Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Bleeding Kansas Mock Television News Report
Roger Leaming
American History
Time Frame:
Two Weeks
Civil War

Grade Levels:

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:

Mock television news reports regarding events from the era of “Bleeding Kansas” either as a “breaking news” or “special report” format


Students will have to research the Bleeding Kansas era as to events, people, and outcomes, giving them a better understanding as to the important of the era in American history.

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

 National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies

      Era 5 Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)

            Standard 1: The causes of the Civil War

            Standard 2: The course and character of the Civil War and its effects on the American people



      Historical Standard:  The student uses a working knowledge and understanding of significant

            individuals, groups, ideas, and events, etas, 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

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

Bleeding Kansas: Contested Liberty in the Civil War Era by Nicole Etcheson (2006)

Inside War:  The Guerrilla Conflict in Missouri During the American Civil War by Michael Fellman (1990)

Black Flag: Guerrilla Warfare on the Western Border, 1861-1865  by Thomas Goodrich (1999)

Lincoln and Kansas:  A Partnership for Freedom  by Carol Ayres (2001)

National Archives materials

Kansas State Historical Society materials

Missouri State Historical Society materials

Full description of activity or assignment.

Students will be given a list of events from the Bleeding Kansas era.  Included in that list would be

      the following (not all inclusive):

      }Lawrence Raid

      }Sumner’s “Crimes Against Kansas” Speech

      }Brooks-Sumner Affair

      }passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act

      }30 March 1855 territorial election

      }Pottawatomie Massacre

      }Marais de Cygne Massacre

      }interview of anti-slavery forces (John Brown, James Lane, James Montgomery, etc.)

      }interview of pro-slave forces (William Quantrill, David Atchison, etc.)

      }Lincoln’s 1859 visit to Kansas

      }a Jayhawker raid (must be on an actual raid)

      }a Border Ruffian raid (must be on an actual raid)

      }any of the armed confrontations between free state and pro-slave forces in Kansas or Missouri

Depending on student numbers, reports will be assigned on a random draw

Students will be given two weeks to research the event, write a script, and film a television news re-

      port centered on that event

      }it can be in one of two formats:

            wa “breaking news” report

            wa “news of the day” report

      }either format must meet the following time parameters

            wminimum of 5 minutes

            wmaximum of 10 minutes

Students can work as individuals or as pairs

      }if in pairs, one works as the studio correspondent while the other works as the field reporter

            weach must appear fairly equally in the report

            wpaired reports must be at the 10 minute maximum

Students can recruit others from outside the class to appear in the video

Students are expected to make the news reports “time sensitive”

      }language should be as authentic to the time period as possible

      }dress should be as authentic to the time period as possible

      }props should be an authentic to the time period as possible

Extra credit can be earned by reporting from the actual sites involved in the event

      }for those events for which this would be deemed impossible, an alternate extra credit source will

            be made available

On the due date, students are responsible for turning in:

      }their complete, printed script with a footnoted bibliography formatted according to Writers Inc.

      }a DVD containing the filmed version of their news report

      }a memory stick containing the recording of their news report

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