Bacon's Weekly Bits

Monday, February 8, 2016

Civil War Simulation

Today we participated in an activity to simulate the opposing sides of the Civil War. We had blue tickets for the North and gray tickets for the South. As kids entered the room, they were given a ticket. There were different directions that each color of ticket was asked to complete during our activities. The learning goals were the same, but how we did it was different. For example, the blue tickets were allowed to use their Chromebooks, and the gray tickets were not. The blue tickets were allowed to sit around the room, and the gray tickets were not. This simulation began upon arrival and was continued throughout lunch with various tasks. Throughout the duration, the feelings changed from curiosity, confusion, inequity, and anger...even rebellion for the "Anti-Bacon" southerners (hey let's celebrate the use of prefix there). The purpose of this activity was to help the kids understand some of the emotions Missourians, the North, and the South may have felt during the Civil War time period. Following the activity, the kids were asked to put their experience into writing. See some of the comments below. As a class, we reflected upon our writing and experiences to discuss the “why” of the simulation. Also, to reassure them that this was only an activity and we would NEVER really implement such unequal rights in the classroom or in our daily lives. We wanted to help them understand and relate to how people from both sides of the Civil War felt during that time period. The awesome part is that it brought to life our thinking about the Civil War. Some of the questions that we now wonder include:

  • Who was in charge?
  • What did the North do since they didn't farm? What kind of work did the North do?
  • If they South had more land, how did the North win?
  • What were the other causes if it wasn't just slavery?

We also drew the conclusion that the South NEEDED slaves because they had more land. They were farmers, so slavery was used to do their work. (Of course, this is not okay, because people should be paid for their work!!) Holy was a day! Very real life and your kiddos handled it beautifully!

If you do have any questions or concerns, I would be happy to talk to you about this.

Student Responses

Some reflections from the kids:

"I learned that we are VERY lucky to live in the U.S.A!"

"I learned that blue was the North and gray was the South." ('s not just about slavery, which they will learn as we continue. It's about 2 sides who wanted different things: judicially, economically, and socially.)

"I learned how people want to be treated then and now."

"I think we did this to prepare for the Civil War and to give us the experience. I learned what happens in real life."

"I think we did this today because to see what was it like in real life when slavery (Civil War) did happen."

"I think we did this today to show how life is right now and how life from back when their were slaves. I learned that because it is not fair for the south side back then or now."

My Favorite Moments

The student who brought the piece of candy back to me because the "gray tickets" didn't get any and it wasn't fair. Not to mention, this same child also took his shoes off and then put them back on because the gray sided didn't get to take shoes off! This child is the reason I teach!! What compassion and awareness!!

Also, I loved seeing the kids who took the gray tickets in stride and decided that enough was enough. Hence the "Anti-Bacon" movement that was starting with just 3 kids. It shows me exactly who will stand up for themselves, others, and injustice.

The student who turned it around. The blues were just amazed at the injustices, and like any 9 and 10 year olds they laughed because they don't fully grasp others feelings which is the learning experience. The student said, "Hey. How would you like it if you were the ones who didn't get anything? What if it's you tomorrow? We'll be laughing at you!" Kids haves such good perspective when they learn! Hopefully they will remember these feelings throughout their lives.

I cannot wait to watch them learn that there were 2, yes 2, presidents. I cannot wait for them to realize that they were fighting over government; the north wanted a federal government and the south wanted a state government. Funny, we have both...hence an affect of the Civil War. Plus, doesn't that just lead beautifully into the subject of government!?

Thank you for sharing your kiddos with me and allowing us to make memories and learn with one another! I am so blessed.