Social Studies

Civil War Trust Unveils Curriculum Pegged to Conflict’s Anniversary

By Erik W. Robelen — March 24, 2011 2 min read
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With the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War only weeks away, I’ve got more news on efforts to help students learn about the seminal conflict. (For my first round, check out this post.)

A leading battlefield preservation organization, the Civil War Trust, this week unveiled a free set of lesson plans and supplementary materials, with an emphasis on promoting critical-thinking skills and tapping into a wealth of primary sources, including period documents, photographs, and maps.

The curriculum is designed to be presented over a two-week period, and is supplied at three different skill levels appropriate to elementary, middle, and high school, according to a press release. It features nine learning goals that allow students to “explore the causes and effects of the Civil War on political, economic, military, and cultural levels.”

The Civil War Trust, which bills itself as “the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States,” also offers a variety of other educational materials, and even runs a four-day teacher institute each summer. The organization’s mission is to “preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds. To date, it has preserved more than 30,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states.

Meanwhile, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History recently developed a special Web page pegged to the war’s 150th anniversary with a wealth of material. This nonprofit organization, founded in 1994, supports “the study and love of American history through a wide range of programs and resources for students, teachers, scholars, and history enthusiasts throughout the nation.”

Also, here are a few blogs I’ve just discovered that are worth a look:

Disunion, a new blog from The New York Times that “revisits and reconsiders America’s most perilous period—using contemporary accounts, diaries, images, and historical assessments to follow the Civil War as it unfolded.”

Teaching the Civil War With Technology, a blog written by Jim Beeghley, an adjunct professor who teaches graduate-level education courses at Wilson College and Wilkes University in Pennsylvania.

Civil War Memory, a blog by Kevin Levin, who chairs the history department at St. Anne’s-Belfield School in Charlottesville, Va.

Know of any other helpful resources online? (Believe me, I have NO DOUBT there’s tons more, and that I’m only just skimming the surface.) Post a comment!

Image: Dead Confederate soldier in Devil’s Den, July, 1863, Gettysburg, Pa.
Alexander Gardner/Library of Congress

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.