Civil War Timeline Activity Events Leading to War

Grade Levels
5th - 8th
Formats Included
  • PDF
5 pages
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Civil War Interactive Timeline Activity - Events Leading to War

This engaging critical-thinking lesson has students analyzing 10 events from the decade leading up to the Civil War to determine whether they benefited the North or the South.

The events included for your students to analyze include:

  • Harriet Tubman's Escape
  • The Dred Scott Decision
  • Abraham Lincoln's Election
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin
  • Secession of South Carolina
  • John Brown's Raid
  • The Fugitive Slave Act
  • Kansas Nebraska Act
  • The Lincoln-Douglas Debates
  • Formation of the Confederacy

After learning about each event, students must determine whether it benefited the North or South and then place it on that portion of the timeline. This requires students to think critically about each event, as opposed to simply placing them on the correct date.

Included is a simple directions page explaining the activity, interactive timeline sheet, analysis questions worksheet, completed sample, and answer key!

This resource (without the analysis questions) can also be found as part of the Civil War and Reconstruction Interactive Notebook Pages for American History!

You can also find more great resources for teaching about the Civil War in this Complete Civil War and Reconstruction Unit Bundle!

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Total Pages
5 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
45 minutes
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
Describe how a text presents information (e.g., sequentially, comparatively, causally).
Identify aspects of a text that reveal an author’s point of view or purpose (e.g., loaded language, inclusion or avoidance of particular facts).
Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.


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