Women in the War, NPS

Women in the War, NPS

Dates and Eras: 

  • The War Years


This PDF of a lesson plan focuses on the various roles of women during the War. The lesson plan includes six short biographies of women in their various roles, and “dilemma cards” which describe issues faced by the women on their way to achieve their roles. The “dilemma cards” prompt an activity focusing on how the decisions to participate in the War were difficult decisions that involved making sacrifices and taking risks. Students will be asked to empathize with the prospect of taking a side.

Image of Pauline Cushman sourced from here


  • Women
  • Spies
  • Medical
  • Homefront


  • VS.7 c
  • USI.9 f


Suggested Questions: 

  1. Why do you think it was harder for women to be involved in the war?

  2. If in their place, would you be able to make the same decisions as these women? Why or why not?

  3. Why do you think women were ready to go to great lengths, even dressing as men, to support their causes in the Civil War?

Suggested Activities: 

  1. Have students independently research one of the women photographed who are not featured in the text and write a paragraph on her role in the Civil War and its importance.

  2. Following the guidelines of the dilemma cards, have students create their own dilemma card by picking another prominent woman of the Civil War and looking at a difficult choice she made.

  3. Have students match each dilemma card with the correct woman. (remove the numbers from the cards, and mix them up). Using context about the matched woman, have each student explain why each card represents a difficult decision.

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