Casualties of War
- Grade Level:
- Eighth Grade-College Undergraduate Level
- Health, History, Mexican War, Military and Wartime History, Social Studies
- This lesson will take 30-45 minutes to complete.
- Group Size:
- Up to 36
- National/State Standards:
- National Standards:
Gr 5-12 Social Studies: World History Eras 4 & 7
Gr K-12 National Standards-Language Arts: 1, 3, 4, 12
- U.S. Army, Volunteer Soldiers, Mexican War, casualties, War Casualties, disease
OverviewIn this lesson, students do an interactive activity to compare the casualty rates of volunteers and regulars due to battle wounds vs. disease. Next, they study battle statistics and discuss what they mean.
BackgroundBefore starting, review and print out the PDF files in the Materials section. This lesson can be modified for High School students.
MaterialsPDFs for this lesson plan include:
- Dividing the Class
- Casualties Volunteers and Regulars
- Combat Deaths
- Regular Soldier
- Volunteer Soldier
Teachers, use this worksheet to divide the class into regular and volunteer soldiers. Download
Teachers, use this worksheet to divide the regular and volunteer soldiers into groups that died as a result of the war and groups that survived the conflict. Download
Teachers, use this worksheet to divide the class into those who died of battle wounds versus those that died due to disease. Download
Students, use this worksheet to learn about regular soldiers. Download
Students, use this worksheet to learn about volunteer soldiers. Download
- Use the Dividing the Class worksheet to divide students into two different corners of the room.
- Tell the class that they are all U.S. soldiers during the U.S.-Mexican War. The smaller group represents the regular or permanent army and the bigger group represents the volunteer army.
- Use the Deaths of Volunteers and Regulars worksheet to further divide each group into two different areas.
- Tell the larger group of volunteers and the smaller group of regulars that they represent those who died during the war.
- Use the Combat Deaths PDF to further divide each group into two other areas.
- Tell the smaller group of volunteers and the larger group of regulars they died due to combat wounds
AssessmentAssess student performance in two key areas:
- Participation in group discussion
ExtensionsThe statistics in this lesson are from the essay "The Immigrant Soldier in the Regular Army During the Mexican War" by Dale R. Steinhauer (source cited below). Have students use these statistics to calculate the percentages of regulars vs. volunteers in their family, school, city, or another group.
|% of the Army||Overall Deaths||Combat Deaths|
Additional ResourcesSteinhauer, Dale R. "The Immigrant Soldier in the Regular Army During the Mexican War," Papers of the Second Palo Alto Conference, Eds. Harriet Denise Joseph, Anthony Knopp, and Douglas A. Murphy: Brownsville, TX: National Park Service, Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site, 1997. Print.
VocabularyRegular Army: A permanent army of a country with professionally trained soldiers.
Militia: Group of citizens who are not part of the regular army with some military training who are called to active duty only in an emergency.