there are countless ways to learn about this significant time in the United States. Read on to learn about activities to educate middle school students on American History!
1. Abraham Lincoln Timeline
Middle Schoolers can better understand the time period of the Civil War through a timeline. Have students create a timeline of Abraham Lincoln’s life to better understand all of his heroic accomplishments.
Learn More: Kids Academy
2. Civil War Map Challenge
Bring History to life in this Civil War activity! Students label the interactive map if a state was a part of the Union, Confederacy, or a Border state. This will help students understand the important locations of the Civil War.
Learn More: Mr. Nussbaum
3. Civil War Map of Battles
To teach your students about major battles during the Civil War, check out this interactive middle school map activity. Students can read about each battle. With this knowledge, students will have a more complete sense of the causes and effects of the Civil War.
Learn More: Mr. Nussbaum
4. Civil War Gallery Walk
Students can learn about primary and secondary sources of the Civil War from this activity. Students complete a gallery walk to create the feeling of a museum in the classroom! This activity allows students to have a better sense of the faces of the Civil War and helps them understand the challenges faced by everyday people.
Learn More: LOC
5. Newspaper Article Activity
Students can create their own newspaper article about the Civil War in this fun group project! Each student is assigned a different role in the creation of the newspaper including photographer and editor.
Learn More: Twinkl
6. Slavery Conversation
The institution of slavery is a challenging subject to discuss with middle schoolers. Learning for Justice maps out engaging and thoughtful questions to involve all students in the conversation. Use this activity to discuss with kids about slavery.
Learn More: Learning For Justice
7. Online Photographs Activity
8. The Civil War Documentary
Students watch Ken Burns’ documentary “The Civil War” to learn more about U.S. History. In this clip, students learn about the causes of the Civil War. Then, students engage with questions and have the potential to complete projects about the Civil War. Students could make their own video responding to the documentary.
Learn More: PBS Learning Media
9. “Harriet” The Movie
Harriet Tubman was one of the most influential Black Women during the time of the Civil War. In this movie, Tubman is shown for the hero she truly was. Students should watch the movie and discuss some of the major events of the Civil War.
Learn More: Common Sense Media
10. Reconstruction Amendment Activity
The Civil War occurred for many reasons including debates over slavery. In this activity, students map out the three amendments added to the U.S. Constitution following the Civil War. Students can write about the purpose of the amendment and then draw a picture to represent the change the amendment brought.
Learn More: The Clever Teacher
11. Rap Battle Video
This engaging video turns history digital! In this video, a comical rap battle depicts the conflict between Lincoln and Lee. Students learn about the President and the General and the tensions they faced during the Civil War. Such a fun addition to your history classroom!
Learn More: MrBettsClass
12. Pink and Say
“Pink and Say” is a Patricia Polacco classic that is based on a true story of two individuals living during the Civil War. This book could be read alone or used as a part of an American History Lesson Plan. Students could write their own story in response to reading “Pink and Say”.
Learn More: Learn In Color
13. “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”
The song “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” is an imagined account of the thoughts felt by those living during the Civil War. Students should listen to the song and discuss the feelings and meaning behind the song. Students could also write their own songs from the perspective of someone living during the Civil War.
Learn More: Ranker
14. Confederacy Map Activity
15. Diary Entry Activity
In this activity, students will read real-person accounts from the Civil War in the form of diary entries. Then, students will compose their own diary entries using their knowledge of key events and battle names from the Civil War. Students should think about how people would have spoken and the challenges they faced when completing this activity.
Learn More: NPS
16. Vocabulary Worksheet
Students can build their history vocabulary in this bulleted list of blanks. This extensive list allows students to become familiar with Middle School Civics. Students can then use this vocabulary worksheet as a guide for the rest of the unit.
Learn More: EnglishBix
17. Civil War Overview Video
In this broad overview video, students can learn about the major events of the Civil War. Afterward, students can complete an independent project detailing the most significant moments that defined the era. Projects can include poster boards, PowerPoints, or even a play acting out significant moments from the Civil War.
Learn More: KidsKonnect
18. Civil War Housewife Kit
This unique activity is great for all middle school grades. Students learn how soldiers frequently needed to repair their clothes on the battlefield and then create kits for soldiers with materials they would have needed to mend their clothing. Students will enjoy the hands-on nature of this activity!
Learn More: Education
19. Escape to Freedom Game
This interactive trivia game engages students by asking them questions about Harriet Tubman’s escape to freedom. This activity not only features the game, but is paired with a read-aloud, written text, and vocabulary flashcards to thoroughly teach students all about Harriet Tubman. Students will be able to have a full understanding of all of Tubman’s accomplishments.
Learn More: Scholastic