Lesson Plan

Influence of War
Pre-Visit Activity 3:
Examine and Predict

Black and white studio posed portrait of a man in a soldier's uniform holding a revolver in his hand

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Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
30 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
Thinking Skills:
Remembering: Recalling or recognizing information ideas, and principles. Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words. Applying: Apply an abstract idea in a concrete situation to solve a problem or relate it to a prior experience. Analyzing: Break down a concept or idea into parts and show the relationships among the parts.


Students will be able to use prior knowledge to predict what wars may have needed copper as a resource.


The use of copper in times of war began before copper mining became a major industry in the Keweenaw. Before the start of mining in the Keweenaw Peninsula, most copper was imported from Britain and France. The Cliff Mine, which was the first successful industrial mine in the Keweenaw, did not begin operations until the mid-1800s.

Copper was used to cover the hulls of naval warships and make them more sea-worthy. Weapons and military uniforms often needed bronze or brass. Brass is an alloy consisting of zinc and copper. Bronze, another alloy, is primarily copper with small amounts of additional metals such as tin, aluminum, or manganese. Field guns as well as cannon and field artillery required the use of these alloys. Military instruments like cornets and trumpets were made of brass, while tack used by the cavalry also required copper, brass, and bronze.



Materials Needed

  • Pictures of wars previously discussed that depict some weapons or uniforms
  • Timeline from pre-activity #1

Lesson Hook/Preview

Inquire why the students researched wars and created a timeline in pre-activities #1 and #2.


1. Inquire why students researched wars and created a timeline. What do these events have to do with copper mining?

2. Students will discuss in partners or small groups before a large group discussion.

3. Explain that copper was used to create weapons. It was also part of uniforms.

4. Show students pictures of some artillery and soldiers in uniform.

5. Students will point out what pictures depict the use of copper. These are predictions and do not need to be correct. Ask why they believe that the picture shows copper in use.

6. Once completed, students will predict what conflicts on the timeline might have needed copper as a resource. Optional: These predictions may be marked by a dot on the timeline for future reference.


Metal alloy- a metal made of 2 or more metals melted and mixed together

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