The War of 1812

Expand/Collapse The War of 1812


These lessons are designed to enhance the educational value of the PBS program The War of 1812 for students in elementary, middle and high school. The lessons typically use program segments and broad thematic strands. They integrate and honor the contributions of all groups involved in the War. The lessons may include specific quotes from various noted authorities on the war and historians who write from different perspectives. Quotes from the program narration may also be used. These statements and questions will correlate with the program segments and are intended to easily link you and your students back to the program and the “voices” of the experts featured. Many of the activities are multidisciplinary, incorporating areas such as English Language Arts, music and art. There was also an importance placed on creating technology-rich activities while still giving alternative options for teachers who may not have access to technology.

  • Multiple Perspectives of the War of 1812 Lesson Plan

    This lesson plan, to be used with the program The War of 1812, gives students background information about the diverse perspectives of those groups involved in the war: Americans, British, Canadian Colonists, and First Nations.

    Grades: 2-5,13+
  • What Would YOU Save? Lesson Plan

    This lesson plan, to be used with the program The War of 1812, will share with students the story of First Lady Dolley Madison and the burning of the White House during the war. Notions of duty, symbolism, and nationalism will be discussed and related to the students' lives.

    Grades: 2-4,13+
  • Please Stand for the National Anthem Lesson Plan

    This lesson plan, to be used with the program The War of 1812, has students explore what Nationalism means as well as the symbolic features of a nation such as a national anthem and a flag. Students will learn the story of Francis Scott Key and create their own anthems.

    Grades: 2-4,13+
  • Important People Foldable Lesson Plan

    A lesson plan to be used with the program The War of 1812. Students will learn about, and be asked to compare and contrast, key figures in the war of 1812. Students are given the option to choose from James Madison, Isaac Brock, Tecumseh, William Henry Harrison, and Laura Secord.

    Grades: 2-4,13+
  • What is a Border? Lesson Plan

    In this lesson, to be used with the program The War of 1812, students will learn what the difference is between a "physical" border and a "political" border. Maps of pre- and post- war of 1812 territories will be studied and discussed. Students will create a map with borders based on an "alternative ending to the war of 1812.

    Grades: 5-8,13+
  • Dissent Lesson Plan

    In this lesson, to be used with the program The War of 1812, students will define the term "dissent" and explore specific reasons why parties disagreed with the decision to enter the war. The lesson includes discussions of the Federalists, New Englanders, and the Hartford Convention. Students will learn different ways to display disagreement.

    Grades: 5-8,13+
  • War of 1812 Scavenger Hunt Lesson Plan

    In this lesson plan, based on the program The War of 1812, students will learn how geography affects warfare by way of a "scavenger hunt." The importance of waterways, and the Great Lakes specifically, in the War of 1812 and others will be discussed. When the scavenger hunt of locations is completed, students will plot the locations on a map.

    Grades: 5-8,13+
  • Build a Battle Lesson Plan

    In this lesson, to be used with the program The War of 1812, students will study details about battles that occurred during the war. They will research strategic plans, locations, and dates of a specific battle. Students will study the battle maps of a battle they choose, then create a three-dimensional model of the battle.

    Grades: 5-8,13+
  • Treaty of Ghent Simulation Lesson Plan

    In this lesson, to be used with the program The War of 1812, students will participate in a Treaty of Ghent deliberation simulation. They will choose who they would like to represent (Americans, British or Native Nations) and come up with a list of demands to be considered by the other parties. The simulation allows groups to argue their side and negotiate.

    Grades: 5-8,13+
  • Every Song Tells a Story Lesson Plan

    In this lesson, to be used with the program The War of 1812, students will listen to and compare lyrics of two songs about the war of 1812. Students will discover that problems and issues can be expressed through song lyrics. They will use the song writing process to express thoughts about a contemporary conflict.

    Grades: 5-8,13+
  • 1812 Portfolio Lesson Plan

    In this lesson, to be used with the program The War of 1812, students will create a war of 1812 portfolio and in the process learn about key concepts, battles, figures, and outcomes of the war. The completed portfolio can serve as a study guide for the war of 1812.

    Grades: 5-8,13+
  • William Henry Harrison Makes the Front Page! Lesson Plan

    In this lesson, to be used with The War of 1812, students will learn about American General William Henry Harrison. The students are to turn what they learn about the ruthless general into a captivating newspaper article. By doing this, they will learn parts of a newspaper article and how to grasp a reader's attention.

    Grades: 5-8,13+
  • A Bundle of Twigs Lesson Plan

    In this lesson, to be used with the program The War of 1812, students will learn about Shawnee Chief Tecumseh and the impact that he had on First Nations, Americans, and British people leading up to and during the war of 1812. Students will relate past unity among tribes to present day unity or conflict.

    Grades: 5-8,13+
  • Caustic Causes Lesson Plan

    In this lesson, to be used with the program The War of 1812, students will work in groups to study one of these causes of the war: impressment, the Chesapeake Affair, orders-in-council, First Nations, and the War Hawks. Students will then determine whether or not their one cause is enough to go to war over. Students will examine all costs that are involved in war - financial and human.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Symbols, Sayings, and Slogans Lesson Plan

    In this lesson, to be used with the program The War of 1812, students will explore the notions of symbols, sayings and slogans. Students will realte present day examples to those that are still with us from the war of 1812. Groups of students will be assigned a specific group to represent and create their own slogans and symbols that best represent those groups.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • A Fight is On, How Much Power Will You Don? Lesson Plan

    In this lesson, to be used with the program the War of 1812, students will learn about the powers granted to different branches of government in America, especially during wartime. Students will be given a role - Congress or the Presidency and debate which branch should receive which powers.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Portrait of a Hero Lesson Plan

    In this lesson, to be used with the program the War of 1812, students explore heroism. They will discuss what makes a hero. Students will choose figures from the war of 1812 who they believe are heroic and write facts about the figure and why they believe them to be heroes.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Fog of War Lesson Plan

    In this lesson, to be used with the program War of 1812, students will discuss the term "fog of war." They will discover why it was used during the war of 1812. Students create a piece of writing using a RAFT rubric that will describe what it was like to fight in the war. They will choose from these perspectives to feature: American, British, First Nations, or Canadian Colonist.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Dissecting the Treaty of Ghent Lesson Plan

    In this lesson, to be used with the program the War of 1812, students will study the primary document the Treaty of Ghent. They will examine it section by section noting what provisions it includes and what was left out. Students will discuss any major results of the treaty and how it impacted different parties involved in the war of 1812.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Black Marines "Walk and Talk"

    In this lesson, to be used with the program the War of 1812, students will actively participate in an exploration of slavery and racism as it relates to the war of 1812. Students will walk with a partner, they will take turns asking and discussing the guiding questions provided, then report back to the class. Listening and cooperation skills are necessary.

    Grades: 9-13+

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