Field Trips, Student Activities

Join the Army: The Life of a Civil War Soldier

Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Social Studies
Common Core Standards:
3.L.4, 3.L.4.d, 7.L.4, 9-10.L.4, 3.RI.1, 3.RI.2, 3.RI.3, 3.RI.7, 4.RI.2, 4.RI.3, 4.RI.7, 5.RI.2, 5.RI.5, 5.RI.7, 6.RI.2, 6.RI.3, 6.RI.4, 6.RI.9, 3.SL.1, 3.SL.1.a, 3.SL.1.b, 3.SL.1.c, 3.SL.1.d, 3.SL.3, 4.SL.1, 4.SL.1.a, 4.SL.1.b, 4.SL.1.c, 4.SL.1.d, 4.SL.3, 4.SL.4, 5.SL.1, 5.SL.1.a, 5.SL.1.b, 5.SL.1.c, 5.SL.1.d, 6.SL.1, 6.SL.1.a, 6.SL.1.b, 6.SL.1.c, 6.SL.1.d
State Standards:
Pennsylvania CC.1.2.3. A-K; CC.1.2.4.A-K; CC.1.2.5. A-K; CC.1.5.3 A-D; CC. 1.5.4. A-D; CC. 1.5.5. A-D


The Civil War soldier’s life was full of hardships, sacrifices, and challenges.


To offer a ninety-minute long, hands-on program especially for school-age children in Grades 3-6 that will encourage further study of American history and the Civil War.


After completing the pre-visit and post-visit activities and participating in the Park Ranger-led student education program at Gettysburg National Military Park, the students will be able to:
--Explain at least 3 factors that lead to the Civil War
--Identify at least 2 reasons why soldiers joined the army
--Discuss the purpose and uses of equipment and uniforms
--Follow simple commands given for the drills
--Articulate some of the difficulties of a soldier’s life
--Make the decision, as soldiers, as to whether or not they would reenlist in the army given the opportunity.

A Note For Teachers

The Teachers' Guide below contains required and necessary pre-visit activites to be completed in preparation for your on-site Park Ranger-led "Join the Army" student education program. It also contains suggestions for follow-up, or post-visit activities.
Your students will gain the most benefit from this program if they are prepared for their visit. Otherwise the program leader is forced to waste your valuable program time building a basic foundation of knowledge. Please take special notice of the bold-faced activities in the Table of Contents for Sections 4 and 5; these activities must be reviewed and completed in the classroom prior to your visit. Other activities are there to provide additional information and reinforcement exercises if you have the classroom time. Please keep in mind that the information within this packet has been generalized. The overall complexity of Civil War information is tremendous in scope. The grade level of enclosed information may not be appropriate to the level of understanding of your students. We leave the interpretation of this information in the hands of the teacher.


This teachers' guide contains required pre-visit preparation and activities, instructions for the field trip and ranger-led program, as well as suggested post-visit activities.

Download Teachers' Guide for Join the Army: The Life of a Civil War Soldier

Last updated: March 12, 2021