Brooklyn in the Civil War
Soldiers Women Slavery Daily Life
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Lesson Plans


These lesson plans can be adapted to suit students in 4th-12th grades. They are divided into the four thematic units featured on the Web site: daily life, slavery, war and soldiers' lives, and women. Each lesson focuses on one or more primary source documents including letters, news articles and advertisements from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, photographs, sketches, and poems. Students learn how to "read" original documents and differentiate between fact and opinion.

Children are expected to read and write about primary source documents on the 5th and 8th grade New York State Social Studies Exams. These lessons are intended to help prepare them for that test, and give them a taste of local history from almost 150 years ago. The lessons require reading, writing, listening, and speaking as well as critical thinking skills. In addition, students are often asked to "put themselves in the shoes" of a figure from history or relate past events to themselves and their families.

Each lesson includes an aim, objective, list of materials needed, and step-by-step procedure. All materials or links to these materials are included. Teachers are encouraged to choose lessons of particular interest or relevance to their classes or curricula. All lessons may be copied or changed as teachers see fit. We hope you enjoy them!

The Lesson Plans are arranged below by theme. You may download the lesson plans in Microsoft Word format or in Adobe Acrobat format. To view or print the PDF files, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free software application available on Adobe's Web site.

You may also download all of the lesson plans in one ZIP file (7MB).

Lesson 1.1: Causes of the Civil War   
Lesson 1.2: The Draft (Part 1)   
Lesson 1.3: The Draft (Part 2)   
Lesson 1.4: The Draft (Part 3): Draft Simulation Activity   
Lesson 1.5: A Soldier's Life   
Lesson 1.6: Prisoner of War   
Lesson 1.7: "Life Among Fifty Thousand Sick Soldiers"   
Lesson 1.8: Civil War Monuments in Brooklyn   
Lesson 1.9: Red Legs: A Drummer Boy of the Civil War by Ted Lewin   
Lesson 1.10: Reenactor Math   
Lesson 1.11: Weapons of War - The Monitor   
Lesson 2.1: Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth by Anne Rockwell   
Lesson 2.2: Harriet Tubman in the News   
Lesson 2.3: "Pink"   
Lesson 2.4: History Repeats Itself   
Lesson 2.5: Frederick Douglass (2 days)   
Lesson 2.6: The Lott House - A History Mystery   
Lesson 3.1: You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer! by Shana Corey (Scholastic, 2000)   
Lesson 3.2: The Sanitary Commission   
Lesson 3.3: Follow-Up Math Lesson - Inflation   
Lesson 3.4: Soldier Emily   
Lesson 3.5: The Making of a Spy   
Lesson 3.6: Susan B. Anthony and Women's Suffrage   
Lesson 3.7: The Ballot Box Battle by Emily Arnold McCully   
Lesson 3.8: "The Women Who Went to the Field" by Clara Barton   
Daily Life
Lesson 4.1: At the Movies   
Lesson 4.2: Household Names   
Lesson 4.3: The Man Who Made Parks: The Story of Parkbuilder Frederick Law Olmsted by Frieda Wishinsky   
Lesson 4.4: Mapping Central Park   
Lesson 4.5: "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry" by Walt Whitman   
Lesson 4.6: The Immigrants of Brooklyn: Now and Then   
Lesson 4.7: Coney Island   
Lesson 4.8: Advertisements   
Lesson 4.9: Play Ball   


These lesson plans were written by Barbara Auerbach, a school librarian at a New York City Public School in Brooklyn. She has co-authored two ESL writing texts as well as contributed curriculum for The Brooklyn Expedition lesson plans. She also reviews children's books, reference, and videos for School Library Journal.

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