Antietam and Emancipation: Traditional Middle School Lesson Plan

Grades: Middle School

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 issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation.
  2. After reading the document, students will be able to summarize and discuss the meaning of the Emancipation Proclamation.
  3. Students will be able to identify one impact the Emancipation Proclamation would have on the war.
  4. Students will be able to support their argument using a direct quotation from a primary source document.

Common Core:

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.

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. Timeline
  3. Graphic Organizer
  4. Antietam and Emancipation PowerPoint
  5. Battle of Antietam Summary
  6. Emancipation Proclamation Excerpt
  7. Emancipation Proclamation Quiz (This is online)
  8. Antietam and Emancipation Essay


Emancipation - the act of freeing
Proclamation - a public announcement
Refugee - a person who leaves home in search of safety

Anticipatory Set/Hook:

  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 with students why this might be an important word to discuss during their study of the Civil War.
  4. 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.
    1. Hand out the Timeline, Graphic Organizer, Battle of Antietam Summary, and 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.
    3. The Quiz is mentioned in the PowerPoint. The link is                                               


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

Assessment in this Lesson:

  1. Informal assessment through discussion questions within PowerPoint.
  2. Summaries in the Emancipation Proclamation Excerpt.
  3. Answers to the Quiz.
  4. Students will have written a paragraph describing two ways the Emancipation Proclamation impacted the war.