The Homefront: Inquiry High School Lesson Plan

Grades: High School

Approximate Length of Time: 3 hours

Goal: Students will be able to discuss life and the various roles people took on during the American Civil War.


  1. Students will be able to complete a graphic organizer, finding key information within primary and secondary sources.
  2. Students will be able to address a question about a historic event, providing evidence from primary and secondary sources.

Common Core Standards:

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.

Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary source.

Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.

Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.

NCSS Standards for Social Studies:

2—Time, Continuity, and Change
3—People, Places, and Environment
5—Individuals, Groups, and Institutions


This is an inquiry lesson where students will do research to answer the inquiry question about life on the home front during the American Civil War. Students will develop a hypothesis, search for evidence in multiple primary and secondary sources, and complete a graphic organizer. Through this process, students will develop a strong answer to the inquiry question posed at the beginning.

Inquiry Question:

How did those who were not on the "front lines" contribute to the war effort?


  • Primary Source Documents Packet
  • Secondary Source Documents Packet
  • Graphic Organizer
  • Highlighters


  1. Have students begin with a hypothesis to answer the inquiry question.
  2. Students will then read through the Document Packet, filling out the Graphic Organizer as they progress.


  • Students will answer the inquiry question either orally or in essay form. They should use evidence from their primary and secondary sources. They can use the documents, their notes, and their graphic organizer. Students can do additional research to bolster their argument.
  • Students can share their responses with the class.

Assessment in This Lesson:

  1. A completed graphic organizer
  2. Notes taken on graphic organizer, documents, or other notes sheets
  3. A complete answer to the inquiry question with quotes from the provided documents