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Beginning Of Civil War A Push Assignments

Grade Level: Middle School

Approximate Time: 50 minutes

Goal: Students will gain an understanding of the progression of causes leading to the American Civil War.


  1. After viewing an exhibit on the period leading to the American Civil War, students will be able to identify the principal events of that period.
  2. Students will be able to place the events in chronological order


Download the lesson plan, along with the following PDF materials, at the bottom of this page.

Anticipatory Set/Hook:

Ask: Do you think most Americans were aware that they were being drawn into war?  How do you think a citizen might be able to tell if their country is going to war? What are some things you think happen before a war? Do you think people happy or unhappy with their situation in life?


Activity 1:

Either view The Gathering Storm Exhibit as a group – projecting the exhibit or printing the PDF’s. Or have students view the exhibit on their own.

Discuss what students think the most important development leading up to the war was.  Have a few students give their opinion and ask them why they think it that event or development was the most important.

Activity 2: 

Hand out The Gathering Storm Timeline Assignment and read over the directions:
Use the pictures below to illustrate the causes of the American Civil War.

  1. Cut out and paste the pictures that represent the two major differences between the North and South.
  2. Label what these differences are below the picture.
  3. Cut out and paste the pictures that represent major events leading up to the Civil War.
  4. Next to the picture, label the event it represents.

Students will have the remainder of class to work on their timelines.


Ask: What do you think will happen next? Do you think people living in that time had a sense of what was coming? What kind of predictions do you think people had about the war at the time, what predictions would you have made?

Assessment in this Lesson:

  • Informal assessment through discussion after viewing the Gathering Storm Exhibit.
  • Completed Gathering Storm Timeline Assignment

This resource can be used in lessons as part of a project on the English Civil War or as homework assignments. Each task earns a certain number of points and some tasks have the option of earning extra points if they' Push themselves' in an extension. Students have to choose what assignments they want to complete but the total number of points must add up to 15.

Tasks include:
Devise a timeline of long term causes
Draw a cartoon strip of short term sparks
An extended writing piece (Essay Question)
Create Fact files on individuals
Write a newspaper article
Find and analyse a source on the Civil War.

This could be used as part of a unit of study on the English Civil War or Stuart England, or they can be completed using text books or the internet. Great for improving independent learning, my classes have enjoyed them!

Thanks for looking.

This download (free or purchased) is for your own personal use in your classroom or your home. Please do not share my resources with others unless given explicit consent by me. Please direct them to my store instead.

You may not share this download. You may not alter any item in this download, resell and claim as your own work. Similarly, you may not sell or share these resources with anyone and you may not use the contents of this download to create anything for commercial purposes or other commercial products. If you are an education board or school and would like to use my resources district wide, please contact me about licensing.
© A. Hughes (MsHughesTeaches)

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