Grade Level/Unit
Grade 8 Unit 5

H/SS Content Standards:
8.5 Students analyze U.S. foreign policy in the early Republic, in terms of:
1. the political and economic causes and consequences of the War of
1812 and the major battles, leaders, and events leading to a final peace

Historical and Social Science Analysis Skills Grade 6-8
Chronological and Spatial Thinking

1. students explain how major events are related to each other in time
Research, Evidence and Point of View
4. students assess the credibility of primary and secondary sources and draw
sound conclusions from them
5. students detect the different historical points of view on historical events
and determine the context in which the historical statements were made
(the questions asked, sources used, author’s perspectives)
Historical Interpretation
1. students explain the central issues and problems of the past, placing people
and events in a matrix of time and space
2. students understand and distinguish cause, effect, sequence, and
correlation in historical events....
3. students recognize the role of chance, oversight, and error in history
English/Language Arts Content Standards:
Reading Comprehension:
2.0 Students read and understand grade-level-appropriate material.
2.3 Find similarities and differences between texts in treatments, scope, or
organization of ideas.
2.6 Use information from a variety of consumer, workplace, and public
documents to explain a situation or decision and to solve a problem.
1.0 Students write clear, coherent, and focused essays...awareness of audience
and purpose.
1.2 Establish coherence within and among paragraphs through effective transitions,
parallel structures, and similar writing techniques.

1.4 Plan and conduct multiple-step information searches by using computer
networks and modems.
1.5 Achieve an effective balance between researched and original ideas.

Writing Application
2.3b Record important ideas, concepts and direct quotations from significant
information sources and paraphrase and summarize all perspectives
on the topic, as appropriate.
2.3c Use a variety of primary and secondary sources and distinguish the nature
and value of each.
2.5a Present information purposefully and succinctly and meet the needs of the
intended audience.

Written and Oral English Language Conventions
1.4 Edit written manuscripts to ensure that correct grammar is used.
1.5 Use correct punctuation and capitalization.

Lesson Purpose

By having students research various events during the War of 1812 and then create magazine articles with supporting illustrations, the students are in control of their learning. Youngsters are actively involved, rather than just passive learners. The War of 1812 is certainly a turning point in our American history. As students are given a brief overview of the reasons for the war by the teacher, they then can become the investigator, or detective of history. In addition, by having students work both individually and in small groups, as well as determining information on the K-W-L chart as a whole class, many facets of the multiple intelligence learner are being served.

Goals: Students will work both independently and collaboratively by completing
research, preparing news articles, and sharing knowledge.

Student Objectives: The students will:

  • Experience using the Internet as an important research tool
  • Analyze information regarding the selected event during the War of 1812
  • Demonstrate good communication writing skills by creating a magazine article
    about the event researched
  • Demonstrate collaborative working skills by being a member of a magazine
  • Determine and justify their own point of view regarding the questions:
    "Should the War of 1812 be considered the Second War of Independence,
    Why or Why not?"

Information Literacy Skills

  • Skimming and scanning techniques on net text as well as printed text material.

  • Notetaking skills, recognizing and itemizing the five Ws and H of a news article.

  • Organization of material into an effective written article.

  • Analyzing and synthesizing peer articles to create a triple Venn diagram.

  • Gaining historical empathy by researching and reading multiple perspectives.

Length of Lesson: 5-10 class periods (research, typing of articles, creation
of magazines, self and peer critiquing, creation of Venn and process paper, and

If you have blocks of time in your schedule or flexible scheduling the entire process could be done in one week. However, you may need additional class period(s) for students to present optional extra credit. Students should continue research and write articles as homework. You may have student's create Broad Sides and then share information, create a Venn and complete the process paper, in fewer class periods.

Resources or material needed:

Internet access for all students is important to cut down on the time required for research. You could capture sources through Web Whacker or another means and then network computers so that students are able to access information. Students can also review and research the print source, while others are using the Internet.

Background information that might be helpful:

An understanding of the Battle of Tippecanoe, the Embargo Act, the Non-Intercourse Act, as well as impressment of American seamen will be helpful. Your social studies text is a great source for this information.

Classroom Management Suggestions:

Create a brief lecture about the above-mentioned events, so that students have a sense of this period in American history before they begin their investigative research. Present the lecture and any needed vocabulary before students create the K-W-L chart.

Use a large piece of butcher paper for the K-W-L chart and have students add information in the L (What I have Learn) section as each team discovers the material. I use a different chart for each class. However, you may want to create a chart for your entire group of students.

A sample Investigation Information Sheet, and other helpful sample forms, for student use are attached following the credits.

When designing your rubric for individual articles make sure you include the good writing skills that are part of the English/Language Arts Standards.

Lesson Sequence:

  • Prepare a K-W-L chart for each class (K= What we Know, W= What we Want to Know, L= What we Learned in three columns).
  • Have the entire class brainstorm the K, then the W. Teams will complete (L as they investigate and research information).
  • Prepare and present a brief lecture about the events leading up to the War of 1812.
  • Divide class into Magazine Teams of approximately 5 - 8 students each, or have
    students work independently to research and create Broad Sheets.
  • Have individual students in each team select the event or battle he/she will research - OR- List the suggested battles and events on slips of paper and have each team member select (pull) one slip to determine which event he/she will research and write about. This is where you can group events/battles around a specific theme for each team.
  • Distribute Information Investigation sheets to each student. Students are to complete a sheet for each source used. They will use these notes to create their news article.
  • Students will create and write their own news article(s).
  • Team members will critique their own and peer’s articles.
  • Student will rewrite articles when necessary.
  • Team members will collaboratively create the team magazine.
  • Team will compile a list of "What we have Learned" - adding those items onto the L section of the class K-W-L chart.
  • Students will critique their own and two or more other team’s magazines.
  • Students will create triple Venn diagram from information gleaned by reading and critiquing team magazines.
  • Students will determine if the War of 1812 should or should not be considered the Second War of Independence and why.
  • Each student will write a justification of his or her decision.
  • Students will have the opportunity to complete extension activities for extra credit.
  • Students present any extension activities.
  • Students complete reflection and turn responses in to teacher.

Adaptations for Special Needs:

This lesson is geared more for the visual learner, however, through discussion and peer/teacher critique the auditory learner is also involved. Small group discussions through the magazine teams also help the auditory learner. The ability to analyze, sketch, and create fits into Gardner’s seven multiple intelligences. Low-achieving or ability students should be encouraged to write less complex news articles, perhaps stating the facts as they know them, rather than moving on to more complex writing. High-achieving students often clamor for enrichment and they have many opportunities through these activities.

Extension Activities: (As the teacher, you will determine bonus or extra credit points and design a rubric to determine such points.)

  • Students may re-enact the event either individually, or with team members. The re-enactment may be live or video taped. Participants must be in costume of the time period.
  • Students may create and present a song or rap depicting an event of the War of 1812.
  • Students may create and present a three-dimensional scene or large mural depicting an event of the War of 1812.
  • Students may create a board game based upon the War of 1812. The game must include a board, rules, game pieces and use historical events to engage the players.
  • Students may write a three to five minute speech, presenting an argument in a most persuasive manner, either for or against certain events of the War of 1812. The speech must be presented live or videoed, and you must assume the persona of the character and be in costume.

Name: Jo Anne M. Gill
School/District: Raymond Cree Middle School - Palm Springs Unified
School District
E-mail: JAMGill@aol.com
SCORE History/Social Science and Science Designing Web-Based Lessons to Engage Students in Learning Standards