Lesson Plan - Preserving the Memory
Civil War
Lesson Plan

Preserving the Memory

You are here

A Civil War Curriculum Lesson

Grades:  Middle School

Approximate Length of Time:  50 minutes

Goal:  Students will be able to formulate ways in which society can preserve the memory of the war.


  1. Students will be able to conduct research on historic places and evaluate the value of preserving certain locations.
  2. Students will be able to write an argumentative essay arguing why it is important to preserve historic places.
  3. Students will be able to provide examples of ways that people can be involved with battlefield preservation.

Materials Used:


  • Preserve-to keep; to keep safe; to keep in existence, to maintain

Anticipatory Set/Hook:  

Ask students what do they think battlefields and other Civil War sites such as houses, cemeteries, railroad stations, and churches look like today. Do students think they still look like they did during the war? Since the Civil War happened in the United States, have they ever seen a Civil War battlefield or site?


Activity 1

  1. Watch the Preserving the Memory Video as a class.
  2. Discuss the following:
    1. Why might people want to remember events in history?
    2. What are some ways we learn about history or certain historic events?
    3. How does knowing about something that happened so long ago help us today?

Activity 2

  1. Hand out Preserving the Memory Essay Pre-Writing.
  2. Have students visit history under siege page and complete the Essay Pre-Writing. 
  3. If you have limited student computer access you can either place students in groups or read about each battlefield as a class.

Activity 3

  1. Hand out the Preserving the Memory Essay and Rubric and have students complete the essay.


Tally the students’ top choices for Most Endangered Battlefield and discover what they think is the most important battlefield to be preserved. Discuss their reasoning and if there is anything they can do to help protect this site.


  • Take Action—have your students participate in the preservation of a local Civil War site, or get them involved with one of the Most Endangered Battlefields. 
  • Participate in Park Day—see if a site in your area is hosting a Park Day event
  • Tell us about your work through the Teaching Civics through Preservation page.

Assessment in this Lesson:

  • Informal assessment through the video follow-up discussion questions
  • Completion of the research and pre-writing activity
  • Completed final essay