New York City Draft Riots Civil War Primary Source Analysis Cooperative Learning


Grade Levels
6th, 7th, 8th, 9th
Social Studies – History, U.S. History, Other (Social Studies – History)
Resource Type
Activities, Cooperative Learning
Formats Included
Zip, Google Apps™
13 clues, 3 pg. handouts 1 pg. lesson

Products Included in This Bundle:


The lesson explores the cause of the NYC Draft Riots during the Civil War. These riots seem easy to understand on the surface; however, this lesson helps students to understand the complicated causes that led to the riots breaking out. This lesson involves three steps. For the first part, the students will look at a series of clues that lead them to believe that African Americans were the only victims of the draft riots. They, they’ll look at a second series of clues that complicate that picture, and causes them to blame the Irish. Then, they’ll look at a reading that describes the history of the Irish in NYC. For an exit ticket, they’ll have to bring it all together, to determine who ultimately should be blamed. This lesson encourages cooperation and communication among your students, all while they’re analyzing a complex issue.

The lesson is linked to the NYS Social Studies Framework, but you could easily cut and paste in your own standards for your state.

NYS Standard:

7.8c.3 – Students will examine the role of New York State in the Civil War, including its contributions to the war effort and the controversy over the draft.

Included in this resource:

  • PowerPoint version of the clues and handouts (editable)
  • PDF version of the slides and handouts (not editable)
  • Google Slides version (provided in the lesson plan by a link to make your own copy for editing)
  • Detailed Lesson Plan
  • digital version of the lesson with plans for distance/hybrid learning

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