Lesson Plan

Influence of War
Pre-Visit Activity 1:
Creating a Timeline of Wars and Conflicts from 1800-1980

A crowd watches as the 107th march in the street shortly after the United States entered World War I in June, 1917

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Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
30 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
Thinking Skills:
Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words. Analyzing: Break down a concept or idea into parts and show the relationships among the parts.


Students will be able to identify wars and conflicts that the United States was involved in from 1800-1980.


The United States was involved in various international conflicts as well as wars within its border. Between 1812 and 1815, the United States fought Great Britain in the War of 1812. In 1836 came the War of Texas Independence.

The Mexican-American War was fought from 1846 to 1848. Shortly after, the United States went to war with itself over the issue of slavery, with Union and Confederate forces fighting from 1861-1865. Throughout this time, and particularly after the Civil War, the United States went to war with numerous American Indian nations for territory, and to enable westward expansion. These wars included the Northwest Indian War, prompted by the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, and the Black Hills War, during which the Battle of the Little Bighorn (1876) was fought. A little over 20 years later, the United States and Spain fought the Spanish-American War in 1898.

Then came one of the largest conflicts in world history: World War I. The first World War lasted from 1914-1918, and was followed by World War II, which lasted from 1939-1945. Five years passed before the next conflict involving the United States arose: the Korean War, which lasted from 1950 to 1953. Only seven years later, the United States was again at war, this time in Vietnam. This conflict lasted from 1960-1975. By this point in time, most Keweenaw copper mines had closed.



Materials Needed

  • Computers with internet access
  • Writing materials
  • Blank paper to create timeline
  • U.S. history books

Lesson Hook/Preview

Pose the question, "How are copper and war related?"


1. Pose the question, “How are copper and war related?”

2. Students will turn and talk to one another. Briefly discuss as a whole class.

3. Introduce timeline project and break students into smaller groups of 3-4. Each group will get a set time period to research conflicts and wars in which the United States was involved.

4. Students will use internet and book resources to create a section of the timeline. They will take notes on the dates for the war/conflict.

5. Use a large blank paper to create a timeline at the front of the room and mount on wall or board. This can be put on a hard surface on the floor as well.

6. The beginning and end of the timeline may be marked for a starting and ending point.

7. Point out where the middle of the timeline is and ask students what year that would approximately be.

8. Ask each group to come up to the timeline and mark the conflicts they found.


Conflict- a fight, battle, or war between opposing forces

Involve- to include in something

Timeline- a graphic representation or table of important events in sequential order

Additional Resources





Copper Mining Timeline:





Related Lessons or Education Materials

This pre-activity is one of three that can be completed for fourth grade about the influence of war in the Keweenaw before a field trip visit to the Calumet Visitor Center.  There is also an assortment of related post-visit activities that can be completed as well.

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Last updated: January 14, 2017