Lesson Plan

Live from 1812!

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Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
90 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
4.RI.3, 4.RI.6, 4.RI.9
State Standards:
Maryland State Social Studies Standards 4th Grade: 5C. Conflict Between Ideas and Institutions
2a. Explain the political, cultural, economic and social changes in Maryland during the early 1800s: Describe Maryland‟s role in the War of 1812.
Thinking Skills:
Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words. Applying: Apply an abstract idea in a concrete situation to solve a problem or relate it to a prior experience. Analyzing: Break down a concept or idea into parts and show the relationships among the parts. Creating: Bring together parts (elements, compounds) of knowledge to form a whole and build relationships for NEW situations.


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 using primary and secondary source readings to prepare for the role-play. At the end of the lesson,students will share what they learned in a “Letter to the Producer" to answer the question:

How did the War of 1812 impact the daily life of citizens economically and socially?


For more information on the War of 1812, see Appendix A "War of 1812 Background Reading". Also included in Appendix A are other suggested lessons to include in a War of 1812 unit.

For more information on interpreting primary sources with students, see Appendix B. 

Although this lesson was designed for upper elementary, this lesson can be modified to fit the needs of middle and high school as well. For Middle School, students can define highlighted vocabulary words or use them in sentences before reading. For High School, encourage students to conduct outside research on reading topic.


*Find a recent and local news clip that includes reporting from the field (optional for lesson hook)

*Four copies of each Reading Packet (each group will receive a different packet with each student receiving his/her own)

*One copy per student of "Channel 1812 News" Student Packet

*Props and Accessories for news show (optional) 

*One copy per student of "Letter to the Producer"


Make one copy per student to guide through the creation of the news interview.

Download "Channel 1812 News" Student Packet

Make four copies of each reading packet to be distributed to each group.

Download War of 1812 Reading Packets

Use to prepare for the lesson, as well as develop a comprehensive War of 1812 unit.

Download Appendix A - Background Information and Other Suggested Lessons

Use to prepare for or teacher skills on interpreting primary sources.

Download Appendix B - Interpreting Primary Sources with Students

Lesson Hook/Preview

*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: 

1. Students will be divided into four groups. Each group will receive a different packet of readings and questions.

2. 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: 

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. Give students time to create their interviews and reports.

6. Each group will present their “on-location” interviews to the class. Students in the audience will record important facts into their notebooks to prepare for the assessment. 

Independent Practice and Assessment: 

7. Students will complete their “Letter to the Producer” (see assessment section for materials).


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


*Important vocabulary terms are highlighted and defined within the reading packets. 

Assessment Materials

Letter to Producer

To demonstrate understanding of the impact of the War of 1812 on the daily life of citizens, students should complete this "Letter to the Producer" independently.

Letter to the Producer

Download Assessment

Supports for Struggling Learners

*For students with lower reading levels, use basic reading texts (adapted from primary sources). There is one basic reading text for each packet. 

*Annotate or highlight primary sources to support struggling readers. 

*Teacher can choose heterogenous groups for the news story creation. 

Enrichment Activities

*If the class is large, 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.

*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). 

Additional Resources

See Appendices A and B in the materials section. Appendix A provides additional information on the War of 1812 history and related lessons. Appendix B provides resources on interpreting primary sources with students. 

Contact Information

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Last updated: August 11, 2015