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Death and the Civil War

Subject Area: Science

Grade Level(s): 5-8

Duration of Activity: Three to four, 50-minute class periods

Description of Activity:

Students will review the different diseases that confront soldiers during the Civil War, which were often more threatening than the enemy. Students will research different diseases and use word-processing software to create reports about the diseases. Students will access a chart showing the number of Civil War deaths by state on the World Wide Web. They will interpret information and answer questions about the information shown on the chart.

Objectives: The student will

  • access an assigned site on the World Wide Web.
  • study a table of mathematical figures.
  • interpret the data shown on the chart.
  • answer questions based on their understanding of the data.
  • research the various diseases that had an impact on Civil War soldiers.
  • write reports about one disease and its individual impact during the Civil War.

Materials/Equipment:

  • Computers with Internet access
  • Word-processing software
  • Handout 1: Death and the Civil War—Worksheet
  • Handout 2: Death and the Civil War—Answer Key
  • Handout 3: Death and the Civil War—Report Checklist

Prerequisites (skills or background needed):

  • Students must know how to access the Internet.
  • Students must know how to find an assigned URL.
  • Students must have basic word-processing skills.

Procedure

Teacher Component: The teacher will

  1. allow students to work independently or arrange them into cooperative learning groups of 2 or 3.
  2. administer Handout 1: Death and the Civil War—Worksheet to each student or group of students.
  3. instruct students to locate Dyer’s Summary of Losses During the War of the Rebellion / http://www.civil-war.net and answer the questions on the Handout 1: Death and the Civil War—Worksheet.
  4. discuss with the class the various diseases that killed large numbers of Civil War soldiers.
  5. assign or ask for volunteers among the students to research the different diseases and the impact each had on the soldiers. Distribute Handout 3: Death and the Civil War—Report Checklist to be used in collecting information for the report.

Student Activities: The student will

  1. receive Handout 1: Death and the Civil War—Worksheet from the teacher.
  2. access the Internet and locate Dyer’s Summary of Losses During the War of the Rebellion / http://www.civil-war.net.
  3. interpret the data present on the chart. Students will review, discuss, compare, and contrast the statistics concerning the numbers of deaths related to actual battles, prisoner-of-war camps, and accidents during the Civil War.
  4. answer questions on the Handout 1: Death and the Civil War—Worksheet based on their understanding of the data.
  5. participate in a class discussion of the different diseases that affected the soldiers during the Civil War.
  6. use an on-line encyclopedia and the Web sites listed in the URLs component of this lesson plan to research specific diseases of entomological importance during the Civil War using Handout 3: Death and the Civil War—Report Checklist to record information found through research.
  7. create the final report using word-processing software.

Accommodations:

  • Peer tutors may be used to help students who experience difficulty with the assignment.

Extension Activities:

  • Students could select two states from the chart to compare and graph assigned data. For example, students would select Mississippi and Connecticut. Using Microsoft Excel, they would construct a bar graph comparing the number of people who died of disease during the Civil War from each state. It is possible for students to copy and past the data from the Dyer’s Summary of Losses During the War of the Rebellion / http://www.civil-war.net into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. They can then use the data to make comparisons and create graphs in Microsoft Excel.
  • Students can research diseases that have had an impact on American soldiers of other eras such as Agent Orange during the Vietnam War and Persian Gulf War Syndrome during the Gulf War.

Integration:

  • Science
  • Math
  • Language Arts
  • Technology

Assessments:

  1. Handout 1: Death and the Civil War—Worksheet. Answers are provided in Handout 2: Death and the Civil War—Answer Key
  2. Handout 3: Death and the Civil War—Report Checklist and final written report

URLs:

Curriculum Frameworks

Mississippi State Frameworks/ Mississippi Process Strands:

  • Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

    • Personal Health
    • Science and Technology in Society
  • History and Nature of Science

    • History of Science

National Educational Technology Standards (NETS):

  1. Apply productivity/multimedia tools and peripherals to support personal productivity, group collaboration, and learning throughout the curriculum. (3,6)

TerraNova:

24 Personal and Social Perspectives in Science (Level 11-21/22)
Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental concepts and principles of science that have a direct impact on personal and social issues, such as personal health, populations, resources, environment, and technology.

Through text, diagrams, and drawings, provide explanations of science concepts and principles that directly affect people and society.

Link and Feedback to Author(s):

Tammy Mauney, Booneville Middle School, Booneville, MS
tmauney@booneville.k12.ms.us

Handout 1: Civil War Questions Word Acrobat
Handout 2: Civil War Questions—Teacher Answer Key Word Acrobat
Handout 3: Death and the Civil War—Research Report Checklist Word Acrobat
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