fugitive slave law

john brown

bleeding kansas

Assessment Plan

Curriculum Goals


Back to The Road to the Civil War Homepage

Contact Me!


Curriculum Goals


This curriculum web aims to help students gain an understanding of the different perspectives surrounding several main events that preceded the US Civil War. This is completed through the review of historical information that helps students to understand the muliple perspectives involved. This curriculum web is designed to be used independently as an enrichment activity to support other instructional materials.


This curriculum web is designed to meet the needs of students throught the use of technology. This learning is supported by the following International Society for Technology in Education standards:

  1. Technology productivity tools
    • Students use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity.
    • Students use productivity tools to collaborate in constructing technology-enhanced models, prepare publications, and produce other creative works.
  2. Technology communications tools
    • Students use telecommunications to collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts, and other audiences.
    • Students use a variety of media and formats to communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences.
  3. Technology research tools
    • Students use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of sources.
    • Students use technology tools to process data and report results.
    • Students evaluate and select new information resources and technological innovations based on the appropriateness for specific tasks.
  4. Technology problem-solving and decision-making tools
    • Students use technology resources for solving problems and making informed decisions.
    • Students employ technology in the development of strategies for solving problems in the real world.

Perspective is a vital part of social studies instruction and is the main focus of this curriculum web. This is supported by the following statement adapted from the National Council for the Social Studies website:

Each person experiences life in an individual way, responding to the world from a very personal perspective. People also share common perspectives as members of groups, communities, societies, and nations-that is, as part of a dynamic world community. A well-designed social studies curriculum will help each learner construct a blend of personal, academic, pluralist, and global views of the human condition in the following ways:

Personal, academic, pluralist, and global perspectives all develop within the framework of civic responsibility that is the hallmark of the democratic national culture committed to individual liberty and the common good. These interrelated perspectives will be developed in a social studies curriculum designed to enable students to use knowledge in the following ways: to conceptualize contexts of issues or phenomena; to consider causality; to inquire about the validity of explanations; and to create new explanations and models for grappling with persistent and/or recurring issues across time, space, and cultures.

Subject Matter Description:

This curriculum web deals with the following subject matter:

Students will also be asked to use the following skills in the completion of this curriculum web:


Learning Objectives:

The following learning objectives were taken from the Michigan Curriculum Framework. Each standard is followed by an explanantion of how the standard is used in this curriculum web.

First Standard - Fugitive Slave Law Activity

8 – U4.3.2 Describe the formation and development of the abolitionist movement by considering the roles of key abolitionist leaders (e.g., John Brown and the armed resistance, Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, Sojourner Truth, William Lloyd Garrison, and Frederick Douglass), and the response of southerners and northerners to the abolitionist movement. (C2)(National Geography Standard 6, p. 154)

This standard applies to the Fugitive Slave Law activity in which students will explain the effects of the Fugitive Slave Law on the development of the abolitionist movement.

Second Standard - Bleeding Kansas Activity

8 – U5.1.4 Describe how the following increased sectional tensions

• the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854) and subsequent conflict in Kansas

(C2; C3) (National Geography Standard 13, p. 169)

This standard applies to the Bleeding Kansas activity in which students take a historically-accurate position on the status of slavery in the Kansas territory.

Standard 3 - John Brown Activity

8 – U5.1.5 Describe the resistance of enslaved people (e.g., Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman and theUnderground Railroad, John Brown, Michigan’s role in the Underground Railroad) and effects of their actions before and during the Civil War. (C2)

This standard applies to the John Brown activity as students gain background understanding of John Brown and his family in the abolitionist movement.

Standard 4 - Culminating Activity

8 – U6.2.1 United States History Investigation Topic and Issue Analysis, Past and Present –

Use historical perspectives to analyze issues in the United States from the past and the present; conduct research on a historical issue or topic, identify a connection to a contemporary issue, and present findings (e.g., oral, visual, video, or electronic presentation, persuasive essay, or research paper); include causes and consequences of the historical action and predict possible consequences of the contemporary action.

The Government and Social Change – How have governmental policies, the actions of reformers, and economic and demographic changes affected social change? (e.g., abolitionist movement, women’s movement, Reconstruction policies)

This standard applies to the optional Culminating Activity, found on the Assessment Plan page, in which students must apply the concept of multiple perspectives to various contexts.

Learner Descriptions:

This curriculum web is designed for middle school social studies students. The material may be adapted for use in other grade levels, but the standards addressed in this curriculum web apply to 8th grade social studies in Michigan.


Before attempting to use this curriculum web, students should have the following skills: