Monday, March 24, 2014

Women are Warriors Too

Essential Question: Why did some women choose to act outside the "Sphere of Domesticity" while other chose to stay within traditional gender roles during the Civil War?

Some women in the civil war took it upon themselves to break out from the "Sphere of Domesticity" and not fulfill their traditional gender roles. Some women, such as Louis May Alcott were partially in the Sphere of Domesticity, and partially outside of it. She served as an army nurse and helped many injured soldiers. This in itself is not outside of the Sphere, but Lousia May Alcott was young, single and attractive. However some women wanted to fulfill other roles, but their husbands restricted what they could do. Some other women, fought in the civil war! They would dress up as male soldiers and fight in the battles themselves.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Hunting for Answers

The ultimate victor of the civil war was not decided on one day, or by one battle, but rather by dozens of battles and events that contributed to the outcome of the war. In my History class we learned about many of the battles in the civil war. A total of twenty battles were assigned to people throughout the class, we worked either alone or in groups of two. We then researched the battle using reputable sources (not JUST wikipedia), and determined who the victor was, who the commanders were, and what type of battle it was (which theater). (Link to my google doc HERE). We then used the link from our google doc to create a QR code which functioned as a direct link to our google doc, and could be scanned from any smartphone or tablet that has a camera.
As you can see at the end of the google doc that I linked you to, there are directions to the next battle site. This is the location where the next QR code can be found. Each document had this, so the scavenger hunt could be completed no matter where it was started. After the scavenger hunt was complete, the class collaborated on Padlet, which allowed us to share what we learned with each other and understand what happened in the war.

These discussions allowed us to determine what really happened in each theater of the war, without confusion.
We were then tasked to answer two essential questions, the first being "Who was the ultimate victor in each of the theaters of war: East, West, and Naval?" In the Western theater the Union was the clear victor. The union claimed definitive victory in every battle except the Battle of Chickamauga, which was only lost due to poor union planning and execution, not due to good confederate maneuvering and tactics. In the naval theater, The Union was the victor. In the battle of Fort Henry, the union was the clear victor. They effectively used naval bombardment to devastate the fort. In the battle of Hampton Roads, there was technically no "victor" but the relentless assault of the Merrimack was halted and turned away, protecting the Union land advance and reassuring their Naval dominance. The Eastern theater was a completely different situation. The Confederacy had most of the early victories thanks to very opportunistic actions by Robert E. Lee and other confederate generals. However, once Grant and other, more "competent" generals from the union took over command in the Eastern theater, the union began to win. I believe that the union was the ultimate victor in the Eastern theater, because by the end of the war, they were winning most of the battles.
The second essential question was: "What are some commonalities that you can identify in the reasons for the results of the battles?" Most of the confederate victories were due to well thought out plans and defensive tactics by Confederate generals. The confederates often made the union generals make mistakes, then capitalized on these mistakes and used this to win the battle. In many of the Union victories, the union army was able to outnumber and overwhelm the confederate resistance. This is because the north had a greater population, and therefore more soldiers to fight in the war. Many of the victories were also due to great leadership from generals like Grand and Meade. These generals were able to secure important Union victories.
Students Scanning in to a QR Code

Personal Preservation or Patriotism?

In this blog post I will be talking from the point of view of a 18 year old clerk in a town in Massachusetts. The clerk will be debating whether or not to fight in the upcoming civil war.

Many of my friends are rushing headlong into this "War Between the States" without any regard for their own safety. They say that it is my duty as a god-loving American to defend my states, and to fight for the rights of all people in this country. I am wary though, I have heard of the great dangers and atrocities of the war. They say that there are bullets that can be fired from a half-mile with accuracy, and could shatter bones. I have heard that if you get shot in the leg or arm, an amputation may be necessary. I can not imagine living my life without a leg or arm. Even worse than the initial wounds and amputations, thousands of men, just like myself are dying from horrible infections every day. Even a wound as insignificant as a shot to the finger can cost someone their life if not treated properly. The battle at sea is not faring much better, I have heard that the blasted confederates have such a ship that is plated in iron, and cannot be damaged by cannon shot. It has already destroyed many of our ships, and seems like it cannon be stopped by anything we can throw at it. 
This  shows the devastating injuries that the new bullets in the civil war could inflict

Even with all of these dangers, I realize that my country needs young men like me to serve (and die) for the cause. If we are ever to liberate ourselves from the scourge of slavery, it is necessary to make some sacrifices. I believe that we have the advantage in the war over these southerners. Here in the north we have been able to convert many of our factories for the purpose of making new and better weaponry. My father who works with the states says that hundreds of military patents have been filed. Here in the north we have more young men like myself who are willing to fight, so I may not even need to be used for front-line combat. In the west, there is talk of a great general for the north, Grant. I wish that I could serve under such a military genius as him. I have decided that it would be better to serve my country and die, than to not serve and watch my country lose. I will go to war for my country.

photo URL

Monday, March 10, 2014

Informing Infograms

An Infogram is a powerful online-based learning tool, which resembles an interactive poster. The focus of Infograms is to convey a message with charts, diagrams, and using as little text as possible. In history class, we were tasked with creating an Infogram that displayed the differences and advantages between the North and South before the Civil war. We were to analyze how these differences affected each side's strategy, and how they affected the outcome of the war.

We chose to use the facts and information that seemed most pertinent to the outcome of the war. Ellie and I thought that information like population, factory workers, and railroads were important to the outcome of the war. We chose to use multiple visuals first in the Infogram, to attract the viewers attention, before getting to the more information-dense portion of the Infogram. We chose to represent the North with the color red throughout the infogram, and the south with the color blue. This allows the viewer to keep the information straight. By associating the information with a color, the viewer will remember the information more effectively.
By researching and creating this infogram, we have learned a great deal about the situation in which the North and South were in leading up to the civil war. It became evident to us that the North had a majority of the advantages in the war, which definitely contributed to the eventual victory of the North in the Civil War. The advantages in resources of all kinds, and the need for an aggressive war, meant that the north had the resources to support a war and the means to win it. The north had more soldiers, and with more gun production their armies were better prepared. The only true advantages that the south had, were that they: did not have to fight an aggressive war, they just had to defend their land, and that they had most of the military universities, which meant their commanders were better. This imbalance in resources and tactical advantages contributed to the triumph of the North over the South.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Causes of the Civil War Project: Bleeding Kansas

For this project, we worked in groups of two people. Each group was assigned a topic that was one of the causes of the civil war. Thomas and I were assigned "Bleeding Kansas" and we had to relate the events of our topic to the themes of conflict, compromise and slavery. Each group created an online project that could be viewed from any device, and we were able to learn about each topic from everyone's projects. We then assembled a timeline based on the events, with short descriptions on each event.

Link to My project: 

Timeline of all projects: