Decisive Civil War Battles | Lesson Activity

Focus on the decisive battles of the Civil War with an activity your students will love! Get students up and moving around the classroom with a station activity. Changing the lesson delivery will increase engagement and motivation for learning about this important time in US history.

Civil War Battle Stations

Before starting the lesson, I like to review the learning goals and expectations for the activity.  First, I introduce and explain the data collection page.  At each battle station, students record the location, leaders, and victor. Collecting information at each station will keep students focused, on track, and ready to learn.  It also gives students an excellent introduction or review of the decisive Civil War battles.

Battle Stations Activity

At this point, students are ready to rotate through the battle stations.  I like to focus on eight different battles/events: Battle of Fort Sumter, Battle of Bull Run, Battle of Shiloh, Battle of Antietam, Battle of Gettysburg, Siege of Vicksburg, Sherman’s March to the Sea, and the Confederate surrender at Appomattox Court House.  Each station includes an authentic picture and informational text for a decisive battle.  Students are placed in mixed-ability groups and told where to begin their rotations.  To keep students focused and on-task for the duration of each rotation, I like to use a large magnetic timer. I set the timer at four minutes, and adjust the time up or down as needed.

Battle Stations Lesson

For students to succeed, the informational text at each station needs to be concise.  Remember, the purpose of the lesson is to introduce or review the decisive Civil War battles.  Pairing down the text and including a picture makes it easier for students to digest the material and record the necessary information on their data collection page.  I don’t want students to become overwhelmed.  Analyzing the Civil War battles in this way allows students to step back and see the bigger picture.  Ideally, students will build a strong foundation to work with as we continue our Civil War unit.

After the rotations are complete, it’s time for the extension activity.  I have students use their data collection page to  write an informational paragraph about one of the Civil War battles.  Each paragraph should include the battle/event name, location, leaders from each side, and victor.  The paragraph assignment is a great way to end the lesson.  It gives students a chance to review a major battle and provides a concrete conclusion to the activity.

Interested in implementing a Civil War battle station activity with your students? Click here to download everything you need from Literacy in Focus on TpT. 

Civil War Battle Stations

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Civil War Battles | Lesson and Activity For Kids