Wednesday, April 8, 2015

We Put Our Blood, Sweat, and Scavenger Hunts into the Civil War

For this unit in class, we learned about some of the many battles that took place during the Civil War through a scavenger hunt. Each person chose a battle to research, and found out the name, date, victor, theater, and reasons for the outcome of their battle. Each person created a Google Document with their information and a picture of their battle. Then, we had to create a Bitly shortened URL and a QR code for our document which we printed out so that the other students could scan into our information. Each person placed their code wherever they wanted around the school. We had to get organized as a class by telling the person with the battle before us where we were going to put it. Once everybody had written on the bottom of their document where to find the next battle, we were ready to start. We went around the school to find all the battles and we copied down the key information about them into our Evernote. Once everybody was finished the Scavenger hunt, we reviewed the information individually to look for trends in the battles. We looked at which side, the Union or the Confederacy, dominated in certain theaters. We each posted our observations under at least two columns on the Padlet website seen below:

Our essential questions for this unit were: who was the ultimate victor in each of the theaters of war, and what are some commonalities you can identify in the reasons for the results of the battles? As you can see from the Padlet, the Union dominated the Western Theater and the Naval Theater, and the Confederacy dominated the Eastern Theater. The Union had many gunboats and ironclads, and they were able to use the rivers in the western theater to attack not only by land but also by river. They had a very strong naval force, and this helped them win many battles by surrounding their enemy. In the Western Theater, the Union also dominated on land. In battles such as the Battle of Fort Donelson and the Battle of Shiloh, they were able to surround the Confederacy and weaken them until they were forced to surrender. The Anaconda technique was often used to cut off the Confederacy and slowly beat them. However, in the Eastern Theater, the Confederacy dominated because the Union didn't have a unanimous plan. The President Lincoln and certain generals didn't see eye to eye on the technique, so the Confederates were able to succeed with heavy artillery like in the Battle of Fredericksburg.

I liked this scavenger hunt activity because we got to be active and travel around the school. It was a nice break from sitting in classrooms and listening to lectures all day, and I think it will be more memorable because of that. There were some challenges with the wifi connection the first day which was frustrating because I couldn't access many of the documents. However, the second day of the scavenger hunt, the wifi was much better and we could complete the activity much faster. I also liked that in this activity, the whole class had to work and organize together for the activity to work, and with each person tackling one battle, we learn about 20 battles in the activity.

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