Civil War Gallery Walk Ideas

Instructor: Tara Schofield

Tara has a PhD in Marketing & Management

A gallery walk is a perfect way for students to learn diverse facts and information on the Civil War. This lesson provides four different types to implement in the classroom. These walks are designed to encourage active student participation.

Plan for a Gallery Walk

Organizing a gallery walk within your classroom offers a fun, interactive way for students to learn interesting facts and details about various aspects of the Civil War. The suggestions below can be used to create individual gallery walk stations or complete lessons.

Causes

The Civil War revolved around two main factors. For this gallery walk, set up two stations--one representing slavery and the other sectionalism. Include images and text that explain that the Union soldiers were fighting to free the slaves while the Confederate soldiers were fighting to maintain their lifestyles, including the right to have slaves. Slavery was already illegal in the north, and Union fighters wanted to set the same standard in the south. Encourage students to discuss questions about the motivations of these two groups.

Some of these questions may include:

  • Was it fair for the north to push their opinions on the south?
  • What treatments did slaves endure?
  • How did the war change the lives of the slaves? Both good and bad?

The sectionalism station will focus on the economies, traditions, society, and customs of the north and the south. This may include the differences in their farming methods, how wealth was earned, religious practices, and societal norms.

Soldiers

The soldiers came from all classes to fight for their personal beliefs related to slavery and power. In these stations, set up locations to discuss several key questions:

  • What emotions surrounded the act of sending soldiers to war?
  • What were some medical and health issues soldiers faced in battle?
  • What training and preparation were soldiers given?
  • What process did men returning from war undergo?

In each of these stations, provide pictures, stories, and symbolic items that represent elements of each factor. Encourage the students to ponder what it was like to fight against friends and family members, as many of the soldiers did. Your class can also focus on the wounds and health issues soldiers faced while in service. Provide as many opportunities as possible for your students to put themselves in the shoes of a soldier and gain a greater appreciation of what these men went through during the Civil War.

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