This 7-8 week unit encourages students to explore poetry and novels, autobiography and a biography, primary sources and political cartoons to examine challenges faced during the Civil War such as physical hardships, moral dilemmas, issues of conscience, and fear. Students reflect on how characters in fiction and nonfiction responded to and were shaped by challenges. They then apply these reflections to their own behavior and choices. Students will read a work of historical fiction. With this, they will explore the feelings, conflicts, and the struggles a youth faces when making critical decisions. As the unit progresses, students will examine primary sources such as Matthew Brady’s photographs, various Civil War diaries, journals, and letters, and other historical documents. Poetry of the time such as Walt Whitman’s, O Captain My Captain, and Stephen Crane’s, War is Kind, will add another depth of understanding. Throughout the unit, passages from Scripture and elements of Catholic social teachings will inform students’ responses to the various challenges and how to encounter truth through difficult times. Connections to struggles of saints and the apostles with a literary character’s struggles or the struggles any “youth” might face will be made. Students will engage in independent reflection, small group collaboration and whole group discussions to develop an understanding and appreciation of how students draw upon the teachings of their faith to meet challenges and influence decisions and actions.