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This activity is the perfect way to begin your Civil War unit and provide your students with a tool to compare and contrast the leadership, militaries, resources, and strategies of the Union and the Confederacy!
This "The Civil War Begins: Comparing the North and South" Digital Activity includes:
1) A comprehensive comparison of the Union and the Confederacy at the beginning of the Civil War. Students will begin by using a T-Chart to compare the leadership of the North and South, including the strengths and weaknesses of Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis. Then, your class will analyze the advantages and disadvantages of the Union and Confederate armies going into the Civil War and evaluate how several factors would either bolster or weaken the ability of each side to win the conflict. Next, your students will use a T-Chart to compare the availability of resources in the North and South, including major cities, factories, food supply, production capability, workforces, railroads systems, and telegraph networks. Then, your class will compare and contrast the war strategies of both sides, with a focus on the main objectives of the North and South, as well as the major components of each side's strategy to accomplish their specific goals. Next, your students will use a key and a map of the border states provided to identify the important Union slave states of Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware, as well as the Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Union capital of Washington, D.C.. Students will then answer questions about the important strategic advantages that each border state provided to the Union, including access to the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, as well as protection for the capital. Lastly, your class will use a detailed list of the strengths and weaknesses of the Union at the outset of the Civil War to develop a one paragraph argument that supports the claim that "The North should have won the Civil War." Then, students must use a detailed list of the strengths and weaknesses of the Confederacy at the outset of the Civil War to develop a one paragraph counter-argument that supports the claim that "The South should have won the Civil War." Each student's point/counter-point argument should show a clear mastery of the advantages and disadvantages discussed in the activity.
The great thing about this activity is that it gives you many different ways to use it. You can have the students work individually on the activity or they can discuss in pairs. You can set it up as a class discussion or debate or have students walk around the room discussing the subject matter. The options for this activity are endless.
2) A detailed answer key to the lesson activity to save you time and help guide student comprehension.
If you need a presentation that aligns with this activity check out our bundle that offers this activity along with a PowerPoint, Keynote and PDF version of a fully customizable lecture to present to your students prior to completing this activity.
If you like this activity, check out our Civil War Unit activity bundle that includes activities for all of the objectives in this unit.
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