Academy Curricular Exchange
Columbia Education Center
Social Studies

Bryan I. Yamashita, W.R. Farrington High School, Honolulu, HI


Appropriate for grades 10-12.

OVERVIEW:  Few experiences in mankind can compare to the
destruction and devastation of war.  And yet, almost every
generation of man cannot escape its continuing reality.  As
Americans we have had our share of experiences.  Since our
inception, with the American Revolutionary War, we have been at
war.  Furthermore, in our 200 plus years of existence there was
one war that cannot be compared to any other in terms of American
loss of lives and destruction.  This war was the American Civil
War.  As in any civil war there is no winner- only a loser, as
losses on both sides constitute the total loss of that country. 
This lesson will attempt to examine the changes that took place in
the lives of Americans that were the result of this tragic war.

PURPOSE:  The purpose of this inquiry lesson is to give students
an affective experience of the pre and post American Civil War
experience on Americans- Blacks and Whites (southerners and

OBJECTIVES:  Students will be able to:

 1.  Given a specific situation, identify the period of history
     depicted after the inquiry period.

 2.  Given a specific situation, identify the following groups
     after the inquiry period.

 3.  Observe and experience varying emotions of each group.

 4.  Observe and distinguish the differences in lifestyle of each

 5.  Hypothesize and empathize what life was like for Americans of
     that time.


 1.  Randomly break class into 3 groups- A, B, C by size.
        Group A (Slaves)     1/4 of class   (note:  Do not tell
        Group B (S. Whites)  1/4 of class    the class what each
        Group C (N. Whites)  1/2 of class    group represents)

 2.  Have each member identify themselves using a piece of tape
     and marker.  It should be visible.

 3.  Move desks apart and divide the classroom in half.  Divide
     the room with tape on the floor (see below).  Groups A and B
     will share area I.  Move desks so 1/4 of area I is clear of
     chairs and desks and spread newspapers on the floor (see
     shaded area).  This area should be bordered with tape.

     |              |///////////////| <--  Newspaper, No Chairs
     |              |///////////////| <--  Tape (1/4 of Section I)
     |              |               |
     |      II      |       I       |
     |              |               |
     |              |               |
     |              |               |

 4.  Uncover Chart I and read over to each group's location, food
     allotment, and movement:

                             Chart I

     Group   Location            Food Alloted      Movement

       A     Sit on newspapers   Plate of broken   None

       B     Sit on chair in     Plate of whole    Full (anywhere
             area I or II        crackers          in classroom)

       C     Sit on chair in     Plate of whole    Full (anywhere
             area I or II        crackers          in classroom)

 5.  Begin Part I for 5-10 minutes.  Direct groups to their
     location, their ability to move freely or none at all, and
     give each group either broken or whole crackers on a plate to
     be shared with that group.  Let member of only groups B and C
     speak freely to one another.  Let all groups converse to each

 6.  STOP Part I.  Uncover Chart II and read over to the class:

                            Chart II

     Group   Location           Food Alloted         Movement

       A     Chairs             Plate of broken      Shaded area

       B     Chairs             Plate of broken      Area I only  

       C     Chairs             Plate of whole       Area II only 

 7.  Call attention to the class and begin Part II for 5 minutes.
     Now, there is no movement or talking between groups B and C
     as they must remain in their respective areas (I or II).
     Also extract 1/2 the people from group B into a neutral
     corner where they cannot speak, eat, or move from their

 8.  STOP Part II.  Uncover Chart III and read over to the class:

                            Chart III

     Group   Location           Food Alloted         Movement

       A     Chairs             Plate of whole       Full      

       B     Chairs             None                 Full         

       C     Chairs             Plate of whole       Full

 9.  Begin Part III for 5 minutes.  Direct students as done in
     Part I and Part II according to Chart III.  Do away with the
     shaded area.  Remove all tape from the floor.  There is full
     movement for all groups.  However, Group B only receives
     broken crackers.

10.  STOP.  Return room to original order.


Materials:  pen markers, masking tape, newspapers, chart
paper/chalk board, 3 paper plates, 5 packages saltines.

Time Required:  90 minutes.

TYING IT ALL TOGETHER:  (debrief and discuss)

 1.  Did you like this activity?  Why or why not?

 2.  How did you feel about being in Group A, B, or C?

 3.  How were the groups different from each other?

 4.  What was the best group to be in?  The worst?

 5.  What major event in American History did this simulation

     Answer:  The American Civil War.

 6.  Who did each group represent?

     Answer:  Group A... Black Slaves
              Group B... White Southerners
              Group C... White Northerners

 7.  What did the headings in the charts represent?

     Answer:  Location (chairs or floor).... Social Status
              Food Alloted (whole or broken crackers)... Economic
              Movement (full or restrained)............. Political

 8.  What did Parts I, II, III represent?

          Answer:  Part I..... Pre Civil War
                   Part II.... Civil War
                   Part III... Post Civil War

 9.  According to the headings of the charts and what they
     represent, how do you infer about each group?

     Example:  Group A had to sit on the floor depicting a lower
     social status, had to eat broken crackers depicting a lower
     economic status, and were restrained in a certain area.
     Therefore, Group A represented the Black Slaves of the South.
     Also note how Group A's status changed from Part I to
     Part III, reflecting the changes from Pre to Post Civil War.

     In Part I, Group B had chairs to sit on, whole crackers to
     eat, and free movement.  Respectively, this depicted good
     social, economic, and political status.  However, in Part II
     Group B had been restrained to Area I as battle lines were
     drawn between the North and South.  Also, the South withstood
     excessive destruction as most of the war was fought there.
     This was depicted as half of the group was removed and put
     into a neutral area.  In Part III, political and social
     status were regained as movement was unrestrained and chairs
     used.  However, economic status changed negatively, shown by
     broken crackers as it suffered from the destruction of its
     cities and factories.  Agriculture changed drastically as
     plantations closed and slaves became free.

     In Parts I, II, III, Group C (White Northerners) enjoyed good
     social, political, and economic status because the war was
     fought on southern soil thereby not destroying northern
     property.  Furthermore, northern industries may have
     prospered as war materials were in demand and furnished.

Written Assignment:  1-2 p. Reaction Paper

Things to Include:

 1.  What group were they in.

 2.  What changes, if any, occurred from Parts I to III.

 3.  How did they feel about their location, food, and movement.

 4.  Hypothesize what life was like for Black Slaves, White
     Northerners, White Southerners.

 5.  Why should the American Civil War be considered a major event
     in American History.


Click here to return to OFCN's Academy Curricular Exchange

Click here to return to OFCN's Academy
Click here to return to OFCN's Main Menu