American Civil War Webquest for Middle School Students

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American Civil War Webquest


The Civil War pitted neighbor against neighbor, brother again brother, father against son. It devastated families and destroyed communities, carrying a bitter price in lives lost, as well as economic costs. While ostensibly fought over slavery, the underlying causes were significantly more complex than that single issue.


Your team has been placed in charge of a public relations event for a preservation group; they are trying to raise the awareness of the issues, battles, and effects of the Civil War from the past, present, and future points of view. With this in mind, they want to provide a written explanation of the war, as well as a visual representation of the history. Your team will be designing a model and writing a fact sheet that could be used by the preservation organization members at speaking events.

You will also write an essay individually to show that you understand the issues well enough to apply them to a different situation.


As a team, you will create a three-dimensional map/model of the major battles of the Civil War. In addition to the topographical features (including landscapes, rivers, etc.), you will need to add tags or labels that include the name of the battle site, the commanders for both sides, casualties for both armies, and the outcome of the battle. The model should be one that could anchor a museum exhibit about the Civil War.

Your team should also create a fact sheet about the causes of the war, the advantages and disadvantages of the USA and the CSA, and other important issues. While the sheet needs to be thorough, your information should be concise enough to fit on one single sheet. Your map and fact sheet must include the following information, but you may add more.

  • States’ rights and popular sovereignty
  • Dred Scot decision
  • Fort Sumter, Gettysburg, Vicksburg
  • Appomattox Courthouse surrender
  • Emancipation Proclamation
  • Underground Railroad

Use these websites to collect information.

Individually, create a decision-sheet essay (three paragraphs) in which you first provide the arguments for and against the prompt below and then you take a position and defend it. Work with your team to evaluate one another’s writing and to make revision and editing suggestions. After you have completed a draft, consider your grammar, usage, and syntax carefully. When you are sure that you have an error-free essay that thoroughly presents both sides of the issue, followed with an argument for the side with which you agree, prepare a neatly typed or legibly written copy for your teacher.

  • The verbal battle over state sovereignty rages on today. Should the rights of each individual state take precedence over the needs of the country as a whole, or should the national rights override the needs of each separate state?


5 Points

  • Extra battle or topographical elements have been added.
  • All of the included facts are historically accurate.
  • The map text contains no errors in spelling, grammar, or syntax.
  • All map text is neatly typed.
  • The product is visually appealing. It makes appropriate use of color and fonts, is of an adequate size to prevent crowding and clutter and has no visible text corrections.

3 Points

  • All required battles and elements are included.
  • The map contains one historical inaccuracy.
  • The map text contains no more than two errors in spelling, grammar, or syntax.
  • All text is neatly and legibly handwritten.
  • The product is visually appealing, but has one distraction, such as too many colors or fonts, clutter or crowding, or visible text corrections.

1 Point

  • One or more required battles or elements are missing.
  • The map contains two or more historical inaccuracies.
  • The map text contains three or more errors in spelling, grammar, or syntax.
  • Map text is illegible or difficult to read.
  • The product is not visually appealing. It has many distractions, such as too many colors or fonts, crowding of the elements, or visible text corrections (cross-outs or correction fluid).

This post is part of the series: Wars in America

Explore the American Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and American Civil War through this series of WebQuests on war in American.

  1. WebQuest for Wars in America
  2. War In America: American Revolution Webquest
  3. America at War: 1812
  4. War In America: American Civil War Webquest