The Reconstruction: Decode History activity will allow students to move around the classroom solving puzzles! The puzzles have students decode interesting facts about Civil War Reconstruction, Civil War amendments, Lincoln and Grant. The Reconstruction puzzles at each station allow students to decode history! The puzzles include ciphers, Morse code, cryptograms and a final 4 digit code based on the decoders/clues.
Each clue and puzzle is different. The puzzles require students to think differently to decipher or decode them. Some puzzles are easier than others. Some puzzles require critical thinking to determine what a letter/symbol stands for. Each puzzle will reveal interesting facts about Reconstruction. The use of puzzles will keep your students engaged while competing to find the final code. Students can report the final code to you. If you wanted to, you could purchase a 4 digit lock that you program, but it is not necessary at all! No props needed!! There are no fancy shapes to cut out, and no silly envelopes to stuff! This is a activity!
Students practice hands-on, practical problem solving skills all while learning about Reconstruction. Your students will be inspired to think outside the box!
The best age range for this resource is 8+. Please look at the preview to determine if this resource works for your age group. Younger students may need some help with some of the more difficult puzzles.
You can use the pre-labeled clues or you can challenge older kids to choose/find the decoder that works for each of the clues. A set of labeled and non-labeled decoders are included for differentiation. A “How to Decode” puzzles is also included.
In addition to learning or reinforcing the subject matter, my puzzles encourage teamwork and critical thinking. As a “timed” challenge, students will be engaged from beginning to end.
This Decode History activity includes fun, colorful signs to take class pictures with at the end of the mission. Signs include “Puzzle Master”, “She did all the work”, “Genius”, “We did it”, and more! Hang the pictures in your room, send them in a parent newsletter or share them on social media.
An answer key and easy to follow teacher directions are provided.
Time needed: 30-60 minutes
I have included a 6 question formative to complete as proof of understanding. Each “clue” also has one question to answer to ensure comprehension for a total of 10 questions. Many times students rush to solve the puzzles without reading or comprehending what they read. The questions need to be answered correctly before they can win!
DISCLAIMER : When learning about history, students are often asked to examine and discuss difficult, sensitive and disturbing historic events and time periods. This resource is in no way meant to trivialize the importance and sensitivity of the topic. As a teacher it is important to set the stage and recognize the diversity of your students. In no way am I trying to make the issue of seem less important, less significant, or less complex than it really is. This resource was created to allow students to move around the room and learn about a difficult topic in a fun and engaging manner. If you do not feel that this resource is right for you, please do not purchase it.
Below is a list of resources that will help teach empathy and understanding of sensitive topics. These sites offer expectations about the content and manner of communication.
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