Why should you consider Civil War map activities for your kids?

Instead of lecturing your students about the American Civil War or showing them another boring PowerPoint, you should consider hands on, Civil War Activities. How much more excited and engaged would your students be if they were participating in history, rather than just learning facts about it. Probably the most important thing to learn about the American Civil War is the reason it started and the circumstances leading up to the first shots being fired on Fort Sumter. With the American Civil War Simulation, your students get to make the critical choices that were faced by Grant and Lee, Lincoln and Davis in the Civil War.

One of the benefits of doing a Civil War Map Activity is how students develop an understanding of where geographic landmarks are and locations of states as well. As kids pour over the maps, they strategize and work within the geographical limitations of their particular situation/state on the map. Constantly working over strategy and developing plans builds a template in their minds as to where things are: oceans, seas and mountains to name a few. This also helps create a relationship to the reasons certain strategies were used in the war.

What really drives simulations like this are the objectives that each student has. Students are playing roles of leaders of states and have to make decisions based on ever-changing circumstances. Because other students in the classroom are trying to achieve the same objectives or stop others from completing their objectives. This interaction between students creates a lot of substantive conversations, not only between students but also with teachers and parents.

The role that natural resources played in the Civil War cannot be overstated. With the Northern states having their own supplies of resources, the Southern States did not have them. This forced the South to get resources from overseas from European countries. Withe the United States Navy firmly in the hands of the Union, a naval blockade will severely cripple the Confederacy’s ability to gain the resources they need. Unlike many Civil War Activities, this one takes the logistics of conducting a war into account. With a Civil War Map Activity, geography plays the role it did in the real War. Access to railroads is another logistical problem that had a huge impact on the war and again a problem the South had to deal with. Inside the Northern territories was vast railroad network linking all the Northern states together. This made the transport of troops, supplies and war materials faster and more efficient. The new, online platform makes the teacher’s job much more streamlined and gives them time to observe and interact with students.

In conclusion, if your looking to get your students engaged, then using Civil War Activities are the way to a more interactive classroom and a dynamic learning environment.

5 Stunning Facts About Civil War For Kids

North or South. Union or Confederate. Freedom or slavery. What do all of these things have in common? You guessed it…the American Civil War. The American Civil War start was in 1861 lasted until 1865. The United States was divided between North and South and a war was fought all across the United States. The journal, “Live The Adventure,” says that there are three main reasons why the Civil War is something very important for kids to understand. The first of the three reasons is that the Civil War was perhaps the greatest event in our country’s history. It is believed to be one of the single most important events because it completely reshaped our nation. America was divided between the North and the South, the biggest difference between the two “sides” being the practice of slavery. But according to the “Live The Adventure” journal, the second reason kids need to know the events of the Civil War is to understand that the Civil War was not only about slavery. When most people think of the Civil War, they think of Abraham Lincoln freeing the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation. Yes, this was a very important and key feature of the Civil War but the conflict of the Civil War did not start because of slavery but rather because of states wanting stronger federal rights and then becoming increasingly angry they were not gaining those rights. When the North wanted to abolish slavery, that is when each territory, North and South, really started to become angry. This anger lead to the start of the Civil War. The third reason that the knowing the Civil War for kids is important is because it gives us an insight as how beliefs and convictions motivate people. As a kid learning about the Civil War, I would always question why so many people had to die at the expense of a disagreement. By studying the Civil War, I have come to understand the role that beliefs and convictions can make when fighting a war. Understanding what caused the Civil War to happen provides many, children and adults, with a deeper understanding of how to better avoid the things that lead to such a divide in our nation.
Once the three main reasons as to why learning the Civil War is something that is imperative to understand is understood, we can look at the true history of the Civil War and even come to understand some stunning facts about it.

One interesting fact about the Civil War was that one-third of the soldiers that fought for the Union Army were immigrants and every one in ten was African American. During the Civil War, the African American soldiers fighting with the North actually refused their salaries for 18 full months in an effort to protest being paid lower wages than that of the white soldiers. The Union Army was fighting for freedom and equality of the slaves being kept in the South, usually African Americans and yet, they refused to pay their soldiers equal amounts. I think that this is another example of the third reason as to why learning the Civil War is important. Seeing that there was still segregation in the North, even when those soldiers were fighting to abolish that, shows us what beliefs and convictions about certain people can do. Another surprising fact about the Civil War is that even before the war started, Abraham Lincoln pushed to send freed slaves abroad. Even before the push to free the slaves, Lincoln was pushing to free the slaves. But because of the push to free the slaves and territorial disagreements, a war swept the United States. Another surprising fact about this war is that more men died in the Civil war than any other American conflict. That includes WWI, WWII, Vietnam War, etc. Knowing and understanding what happened during the Civil War is a very important thing to learn. By understanding, we as a nation, can better avoid any conflicts within our country that would lead to something like this.

Facts, Events & Information about The American Civil War


Are you looking for a way to get your students excited about your upcoming unit on the American Civil War?  Maybe trying to find some way to make your classroom more dynamic, interactive and engaging?  The great American Civil War start that your looking to hook your students with could be Mr. Harms’ American Civil War Simulation! One of the best American Civil War Games on the education market today.  

    Students are assigned the roles of leaders of individual states in 1860.  Each state then votes in the national election for the candidate that most closely fits the beliefs of the majority of people in their state at that time.  One by one, each state casts it’s vote for the 4 candidates that ran in 1860: Stephen Douglas, John C. Breckinridge, John Bell and Abraham Lincoln.  The objectives of the states clearly fall along the lines of States Rights and the supporters of the Union.  One by one, the Southern States begin to secede from the Union and form their own government: The Confederate States of America.  The Northern States meet and determine how they are going to deal with these rebels.  Border states are torn by which side they should support.  Conflict is now the order of the day!

    Both sides meet to determine their course of action and discuss their strategy.  During the course of the simulation, students experience the obstacles, advantages and disadvantages each side has as they navigate through multiple difficult situations. With the vast majority of industries/factories located in the North, the Union has the capacity to manufacture the war materials they need.  The South, which is primarily agricultural, is relying on the Factories of Europe to produce it’s war materials.  Eventually the North will Blockade Southern Ports with it’s vast navy.  The South will get a trickle of supplies from the blockade runners, but will be no match for Northern industrial production.  Another effect of the blockade is that Southern Cotton can’t get to markets in Europe.  Logistics is an important component of conducting war.  The Railroad network in the North is vast and the railroad network in the South is sparse to say the least.  The ability to move men and materials rapidly is a decisive advantage the North had with its’ vast railroad network.  Natural Resources are another important factor in the production of war materials.  The North has the lion’s share again and the South is dependant on outside sources.  

    These simulations originally started as Word and Excel documents which could keep teachers frantically busy keeping up with student’s movement and declarations of war.  Now, with the online simulation platform, the teacher can easily move armies and conduct battles with a click of the mouse.  Students also have access to online maps that update every time they refresh their browser.  Create a dynamic environment in your classroom and at the same time get your students interested in learning more about the American Civil War.

Stimulating Interest in History Through Simulations

    History Simulations engage students that ordinarily struggle with being interested in Social Studies Topics.  Students that have problems paying attention or staying focused because they find History boring or that have ADD or ADHD, seem to really get involved in the simulations.  Barkley says that interesting, challenging and meaningful experiences are more apt to keep students with ADHD motivated and engaged.  Since students with ADHD function in the realm of the immediate, he says they may not work for delayed rewards such as grades: the reward must be in the task itself. History Simulations are sometimes the “hook” you need to get students engaged and more involved.  When we have completed either the World War One Simulation or World War Two Simulation students ask more questions and discussion is a thousand times better as we study what really happened. ADHD Building Academic Success

    Enhancing strategic thinking skills: Simulations engage students to take a broad, long range approach to problem solving and decision making.  Strategic thinkers are the most effective leaders.  Strategic thinkers understand how their actions affect others and predict what reactions to expect. Students learn the advantages of strategic thinking and begin to apply those lessons to the real world.

    Problem Solving: Simulations are centered around a problem (completing their objectives) and students are challenged to solve those problems.  Each simulation generates hundreds of problems and situations that must be solved by the students.

    Stimulating students imagination and creativity: Simulations inherently have a certain amount of “free will” designed into them.  Although the teacher needs to keep the simulation within the historical context they are teaching, students have the flexibility to create their own theories and solutions.

    Student Exploration: Leaders, in the simulation, must make decisions without knowing how the other leaders might react.  This causes the student to anticipate what their opponents reaction might be and that requires some higher order thinking.

    Teaching Consequence: Simulations often operate on an action-reaction principle.  Students, as leaders, make decisions and other leaders react to those decisions.  Just like in the real world, decisions are made and there are always consequences to those decisions.  Students learn that consequences not only affect themselves, but affect their allies (friends) and others.

    Political and Physical Geography: During the course of the simulation, students build a template in their minds of the political and natural structure of the world and the countries involved.  Students also gain a logistical understanding of the regions: seas, oceans and trade routes.  After the Simulation is over and you begin discussing what really happened, students are a lot more interested and engaged.  

    Understanding each country’s situation, history and circumstances: Students learn not only about the country they are assigned, but also the other countries involved in the simulation.  Students are then able to understand each country’s self interest, advantages and disadvantages.

    The Alliance System: Students learn the advantages and disadvantages of an alliance and also develop an awareness of the danger alliances can create.  These lessons can be applied to their own personal situations in life and may help them understand how their actions affect others.

    Students understand how the history of each nation and or region, influences the decision making process in each country.  Students will understand how specific events affect countries, which in turn determines or changes that countries policies and actions.

Students will understand how technology, or lack of technology, has a dramatic affect on society and the battlefield. Students will understand how natural resources are the life-blood of an industrial economy and how nations will do almost anything to control them.

    Interaction of leaders and engaging of diplomacy by students: Students will be engaged in diplomacy with other countries as they seek to solve problems and avert crisis.  Students will learn to assess other country’s self interest in order to make deals and ensure their own countries security.  

    In conclusion, you can see that students are immersed in a wide range of critical thinking activities that will increase long term learning.  This is an experience students will remember decades after it’s over.

History Simulations