War of 1812


Using our War of 1812 lesson plan, students learn all about the War of 1812, including its causes and lasting effects and the key figures and countries in the conflict. Students are asked to do independent research along with the lesson.

Included with this lesson are some adjustments or additions that you can make if you’d like, found in the “Options for Lesson” section of the Classroom Procedure page. One of the optional additions to this lesson is to assign a battle to each student and have them research it and present their findings to the class.

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What our War of 1812 lesson plan includes

Lesson Objective and Overview: War of 1812 lesson plan introduces students to the War of 1812, including its history, its causes and effects, and related vocabulary. At the end of the lesson, students will be able to summarize the War of 1812, list the causes of the war, and identify key individuals, places, and events that played a part during the war. This lesson is for students in 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the orange box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. The supplies you will need for this lesson are colored pencils, internet access, and the handouts.

Options for Lesson

Included with this lesson is an “Options for Lesson” section that lists a number of suggestions for activities to add to the lesson or substitutions for the ones already in the lesson. If you’d like to include an additional activity, you could teach your students the words and tune to the Star-Spangled Banner. To adjust the lesson activity, you could add to or reduce the list of locations. You could also have students complete the practice page at home and the homework page during class. Another additional activity idea is to assign a battle to each student and have them research it and present their findings to the class. Finally, you can teach your students about the ship U.S.S. Constitution and its significance to the war.

Teacher Notes

The teacher notes page includes lines that you can use to add your own notes as you’re preparing for this lesson.


The War of 1812

The War of 1812 lesson plan includes two content pages. During the War of 1812, which caused fighting in America and Canada, a man named Francis Scott Key wrote the national anthem. The War of 1812 was another war related to America’s independence from Great Britain. Canada was still a British territory at this time. Shipping and trade were some of the main causes of the war, which became a war to decide how much influence the United States would have with other countries.

During this time, Thomas Jefferson was the President of the United States. Jefferson wanted the U.S. to send products manufactured in the U.S. to other countries. He also didn’t want to fight in any foreign wars, but the U.S. became involved in a war between Britain and France. Both of these countries thought that the U.S. was sending weapons and other supplies to the other country. They then started intercepting and searching American trade ships, looking for weapons. Some of these searches became violent.

The United States didn’t like this and passed the Embargo Act of 1807 in response. Congress approved it and Jefferson signed it into law. It stopped all trade with all foreign nations. They believed that this would help end the fighting between Britain and France, but the two countries continued fighting. The food and other materials they were wait to ship went bad on the American ships. They ended the Embargo Act in 1809 and Britain and France kept searching ships without cause.

James Madison became President as the American people grew angrier at Britain and France. The British decided to adopt an impressment policy, where they would take over American ships and force the sailors to fight for them. The American people also blamed Britain for supplying the Native Americans fighting for their land in the West. Because of this, some people wanted to invade Canada because it was a British territory.

Declaring War

In June 1812, the U.S. declared war against Great Britain. They didn’t fire any shots during the first battle, when American troops crossed the border into Canada and demanded the surrender of the Canadian troops. The Canadians outnumbered the Americans, and the Canadians did not surrender. However, the Americans returned home with no casualties.

During the Battle of York in 1813, the Americans burned the Canadian city of Toronto. They also gained control of Lake Erie a few months later. The Americans continued to win battles, but lost two in 1813, one in Canada and one in New York.

The fighting largely stopped during the winter, but the following year, the British invaded Washington, D.C. and burned down the Capitol Building, the White House, and two other buildings in August 1814.

That September, the U.S. won another battle but destroyed Fort McHenry. Francis Scott Key watched the battle and saw the American flag waving above the fort as the British fired upon it. This inspired him to write the Star-Spangled Banner, the national anthem of the United States. The lesson includes the lyrics of the song.

Later that month, the U.S. and Britain entered peace talks. They were still fighting, but the British had lost so many times that they believed they could not win the war. They wanted peace and created the Treaty of Ghent. Both sides signed the peace treaty on Christmas Eve in 1814, which officially ended the War of 1812.

News of the peace treaty did not reach the U.S. fast enough, and Andrew Jackson won another victory at the Battle of New Orleans in January 1815. They killed more than 2,000 British troops, and the British killed 13 Americans.

After this battle, both countries were at peace, though many of the underlying issues remained. The War of 1812 showed the rest of the world that the United States was a powerful nation and a world leader.


The War of 1812 lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. You can refer to the guide on the classroom procedure page to determine when to hand out each worksheet.


The activity worksheet asks students to use colored pencils to label 40 places and battles on the provided map of the Eastern United States. They will label each location neatly and can use arrows and numbers to label them if needed.

Students can work in pairs to complete this activity.


For the practice worksheet, students will research 13 countries, people, and events and will write a brief description about their significance to the War of 1812.


The homework assignment asks students to read lines from the Star-Spangled Banner and write down what they think Francis Scott Key was thinking when he wrote each line.

Worksheet Answer Keys

This lesson plan includes answer keys for the practice worksheet. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade


Social Studies

State Educational Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.5, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.7, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.2, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.7, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.2, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6.4, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6.10

Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.

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Engaging Lesson

The material helped me to provide a very engaging lesson. I used the lesson during my observation and the Asst. Principal engaged into the lesson. He gave me kudos for a great lesson.

Rolanda` S.


great thank you

Raquel D.

War of 1812

This is a high quality resource. The lesson plan is thorough and engaging. It gets students thinking, taps into their background knowledge and builds new skills and understanding. Highly recommend.

A Learn Bright Customer
Thomas B.

Love these resources!

Thank you for providing such a comprehensive set of resources!

Rita W.

War of 1812

The worksheets were very good. Better clarification in the directions for the Map and Answer Keys for all worksheets would be very beneficial to the teacher.