Field Trips, Primary Sources, Student Activities

Fallen Soldiers (Formerly Called Unfinished Work: The Creation and Dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery)

Grade Level:
High School: Ninth Grade through Twelfth Grade
Social Studies
Common Core Standards:
6-8.RH.1, 6-8.RH.2, 6-8.RH.3, 6-8.RH.4, 6-8.RH.6, 6-8.RH.7, 6-8.RH.8, 6-8.RH.9, 9-10.RH.1, 9-10.RH.2, 9-10.RH.3, 9-10.RH.6, 9-10.RH.9, 9-10.RH.10, 11-12.RH.1, 11-12.RH.2, 11-12.RH.4, 11-12.RH.5, 11-12.RH.6, 11-12.RH.7, 11-12.RH.8, 11-12.RH.10
State Standards:
PA Common Core Standards CC.8.5.9-10.A-J; CC.8.5.11-12.A-J


The Soldiers' National Cemetery and the Gettysburg Address are ever present reminders of the horror of war and of man's capacity to endure, overcome, and grow from tragic events.


To convey the significance and relevance of the Gettysburg Address and Soldiers' National Cemetery to the students.


After completing the pre-visit activities and on-site program, the students will be able to:
--Discuss the Gettysburg Address and the Emancipation Proclamation within the context of Abraham Lincoln's personal and political views regarding slavery and democracy
--Describe the horrific conditions of the dead on the battlefield, and list several ways by which a majority of the Union dead were identified
--Relate personal accounts as to why individual soldiers were fighting and compare and contrast these with the war aims as expressed in the Gettysburg Address
--Determine the reasons why Lincoln came to Gettysburg in November 1863
--Analyze the Gettysburg Address in the context of the time.

After completing the post-visit activities, the students will be able to:
--Determine the significance of the Gettysburg Address as it transcends time and place

For Teachers

The Gettysburg National Military Park is pleased to provide you and your students with our student education program materials on Fallen Soldiers (formerly called "Unfinished Work: The Creation and Dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery").  Hopefully it will enrich your studies of Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War, providing you and your students with added insights into this American tragedy and triumph.

The attached Teachers' Guide below is to be used in conjunction with a Field Trip, or Site Visit to the Gettysburg National Military Park and your students' participation in the two-hour-long Fallen Soldiers Park Ranger-led program. Please download in order to access pre-visit and post-visit activities, as well as to prepare your students for the field trip and on-site program. 

This program is targeted at students in grades 8-12 and includes pre-visit preparation in the classroom, an on-site, two-hour program conducted by a park ranger, and post visit follow-up in the classroom. Using the materials provided within, the students will become highly involved with both secondary and primary sources in the classroom and in the Soldiers' National Cemetery. The pre-visit activities are meant to help the teacher stimulate student interest, motivate them for their visit to Gettysburg, and provide a foundation of knowledge upon which the program ranger can build here at the site. It is extremely important, for the success of the on-site program, that the students complete the essential pre-visit readings and exercises. The supplemental materials provide additional information and enrichment exercises. The maximum class size for this program is 30 students and the minimum is 10. Please divide students into 10 groups before leaving for Gettysburg! Each group needs to have a facilitator, a reader, and a reporter. (Adjustments can be made in cooperative group sizes to correspond to class size.) Groups should be comprised of students who work well together and who will complete their tasks in a given amount of time. The teacher may find it useful to use this same group format for doing the pre-visit work. Please keep in mind that some of the material in this packet is very specific to the topic of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and the creation of the Soldiers' National Cemetery. Other material is quite general. But in neither case is it comprehensive. The overall complexity of the topics is tremendous in scope. Some material may not be appropriate to the grade or ability level you are teaching. We leave the interpretation of this information in the hands of the teacher, where it belongs.


This teachers' guide provides pre-visit and post-visit activities and is to be used in conjuction with and in preparation for a Park Ranger field program at Gettysburg National Military Park.

Download Teachers' Guide for Fallen Soldiers Program

Last updated: March 11, 2021