Lesson Plan

The Crucial Hour

Overall Rating

Add your review
Grade Level:
Fourth Grade-Seventh Grade
Colonial History, Geography, History, Military and Wartime History, Revolutionary War
20 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 24
National/State Standards:
Gr. 4: 3 Worlds Meet; Revolutionary War in NYS
Gr. 5: History of the US.
Gr. 7: Un. 2, Sec. 3, Obj. 4
NYSED Standards:
Gr. 4 St. 1 A,B; 2 A,B; 3 A,B,C,D,E
Gr. 5,7,8 St. Era 2 St. 1 A,B; 2 A,C; 3 B,C; Era 3 St. 1 A,C; 2 C
Battle of Saratoga, Battles of Saratoga, Saratoga Battlefield, Revolutionary War, American Revolution, geography, maps, military history, history, social studies, primary sources


Understanding the Battles of Saratoga can be challenging, with two days of fighting separated by 2+ weeks, much of it happening on the same ground.  This lesson condenses and simplifies the details.


 Students will be able to:

  1. read a small, basic map
  2. identify several map features
  3. understand how geographic features affected the outcome of the Battles of Saratoga


The activity is designed to be reviewed by a teacher, photocopied, and distributed to students.  Intended to be a simple exercise in analyzing and understanding how geography influenced decision making by both American and British armies in the Battles of Saratoga.  The activity was originally planned for class use while visiting the battlefield, but it could also be used pre-visit in conjunction with the Saratoga National Historical Park virtual tour, or as a stand-alone activity.


 PDF documents:

"The Crucial Hour" student worksheet

Teacher's answer key



 Answer key available as a downloadable PDF document.

Park Connections

 American use of geography was a crucial factor in their victory in the Battles of Saratoga.


 In season, school groups are able to sign up for free, self-guiding battlefield tours. 

Additional Resources

 Have students make their own maps of their school, community, or even Saratoga National Historical Park.


fortifications, artillery, redoubt

Last updated: February 26, 2015