Lesson Plan

Triage after the Battle

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Grade Level:
Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
Literacy and Language Arts,Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
60 Minutes
State Standards:
SC: Sci: 3rd Life Sci A-2B; 4th Life Sci A-IC, 2B; 5th Ecosystems - A-1, 2, 3; 6th Mus-Skel Sys -  A-1a, 2a; 7th Life Sci, A-1, 2, 3, 4, 5. ELA: 3rd  II-A, B, C; III-A, B; 4th  II-A, B; III-A, 5th  - II-A, B; III-A, B; 6th II-A,
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.

Essential Question

What was care like for injured soldiers following the Battle of Cowpens?


The students will be able to sort and treat wounded soldiers beginning with the most life-threatening injuries to the least serious wounds. Several students will be tagged to identify their wounds or injuries and the others will have to determine what wounds are treatable and what it might take to return the soldier to battle.


The goal of this lesson is for students to become familiar with the healing and patient care required for returning soldiers to battle.

An unfortunate consequence of war is that many people are wounded or killed as a result of enemy (and sometimes friendly) fire. Triage is an important function in treating the wounded. Life-threatening wounds need to be treated first while less serious wounds can wait. Despite this, there are times when a moral judgement must be made regarding whether or not to treat a soldier. For instance, if an officer and an enlisted man both are suffering equally, whom do you treat first?


Please review Background Information and Procedure sections. Note: this lesson is includes Pre-visit, Field Trip, and Post-Visit activities.



  1. Students will need to imagine what types of wounds are likely to occur as a result of the style of warfare used during the revolutionary war.
  2. A discussion should center on their knowledge of first aid and what information is needed to determine the priority in returning soldiers to battle. Integral to this discussion is the value of life in general and the needs of the colonist’s army.
  3. Students should discuss moral issues regarding who should live and who should die when it comes to soldiers on the battlefield.


  1. Have students tagged representing how they are wounded (some may have multiple wounds).
  2. Selected students are to perform triage and determine which injuries are to be treated first.


  1. Discuss the difficulties in performing triage.
  2. Discuss moral issues as a result of establishing the order in which the wounded were to be treated.

Additional Resources

McGovern, Ann. …If You Lived in Colonial Times. New York: Scholastic, 1992.

Moss, Kay. Southern Folk Medicine. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1999.

Wilbur, Keith C. Revolutionary Medicine. Chester, CT: The Globe Pequot Press, 1983.

Contact Information

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Last updated: November 2, 2018