I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863

Teaching Ideas and Book Unit Samples for I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863

Lauren Tarshis’s seventh book in her popular I Survived Series tackles the Civil War. In I Survived the Battle of Gettsburg, readers are on the edge of their seats waiting to see how Thomas will survive. Thomas receives injuries from an explosion. Moments later he is shot in the chest.

After reading the tense battle scene, the author flashes back to three weeks earlier. Thomas learns that he is about to be sold  away to a plantation down in Mississippi. Without thinking, he grabs his five-year-old sister, Birdie, and runs away. With slave traders hunting him and war raging, Thomas and Birdie travel North. Soon they find themselves in middle of the deadliest battle in all of American history – Gettysburg. 

Teachable Moments

Chapters 7 and 8 contain a lot of historical information including:

  • What strengths did the North and South have?
  • Which states seceded?
  • Why was Richmond important?
  • How did Abraham Lincoln feel about slavery?
  • What happened at the Battle of Frederickburg?
  • What types of weapons were used?
  • Which type of formations did the soldiers use?
  • Who was Robert E. Lee?

The author includes ‘The Gettysburg Address’ in the “Author’s Notes.” 

FREE Teaching Ideas to use with
I Survived the the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863

Activity #1

Watch the book trailer. This makes a great hook activity for the novel. 

Activity #2 

Check out the American Civil War Webpages on Book Units Teacher. Students can read information in fourteen mini-lessons. Online quizzes test student understanding of the lessons.    

Activity #3

Read Ten Interesting Facts … the Civil War. Then download this timeline organizer. Students write events next to the dates that are included. This print-and-go activity includes an answer key.

Free Staggered Flip Organizer - The American Civil WarActivity #4

Scholastic provides a free guide. This guide covers the first eight novels in the series. Common Core standards are listed besides the activities. At the website, you will also find seven printables covering skills such as a character study and root word Bingo.

Activity #5 

Lauren Tarshis’s website contains additional teaching resources. For I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863, the author offers a comprehension check. This check asks one knowledge level question for each chapter. A novel guide covers inference and cause/effect. You can also print a two page quiz.

Activity #6

Watch an interview with the author. Lauren Tarshis answers a number of interesting questions.

Activity #7

See what Lauren Tarshis is planning next. I Survived the Children’s Blizzard, 1888 comes out February 27, 2018. In this book, John Hale must survive a Dakota winter. It sounds exciting!

Activity #8

If you would like to try out the I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863 Book Unit before you buy it, this download contains free samples for Chapters 1-2.

Free Activities to Use with I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863

I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863 Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook. Vocabulary, comprehension, writing, and skill practice are all included. In addition to the printables, many paperless options are provided. Activities for Google Slides include writing and skill practice. Boom Learning Decks make this an interactive unit.

Gay Miller


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