Beacon Lesson Plan Library

The Price of War

Lisa Whildin


Students identify and compare significant facts of Civil War battles.


The student selects and uses a variety of electronic media (such as the Internet, information services, and desktop-publishing software programs) to create, revise, retrieve, and verify information.


-Battle Accounts Activity Sheet (See Associated File)
-Reference books
-Internet access
-Overhead or chalkboard


1. Prior to this lesson, discuss the Civil War causes and effects, key events, and what a great loss of human life it was.
2. Explain that there has been no other war with the number of casualties in American history.
3. Prior knowledge of creating spreadsheets is required.


(See Teacher Preparation for prior knowledge.)

1. Provide each student with a copy of the Battle Accounts Activity Sheet. (See Associated File.)

2. Have students work in small cooperative groups researching the major battles fought during the Civil War.

3. Students research using both traditional and technological methods to gather more in-depth information. (See WebLinks for URLs.)

4. Have each group choose a battle of interest.

5. Students will use this comparative information to create a graph using the statistics researched, such as the number of casualties and wounded. You will need to model this as a reminder for students.

6. Students will then print information to be posted in the classroom.

7. Students should be given two to three minutes to present their information. Remind students of acceptable presentation skills, ie., volume, accuracy, etc.

8. Finally, the class will create a timeline of the battles researched on an overhead projector or the chalkboard. Each group adds its own information.

Battles to investigate:
Fort Sumter
First Bull Run
Merrimack vs. Monitor
Second Bull Run


Students use information technology to collect data on an assigned Civil War Battle. The data is used to create an individual spreadsheet and then contributed toward a class comparative graph. Each student participates in a group creation of a timeline of battles researched. The timeline also includes the key events of the Civil War.

Assess students individually, as well as their contribution to the whole project. As students work, circuluate and offer feedback and assistance. Allow students additional time if the assessment doesn't meet the criteria established.


Students can work in cooperative groups.
Students can see pictures of battles and battle sites, if there is an
allowance of additional time.

Web Links

Web supplement for The Price of War
The History Place

Web supplement for The Price of War
The Time of the Lincolns

Web supplement for The Price of War
Beyond Face Value

Web supplement for The Price of War

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