Looking for a fun way to begin or end a unit on the Civil War? How about having your students create a Civil War caricature, discovering facts about major names during the Civil War, and experiencing a day in the life of a Civil War soldier by carrying a backpack equal to the weight soldiers carried and eat the hardtack that soldiers ate as well?
All you've got to do is print these ready-to-go activities, which is going to save you time to stay caught up on your other responsibilities this year!
Create a Civil War Caricature
Students will enjoy this activity by tracing over different features already created in this packet so they can have fun, share some laughs, and stay engaged. Each one of these original features can be combined to make a variety of characters! The sillier the better!
Included in this product are 4 different bodies - a union soldier, a confederate soldier, a soldier on guard, and a soldier holding a cannonball. There are also 4 face shapes, 12 eyebrows, 12 eyes, 4 moustaches, 2 different sized beards, a cannon, a stack of cannonballs, 1 angled forage cap (2 different sizes), 1 straight forage cap (2 different sizes), 8 different mouths, 12 noses, and 6 sets of ears.
Using tracing paper works best, but you can still see the shapes under regular printer paper and trace over them. Students simply put their paper over the body the chose and trace the features, same for the face, eyes, ears, noses, mouths, etc.
32 Famous Figures from the Civil War Era: Trading Cards to Complete
Looking for a way for your students to discover facts about some of the major names of the Civil War? Here is a way your students can discover these historic figures that allows them to find out some basic facts, but also allows them to identify what they think is important about each person. Each trading card has the same format and allows students to gather a very brief snapshot of who these people were and what they did that contributed to the history of the Civil War.
This file is in .pdf format and can be printed on standard 8.5x11 inch paper. Each trading card is on a half sheet of paper and will need to be cut out by students to write on and fold to make into front/back trading cards.
For each person students will identify the following:
Date of Birth
Date of Death
Cause of Death
Role in the Civil War Era
There isn't a lot of room for students to write so they'll have to be brief and to the point, thus contributing to the brief snapshot of each person's life.
Each trading card is set up to be folded into a front and a back and could be stapled together or left unfolded to see both sides at once. Included on each front side is a picture of the person, their name, and their signature.
The historic figures for this activity are:
John Wilkes Booth
John C. Calhoun
John C. Fremont
William Lloyd Garrison
Ulysses S. Grant
Robert E. Lee
Robert Gould Shaw
William T. Sherman
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Roger B. Taney
This has worked well for my students so I hope yours find the same success!
Civil War Soldier Backpack Gear Activity and Hardtack Recipe
If you teach about the American Civil War in an elementary or middle school Social Studies class your students will love doing this activity and making this recipe. Even your most reluctant learners will take part!!
I teach 8th grade U.S. History and every year during our Civil War unit I give this packet to students as a homework assignment so they can have a hands-on experience the next day that they'll remember forever!
The homework assignment can be read through during class, which consists of a short story about a fictitious soldier from upstate New York who enlists in the Union Army. Upon enlistment the soldier is issued his backpack and gear. Students look through the list of gear such as a half shelter, gum blanket, and housewife and read a description what each item was used for.
Students then read that a soldier used to carry their rifle-musket, ammunition, and backpack with them everywhere they went. That totaled about 50 POUNDS!
The average soldier weighed less than 150 pounds so that was over 1/3 their body weight!
Students are then assigned to fill a backpack of their own with 50 pounds of weight (or whatever 1/3 their body weight is if they are under 50 pounds) and bring that backpack with them to school the next day. A teacher pass, which is included in this product, explaining why students are wearing their backpacks in school will be pinned to their backpack.
Finally, students are given a recipe for hardtack, which was a bread-like food many Union soldiers ate when there wasn't much else to eat. It tastes kind of like a saltine cracker and is simply made with flour, salt, and water. The recipe used is the one I received from a friend of mine who does Civil War reenactments.
The first year I did this another teacher called the local news station when she saw what our students were doing and they actually ended up on the news that night! Kids were wearing their backpacks to lunch and snacking on hardtack in the cafeteria.
Kids actively being involved in the history they are learning about. That's my favorite!
Check out my other Civil War activities:
American Civil War Era - 15 Famous Mystery Phrases - Research, Writing/Analysis
Civil War Bundle of Activities - 8 Different Products Included
Civil War Debates - 25 Topics - Research, Writing, & Speaking in Social Studies
41 Civil War Historical Fiction Book Choice with Lexile Scores
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