Lesson Plan - 1862: Antietam and Emancipation
Civil War
Lesson Plan

1862: Antietam and Emancipation

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A Civil War Curriculum Lesson

Grades: Elementary

Approximate Length of Time: 50 minutes

Goal: Students will be able to state the meaning and impact of the Emancipation Proclamation.


  1. Students will be able to list the events leading up to the Emancipation Proclamation.
  2. Students will be able to discuss the events leading to the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation and General Order 143.
  3. After reading the documents, students will be able to discuss the meaning and significance of the Emancipation Proclamation and General Order 143.


Download the lesson plan, along with the text materials and PowerPoint, at the bottom of this page.

  • Sticky Notes
  • Antietam and Emancipation PowerPoint
  • Battle of Antietam Summary
  • Emancipation Proclamation Excerpt
  • General Order 143 Excerpt
  • Emancipation Proclamation Activity
  • Emancipation Essay 


  • Emancipation – The act of freeing
  • Proclamation – a public announcement
  • Contraband – a slave from the Confederate states who left their owner to escape to Union lines or a Union state.

Anticipatory Set/Hook:

  1. Write on the board or use slide three: What does “emancipation” mean?
  2. As students enter the room, they will take a sticky note and write their answer on it. 
  3. Have students place the sticky note on the top corner of their desk or work space.  This will be revisited at the end of class.


Print out the Antietam and Emancipation PowerPoint with notes prior to class. There are notes included with the slides that can be on the printed slides, but won’t be seen by your students during the presentation.

Activity 1

  1. Use the Antietam and Emancipation PowerPoint to guide the lesson.

Hand out the Antietam Summary, Emancipation Proclamation Excerpt, General Order 143 Excerpt, and the Emancipation Activity. These pages will be referred to in the PowerPoint. When they are, read and discuss at that time.

Activity 2

  1. As a class, discuss how the Emancipation Proclamation was important at the time, as well as why it was important to the future of African Americans throughout America.
  2. Discuss why it is important today  and if it still has meaning today both in the United States and throughout the world.


Hand out the Emancipation Essay, and have students answer the question: Why do you think the Emancipation Proclamation is important today? 

Assessment in this Lesson:

  • Informal assessment through discussion questions within PowerPoint.
  • The statements from the Emancipation Proclamation placed in the correct order by students during the Antietam and Emancipation Activity.
  • Students will have written a paragraph describing the importance of the Emancipation Proclamation today on the Emancipation Essay.