5th Grade Social Studies — Civil War

Fifth grade students at The Learning Center Charter School completed their studies of the Civil War on April 26th but students didn’t want the unit to end.

Jay Ward, fifth grade teacher, developed a multi-layered social studies simulation that required students to imagine they were a soldier who just volunteered for the Civil War. The class was divided into Union and Confederate soldiers and grouped to represent different state infantries.

“Once students were assigned their regiments, they had to research what battle flags looked like and replicate one for their regiment flag,” said Ward.   “Students then marched around campus with their battle flags and we recreated the Battle of Oak Grove.”

To simulate the Battle of Oak Grove, students rolled dice to determine if they fired their weapons, were injured or deserted. They would roll again and use an injury table created for the simulation to determine what injuries they sustained, if they were healed, died, received amputations or were sent home due to injuries.

Recreating the battle took several class days.  Every day after the simulation, the students had to write letters home as a soldier and explain circumstances, outcomes and daily struggles they faced on the front lines of the Civil War.

“My students were so engaged in this learning process and figuring out exactly what it was like to be part of the Civil War,” said Ward.  “This project really allowed us to explore the subject on a deep level.”

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