Teaching American History Project Lesson
Author: James Ballard
Unit Title: War Between the States
Lesson Title: The Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam)
Subject: American History
Level: 9 grade -12 grade
Length of Lesson: Three 50 minute classes
The lesson is about the battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam). On the first day the students will
be given a copy of “Lee invades Maryland” and General Lee’s “Proclamation to the
People of Maryland.” These two articles are read and discussed in class.
The activities for days two and three can be combined. The students will look at photos
from the battle of Sharpsburg and the Gulf War. They will also read articles about both.
Students will be able to list the reasons why General Lee invaded Maryland:
1. He wanted to maintain the momentum from his victory at Manassas (Bull Run).
2. Provide his troops new food supplies and new clothing and shoes.
3. He hoped that Maryland would join the Southern cause.
4. Influence the upcoming Congressional Elections.
5. Gain diplomatic recognition from Europe.
Students will be able to list and explain how images help to convey the meaning of what
one has written.
Students will be able to list ways that the media persuades and influences the ways one
thinks or believes.
Students will be able to tell why there were no photos of any dead in the New York
Times coverage of the Gulf War.
Nevada State Content Standards and Benchmarks
History Standard 2.0: History Skills: Students will use social studies vocabulary and
concepts to engage in inquiry, in research, in analysis, and in decision making.
Benchmark 2.12.1: Frame and evaluate historical questions from multiple viewpoints.
Benchmark 2.12.1: Integrate, analyze, and organize historical information from a variety
Benchmark 2.12.3: Analyze and interpret historical content from informational tools,
including; charts, diagrams, graphs, maps, political cartoons, photographs, and tables.
History Standard 6.0: 1700 to 1865: Students understand the people, events, ideas, and
conflicts that led to the creation of new nations and distinctive cultures.
Benchmark 6.12.21: Describe the causes, key people, events, and outcome of the War
Between the States, including: Antietam, Vicksburg, Gettysburg
In-Class Student Activities:
Documents: The students are given copies of “Why General Lee invaded Maryland” and
Lee’s “Proclamation to the People of Maryland.” They read and discuss the reasons why
Lee invaded Maryland and the choices he gave the people of Maryland. The students are
given a copy of the KWL strategies for reading comprehension.
For the teacher who does not know what this is an explanation will be included in the
lesson. K stands for Know. What do I already know about this topic? W stands for Will
or Want. What do I think I will learn about this topic? What do I want to know about this
topic? L stands for Learned.
What have I learned about this topic? Time: 50 minutes.
Photographs of Sharpsburg (Antietam). Students will Scan, Examine, Analyze, and
compare the photos. The students will be given a handout with this information so they
can write down their observations. The teacher also hands out copies of two photos taken
from “The Case of Confused Identity.” They are asked to compare and look for
similarities. They are asked, “Does the camera ever lie”? Time: 50 minutes.
Day 2 and 3
The activities for days two and three can be combined. Students will take a look at photos
from the battle of Sharpsburg and the Gulf War. They will also read newspaper articles
from the New York Times on both. The students will look at the relationship between
print and the images in the newspapers. They will be asked to explain since there was the
technology of photos why weren’t there photos in the New York Times in 1862? Time:
After the students have read both articles they will discuss witch one was the best to
understand and conveyed its message to them? Is it easer to understand the meaning of an
article with photos or one without photos?
Questions for Discussion:
Does the modern-day media and its image-based format influence the way one views or
understands the news article in various media, including print, radio, or television?
Why, since there were photos of the Gulf War in the New York Times, why were there
no photos of any dead?
Extended Enrichment Activities:
Students are given a copy of Lee’s Proclamation to the People of Maryland (primary
source) and are asked to use the Strategies for reading Comprehension and use K-W-L
handout (written assignment) to evaluate Lee’s proclamation.
Students are shown photographs taken after the battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam) (primary
source) and photos from the Gulf War (primary source) and are asked to explain if there
were photos in 1862 why weren’t there photos in the New York Times in 1862. Students
will discuss witch is easer to understand an article with photos or one without. They will
also list ways they think the media tries to influence their thinking and feeling (primary
Copy of General Lee’s Proclamation to the People of Maryland
Copy of New York Times Article September 18, 1862
Copies of photographs taken after the battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam)
Copy of the article “The Case of Confused Identity.”
Work sheets: K-W-L, the six (6) question that make a good article, and the writing
activity: scan, examine, analyze, and compare
The Case of Confused Identity
Photographs taken after the battle of Sharpsburg
Lee’s Proclamation to the People of Maryland
Copy of an article from the New York Times September 18, 1862
Copy of the Strategies for Reading Comprehension: K-W-L
Scan, examine, analyze, and compare:
The New York Times; War in the Gulf; Thursday, January 17, 1991; Pages A-1, A-
14, A-17, A-18.
The New York Times; War in the Gulf; Friday, January 18, 1991; Pages A-1, A-8,
The New York Times; War in the Gulf; Saturday, January 19, 1991; Pages A-1, A-6,
The New York Times; War in the Gulf; Sunday, January 20, 1991; Pages A-1, A-10
Articles taken from the National Archives
Photographs taken after the battle of Sharpsburg
Photographs taken at Dunker Church
Lee Invaded Maryland
Evaluate the Activities:
The students are evaluated by the work they complete by a grade of pass or fail.
This is due to the fact at most of our students do not receive grades for their work. The
only ones to receive grades are the students who are enrolled at Washoe High School.
This activity is a good resource for a new teacher. It is easy to follow and has all the
activities and materials needed for a successful lesson. The lesson has all the URL
addresses for the documents. It will be a fun and exciting lesson for the new teacher and
NPS Emancipation Proclamation Page
University of Virginia’s ”Valley of the Shadows” web site: newspaper archives
National Park Service Antietam Battlefield web page Walt Whitman, Patriot poet
Episode 3 (chapter 8/ 44:04-1:02:10) video of the Civil War series