Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Weapons of War
Janet Rovenstine
American History
Time Frame:
3 Days
Civil War

Grade Levels:
9, 10, 11, 12

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:
  • An introductory lecture will take place giving background information of weapons in the Civil War used by the North as well as the South with some pictures of the weapons.
  • If possible, an enactor could be brought in to show some of the weapons of war.  (google civil war enactors in your area) or
  • Watch all or part of Modern Marvels: Guns of the Civil War
  • Students will do individual assignments doing research using the internet to make a PowerPoint  of weapons used during the Civil war and the significance of each weapon.

  • I want the students to grasp what the soldiers on both sides of the Civil War used to fight the war.  As we continue on in history, we will compare these weapons to weapons used in WWI and WWII. Students will look into the technology of the war and gain an understanding of what a soldier had to use during a battle.

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met:

National standards:

Standard 2

 The course and character of the Civil War and its effects on the American people.

 Standard 2A

 The student understands how the resources of the Union and Confederacy affected the course of the war.



Identify the innovations in military technology and explain their impact on humans, property, and the final outcome of the war. http://www.nchs.ucla.edu/Standards/us-history-content-standards/us-era-5#section-2

Kansas State Standards:

History High School

(United States History)

History Standard: The student uses a working knowledge and understanding of significant individuals, groups, ideas,

events, eras, and developments in the history of Kansas, the United States, and the world, utilizing essential analytical and

research skills.

Benchmark 5: The student engages in historical thinking skills.

The student:

1. (A) analyzes a theme in United States history to explain patterns of continuity and change over time.

2. (A) develops historical questions on a specific topic in United States history and analyzes the evidence in primary source documents to speculate on the answers.

3. (A) uses primary and secondary sources about an event in U.S. history to develop a credible interpretation of the event, evaluating on its meaning (e.g., uses provided primary and secondary sources to interpret a historical-based conclusion).

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:

Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
Technology Required:

Computer with PowerPoint or other presentation software. 

Full description of activity or assignment.

The teacher will introduce the material with an introductory lecture and then, if possible, have a re-enactor to show some of the weapons of war.  If not possible, show all or part of Modern Marvels: Guns of the Civil War. Give students assignment that they will work on.  They will make a PowerPoint of the weapons of the civil war and email them to the teacher. 

Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:




Partially Proficient



Research and Note taking

3 points

Note cards indicate you accurately researched a variety of information sources (4+), recorded and interpreted significant facts, meaningful graphics, accurate sounds and evaluated alternative points of view.

2 points

Note cards show you recorded relevant information from multiple sources  (more than three) of information, evaluated and synthesized relevant information.

1 point

Note cards show you misinterpreted statements and used three or less resources

0 points

Note cards show you recorded information from two or less resources



3 points

The introduction presents the overall topic and draws the audience into the presentation with compelling questions or by relating to the audience's interests or goals.

2 points

The introduction is clear and coherent and relates to the topic.

1 point

The introduction shows some structure but does not create a strong sense of what is to follow. May be overly detailed or incomplete and is somewhat appealing to the audience.

0 points

The introduction does not orient the audience to what will follow.

The sequencing is unclear and does not appear interesting or relevant to the audience.



3 points

The content is written clearly and concisely with a logical progression of ideas and supporting information.

2 points

The content is written with a logical progression of ideas and supporting information.

1 point

The content is vague in conveying a point of view and does not create a strong sense of purpose.

0 points

The content lacks a clear point of view and logical sequence of information.



3 points

The fonts are easy-to-read and point size varies appropriately for headings and text.

Use of italics, bold, and indentations enhances readability.

Text is appropriate in length for the target audience and to the point.

The background and colors enhance the readability of text.

2 points

Sometimes the fonts are easy-to-read, but in a few places the use of fonts, italics, bold, long paragraphs, color or busy background detracts and does not enhance readability.

1 point

Overall readability is difficult with lengthy paragraphs, too many different fonts, dark or busy background, overuse of bold or lack of appropriate indentations of text.

0 points

The text is extremely difficult to read with long blocks of text and small point size of fonts, inappropriate contrasting colors, poor use of headings, subheadings, indentations, or bold formatting.



3 points

The layout is visually pleasing and contributes to the overall message with appropriate use of headings, subheadings and white space.

2 points

The layout uses horizontal and vertical white space appropriately.

1 point

The layout shows some structure, but appears cluttered and busy or distracting with large gaps of white space or uses a distracting background.

0 points

The layout is cluttered, confusing, and does not use spacing, headings and subheadings to enhance the readability.



3 point

Sources of information are properly cited and the audience can determine the credibility and authority of the information presented.

All sources of information are clearly identified and credited using appropriate citation format.

2 points

Most sources of information use proper citation format, and sources are documented to make it possible to check on the accuracy of information.

1 point

Sometimes copyright guidelines are followed and some information, photos and graphics do not include proper citation format.

0 points

No way to check validity of information.


Writing Mechanics

3 points

The text is written with no errors in grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.

2 points

The text is clearly written with little or no editing required for grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

1 point

Spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors distract or impair readability.

(3 or more errors)

0 points

Errors in spelling, capitalization, punctuation, usage and grammar repeatedly distract the reader and major editing and revision is required.

(more than 5 errors)



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* Primary sources can include original letters and diaries, personal observations, interviews, first-hand accounts, newspaper articles, magazine articles, journal articles, Web pages, audio recordings, video productions and photography.