Primary Sources Breathe Life Into Civil War
Teachers are using firsthand materials and technology to bring deeper understanding of the era
Six boys clad in Union garb stand shoulder to shoulder, then march across a field here at Manassas National Battlefield Park. One holds a Union flag, another an Irish one. Suddenly, a boy falls forward, presumably shot by enemy fire, but deftly passes the Irish flag to a companion. A moment later, another boy tumbles but hands off the Union flag first.
“You guys cannot laugh!” a student capturing the scene on a video camera calls out.
Although war is no laughing matter, these are 6th graders, after all, and it’s probably their 20th take as they try to perfect a scene on this famous Civil War battlefield. The students, from Stonewall Middle School in Manassas, are making a series of short videos inspired by real events and personal stories of the war. One featuring Irish immigrant soldiers draws on...
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