For Teachers


Civil War & The 35th State

1. "War, What is it Good For?" for 8th grade.

Students will use online resources and their museum experience to answer critical questions about WV's role in the Civil War. As a final project they will create an electronic portfolio of their research, using a format of their choice. (8th grade - Discovery Room 6)

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2. "My Brother, My Enemy" for 4th and 5th grades.

Students will explore West Virginia's role in the Civil War, especially how families were frequently divided by their loyalty to both the North and the South. Using several activities and a trip through the WV Museum, students will create a newsletter and publish a newsletter to demonstrate their learning. Students should understand that West Virginia and its families played an important role in changing the nation. Soldiers and battles were fought in our yards where we walk today. Unfortunately, many of those soldiers were fighting neighbors and their own family members in a bloody battle to save our nation from itself. (4th, 5th grades - Discovery Room 6)

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3. "Morse Code Telegraph and West Virginia" for 5th, 7th and 8th grades.

Two inventions that revolutionized WV and the world were Morse Code and the telegraph. With teacher guidance and through discovery, students will realize how these communication tools help shape popular opinions and beliefs. As students view artifacts in the WV State Museum, they will gain a greater appreciation for these inventions, the time period of their greatest use, and how they were used in helping WV become a state. (5th, 7th, 8th grades - Wheeling Intelligencer's Office)

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4. "Concern in Eastern Virginia" for 5th, 7th and 8th grades.

Students are told an heir to a prominent 1800's legislature comes across a very interesting keepsake. Along with his great-great uncle's obituary, he finds attached a piece of paper headed, "Items to take to western Virginia." Along with a listing of several items, at the bottom of the page in different handwriting he reads, "John's last words." Students will use this information during their visit to the WV State Museum to decide why the uncle was moving to West Virginia, whey he was taking these items, and what this information has to do with WV Statehood. Inevitably, when asked why WV separated from Virginia, most people will target slavery as the cause of the rift. This lesson questions this assertion and allows students to uncover facts that factually substantiate reasons for WV separating from Virginia.(5th, 7th, 8th grades - Discovery Room 7 & 8)

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5. "WV Cartoons" for 8th grade.

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Even though students might not understand the meaning of many cartoons, the humor presented engages students. Once engaged, students are open to analyzing cartoons until they realize the intended meanings. This lesson uses cartoons to enhance student's understanding of how WV became a state. (8th grade - Discovery Room 7 & 8)

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6. "WV Music One" for 7th and 8th grades.

Popular music is as American as baseball and apple pie. Parents often chide, "If you knew your lessons as well as words to all of the songs on the radio, you would be a genius." Popular music permeates our culture. Students walk into class singing the latest hit. When they do this, most of the time they are met with "knock it off-last get started with class." This lesson gives students a chance to incorporate what they love and sharpen their knowledge and appreciation for WV in the process. (7th, 8th grades - Discovery Rooms 7)

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7. "Wheeling and the Big City" for 8th grade.

Lesson 1 - Wheeling has a rich history dating back centuries with the Adena Indian tribe asserting its power and authority in the area by scalping would be land speculators and leaving their skulls out in plain sight to serve as a warning to other visitors to the area. Even the name Wheeling, "place of the skull", serves as a reminder to the past. Wheeling would grow with the influx of European immigrants and the creation of the National Road. In this unit, students will be given an opportunity to explore the history of Wheeling. Possible topics of discussion will include: "Gateway to the West", rivers, roads, and railways, Wheeling streetscape, workforce and immigrants and the beginning of the labor movement. Students will be working to answer what does West Virginia mean to me and how did the influx of immigrants affect Wheeling in the 19th Century? (8th grade - Discovery Room 8)

Lesson 2 - Students will continue discussing the information and questions in lesson one and build on their knowledge gained by drawing on what they learned at the WV State Museum to create a time capsule showing what West Virginia is like currently and then comparing that to the past and the artifacts they viewed in the museum. (8th grade - Discovery Room 8)

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8. "Immigration and Helvetia" for 8th grade.

It has often been said that a person's life is a mirror reflection of their family's past. From rituals to traditions, celebrations to reunions, all of our families have histories that bring the past to the present. This lesson plan will allow students to analyze and evaluate those individuals who came to settle in a rural mountainous setting known as Helvetia and understand why they chose West Virginia as their final living site. Students will analyze the following information: reasons to emigrate, why to WV, connections to the old country, special skills and special people, and evidence of ethnic communities today. (8th grade - Discovery Room 9)

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* All photographs are courtesy of the West Virginia State Archives
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