Civil War Tech lessons offer hands-on activities that let students explore the evolving technologies of Civil War America. These lessons meld science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education with history. Thousands of students have participated in Civil War Tech programs at the presidential library and at schools across Central Illinois. Now with online resources, these interdisciplinary lessons are available to teachers and students around the world!
The Civil War Tech Program is made possible thanks to generous support from AT&T.
Ironclads - Grade: 4th - 8th
Are your kids ready for Civil War Tech: Ironclads? The success of the battle between the Ironclad ships USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia, created a demand for development of Ironclads in the Civil War. This lesson gives students the chance to learn about ironclad ship technology and make their own ships before testing them in a life-sized version of the game Battleship.
Railroads - Grade: 4th - 8th
Instead of walking hundreds of miles, carrying food, medical supplies, and ammunition, Civil War soldiers could ride the rails. After building cities, factories, and railroad lines, students will complete challenges to see whose railroads functions the best.
Telegraphs - Grade: 4th - 8th
Instantaneous communication, like texting, is taken for granted these days, but 150 years ago it was transforming the world. Thanks to the telegraph, messages that once traveled at the speed of a fast horse could move as fast as lightning. Participants will find out how the telegraph worked, who created it and how it compares to texting and calling today. They can decode messages sent during the Civil War and use replica telegraph machines.
Trench Warfare - Grade 4th - 8th
As Union and Confederate forces fought during the Civil War, both armies began to use new weapons, and these weapons inspired new tactics that would change warfare forever. Participants will learn how weapons evolved during the Civil War, and how these new weapons caused a shift in military tactics on the battlefield. By acting out three different battle simulations, participants will discover for themselves how and why Civil War armies transitioned from Napoleonic tactics to trench warfare.
Civil War Medicine - Grade: 4th - 8th
In the mid-19th century, most medical treatment was sought in the home. The onset of the Civil War prompted an evolution in medical care, including the creation of the Ambulance Corps, development of the triage system, and an improvement in hospital organization. Participants will identify popular home remedies from the time and apply their new understanding of triage as they take on the roles of patients and Ambulance Corps members in a simulated battlefront scenario.