Effects of War: Traditional Elementary Civil War Lesson Plan

Grades: Elementary

Approximate Length of Time: 50 minutes

Goal: Students will be able to state the effects of the Civil War.


  1. Students will be able to discuss Lincoln’s ideas on reunification and define Reconstruction.
  2. Students will be able to discuss John Wilkes Booth’s reasons for assassinating President Lincoln.
  3. Students will be able to list the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments.
  4. Students will be able to discuss the positive and negative outcomes of the Civil War.

Common Core Standards:

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.

Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

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
10—Civics, Ideals, and Practices


  1. Grant from West Point to Appomattox
  2. What Did Lincoln Want?
  3. Booth’s Original Plan & Questions
  4. Amendments Note Sheet
  5. Reconstruction Amendment Timeline
  6. Positive and Negative Outcomes
  7. The Effects of War Essay


  1. Put the engraving, Grant from West Point to Appomattox, either on your Smart Board or a transparency.
  2. Have students review their knowledge of the Civil War by discussing the events from Grant’s life pictured in the work.
  3. Explain that now the class is going to look at what happened after Appomattox.


Activity 1

  1. Pass out What Did Lincoln Want?
  2. Read over the sheet with your class, first discussing what Reconstruction is defined as.
  3. Next, go over the three goals Lincoln hoped would make the return of the seceded states into the Union easier.
  4. Have students complete the notes portion of the sheet.

Activity 2

  1. Lincoln would not get to see the Reconstruction of the Nation. On April 14, 1865, he was shot by John Wilkes Booth. Lincoln died the next day.
  2. Create a transparency of Booth’s Original Plan & Questions.
  3. Discuss this with the class. Ask students why Booth would want Lincoln dead.
  4. Have students complete the questions on the second part of Booth’s Original Plan & Questions.

Activity 3

  1. Hand out a copy of the Amendments Note Sheet to each student.
  2. On an overhead or a Smart Board, project the Reconstruction Amendments Timeline.
  3. Discuss what each amendment meant to the people of the United States while students fill in their Amendments Notes Sheet.


1. Discuss Positive and Negative Outcomes as a group.

2. Hand out a copy of The Effects of War Essay to each student and have them complete the essay.

Assessment in This Lesson:

  1. Summary of Lincoln’s words from his Reconstruction plan from the What Did Lincoln Want? worksheet.
  2. Discussion of Booth’s motives for killing Lincoln involving Booth’s Original Plan & Questions.
  3. Outline of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments using the Amendments Note Sheet.
  4. Discussion of the outcomes of the American Civil War incorporating The Effects of War Essay.