A Question of Loyalties: Mount Welby During the War of 1812 (Political Systems)
- Grade Level:
- Fourth Grade-Eighth Grade
- History, Maritime History, Political Science, War of 1812
- Group Size:
- Up to 24 (4-8 breakout groups)
- National/State Standards:
- Students will understand the historical development and current status of the fundamental concepts and processes of authority, power, and influence and the democratic skills and attitudes necessary to become responsible citizens.
OverviewOxon Cove Park has a rich history that includes the story of the Debutts, a British family that came to America in the late 1700s. The Debutts family finally settled on a hilltop overlooking the Potomac River that today is known as Oxon Cove Park. It is from this hilltop that Mrs. DeButts witnessed the British capture of Alexandria and the Burning of Washington. The family even found Congreve Rockets on this hill!
Students will identify and explain the principles of the United States government expressed in stories, symbols, poems, songs, and landmarks.
Students will interpret fiction and non-fiction passages about people, places, and events related to the American political system.
BackgroundRockets on the Hill
Ships in the River
Reviewing The Star Spangled Banner
Activity 2: Review and Map Identification
Review the song's historical context with the students and point out the following locations on a classroom map: Upper Marlboro, Bladensburg, Baltimore, Fort McHenry, and Mount Welby (present day Oxon Cove Park/Oxon Hill Farm), home of the DeButts family.
- Ask students where your school is located in relationship to these sites.
- Explain to students why Francis Scott Key was on a British ship during the Battle of Baltimore and bombardment of Fort McHenry.
Instruct the students to write a paragraph or draw a picture on why they think The Star-Spangled Banner song was chosen to be our National Anthem. Ask students to find out when the song became our National Anthem.
Oxon Cove Park and The Star Spangled Banner
Activity 1: Viewing The Resources
- View the excerpt of Mrs. DeButts' letter that highlights the discovery of Congreve Rockets on the Mount Welby hillside.
- View the brochure for the Star-Spangled National Historic Trail. Take a look at the map in the brochure on the British advance up the Potomac River.
- View interpretive recreation of the 1814 sight-lines from Mount Welby to Washington, DC
Ask students to draw a picture or write a story on how they would have felt, as an American citizen, to find a British congreve rocket on their hill. Remind the students that a congreve rocket is what Francis Scott Key refers to in The Star Spangled Banner when he writes about the " rockets red glare."
Putting It All Together
- Review The Star-Spangled Banner, the passage from the Mrs. DeButts letter, and the background materials for this lesson plan.
- Instruct students to wirte about two different perspectives of the War of 1812.
Francis Scott Key
- Do you think Mrs Debutts would have thought The Star-Spangled Banner an appropriate choice for our National Anthem?
Last updated: April 10, 2015