Understanding the causes of the Civil War can be a complex task for elementary-age students. This series of worksheets hooks students with primary sources and critical thinking prompts to provide an engaging introduction to the Civil War.
This is not an in-depth primary source analysis activity, but an overview of causes of the Civil War that incorporates primary sources. Students will read background information about causes of the Civil War and analyze related primary sources by answering critical thinking questions. Since many of the questions are subjective, I recommend concluding by having students share their thinking during a class discussion.
Topics include the economic differences between the North and South, slavery, abolitionists, Nat Turner, John Brown, the presidential election of 1860, secession, and the creation of West Virginia. This resource supports Virginia Studies VS.1 and VS.7a.
Included are the following:
• 7 worksheets about Civil War causes
• bonus 2-page review worksheet
• PowerPoint slideshow of the primary source images (great to project during class discussions)
• teacher notes
• answer keys
Students will practice critical thinking skills including:
• identify and interpret artifacts and primary and secondary source documents to understand events in history
• determine cause-and-effect relationships
• compare and contrast historical events
• draw conclusions and make generalizations
• make connections between past and present
• sequence events in history
• interpret ideas and events from different historical perspectives
• analyze and interpret maps to explain historical events
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