Beacon Lesson Plan Library
United We Stand
DescriptionStudents participate in a simulation of the secession of the South during the Civil War and create a compare and contrast essay discussing the similarities and differences between every day life now and then.
ObjectivesThe student establishes a clear, central focus with little or no irrelevant or repetitious information.
The student creates ample development of supporting ideas by presenting facts and information that clearly relate to the focus.
The student develops extended anecdotes or examples to support reasons.
The student creates a logical organizational pattern (including an effective beginning, middle, end, and transitions) appropriate to expository writing.
The student uses a variety of effective expository transitions to relate ideas within and between paragraphs.
The student uses a variety of sentence structures to reinforce ideas.
-Two overhead projector transparencies
-Copies of compare and contrast rubric (See attached file)
Preparations1. Check with an administrator to approve Civil War secession simulation.
2. Alert Special Area teachers that students will not be attending classes on simulation day.
3. Prepare rubric for each student.
Procedures1. Lesson Introduction (Day 1): Begin by asking students what they think life must have been like during the Civil War. Discuss how the life of a student their age was similar and different. Review basic facts about the Civil War. Launch an in-depth discussion about how the South must have felt to have been totally shut off from the North and what daily life must have been for the average northerner and southerner.
2. Discuss compare and contrast writing. List and show students the three main ways of prewriting, or brainstorming, before writing a compare and contrast essay. Show examples by using charts, clusters, and Venn Diagrams.
3. Explain to the students that the only way that they may get a taste of what it would be like to secede from the Union is by conducting a simulation themselves. Tell them that the class will secede from the school for one day. They may get excited at this thought, but be sure to explain to them that they will not be allowed to take part in any other school activity or rely on any service provided by the school. For example they cannot go to the library or eat in the cafeteria. Tell them to plan to bring a sack lunch on the day of secession. Explain that they will have to write an expository essay comparing and contrasting this day to any other ordinary day at school.
4. On the day of secession (Day 2), be sure early in the day that all students have a sack lunch. Conduct the day as usual but arrange in advance to skip all special area classes (PE, Art, Music, Computer Lab, etc.) Students usually enjoy these activities and will be disappointed that they cannot go. Tell them that the class has to be self-sufficient and cannot rely on the school for anything. Explain that they must use their creativity and critical thinking skills to solve any problems that arise during the day.
5. At the end of the day discuss how the simulation went. Talk about the things they liked about it and the things they did not. Ask the students how they think the southerners must have felt during this time period.
6. Review again the three main ways of prewriting for a compare and contrast writing. Explain that they will now choose one of these forms to complete their prewriting comparing and contrasting an ordinary day to the day of simulating secession. Students complete their prewriting. When they are finished have them begin their rough drafts of their four paragraph writings. The first paragraph should be their introduction. The second should list all similarities. The third should list all differences and the last should conclude the writing and tie up all loose ends. Explain to the students that this is a one shot writing that must be done in cursive and they will not revisit it.
7. When they are finished with their writings, allow them to share their insights about the day and their feelings about what it would be like to have lived during that time period.
AssessmentsAfter completing the lesson, use the following assessment criteria:
Students are able to:
-Establish a clear, central focus with little or no irrelevant or repetitious information in their writing. Assess by using rubric on compare and contrast writing.
-Create ample development of supporting ideas by presenting facts and information that clearly relate to focus. Assess by using rubric on compare and contrast writing.
-Develop extended examples to support reasons in their writing. Assess by using rubric on compare and contrast writing.
-Create a logical organizational pattern appropriate to compare and contrast writing. Assess by using rubric on compare and contrast writing.
-Uses a variety of effective expository transitions to relate to ideas within and between paragraphs. Assess by using rubric on compare and contrast writing.
-Uses a variety of sentence structures to reinforce ideas. Use rubric on compare and contrast writing.
Rubric is in the Attached File.
After writing the essays and comparing them to the rubric, students should see the writing process through by peer editing their rough drafts, and then creating a finished product by writing a final draft.
ExtensionsTo complete this lesson, students need to have a basic knowledge of events leading up to the Civil War. They also must grasp the basic concepts behind compare and contrast writing.
Attached FilesRubric to assess compare and contrast writing. File Extension: pdf
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