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Lesson Plan by Lauren Martin M.Ed.

1850s America

Pixton Lesson Plan on 1850s America

Make American history come to life with comics!

Including these awesome activities:
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Featured Layouts

When students complete the activities in this lesson plan, they will use the following comic layout types.

  • Mind Map
  • Timeline
  • Storyboard
  • Comic Strip
  • Poster

Your students will create amazing images like these in no time!

This free, printable Pixton lesson plan brings American history to life with comics and storyboards.
This free, printable Pixton lesson plan brings American history to life with comics and storyboards.
Pixton Lesson Plan on 1850s America

Featured Props

1850s America

Student creations come alive with these themed objects – in addition to our library of over 3,000 props!

  • Barrel
    Barrel
  • Factory
    Factory
  • Ground
    Ground
  • Hoe
    Hoe
  • House
    House
  • Podium
    Podium
  • Ship
    Ship
  • Train
    Train
  • Wagon
    Wagon
  • Windmill
    Windmill
Print this Teacher Guide

Teacher Guide

1850s America

Step 1Class discussion with students

Getting Started

Share the following ideologies and events of the 1850s:

  • The Compromise of 1850
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin was written by Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1852.
  • The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854.
  • The Dred Scott Case of 1857
  • The Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858
  • John Brown raided Harper’s Ferry in 1859
  • Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860 (after campaigning in the late 1850s)
  • Northern economies focused on industries, factories, technology, and manufacturing of goods and services.
  • Southern economies focused on agriculture.
  • Northern life was more urban and progressive due to the industrial revolution.
  • Southern life was rural, agricultural, and racist due to the slave-driven economy.
  • Northern views of slavery varied. The industry-based economy did not value slavery and led to a growing abolitionist movement.
  • Southern views promoted slavery as vital to the economy. Southerners used religion and racist social hierarchies to justify and support slavery.
  • Northern reforms were progressive and included the temperance movement (pre-prohibition), the abolitionist movement, transcendentalism (to escape problems from industrialization, poverty and slavery), and women's rights (social, political and labor roles).
  • Southern reforms existed as a refusal to adopt Northern reforms and included religious conservatism that justified slavery and racism.

Opening Discussion

Discuss the following:

  • Knowing that Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860 and the Civil War began in 1861, how would you characterize 1850s America?
  • Why is "1850s America" significant?
  • How is 1850s America similar and different to modern day America?
Step 2Pixton comic-making activities
  • Make a Mind Map or Timeline
    Events Leading to the Civil War

    Complete after class discussion.

    View Activity
  • Make a Storyboard or Mind Map
    North vs. South Tensions

    Complete after opening discussion.

    View Activity
  • Make a Comic Strip or Mind Map
    Compromise of 1850

    Complete after class reading or discussion.

    View Activity
  • Extension / Modification
    Comic Strip (Extension / Modification)

    Create a Comic Strip to illustrate Lincoln and Douglas' conflicting views during their presidential debates.

  • Extension / Modification
    Mind Map (Extension / Modification)

    Create a Mind Map to illustrate the components of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854.

  • Extension / Modification
    Timeline (Extension / Modification)

    Create a **Timeline to illustrate the key events of the abolitionist movement.

  • Extension / Modification
    Poster (Extension / Modification)

    Create a Poster to compare and contrast 1850s and modern-day America.

Step 3Concluding discussion with students

Discuss the following:

  • How did the Compromise of 1850, undue the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and lead to increasing tensions beyween the North and South?
  • In your opinion, could the Civil War have been prevented? How so?
  • In your opinion, could slavery have been ended without the Civil War? How so?
  • Are there still tensions between Northern and Southern cultures, economies, or ideologies? How so and how do they relate to the 1850s tensions?
Print this Activity

Pixton Activity: 1850s America 1 Events Leading to the Civil War

Featured Layouts

  • Mind Map
  • Timeline

Intro

Review the events leading to the Civil War.

  • The Compromise of 1850
  • The publication of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 'Uncle Tom’s Cabin' (1851-1852)
  • The Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854)
  • The Dred Scott Supreme Court case (1857)
  • The Lincoln-Douglas debates (1858)
  • John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry (1859)
  • The election of Abraham Lincoln (1860)

Instructions

Create a Mind Map or Timeline to illustrate the events that led to the Civil War.

  • Include an appropriate title for each panel.
  • Include an appropriate illustration for each panel.
  • Write an appropriate description for each panel.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Student Handout

Share this comic with your students to demonstrate the activity without giving away the farm :)

Events Leading to the Civil War by Pixton

Here's the link to share this comic:

Print this Activity

Pixton Activity: 1850s America 2 North vs. South Tensions

Featured Layouts

  • Storyboard
  • Mind Map

Intro

In the 1850s, tension was rising between the North and the South because of differences between Northern and Southern economies, lifestyles, reform, slavery and other ideologies and priorities:

  • Northern economies focused on industries, factories, technology, and manufacturing of goods and services.
  • Southern economies focused on agricultural.
  • Northern life was more urban and progressive due to the industrial revolution.
  • Southern life was rural, agricultural and racist due to the slave-driven economy.
  • Northern views of slavery varied. The industry-based economy did not value slavery and led to a growing abolitionist movement.
  • Southern views promoted slavery as vital to the economy. Southerners used religion and racist social hierarchies to justify and support slavery.
  • Northern reforms were progressive and included the temperance movement (prohibition), the abolitionist movement, and women's rights.
  • Southern reforms existed as a refusal to adopt Northern reforms and included religious conservatism that justified slavery and racism.

Instructions

Create a Mind Map or Storyboard to illustrate the issues of tension between the North and South in the 1850s.

  • Include an appropriate title for each panel.
  • Include an appropriate illustration for each panel.
  • Write an appropriate description for each panel.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Print this Activity

Pixton Activity: 1850s America 3 Compromise of 1850

Featured Layouts

  • Comic Strip
  • Mind Map

Intro

The Compromise of 1850 was meant to settle Northern and Southern disagreements on how to deal with slavery in new territories. Review the components of the Compromise of 1850:

  • Proposed by U.S. Senator Henry Clay.
  • Supported by U.S. Senator Daniel Webster.
  • Opposed by Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina.
  • California admitted as a free state.
  • Slave trade banned in Washington. D.C.
  • Strengthened the Fugitive Slave Law.
  • Set boundary between Texas and New Mexico.

Instructions

Create a Comic Strip or Mind Map to illustrate the components of the Compromise of 1850:

  • Include an appropriate title for each panel.
  • Include an appropriate illustration for each panel.
  • Write an appropriate description for each panel.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Example Comic Strip

The Compromise of 1850 by Student

Here's the link to share this comic:

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