K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

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Related pages

  • Confederate currency: An inflation simulation: Using primary sources from the Documenting the American South collection, students will engage in a brief simulation of inflation during the Civil War while learning about issues faced on the home front in North Carolina.
  • Civil War journals: This lesson integrates creative writing with Social Studies and enhances knowledge of the effects of the Civil War on people.
  • Tobacco bag stringing: Elementary activity three: In this activity for grades 3–6, students will read and evaluate primary source letters from the Tobacco Bag Stringing collection. This should be done after Activity one, which is the introductory activity about tobacco bag stringing.

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • learn more about the experience of soldiers during the Civil War.
  • read and evaluate a primary source and identify perspective and bias.
  • express what they know about the Civil War in a point-of-view writing exercise.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

One day



This lesson should coincide with a study of the Civil War.


  1. Have every student read the “Diary of a Tar Heel Confederate Soldier.”
  2. While they are reading ask students to complete the Primary Source Analysis Sheet.
  3. After students have completed the analysis sheet, have them share their answers with a partner. Then facilitate a whole-class discussion about what students learned through this activity.
  4. Next hand out the RAFT Assignment and Rubric sheet. Allow students to select their own role, audience, format, and topic and to brainstorm on the handout before writing their final assignment on un-lined white paper. This could be done in a word processing document or by hand.
  5. If students have additional time, they may add illustrations.


Assess students based on the completion of the analysis sheet and the RAFT assignment.

Supplemental information

There are many additional Civil War diaries available online through the Documenting the American South site that students may read.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Social Studies (2010)
      • Grade 8

        • 8.H.1 Apply historical thinking to understand the creation and development of North Carolina and the United States. 8.H.1.1 Construct charts, graphs, and historical narratives to explain particular events or issues. 8.H.1.2 Summarize the literal meaning of...
        • 8.H.2 Understand the ways in which conflict, compromise and negotiation have shaped North Carolina and the United States. 8.H.2.1 Explain the impact of economic, political, social, and military conflicts (e.g. war, slavery, states’ rights and citizenship...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Social Studies (2003)

Grade 8

  • Goal 4: The learner will examine the causes, course, and character of the Civil War and Reconstruction, and their impact on North Carolina and the nation.
    • Objective 4.02: Describe the political and military developments of the Civil War and analyze their effect on the outcome of the war.
    • Objective 4.04: Evaluate the importance of the roles played by individuals at the state and national levels during the Civil War and Reconstruction Period.