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The Pursuit of Wifi


Learning about the Civil War was an exciting, and quite frankly tiring, process. Unlike anything I’ve done in my other classes, Mrs. Gallagher had us divide and conquer to research the different battles of the Civil War and then collaborate in a fun QR code scavenger hunt to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together to understand what the Civil War really consisted of. The lesson process began with randomly assigning battle numbers to the students in the class. Once my classmates and I received battle numbers we clicked open an edline document which included a list of quick summaries for all of the battles, however the catch was that the battles were referred to with numbers, like those we were assigned, and not with names. So, based on the information given for our battle number we had to investigate to see which battle occurred during that time and matched our description. Then, once we had found the name of our battle, we did more in-depth research to learn where the battle occurred, both location and theater, who was the victor, and why the battle resulted as it did. The information was compiled into a Google Doc, with a nice primary source image relating to the battle, which could be viewed by anyone who had access to the link.

Example: Battle #17

To give quick and easy access to the Google Doc links we created QR code signs by copy pasting the link to our presentation onto a QR generating site and then printing the QR code on a piece of paper titled with our battle number. Before finishing our Google Docs we spoke with the students researching the battles one number below and one number above us so as to include at the bottom of our presentations directions to the next battle sign. Actually carrying out the scavenger hunt was fun for we spent the period roaming around the halls searching for hidden QR codes and scanning in to thoughtfully prepared battle recaps. The adventure was indeed a pursuit for wifi as not all battles signs were posted in wifi reaching areas, which made scanning in not always a possible option. After we had finished what we could of the scavenger hunt we emailed each other notes on the battles we missed and further joined forces to reflect and analyze what the answers were to the Essential Questions based on the combined effort research.  This collaboration was done technologically using Padlet, a site where you can post computer-generated sticky-notes on a virtual wall.

The Pursuit of Wifi pic of Tessa and Michelle

On one padlet we discussed who the ultimate victors in each theater (East, West, and Naval) were at the conclusion of the Civil War. Impressively, the Union dominated both the Western and the Naval Theaters throughout the battles, ultimately winning in the Eastern Theater as well. In the East, the clear victor had not always been the Union, for in fact the Confederacy had been successful in the initial battles held in the Eastern Theater. The Confederacy had pulled ahead in both the Battle of Fredericksburg and the Battle of Chancellorsville. However, the Confederates were challenged once Ulysses S. Grant took charge of the eastern troops. Blood was shed by the gallons in many battles, such as the Battle of the Wilderness, where neither side particularly outshined the other. The Union was, however, eventually able to wear down its opponent and pull ahead victoriously in the Eastern Theater. The Western Theater proved successful for the Union as the Battle of Shiloh and the Battle of Fort Donelson, among others, resulted in Union victories. In fact, the Union won most of the battles fought in the Western Theater, losing only a few, one of which was the Battle of Chickamauga, where the Confederates took lead as a result of Union miscommunication. Once again the Union took charge in the Naval Theater battles. As a result of superior naval forces and technology, the Union severely damaged the only Confederate ironclad in the Battle of Hampton Roads. The Union halted the Confederates from taking over Baton Rouge in the Battle of Baton Rouge and once again took down a Confederate vessel, this time destroying the Confederate’s ship “the Arkansas.”

Throughout the Civil War, strong leadership proved essential to victory. Under the superior leadership and aggression of Ulysses Grant, the Union dominated in the majority of battles. The Union was further benefitted by the difficulties the Confederates faced during the battles, such as leadership and technical malfunctions. In the Battle of Fort Henry, for example, the Confederates had no real chance of winning as the Confederate cannons received damage from water overflow, rendering them practically useless. The Battle of Baton Rouge proved no easier for the Confederates as “the Arkansas’s” engine failed, and the ship itself was ultimately destroyed. A lack of numbers alone caused the Confederates to have to back out of battles such as the Antietam Battle, Sherman’s March to the Seas, and the Appomattox Campaign. Successful leadership of the Union under William Tecumseh Sherman and Ulysses Grant, paired with Confederate mistakes, resulted in the obliteration of the Confederates by the Union during the Civil War.




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