Lesson Plan

Fort Morgan and the Battle of Mobile Bay - A Teaching with Historic Places Lesson Plan

USS Monitor, watercolor by Oscar Parkes
USS Monitor, watercolor by Oscar Parkes
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph #: NH 59543

Overall Rating

Add your review
Grade Level:
Fifth Grade-Twelfth Grade
Subject:
Civil War, History, Maritime History, Military and Wartime History
Duration:
Variable. Adaptable to teacher and student needs.
Group Size:
Up to 36
Setting:
indoors or outdoors
National/State Standards:
Relevant U.S. History Standards for Grades 5-12: Era 5 - Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877) Standards 2A and 2B
Keywords:
lesson plan, Teaching with Historic Places, Fort Morgan, Battle of Mobile Bay, Civil War, Alabama History, military history, weaponry, ironclad ships, Fort Morgan State Historic Site, U.S. Navy, Confederate Navy, Mobile Bay Harbor, USS Tecumseh, USS Hartford, Ram Tennessee

Overview

Using the National Register of Historic Places registration file for Fort Morgan, this lesson plan uses historic maps, readings, drawings, illustrations and photographs to tell the history of Fort Morgan. Students will analyze historic sources in order to determine why Mobile, Alabama was vital to Confederate interests during the Civil War and the effect of advanced technology on the Battle of Mobile Bay. Additionally, students will look at other technological advances of the Civil War.

Objective(s)

  1. To determine why a major seaport like Mobile, Alabama was vital to the Confederacy and why a blockade or the removal of its defenses was critical to the Union.
  2. To evaluate the effect of technology on the Battle of Mobile Bay.
  3. To describe some of the technological advances that appeared during the Civil war and evaluate their impact on soldiers.
  4. To discover if fortifications ever existed in their own community, to describe those fortifications, and to explain how changes in technology affected them.




Background

Information on how to use a Teaching with Historic Places lesson plan can be found here

Historical context for the lesson plan topic can be found in the lesson's Setting the Stage section.  



Materials

  1. Two maps of the blockaded coastline of the Confederate States of America and of Mobile Harbor;
  2. Three readings of firsthand accounts of the Battle of Mobile Bay and the developing maritime technology pertaining to the Civil War battles fought at sea;
  3. One drawing and one painting of a monitor warship;
  4. One drawing and one illustration of the battle scene and the routes of both the Confederate and Union fleets that participated in the Battle of Mobile Bay;
  5. Two photos of the damage to Fort Morgan after the battle.




Procedure

Fort Morgan and the Battle of Mobile Bay

Each Teaching with Historic Places lesson plan contains the following teaching activities: Getting Started (inquiry question), Setting the Stage (historical background), Locating the Site (maps), Determining the Facts (readings, documents, charts), Visual Evidence (photographs and other graphic documents), and Putting It All Together (activities). See Parts 2-7 for information about how to use these resources.

Click here to go directly to the lesson plan.

Getting Started

Begin this lesson by asking students to discuss possible answers to the inquiry question that accompanies the "Getting Started" image. Provide them with paper print-outs of the image and question, or direct them to the lesson plan website. To facilitate a whole class discussion, you may want to print or scan the image to make an overhead transparency or digital slide. The purpose of this exercise is to engage students' interest in the lesson's topic by raising questions that can be answered as they complete the lesson.

Rather than serving merely as an illustration for the text, the image is a document that plays an integral role in helping students achieve the lesson's objective. To assist students in learning how to "read" visual materials you may want to begin this section by having them complete the Photo Analysis Worksheet for one or more of the photos. The worksheet is appropriate for analyzing both historical and recent photographs and will help students develop a valuable skill.

Getting Started section for this lesson

Setting the Stage

This section is intended to be used, if necessary, as background material. Read this material aloud to students or summarize it, or provide them with paper print-outs, or direct them to the lesson plan website. If students have computers, you can direct them to the page on the website.

Setting the Stage section for this lesson

Locating the Site

Provide students with the maps and questions included in Locating the Site. You can give them paper print-outs or direct them to the lesson plan website. Have students work individually or in small groups to complete the questions. At least one map familiarizes the students with the historic site's location within the country, state or region. Extended captions may be included to provide students with information necessary to answer the questions.

Locating the Site section in this lesson

Determining the Facts

Provide students with copies of the readings, documents and/or charts included in this section or direct them to the lesson plan website. Allow students to work individually or in small groups. The series of questions that accompanies each of these readings is designed to ensure that students have gathered the appropriate facts from the material.

Determining the Facts section for this lesson

Visual Evidence: Images

Distribute the lesson's visual materials among students. Provide them with paper print-outs, or direct them to the lesson plan website. Have the students examine the photographs and answer the related questions. Note that two or more images may be studied together in order to complete the questions. Extended captions may be included to provide students with important information.

Rather than serving merely as illustrations for the text, the images are documents that play an integral role in helping students achieve the lesson's objectives. To assist students in learning how to "read" visual materials, you may want to begin this section by having them complete the Photo Analysis Worksheet for one or more of the photos.

Visual Evidence: Images section for this lesson

Putting It All Together

After students have completed the questions that accompany the maps, readings and visuals, they should be directed to complete one or more of the activities presented below. These activities engage students in a variety of creative exercises that help them synthesize the information they have learned and formulate conclusions. At least one activity leads students to look for places in their community that relate to the topic of the lesson. In this way students learn to make connections between their community and the broader themes of American history they encounter in their studies.

Putting It All Together section for this lesson

Assessment

Assessment is built into the lesson plan in the form of questions for all documents, including maps and images, and in the student products completed for Step 7, Putting it All Together.



Additional Resources

Students and educators who want to know more can find sources for additional information (with links) here: Supplementary Resources.