Building Fort Monroe

by  Fort Monroe Authority

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Who built the largest masonry fort in the United States? What designs have helped it stand the test of time for over 200 years? Learn the answers to these questions and more through historic documents and voices from the past. 

The United States Army Corps of Engineers, led by Simon Bernard, designed the largest masonry fort in the United States after the War of 1812. The actual labor source of predominately enslaved individuals used to build the fort had been largely left out the narrative when looking at this national monument. In this program, students will evaluate primary and secondary sources in order to understand and interpret historical context and narrative. Students will also gain an understanding of engineering design from the 19th century by discovering the architectural features that help the fort remain standing after 200 years. This program is aligned with Virginia Standards of Learning, as well as Common Core State Standards. This interactive program will weave in source evaluation, question and answers, and whole class discussion. Program can be modified for grade levels.

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About This Program


By Request: $0.00
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Free program unless cancelled without notice or with less than 48 hours notice.


45-60 minutes

Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) 4, 5, 11, Teacher(s)/Educator(s), Parent, Adult Learners, Homeschool/Family Lifelong Learners

Minimum participants:


Maximum participants:

No maximum, but we suggest no more than 30 students.

Primary Disciplines

Social Studies/History, STEM

Program Delivery Mode

Videoconference – Webcam/desktop (Zoom, Google Meet, Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, etc...)

Booking Information

Programs are done Monday - Friday, between 9am and 4pm. Eastern Time Other times can be arranged upon request.

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Receive this program and 9 more for one low price when you purchase the CILC Virtual Expeditions package. Learn more

For more information contact CILC at (507) 388-3672

Provider's Cancellation Policy

We will not charge for programs cancelled due to nature i.e. snow days, unexpected illness or power loss. A fee of $50 will be charged to sites which cancel with less than 48 hours notice.

About This Provider

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Fort Monroe Authority

Fort Monroe, Virginia
United States

Fort Monroe,
overlooking the Chesapeake Bay, has witnessed some of the nation’s most diverse
and intricate historic events spanning the American story – from the Kecoughtan
Indigenous peoples, arrival of English colonists in 1607 and 1609, the landing
of the first Africans to the Virginia Colony in English North America in 1619,
the of building the largest stone fort in the United States begun in 1819,
where it became a safe haven for freedom seekers during the Civil War after the
Contraband Decision of 1861, and a bastion of defense for the Chesapeake
Bay through the 21st Century. The history of Fort Monroe holds stunning achievements
and tremendous costs in the continuing struggle of Americans to achieve, define,
and maintain the ideals of freedom.

Jessica Meadows

Program Details


- Students will be introduced to Fort Monroe.
- Students will participate in primary and secondary source analysis to learn about Fort Monroe.
- Students will learn the engineering designs to Fort Monroe.
- A demonstration on the structural integrity of arches.


Through reading, examination, and discussion of primary and secondary sources, students will:
1. Use critical reading, writing, and verbal skills to analyze and interpret primary sources detailing life during the early 19th century.
2. Use knowledge of history and context clues to make informed decisions on primary and secondary source analysis.
3. Use knowledge of history and critical thinking skills to interpret the significance of Fort Monroe.
4. Understand the engineering design to building a masonry fort.

Standards Alignment

National Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.6-8.RH.1 -- Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.6-8.RH.2 -- Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.6-8.RH.4 -- Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.6-8.RH.6 -- Identify aspects of a text that reveal an author’s point of view or purpose (e.g., loaded language, inclusion or avoidance of particular facts).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.6-8.RH.9 -- Analyze the relationship between a primary and secondary source on the same topic.
ETS1A 3-5 -- Defining and Delimiting and Engineering Problem
ETS1A K-2 -- Defining and Delimiting and Engineering Problem

State Standards

Virginia State Standards of Learning as of July 2023
4.8a,c. 6.6e,f. 6.8c. PH.3b
Social Studies
VS.1c, VS.5b, VS.7e
USI.1b, USI.4b,c,d, USI.8b,
VUS.3 VUS4b,e. VUS7a
-Also covers topics and learning objectives found in Virginia Department of Education's African American History Course Map 2021