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Lesson Plan by Mitchell Zuvela B. Sc., B. Ed.

American Civil War

This free, printable Pixton lesson plan brings United States history to life with comics and storyboards.

Make United States history come to life with comics!

Including these awesome activities:
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Featured Layout

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

  • Mind Map

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

Pixton Lesson Plan on American Civil War
This free, printable Pixton lesson plan brings United States history to life with comics and storyboards.
Pixton Lesson Plan on American Civil War

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American Civil War

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  • Building
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  • Cannon
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  • Flag
    Flag
  • Ground
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  • Gun
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  • Hay
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  • Podium
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  • Tracks
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  • Wagon
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Teacher Guide

American Civil War

Step 1Class discussion with students

Getting Started

The American Civil War was fought for many reasons, however slavery was an issue at the forefront.

Abraham Lincoln, after elected president in 1860, supported the banning of slave labor in the U.S. The South saw this as a violation of their rights and joined together to form a group called the Confederacy. The Confederates, with the support of 13 slave states, began seizing forts in an effort of resistance. Their belief was that Europe would have to intervene due to their reliance on the cotton that was produced in the South, however this did not happen.

Lincoln did not back away from the Confederate aggression, summoning the armies of the North to form the Union Army. He carried out several measures to defeat the South including the use of habeas corpus, strategic naval blockades, and the Emancipation Proclamation.

The Confederacy lost several key battles and were eventually defeated in 1865. The integration of the South back into American politics took 12 years through what is known as the Reconstruction Era.

The American Civil war was fought over the belief that the government was infringing on the constitutional rights of the people in the South. These states joined together to fight the government to prevent them imposing these new laws. The Confederacy believed that defending their rights was worth fighting for.

Opening Discussion

Pass out a small piece of paper to each of your students. Ask your class to write down a right or cause that they would stand up and fight for. Collect their answers and share them with the class (this can be done anonymously).

  • How far would your students be willing to go to defend this right?
  • Would they fight in a civil war?
  • Discuss some of the difficulties that a rebellion would face when fighting the government in a political, or tactical war.
Step 2Pixton comic-making activities
  • Make a Mind Map
    Events Leading to the Civil War

    View Activity
  • Make a Comic
    Abraham Lincoln vs. Jefferson Davis

    View Activity
  • Make a Comic
    Battles of the Civil War

    View Activity
  • Extension / Modification
    Discuss (Extension / Modification)

    Describe how the different economies and cultures of the North and South contributed to the growing importance of sectional politics in the early 19th century.

  • Extension / Modification
    Analyze (Extension / Modification)

    Compare and contrast Abraham Lincoln’s strategic measures such as habeas corpus, naval blockades, and the Emancipation Proclamation.

Step 3Concluding discussion with students

Visit the National Civil War Museum website to find a virtual interview with Abraham Lincoln. Click on Meet Mr. Lincoln under Educational on the homepage, or to go there directly click here. Students can use the information to write a biography about Abraham Lincoln or to construct a Timeline of his life.

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Pixton Activity: American Civil War 1 Events Leading to the Civil War

Featured Layouts

  • Mind Map

Instructions

Create a Mind Map discussing the critical developments that led up to the start of the Civil War. Your mind map should discuss:

  • The Missouri Compromise (1820)
  • The South Carolina Nullification Crisis (1832-1833)
  • The Wilmot Proviso (1846)
  • 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)

Each panel should include:

  • An appropriate graphic
  • A detailed description

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Rubric: Events Leading to the Civil War

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

5 4 3 2 1
Understanding of Concepts • explains with extensive detail
• numerous connections made between concept and activity
• illustrations and descriptions are comprehensive
• explains with detail
• considerable connections made between concept and activity
• illustrations and descriptions have purpose
• explains with sufficient detail
• several connections made between concept and activity
• illustrations and descriptions have basic purpose
• explains with limited detail
• limited connections made between concept and activity
• illustrations and descriptions have little purpose
• explains with no detail
• very few connections made between concept and activity
• illustrations and descriptions have no purpose
Inquiry/Research Skills • Extensive use of details; support from a wide variety of sources
• Facts are accurate and complete
• Source are accurately listed
• Considerable use of details; support from several sources
• Facts are accurate
• Sources are accurately listed
• Includes several relevant details; basic use of sources
• Facts are consistent
• Sources listed
• Some relevant details included; sources are limited
• Facts contain some inaccuracies
• No sources listed
• Very few relevant use of details
• Facts are inaccurate or false
• No sources listed
Communication • excellent communication of ideas
• statements are dynamic with extensive development
• descriptions are purposeful and well organized
• effective communication of ideas
• statements are powerful with appropriate development
• descriptions are concise and organized
• sufficient communication of ideas
• statements are consistent with increasing development
• descriptions are basic and organized
• poor communication of ideas
• statements are general with some development
• descriptions are limited and unorganized
• inadequate communication of ideas
• statement are general with little development
• descriptions are incomplete and unorganized
Style • correct sentence structure, grammar, spelling and punctuation; may include some errors in complex structures
• panels are highly organized with exceptional use of supporting details
• few errors in basic sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, or grammar; errors do not interfere with meaning
• panels have excellent organization with effective use of supporting details
• occasional errors in sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, or grammar; errors rarely interfere with meaning
• panels have basic organization and supporting details
• several errors in sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, or grammar; errors may make parts hard to follow
• panels have limited organization and supporting details
• repeated errors in basic sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, or grammar often make the writing hard to understand
• panels are unorganized and lack supporting details
Total
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Pixton Activity: American Civil War 2 Abraham Lincoln vs. Jefferson Davis

Instructions

Complete a T-Chart comparing the beliefs, political views, and obstacles of Abraham Lincoln, and Jefferson Davis during their presidencies.

  • Your T-Chart should include an appropriate illustration of each politician with a supporting quote and a detailed historical description.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Rubric: Abraham Lincoln vs. Jefferson Davis

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

5 4 3 2 1
Understanding of Concepts • explains with extensive detail
• numerous connections made between concept and activity
• illustrations and descriptions are comprehensive
• explains with detail
• considerable connections made between concept and activity
• illustrations and descriptions have purpose
• explains with sufficient detail
• several connections made between concept and activity
• illustrations and descriptions have basic purpose
• explains with limited detail
• limited connections made between concept and activity
• illustrations and descriptions have little purpose
• explains with no detail
• very few connections made between concept and activity
• illustrations and descriptions have no purpose
Inquiry/Research Skills • Extensive use of details; support from a wide variety of sources
• Facts are accurate and complete
• Source are accurately listed
• Considerable use of details; support from several sources
• Facts are accurate
• Sources are accurately listed
• Includes several relevant details; basic use of sources
• Facts are consistent
• Sources listed
• Some relevant details included; sources are limited
• Facts contain some inaccuracies
• No sources listed
• Very few relevant use of details
• Facts are inaccurate or false
• No sources listed
Communication • excellent communication of ideas
• statements are dynamic with extensive development
• descriptions are purposeful and well organized
• effective communication of ideas
• statements are powerful with appropriate development
• descriptions are concise and organized
• sufficient communication of ideas
• statements are consistent with increasing development
• descriptions are basic and organized
• poor communication of ideas
• statements are general with some development
• descriptions are limited and unorganized
• inadequate communication of ideas
• statement are general with little development
• descriptions are incomplete and unorganized
Style • correct sentence structure, grammar, spelling and punctuation; may include some errors in complex structures
• panels are highly organized with exceptional use of supporting details
• few errors in basic sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, or grammar; errors do not interfere with meaning
• panels have excellent organization with effective use of supporting details
• occasional errors in sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, or grammar; errors rarely interfere with meaning
• panels have basic organization and supporting details
• several errors in sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, or grammar; errors may make parts hard to follow
• panels have limited organization and supporting details
• repeated errors in basic sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, or grammar often make the writing hard to understand
• panels are unorganized and lack supporting details
Total

Example Storyboard

Abraham Lincoln vs. Jefferson Davis by Student
Davis: BeliefsDavis was a soldier who believed in the power of the military. He grew up in the cotton plantations of the South where his family had owned many slaves. He believed in the sovereignty of each state, supporting the notion that each state had the right to choose whether they supported slavery. Lincoln: Political PoliciesLincloln outlawed slavery in the Northern states through the implementation of a number of Acts in each state. He did not accept the claim by the Southern states that they had independent sovereignty. Lincoln made presidential promises to allow slavery to remain in the South, however, he did not want new states to promote this practice. Lincoln: BeliefsLincoln's personal beliefs revolved around reason and respect for the law. He believed in the American Constitution and supported the abolishment of slavery due to his beliefs in the equality of man. Lincoln grew up in a religious family, which was evident in his weekly attendance at church. Davis: Political PoliciesDavis embodied the views of the South as he was a strong military leader and grew up in a slave owning family. Davis was appointed Secretary of War where he served with distinction and was recognized as one of the most competent administrators to hold the office. He was a vocal proponent of state rights and very loyal to those who supported him. He was appointed President of the South in 1861 at a constitutional convention in Alabama. Lincoln: ObstaclesLincoln was faced with many obstacles, one of those was being afflicted with depression. Lincoln was very torn about the Civil War due to the large number of American people who were dying, often showing sings of melancholy. He also faced the obstacle of having few competent generals who could lead the Union army to victory. Davis: ObstaclesDavis was impatient towards those who opposed him which led to bickering amongst his administration. The South did not have a good form of currency making trade difficult. He was also unable to achieve universal conscription which reduced the size of his army. Davis' poor health may have also been an important factor that affected his leadership abilities.

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Pixton Activity: American Civil War 3 Battles of the Civil War

Instructions

Complete a Timeline summarizing the major events of the Civil War.

Your timeline should discuss:

  • The Battle of Fort Wagner
  • The Battle of Antietam
  • The Seige of Vicksburg
  • The Battle of Gettysburg

Each panel should include:

  • An appropriate graphic
  • A detailed description

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Rubric: Battles of the Civil War

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

5 4 3 2 1
Understanding of Concepts • explains with extensive detail
• numerous connections made between concept and activity
• illustrations and descriptions are comprehensive
• explains with detail
• considerable connections made between concept and activity
• illustrations and descriptions have purpose
• explains with sufficient detail
• several connections made between concept and activity
• illustrations and descriptions have basic purpose
• explains with limited detail
• limited connections made between concept and activity
• illustrations and descriptions have little purpose
• explains with no detail
• very few connections made between concept and activity
• illustrations and descriptions have no purpose
Inquiry/Research Skills • Extensive use of details; support from a wide variety of sources
• Facts are accurate and complete
• Source are accurately listed
• Considerable use of details; support from several sources
• Facts are accurate
• Sources are accurately listed
• Includes several relevant details; basic use of sources
• Facts are consistent
• Sources listed
• Some relevant details included; sources are limited
• Facts contain some inaccuracies
• No sources listed
• Very few relevant use of details
• Facts are inaccurate or false
• No sources listed
Communication • excellent communication of ideas
• statements are dynamic with extensive development
• descriptions are purposeful and well organized
• effective communication of ideas
• statements are powerful with appropriate development
• descriptions are concise and organized
• sufficient communication of ideas
• statements are consistent with increasing development
• descriptions are basic and organized
• poor communication of ideas
• statements are general with some development
• descriptions are limited and unorganized
• inadequate communication of ideas
• statement are general with little development
• descriptions are incomplete and unorganized
Style • correct sentence structure, grammar, spelling and punctuation; may include some errors in complex structures
• panels are highly organized with exceptional use of supporting details
• few errors in basic sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, or grammar; errors do not interfere with meaning
• panels have excellent organization with effective use of supporting details
• occasional errors in sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, or grammar; errors rarely interfere with meaning
• panels have basic organization and supporting details
• several errors in sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, or grammar; errors may make parts hard to follow
• panels have limited organization and supporting details
• repeated errors in basic sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, or grammar often make the writing hard to understand
• panels are unorganized and lack supporting details
Total

Example Timeline

Battles of the Civil War by Student
Battle of Antietnam: 1862The Battle of Antietnam was the first major battle in the American Civil War to take place on Union soil. The battle is considerd the bloodiest day in American history with over 22,000 troops perishing. The Confederate and Union forces engaged in a number of attacks and counter-attacks which led to a tactical draw, however, the Union was seen as the winner due to the poor performance of Confederate Generals.
Siege of Vicksburg: 1863The Siege of Vicksburg was the final military battle in the Vicksburg Campaign of the American Civil War. In a series of maneuvers, Union General Grant and his army crossed the Mississippi River and fought back the Confederate Army of Mississippi led by General Pemberton. The Confederate forces retreated into the defensive lines surrounding the fortress city of Vicksburg, Mississippi. The Union was able to force the fortress to surrender after cutting off its line of supplies.
Battle of Gettysburg: 1863The Battle of Gettysburg is considered to be the turning point of the Civil War. The Union was able to defend attacks by the Confederate forces who had hoped to invade the North. The Confederate Army made several advances that were thwarted by the Union soldiers who had superior rifle and artillery skills. General Lee of the Union army led his army into a disappointing retreat. Lincoln would honor the fallen of this battle several months later in the Gettysburg address.
Battle of Fort Wagner: 1863The Fort Wagner battles were a series of two battles between the Union Army troops and the Confederate forces at the fortress of Fort Wagner, which protected Morris Island, south of Charleston Harbor. The Fort was a strategic location that would be helpful for the Union forces. Both battles saw the Union armies take major losses and were unsuccessful in taking control of the fort.

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