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

Important Announcement about Online Courses and LEARN NC.

Important Message about LEARN NC

LEARN NC is evaluating its role in the current online education environment as it relates directly to the mission of UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education (UNC-CH SOE). We plan to look at our ability to facilitate the transmission of the best research coming out of UNC-CH SOE and other campus partners to support classroom teachers across North Carolina. We will begin by evaluating our existing faculty and student involvement with various NC public schools to determine what might be useful to share with you.

Don’t worry! The lesson plans, articles, and textbooks you use and love aren’t going away. They are simply being moved into the new LEARN NC Digital Archive. While we are moving away from a focus on publishing, we know it’s important that educators have access to these kinds of resources. These resources will be preserved on our website for the foreseeable future. That said, we’re directing our resources into our newest efforts, so we won’t be adding to the archive or updating its contents. This means that as the North Carolina Standard Course of Study changes in the future, we won’t be re-aligning resources. Our full-text and tag searches should make it possible for you to find exactly what you need, regardless of standards alignment.

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Related pages

  • Exploring first-person female narratives related to Sherman's march to the sea: This lesson plan uses first-person narratives from the Documenting the American South collection to demonstrate differences in perspective related to historical events, in this case, Sherman's march to the sea. It encourages students to compare the views of two southern ladies with that of a Union soldier.
  • Analyzing children's letters to Mrs. Roosevelt: Students will analyze letters that children wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt during the Great Depression.
  • Feed a fighter: In this lesson students will examine “Additional Helps for the 4-H Mobilization for Victory Program,” a Cooperative Extension Work document from the Green 'N' Growing collection at Special Collections Research Center at North Carolina State University Libraries. The document will help students understand the efforts civilians underwent to support military efforts in World War II.

Related topics


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Learning outcomes

Students will

  • learn about the arguments of both the southern and northern positions preceding the Civil War.
  • develop an understanding of point-of-view and bias found in primary source documents.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

One day

Technology resources

  • Computer lab or individual student computers
  • Access to Documenting the American South resources
  • Copies of the Perspectives on the Civil War handout — one per student
  • Pencils/pens


Have students read a brief introduction to First Person Narratives of the American South: About this Project before beginning their search of the documents. This overview explains the purposes of the collection as well as its main themes.


  1. Have all students read Learn More about this title summary and Chapter 2 (p. 11-25) of Rose O’Neal Greenhow: Confederate Spy which provides information about her and her position on the Civil War.
  2. Ask students to complete the “Perspectives on the Civil War” handout (Word Doc) by first writing about Greenhow’s text and then adding information from other documents in the digital library.
  3. Allow students to browse the collection of first-person narratives to find other sources that provide relevant perspectives on the Civil War. Be sure to discuss in advance strategies for identifying alternative primary sources and skimming them for relevant information. For instance, a northern perspective might present a very different opinion on the war. Documents set around the time of the war, 1860-1865 would most likely deal with the subject of causes of the war.


Assess students based on completion of the “Perspectives on the Civil War” sheet which includes a section for students to write their own history of the beginning of the war.

Supplemental information


This lesson is designed for upper-level students and could be used to help Advanced Placement students develop the skills necessary for completion of Document-Based Questions.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • History/Social Studies

        • Grades 11-12
          • 11-12.LH.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
          • 11-12.LH.3 Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Social Studies (2010)
      • United States History I

        • USH.H.1 Apply the four interconnected dimensions of historical thinking to the United States History Essential Standards in order to understand the creation and development of the United States over time. USH.H.1.1 Use Chronological thinking to: Identify the...
        • USH.H.2 Analyze key political, economic and social turning points in United States History using historical thinking. USH.H.2.1 Analyze key political, economic, and social turning points from colonization through Reconstruction in terms of causes and effects...
        • USH.H.4 Analyze how conflict and compromise have shaped politics, economics and culture in the United States. USH.H.4.1 Analyze the political issues and conflicts that impacted the United States through Reconstruction and the compromises that resulted (e.g.,...
        • USH.H.7 Understand the impact of war on American politics, economics, society and culture. USH.H.7.1 Explain the impact of wars on American politics through Reconstruction (e.g., Issues of taxation without representation, Proclamation of 1763, Proclamation...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Social Studies (2003)

Grade 11–12 — United States History

  • Goal 3: Crisis, Civil War, and Reconstruction (1848-1877) - The learner will analyze the issues that led to the Civil War, the effects of the war, and the impact of Reconstruction on the nation.
    • Objective 3.02: Analyze and assess the causes of the Civil War.