For Teachers

Mapping the Fourth is an innovative, primary source-based teaching tool that brings the experiences of Civil War Americans alive for your students.

Whether you teach at the college or high school level, your students will jump at the chance to learn about how a previous generation of Americans celebrated the Fourth. (Yes, there were fireworks!) These are engaging first-hand documents that open up big themes: North-South differences; the causes and consequences of the Civil War; African American experiences of emancipation.

Our easy-to-use Groups feature allows teachers and professors to provide customized instructions and keep track of the work their students have done.

If you are planning to use the site with your students, please contact us at We can provide personalized guidance on how to make the most of Mapping the Fourth, and may even be able to discover new primary sources to suit your students' specific needs.

We've prepared a selection of lesson plans and assignment guidelines that make it easy to integrate the site into your courses in the following two sections.

Questions? Suggestions? Please contact us:

High School Assignment Guidelines

These guildelines include the following sample assignments:
  • In-Class Tagging Activity
  • In-Class Primary Source Transcription and Tagging Activity
  • Pre-packaged Documents
  • Homework Assignment
  • Semester Long Project
Please click here for more details.

College Assignment Guidelines

These guildelines include the following sample assignments:
  • Homework assignment and in-class activity for a course in U.S. history
  • Multiple homework assignments and in-class activities for a course on the American Civil War Era
  • Group-based homework assignments and in-class activities for a course on the American Civil War Era
  • Archival research project with document discovery
  • Semester-long research project for an advanced course in U.S. history
Please click here for more details.

Group Management (with assessment tool)

User groups are now supported; for example, an instructor can create a group for his or her students.
  • There are two roles in a group. A user of a group is either an owner (or say, the creator) or a regular member.
  • A user can create groups for different purposes with desired names. For example, a teacher can create groups for different classes. A user can also join several groups of interest.
  • Incite also supports group work tracking. For example, a student may check in to a group and start working on documents and all the worked documents will be associated with the group. This is particularly helpful in a class setting, as teachers generally need to track students’ progress in a class and a student may take several classes at the same time.
  • As a group owner/creator, he or she can 1) easily invite multiple members by sharing a link or using a template invitation message provided in Incite; 2) view all the activities done by group members for the group; 3) add group instructions/notifications that will be shown when members check in; and 4) approve or ban joining requests from other users.
  • A user can join a group either by first searching available groups or by invitation and then sending requests to join the group.
  • A user in a group will be automatically directed to complete an assessment document (for the selected task) before any other documents. The system records the results automatically and gives suggested answers from a professional historian. So that, the teacher can later use another assessment document to compare the performance between the two assessments to understand how the user's analyzing ability changes over time and/or amount of documents analyzed.