Lesson Plan

The Other Side of Fort Pulaski: Walking Tour Outside the Fort

Blended photo showing modern fort and old battle damage.

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Grade Level:
Third Grade-Eighth Grade
Biology: Animals, Biology: Plants, Civil War, Conservation, Ecology, Engineering, Environment, Geography, History, Landscapes, Military and Wartime History, Social Studies
30-60 minutes
Group Size:
60 or more
in the park
National/State Standards:
Georgia Performance Standards/Common Core
Science  S3L1, S5E1, S6E3
Social Studies  SS4G2, SS5H1, SS8H6, SS8G1
Civil War


This is a teacher-led activity to be done on site at the fort. The teacher will lead a walk around the outside of the fort to show students dramatic battle damage from the Civil War battle, including projectiles that are still lodged in the brick walls. It also highlights the salt marsh ecology on Cockspur Island, and shows how human influence has repeatedly changed the island’s environment over time.


At the end of this activity, students will be able to:
1) Describe the damage to the fort during the 1862 battle.
2) Explain why the National Park Service has not repaired that damage.
3) Explain why trees did not grow on cockspur Island in its natural state.
4) Name at least two actions taken by humans that have altered the environment on Cockspur Island.


Due to its strategic location at the mouth of the Savannah River, Cockspur Island has served as a military post since the 18th century. Humans have continually modified the island's natural ecology to serve the needs of society. In its natural state, the island is a salt marsh, with high tides covering the island twice daily. Only a few, very specialized plants (excluding trees) can grow in that harsh environment. Much of the island was in that natural state during the Civil War era, when Fort Pulaski was an active military post. In the years since then, the military gave up the fort and the nearby Savannah River was repeatedly dredged for ever larger cargo ships. For many years, the river mud from dredging was dumped on the island, eventually raising parts of the island above high-tide line and permitting additional vegetation, including trees, to flourish on the island.



A dialog between teacher and students at each stop should enable the teacher to assess the students' learning in this lesson.


Preservation--the process of protecting something valuable so that it is not damaged or destroyed.
Salt marsh--a flat area of land, frequently covered by salt water, where only a few, specialized types of plants can grow.
Dike--an embankment of earth used to protect an area from flooding.

Last updated: September 22, 2016