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

1862: Antietam and Emancipation

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A Civil War Curriculum Lesson

Grades: Middle School

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 discuss the events leading to the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation and General Order 143.
  2. 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 following 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 Proclamation Activity Teacher Version
  • Antietam and 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 the class.


Print out the 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 copies of the following worksheets. Complete the worksheets as they are referred to in the Power Point presentation.
    1. Battle of Antietam Summary 
    2. Emancipation Proclamation Excerpt
    3. General Order 143 Excerpt
    4. Emancipation Proclamation Activity Sheet.

Activity 2

Have students complete the Antietam and Emancipation Essay.


Have students look back at the answers on their sticky notes. Ask them if they were correct in their answers made at the beginning of class. Even students who were correct - do they know more now? What exactly did the Emancipation Proclamation do? 

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 have written a paragraph describing the importance of the Emancipation Proclamation and General Order 143 during the war and today on the Emancipation Essay.