Lesson Plan

Why Here?

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Grade Level:
Fourth Grade-Eighth Grade
Colonial History, Geography, History, Military and Wartime History, Physical Science, Reading, Revolutionary War, Science and Technology, Social Studies, Transportation
15-20 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 24
National/State Standards:
NYS Content:
Gr. 4: 3 Worlds Meet; Revolutionary War in NYS
Gr. 5: History of the US
Gr. 7: Unit 2, Sect. 3, Obj. 4
NYSED Standards:
US 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


The question is often raised, “Why did the Battles of Saratoga happen where they did?” Simply put, the Americans made excellent use of geography to limit British options for movement while maximizing their own chances for a successful defense.


 Students will be able to:

  1. read a small, basic map for understanding;
  2. identify several map features
  3. understand how geography influenced decision making and outcomes in the Battles of Saratoga


 This activity is designed to be reviewed by the teacher, photocopied, and distributed to students.  It is intended to be a simple exercise in analyzing and understanding how geography influenced American and British decision making 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 Saratoga National Historical Park's virtual tour, or as a stand-alone activity.


PDF document downloads: 

"Why Here?" student worksheet

Teacher's answer key



Answer key is available as a downloadable PDF document.

Park Connections

 A primary key to American success in the Battles of Saratoga was their effective use of geography.


Saratoga NHP offers free educational programming, both at the park and at area schools.

School visits to the park, accompanied by a self-guiding battlefield tour, can greatly enhance student understanding of how crucial geography was to the American victory at Saratoga.

Additional Resources

 Have students construct their own maps or models of a given area, such as their school, their neighborhood, or even Saratoga National Historical Park.


fortifications, ridges

Last updated: February 26, 2015