Students will act out newscasts taking place in different parts of the country during the War of 1812. Four groups will portray four unique experiences. Each group will complete a packet of primary and secondary source readings to prepare for the role-play. As student groups present their newscasts and interviews, audience members will record notes. At the end of the lesson, students will share what they learned in a “Letter to the Producer.”


Students will understand the War of 1812's economic and social impact on daily citizen life by analyzing primary and secondary source documents.


 For extensive background and additional activities on the War of 1812 visit the War of 1812 Virtual Resource Center for teachers and students.


  • TV and news clip (optional)
  • Four Reading Packets (each student will receive one)
  • Channel 1812 News Packet
  • Props and Accessories (for news show)
  • Letter to the Producer  



  • Teacher will show students a clip from an evening news report that involves an "on-location" interview with a correspondent.
  • Teacher will ask students:
    • What did you learn about this event from what the correspondent said?
    • What did you learn about this event from what the interviewee said?
    • What did you learn about this event from what you saw in the interview's background?

Teacher will explain that today we are going to learn about daily life during the War of 1812 and students will have an opportunity to teach classmates about different War of 1812 experiences by role-playing "on-location" TV interviews. Teacher will stress that this technology did not actually exist during the War of 1812.

Introduction to New Material

  • Students will be divided into four groups. Each group will receive a different packet of readings and questions.
  • All students are expected to read their documents and answer the accompanying questions (Each student will receive his/her own reading packet). Teacher can circulate to assist and check for accuracy.

Guided Practice

  • In their groups, students will complete the "Channel 1812 News Packet," as though they were preparing to interview people who had experienced the events described in the readings.
    • Teacher will read the assignment directions from the top of the packet.
    • Each student will choose one "Crew" role.
    • The group will identify their newscast's setting and characters.
    • The group will create the newscast's script, including interview questions and responses that demonstrate daily life from the perspective they examined in their readings.
  • Each group will present their "on-location" interviews to the class.
  •  Students in the audience will record important facts into their notebooks.


Students will complete their "Letter to the Producer" (See Student Worksheets).

Each student will share one new fact they learned about daily life during the War of 1812. 

Additional Resources


  • LARGE CLASS: Have two groups for each packet of readings. During the presentations, you can introduce the groups as having conducted separate broadcasts from the same place.
  • MORE TIME AVAILABLE: Have students conduct further research on the topics that the readings cover. Encourage them to integrate this information into their newscasts (students can do so for homework as well).
  • LOWER READING LEVELS: Use basic reading texts (adapted from primary sources). There is one basic reading text for each packet.