Using BrainPOP to teach about Reconstruction

Posted by SM Bruner on

In BrainPOP’s new movie, Reconstruction, students can follow Tim and Moby as they learn about the attempt to rebuild the South and reunite the country in the wake of the Civil War.

Students will learn how the Freedmen’s Bureau embodied Abraham Lincoln‘s policy of amnesty. Meet the politicians and powerbrokers who struggled to decide the fate of our nation: the passive president Andrew Johnson; the Radical Republicans who rallied Congress; and Ulysses S. Grant, the Union general who ushered in a sense of calm.

Then go beyond leaders and laws to see how Reconstruction polices affected people in the South. Were carpetbaggers agents of good, or greedy opportunists? Did liberated slaves find their way, despite segregation and the Ku Klux Klan? Were the states ever truly reunited?

You can use our Reconstruction Lesson Plan: Exploring the Effects of Ending Slavery to help students uncover the answers to these questions and many more. You may want to use our Civil War Lesson Plan: Exploring the Real Issues to help build background knowledge in this area.

In addition to the movie, we also offer a Reconstruction quiz and four printable activities, including one which encourages students to analyze primary sources from the Reconstruction era.

To assess student learning, you may want to show your class this student-made, BrainPOP-inspired video on Reconstruction by Robert Miller’s 4th & 5th graders from Port Orange, Florida. Challenge students to learn about Reconstruction and create their own videos.

Another assessment idea is to have students can use the new Make-A-Map Tool to create concept maps about Reconstruction. The entire concept map can be generated online, and students can easily pull in images and even video clips from the BrainPOP Reconstruction movie to support their points.

How are you using BrainPOP to teach about slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction? Please share your thoughts in the comments!