First, you will introduce some content about eight major Civil War battles. The information is just an overview so students get a feel for which battle they want to select for research. The next step is easing students into rapping...you’ll show a few parody clips to get some laughs and help students see that they don’t have to be a professional rapper to be successful. You’ll then allow students some time to practice rapping in a low pressure environment with topics of their choice. The research portion will take a few days during which you will conference with students to collect information on their progress. The battle portion will also take a few days, and when you conclude the entire battle process, you’ll see that students have been exposed to major Civil War battles and they recall far more than had they simply read summaries of all the major battles.
Rationale for the lesson
The Civil War had many battles, but simply reading about them or studying the battles in a purely academic fashion means that significant information might be left out or simply not processed. Engaging students with the fun and competitive presentation style of a rapping tournament provides incentive to complete research. Historically, students have done a great job with research since they know they will get to rap as their end product. As far as the content of the lesson, there are many important and major battles in the Civil War, so other than the first and final battles, it is important to examine events that could have turned the tide of the war or impacted the result in a significant way.
Prerequisite knowledge and skills
It would be helpful for students to have a bit of background on the start of Lincoln’s presidency as well as the division between North and South, but in a technical sense, there is no required information for this project. Students can be successful in the rap battle tournament if all they do is their research in preparation for the battles. Knowing some of the major names involved in the war could be helpful, but students will pick up a lot of those details if they are diligent researchers.