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City Point, Va. Brig. Gen. John A. Rawlins...

[Detail] City Point, Va. Brig. Gen. John A. Rawlins...

Overview | Preparation | Procedure | Evaluation

Lesson Overview

The Civil War through a Child's Eye lesson focuses on the use of historical fiction and primary sources to expand students' perceptions of the Civil War era. Literature and photographic images reflect, communicate, and influence human perspectives of historical events. Specifically, the unit helps students to view the Civil War era through a child’s eye, rather than from an adult perspective.

Following an introduction to the Civil War using photographic, daguerreotype, and non-fiction sources, students read Paul Fleischman’s Bull Run in Readers Theater format. Next, students examine and interpret primary source images of Civil War era children. Then, students reveal their understanding of a child’s perspective in a literary portrait. This lesson integrates reading, writing, and US history standards.


Students will:

  • differentiate between primary and secondary source materials as they explore perspectives of the Civil War;
  • understand multiple perspectives of the Civil War through the use of historical fiction;
  • analyze and interpret images from the American Memory collections;
  • make inferences about how children were affected by the Civil War; and
  • create a literary portrait that conveys a child’s perspective of the Civil War era.


Time Required

  • One week

Recommended Grade Level

  • 6-8
  • 3-5


  • Civil War
  • Arts & Culture


  • Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877


Micki M. Caskey and Paul Gregorio