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The Gunpowder Girls: Exploring Civil War-Era Arsenals

April Rogers
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Three true Civil War tragedies surrounding the lives of young women and girls lost to time but not forgotten.

Class Experience

US Grade 5 - 8
Beginner - Advanced Level
Follows Teacher-Created Curriculum
3 lessons//3 Weeks
 Week 1
Lesson 1
Allegheny Arsenal, Lawrenceville, PA.
Week 1, we will explore the vital role of women in civil war ammunition production, focusing on their work in cartridge rooms, especially in room #6, the caps cylinder room period we will discuss the importance of ammunition production for the war effort, the challenges faced by workers, and the risk involved. We will examine how investigations were conducted to determine the cause of the tragic events resulting from a single spark.
 Week 2
Lesson 2
Confederate States Laboratory, Richmond, VA
Week 2, we will explore the historical context of the Confederate States laboratory in Richmond, VA, and the significance of the explosion. We will trace the route from 7th St. to Browns Island, examining their operations during the Civil War period. We will investigate the involvement of African American women in Confederate arsenals, discuss friction primers and the part they played in the explosion, and explore the investigation and support efforts after the critical incident.
 Week 3
Lesson 3
Washington Arsenal, Washington DC
Week 3, we will explore the Washington arsenal in Washington, DC, and the tragic explosion. We will discuss the experiences of the government girls who worked at the arsenal located at Greenleaf Point, and the response to the disaster, including investigations and the coroner's inquest. Additionally, we will look at the themes of death and decorum in the aftermath, the funeral procession, and the lasting monument that honors the event.
 I hold a BA in History with minors in Women's Studies and Humanities as well as an MA in History.  My area of specialty is women's history (My studies also include the history of  Women of Color and Indigenous Women), and American (United States) history from the 1560s to the 1960s. I recently completed continuing education courses covering World History from 1200 to the present, Early European History, and Modern European History. 
This class is intentionally designed to support learners with unique learning needs, including ADHD, dyslexia, and neurodivergent individuals. Various strategies will be implemented to create an inclusive and accessible learning environment
Learners will not need to use any apps or websites beyond the standard Outschool tools.
All material covered during class is age appropriate.  Parents are welcome to sit in during class. 
Joined June, 2017
Hi, I'm April Rogers. I'm a proud single mom to an amazing son who is off to college this year. When I'm not cheering him on, I love to spend my hours reading and knitting with my five cats by my side. My academic pursuits brought me from the... 
Group Class


weekly or $50 for 3 classes
1x per week, 3 weeks
60 min

Completed by 9 learners
Live video meetings
Ages: 10-15
3-15 learners per class

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