Ken Burns Collection Premium Content

For over thirty years, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns has set the bar at the pinnacle of educational feature films. Featuring multiple award-winning series from the acclaimed historian, this collection of premium content highlights some of the most inspirational storytelling ever to grace American air-waves. Explore the collection below, and bring these brilliant lessons on American history right into your classroom today.

  • Civil War Music, Activity | Ken Burns: The Civil War

    This activity shows students how both in the North and in the South, music was used extensively during the Civil War to rally troops and the public. Different versions of familiar songs, in which both sides borrowed each other’s tunes or lyrics, are presented. It was not uncommon for each side to serenade the other, or for battle to stop while an impromptu concert was held. Singing an “altered rendition” of one side’s favorite song was often done to poke fun at the enemy. Students will examine lyrics of “Battle Cry of Freedom” and “Dixie” with versions from both sides, and make conclusions about the lyrics. Student questions provided here can be used for general class discussion or individual assessment. Answers to the questions are included.

    Grades: 6-13+