Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Scavengers Assemble!

Now in our unit on the Civil War we are learning about the actual battles that took place. We had two essential questions for this lesson, "Who was the ultimate victor in each of the theaters of war: East, West, Naval?" and "What are some commonalities you can identify in the reasons for the results of the battles?" To figure this out we had a scavenger hunt around the school. First, we each got one of the twenty battles to gather information on. The name, location, date, victor, and theater were to be written in a google doc with two bullets explaining the reason for the result and a picture. This is mine. That night we had to make a sign with the number of our battle, a QR code, and a so the rest of the class could quickly access the doc. When we came in the next day we talked to whoever had the battle after ours. We needed to add the whereabouts of the next QR code to our doc. The location was supposed to be simple and exact so no one got lost or spent the whole time trying to figure out some cryptic clues; it was a scavenger hunt, not a treasure hunt.
After our few days of running around the school and copying information into our notes we then got together to answer the essential questions. Using a website called Padlet and the battle information we each added two posts to the site. We picked either the East, West or Naval and stated which side dominated that theater, using specific battles as evidence. The Confederacy succeeded in the Eastern Theater while the Union prevailed in the Western and Naval Theaters. In the battle of Bull Run, in the East, the Union's plan failed and they were defeated by Confederate troops. While in the battle of Chancellorsville once again the Union made a bad call allowing the Confederates to gather forces and trump the Northern army. In the Western Naval Theater, the battles of Henry Fort and Fort Donelson were won by the Union. Henry Fort belonged to the Confederates and was stocked with outdated guns, the Union general Andrew Foote overtook it with several weaponized vessels. In Fort Donelson, the Confederate camp was surrounded by Union forces, they had many casualties before surrendering. With about twenty people all posting in two theaters, trends in the battles were easy to identify. The Union's leadership was not where it needed to be in the beginning, they lost in the Eastern Theater mainly due to poor strategic planning. Yet Union forces excelled on the water where the strong naval power they had previous to the start of the war was unmatched by the South, the Confederacy was behind from the start in Navy power and could not catch up to the level of the Union.

Created with Padlet

The Padlet was cool because since everyone was posting, the trends were clear to see. The scavenger hunt part was really fun. I liked going all over the school instead of sitting in a classroom. The excessive exercise was more enjoyable to me than it was exhausting but it was really annoying when some people had their codes on the 4th floor and some put them in the cafeteria, on ground level. It would've worked a lot better if the school Wi-Fi wanted to function properly. Or if the person who had battle #15 didn't hide it in a place so difficult that whoever did manage to find it tore it off in anger. Without the location of the next one, my partner and I ended up sort of just wandering around scanning whatever we found along the way. We would've just followed the directions of the first random code we found and continued along the circuit from a new starting point but some of the codes were left up from other classes. If we followed the instructions from one of those we would've ended up on a wild goose chase. Which I guess we were kind of already on but it wasn't a risk we were willing to take. All these issues worked out in the end though because the disastrous first day of the hunt was a shortened period, the next day we had the full time and everything (except the Wi-Fi) was fixed.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Connections Between the Election and Objections to Slavery

The next lesson in our class was on the election of 1860. Our essential question was, "How were the results of the election of 1860 representative of the deep divisions over slavery?" To start we watched a crash course video which showed how slavery divided the country in the events of Bleeding Kansas Dred Scott v. Sanford, John Brown, and more. 

We then looked at the results of the election and the feelings towards slavery in each region and candidate. Then, we made videos using the Civil War In Art website. The videos show events around the election and through the succession. This is my group's educreation video.

Title screen of our video

Regional Reasoning

To begin looking at the Civil War our class made infographics on the statistics of the North and South. We used the information to understand why each side chose the strategy they did in the war and what resources they had to help them. Our graphs would be made using Canva, Infogram, or Piktochart, and would contain the statistics we felt best answered the essential question, "How did the differences between the North  and South affect each region's strategy and  success in the Civil War?" I chose population, railroads, and types of work. The types of work was important in the South because their whole plan was based around the importance of cotton exports. The population showed how much more manpower the North had and the railroads were essential in the movement of supplies and information during the battles. The activity helped me understand the reasoning behind each side and how they used what they had to their advantage.