Antietam and Emancipation: Traditional Elementary Civil War Lesson Plan

Grades: Elementary

Approximate Length of Time: 50 minutes

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


  1. Students will be able to list and discuss the events leading up to the Emancipation Proclamation.
  2. After reading the document, students will be able to discuss the meaning and significance of the Emancipation Proclamation.
  3. Students will identify one way the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation impacted the war.

Common Core Standards:

Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.

NCSS Standards for Social Studies:

2—Time, Continuity, and Change
3—People, Places, and Environment
5—Individuals, Groups, and Institutions
6—Power, Authority, and Governance
9—Global Connections
10—Civics, Ideals, and Practices


  1. Sticky Notes
  2. Antietam and Emancipation PowerPoint
  3. Timeline
  4. Graphic Organizer
  5. Battle of Antietam Summary
  6. Emancipation Proclamation Excerpt
  7. Emancipation Essay


  • Emancipation – The act of freeing. 
  • Proclamation – a public announcement. 
  • Refugee – a person who left their home to find safety.


  1. Write on the board or use slide two: What does “emancipation” mean?
  2. As students enter the room, they will take a sticky note and write their answer on it.
  3. Discuss why this might be an important word during the Civil War.
  4. Have students place the sticky note on the top corner of their desk or work space.


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.
    1. Hand out the Graphic Organizer, Timeline, Battle of Antietam Summary, and the Emancipation Proclamation Excerpt.
    2. Have students use the Graphic Organizer throughout the Power Point, the other pages will be referred to in the PowerPoint for activities.


  1. Hand out the Emancipation Essay, and have students answer the question.

Assessment in This Lesson:

  1. Informal assessment through discussion questions throughout the PowerPoint.
  2. Students will have written a paragraph describing one way the Emancipation Proclamation impacted the war.