Civil War: The Country Goes to War




FIRST: You will need to copy down the key terms from the white board, then explore the following website and define all terms. Title this assignment Social Studies Terms: Civil War. Use your list of terms throughout today’s lesson. Turn in at end of class for credit: Glossary of Civil War Terms:


SECOND: You will need to move into your groups and read “Chapter 10: The Civil War” out load to each other. Taking turns, you are to read one paragraph each, until you reach the end of the Chapter. Be prepared to discuss Chapter content as a group.


THIRD: You will need to determine what role each group member will perform in completing your group’s WebQuest. Your options are as follows:

  1. Researchers (all group members will actively research topic)
  2.  Writer
  3. Reporter
  4. Editor
  5. Illustrator

In order to better understand each role, you may want to visit the following website:

"What Are The Different Positions At A Newspaper": https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-different-positions-at-a-newspaper-like-the-Times-or-WSJ-and-what-role-does-each-play-in-producing-a-news-story

At this point research needs to take place and you have all been assigned research numbers; based on your research number visit the corresponding websites, research your specific question, complete a one-paragraph response:

• Researcher #1: What do you see as the causes that lead up to the Civil War?

Website Recommendation: History Net “Causes of the Civil War” http://www.historynet.com/causes-of-the-civil-war

• Researcher #2: What were the similarities and differences between the Northern States and the Southern States during the Civil War time period?  

Website Recommendation: National Parks Services “Industry and Economy During the Civil War”


• Researcher #3: What role did the issue of slavery play in the Civil War?

Website Recommendation: History Net “Causes of the Civil War” http://www.historynet.com/causes-of-the-civil-war

• Researcher #4: What is the United States like now that the war is over?

Website Recommendation: History Channel “Reconstruction” https://www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/reconstruction

• Additional questions to consider as a group: What role did the secession of the Southern States play in the Civil War? What role, if any, did other countries play in the outcome of the war? What might some of the lasting effects of the war be on the United States? For example, the outcome of the war may be setting the stage for American citizens to have certain rights; what might these rights include? Was this a justifiable war?

(1) After you have completed your research, begin to craft a well-organized and clear paragraph (6-10 sentences) addressing your specific question. (2) Have a least one group member edit your paragraph/they will sign the bottom of your paper showing that they were the editor and that your paragraph was proof read. (3) As homework, consider your peer recommendations and revise your paragraph. (4) Type your paragraph up and email a version to yourself. (5) Bring two drafts of your paragraph to class tomorrow, one for continued group work and the other to be turned in for credit.


Return to your groups; bring your paragraph final drafts with you. Silently pass the final drafts around and read each other’s work.  Discuss the content of the paragraphs:

  • Address any issues
  • Do additions need to be made
  • Start making the needed connections between the paragraphs (using the paragraphs make a mental timeline of events)
  • Put paragraphs in the order they will appear in your news article
  • Begin brainstorming methods for connecting the paragraphs into one cohesive article
  • Using a computer, pull up each group member’s paragraph (from their email) and “cut-and-paste” paragraphs together into a new document/this is the beginning of your news article.
  • Do more research if needed PHASE


See instructions for your role:

  • Editor: Craft connecting sentences to tie all paragraphs together/work with group members to edit their paragraphs/be sure that the article flows nicely
  • Writer: Work closely with the editor/type up the editor’s recommendations/make assignment reads like a newspaper article/create hooks to entice the reader/etc.
  • Illustrator: Using the rough draft of the article, begin brainstorming illustration ideas for your group’s newspaper article, discuss two to three ideas with your group members, hold a vote to determine which idea you will commit to. On the provided poster board draw your group’s illustrations, which will be used as a visual during news briefing (presentation).
  • Reporter: Using the rough draft of the article, begin to craft a 5-6 minute news briefing to offer to the entire class, determine which facts and ideas you want to discuss that highlight the main points or the strongest points of your group’s news article. Delegate aspects of the speech to your group members, e.g., include the illustrator when it is time to talk about your group’s illustration or call on the group’s writer as an expect on the subject.

Get creative, have fun!

PHASE THREE/DAY FIVE: This is your opportunity to show what you know, to shine as a newspaper team and show the class your polished work.

Group Report/Presentation: The reporter and his or her team will offer their news briefing to the class:

  • Each group member must participate
  • Illustration must be on display and discussed
  • Reporter must address questions that follow from report
  • All group members are encourage to respond to questions
  • Final draft of news article needs to be submitted after group presentation (be sure that all group members names are on the assignment) 
  • Complete group/peer evaluation worksheet

Audience: Take bullet-point notes, minimum 15 bullet-points. Notes will be used for closing activity.

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