Educator's Guide: Mathematics: Is it Enough?

Background:

The Vicksburg Campaign represented two different types of military tactics. Both armies needed supplies. The Confederates stockpiled food and ammunition at Vicksburg in the event of a siege. The Union soldiers traveled great distances from their supply wagons and lived off the land. The quartermasters on both sides had to determine the needs of the soldiers, horses, and, on the Confederate side, the civilian population. How much food, clothing, fodder for horses, ammunition and medical supplies would be need to maintain an army of 30,000 - 40,000 troops?

Method:

Divide the class into teams of three or four students. Each group represents a regiment. Divide the regiments into Union and Confederate. Make a set of 2" x 2" cards. For a classroom of 30 students, make thirty cards each of five colors to represent supplies. Mark 5 pieces of each color 20; mark 25 pieces of each color 10. Orange: Friction caps and primers for muskets and artillery pieces. Blue: Water for troops and horses. Yellow: Gunpowder Red: Meat Green: Flour, Salt

Do not tell the students what the colors represent. In a large area, scatter the colored pieces of paper. Have each team write their unit name on the envelope, which should be left on the ground anchored with a rock at their starting area. Have the students line up by their regimental headquarters (the envelope). Give the units their regiment's conditions. When all the colored squares have been picked up, the supply gathering is over. Have the students regroup at headquarters and place the colored papers in the envelope. Explain what the colors and numbers represent. Have each group total their supplies and create a graph. What conditions prevented them from gathering all the necessary supplies?

Classroom Activities:

  • Mathematics
  • Social Studies

Grades:

  • 3 - 8

Objectives:

To teach students that strategies and tactics are not the only components of winning a battle. Without the right combinations of supplies battles can be lost.

Materials:

Five colors of construction paper or poster board (two or three sheets depending on size), one black felt tip pen, envelopes, pencils, blindfolds, paper and color markers for graphs.

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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