Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Knapsack & Haversack Program

(Time range 20 minutes)
3rd – 5th Grades
By John A. Miller

The students will obtain a better understanding of what life was like for the Civil War soldier by interacting with a dressed Civil War Interpreter/Living Historian. The Civil War Living Historian will show students many items using museum quality reproductions consisting of personal items that made camp life bearable.

1. Using reproduction items, students will be able to learn what soldiers from the Civil War era carried and used on a daily basis.

Materials Used: 
1. A haversack containing food rations of the average Civil War soldier can be shown and passed around class for the students to hold.
2. The knapsack which is where extra items were stored can be unpacked for students to see blankets, personal items such as tooth brushes, razor for shaving, comb and other little things such as playing cards and different games. The knapsack also is where some of the cooking utensils were located at such as a tin plate, dipper (cup) and frying pan.

1. The Civil War Living Historian would bring period correct items to the classroom, and display those items in such a way to make them visible to the classroom.
2. The Living Historian will explain all items, unpacking contents for the class to see.

The Sub-Theme:

1. Introduction
a. What is a Civil War Living Historian and what does he do?

2. Explaining the Contents of the Knapsack and Haversack
a. Introduction
i. What were these two important storage bags used for?
ii. What is the difference between the two?
b. Knapsack
i. Explain the knapsack and why soldiers carried these
ii. Open the knapsack and begin to showcase the contents
c. Haversack and Canteen
i. Ask the classroom what they think soldiers ate during the Civil War.
ii. Discuss types of food soldiers typically ate, including hard tack, salt pork, beans, coffee, etc.
iii. Discuss cooking ingredients and procedures
d. Modern Equipment
i. Similarities and differences and which would you prefer?

3. Make sure that students are given an opportunity to ask any further questions they may have after the presentation.

Closure: Ask the classroom what they think of a soldier’s life and could they have done what soldiers needed to do?  Do you think it was easy or hard?

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