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"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales
painting by Katie Bergenholtz

Civil War Presentations Projects





  • Write a mini play on one significant event during the Civil War. You may act out all the roles yourself, using quick costume changes and different voices, or you may organize a cast.
  • Research both Confederate and Union flags used in the war and replicate an authentic flag.
  • Find and make a recipe from the South and one from the north, authentic to the Civil War time period.
  • Research uniforms and present the information you learn graphically and create a presentation to explain the information.
  • Research Civil War maps in terms of their use and accuracy and create a presentation comparing a Civil War era map to a modern map of the same area.
  • Make a diorama of a famous battle or event.
  • Research artillery pieces and how effective they were in the war, and create a presentation to convey what you have learned. 
  • Research hats of both soldiers and civilians. Discuss them in terms of both fashion and function.
  • Research the music of the era. Include the background to one of the pieces.
  • Research doctors, medical personnel, medical tools and supplies. Compare to modern methods.
  • Research Matthew Brady, Timothy O'Sullivan and photography of the era. Show examples of their work.
  • Research Civil War money. Both sides had trouble financing the war. What role did inflation play in the Union victory?
  • Compare two generals, one Union and one Confederate, other than Lee or Grant. What common threads run through the biographies of both men?
  • Research spies of the war. What made an effective spy? How difficult was it to detect spies in a civil war where both sides are nearly identical in dress and language?
  • Research drill manuals. Demonstrate how soldiers drilled in preparation for battle.
  • Research Lincoln's speeches during the war. Give an analysis of one of them and recite it in costume.
  • Create a re-enactment of a famous event in Civil War history and film it with you as the narrator explaining the action.
  • Research artists, sketch artists and painters who worked during the Civil War. Compare and contrast two of the works.
  • Research recruitment posters of the war. Make one of your own using the techniques you believe were most effective, and explain your choices.
  • Research the Red Cross during the Civil War and Clara Barton's contribution to the organization.
  • Research inventions of the war. Which aided one side or the other? Which dramatically altered history? Which have changed little over the years to the 21st century?
  • Research ironclads and how they were used by both navies in the war.
  • Research the role of the bugler and the drummer in the armies of both sides. Perform one of the era's tunes or either drum or bugle.
  • Research prisons of the Civil War, and make a presentation on them in general or one or two specifically.
  • Research fortification techniques used by both sides. Begin your research with abatis, palisades and chevaux-de-frise.
  • Take an event of the Civil War, explain what happened and then write an alternate history, a "what if" based on something dramatic changing the event.
  • Research the rioting in Baltimore, and then compare it with a similar protest, like Kent State in 1970.
  • Research bayonets and make a presentation on them.
  • Research the role of the African American soldier.
  • Write a history of blockage runners in the Civil War. 
  • John Wilkes Booth Escape Tour
  • Research Lincoln's assassination. If possible, take a field trip to Ford's Theater or the John Wilkes Booth Escape Tour. 
  • Research Sherman's March to the Sea. Using maps and illustrations or photographs explain why it took place and what happened.
  • Research the role of your state in the Civil War. Take photographs of as many of the sights as you can.
  • Research censorship in the war.
  • Research the role of religion and chaplains in the war. Research the US Christian Commission and its role.
  • Research pistols and rifles used in the war. Show how they were used.
  • Research conscientious objectors and how both governments dealt with them.
  • Research desertion and deserters. Why did they desert and how did both governments deal with them.
  • Research corps badges and make a visual presentation of the information.
  • Research Lincoln's actions during the war that could be labeled "unconstitutional." Did these actions make him a dictator?
  • Research the role of submarines in the Civil War. How were they important?
  • Research the role of the foreign-born soldier in the Civil War. Which side benefited the most from them? What kinds of incentives were offered?
  • Research the origins of the Medal of Honor during the Civil War.
  • Research the Copperheads and the Peace Societies and present your findings of these dissidents organizations.
  • Research the role of Allan Pinkerton and the Secret Service during the Civil War.
See more of The American Civil War curriculum, sources and resources here.

1 comment:

  1. So, I'm picturing each of these ideas on an individual slip of paper, and letting each kid draw three slips and choose the project they like the most.

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