War at Home: The Civilian Side

Alice  Lee, 5th Grade

Summer Fellowship, 2008


One of the most pressing issues the President faces today is war.  As America is in tangled in two wars, factors such as money, soldiers, homeland security, and foreign allies are top priority.  But what are the ramifications of war for you and I, for our families?  What becomes our priority? 

            In this unit, students will investigate primary resources during the Civil War that reveal various civiliansŐ perspectives on how war has affected their lives.  Students will also investigate current civiliansŐ perspectives on war and its affect on their lives.  Students will learn that regardless of which war, or your personal stance on war, war itself touches a human face.  Even though the fight occurs on the battlefield, the effects meet us at home.  Students will see and understand the civilianŐs side to war.

Essential Questions/ Enduring Understanding:

1.     How do wars affect the lives of civilians?

2.     What supports do soldiersŐ families need in time of war?

3.     Students will learn about how war affects the everyday lives of civilians, especially the families of soldiers.

4.     Students will learn about how America has improved in supporting soldiers and their families over the years.


StudentsŐ summative assessment will incorporate their new knowledge of the civilian side to warfare, especially those with family members who have gone to war.  They will compare and contrast Civil War era and current supports the government provides for families with soldiers. 

This comparison analysis can be presented through:

1.     PowerPoint presentation

2.     Movie video

3.     Collage

4.     PhotoStory

5.     Poster board

Students will also keep a journal logging their thoughts, findings, and notes as a response to the essential questions.  This journal will serve as a formative assessment for the teacher to gauge student understanding.


Setting the purpose

Lesson 1—War at Home


Analysis of local primary sources

Lesson 2—A Call for 20,000 Men!

Lesson 3—Letter from soldier wife 1

Lesson 4—Letter from soldier wife 2

Lesson 5—Evils of warfare


Ties to national primary sources

Lesson 6—Connection to the country

Lesson 7—Analyzing the past and present

Lesson 8—Improving supports for families of soldiers

Lesson 9—Summative project


Annotated list of materials and resources


Written Document Analysis

Photo Analysis Worksheet

Summative Project Rubric


Primary Artifacts

Family group picture

Call for Men (Governor YatesŐ proclamation)

Evils of War letter

Refugee family 1 picture

Refugee family 2 picture

Soldier Wife 1 letter

Soldier Wife 2 letter

Women at cottage picture