Conflicts over Slavery
Students learn about the conflicts over slavery in the western territories during the 1800s and how these conflicts were temporarily resolved with the provisions outlined in the Compromise of 1850. Students also learn about the Free Soil Party and why it did not support slavery. Finally, students read about Anthony Burns, who was tried in Boston under the Fugitive Slave Act.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Students learn about Harriet Beecher Stowe and her famous novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. Then, they read about how the novel influenced attitudes about slavery in the time period leading up to the Civil War. Finally, they conduct research and write about the racial stereotypes found in the novel.
The Dred Scott Case
Students learn about the Supreme Court case of Dred Scott v. Sandford and its impact on the nation prior to the Civil War. Then, they investigate the dissenting opinion in the case.
The Rise of the Republican Party
Students learn about the beginning of the Republican Party and why it was founded. They learn about Abraham Lincoln's role in the Party and how he rapidly rose to a position of leadership in the Republican Party. Then, students are asked to create a timeline of Lincoln's political career prior to his election to the presidency in 1860.
The Election of 1860
Students learn about the election of 1860 and how it represented the Union divided over many issues, including slavery. Then, students learn about the immediate reaction of the southern states to the election of Abraham Lincoln and the secession of seven states from the Union. Finally, students evaluate a political cartoon and explain how it represents sectionalism during the presidential election of 1860.
Presidential Visions: Lincoln vs. Davis
Students learn about the inaugural addresses of Lincoln and Davis delivered just before the start of the Civil War. Then, they learn about the Gettysburg Address and the second inaugural address of Abraham Lincoln. Finally, students rewrite for a younger audience one of the speeches discussed in this experience.
The Outbreak of the Civil War
Students learn how the Civil War began with the firing on Fort Sumter in the Charleston Harbor. Then they learn about the strengths and weaknesses of the North and South. Finally, they create a map showing the Union and Confederate states at the start of the Civil War.
Civil War Leaders
Students learn about the political and military leaders during the Civil War. Then, they learn about two recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Finally, they identify leadership characteristics in four of the men studied in this experience.
Key Battles of the Civil War
Students learn about three of the key battles of the Civil War and the strategies used by the North and South during these battles. Then they explain how the battles helped to turn the war in the Union's favor. Finally, students rewrite a passage about the war in their own words.
The Emancipation Proclamation
Students learn about the Emancipation Proclamation and its effects. Then they read passages from the proclamation and discuss its effectiveness in freeing southern slaves.
Civil War Soldiers
Students learn about the experiences of Civil War soldiers, including the role of African American soldiers in the North and the South. Then, students read about women who served as soldiers during the Civil War and prepare a biography about one of the women who served.
The Northern Home Front
Students learn about the northern home front and the role that women played in the Civil War. Students also learn about the impact of music during the War, especially patriotic music like the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Then, they study one Civil War song.
The Southern Home Front
Students learn about the southern home front, including food scarcity and inflation in the Confederate States. Then they compare and contrast the northern and southern home fronts.
The End of the War
Students learn about the events surrounding Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House and the end of the Civil War. They create a timeline of these events. They read and analyze the terms of surrender and Grant's order to his troops following the surrender. They are introduced to the Union's desire for reconciliation with the Confederate States.
The Complete List of Units in the Grade 8 English Language Course.