Elementary Level Lessons | Multiple Perspectives of the War of 1812


Paintbrushes45.png One Class Period 

Program Segments

June 1812 Declaration of War (6 minutes) 
Summer 1812 The Americans Invade (18 ½ minutes)
September 1813 The Americans Invade Canada – Again (7 ½ minutes)
Winter 1814 New Orleans (7 minutes)
1815 Peace (4 minutes) 

NCSS Themes

V: Individuals, Groups, and Institutions
VI: Power, Authority, and Governance
IX: Global Connections
X: Civic Ideals and Practices  

Canadian (Ontario) Concepts

Systems and Structures
Interactions and Interdependence
Power and Governance 

Canadian (Ontario) Specific Expectations – Seventh Grade

Explain key characteristics of life in English Canada from a variety of perspectives
Describe the different groups of people  


  Students will be able to:
• understand and explain the multiple perspectives of diverse groups of people during the War of 1812
• experience empathy through understanding what the War of 1812 meant for each group 

Focus Questions
1.    What was the meaning of the War of 1812 for 

Great Britain?
The United States?
The Native Nations of North America?
The British Colonies in Canada?

Key Concepts
Impressments, Secession, Embargo, War, Battle, Debate

Instructional Resources

The War of 1812 DVD
Markers, crayons, and colored pencils
“What is the meaning of War?” Graphic Organizer Template

  Icon A - elementary (86.0 KB)Icon B - intermediate (76.1 KB)


  1. The teacher will ask students what might cause them to get so angry or upset that they would argue with others.
  2. As students brainstorm answers, the teacher will guide them by explaining that an argument always has more than one side. People in an argument must compromise or it can turn into something more dangerous.
  3. The teacher will introduce The War of 1812 segment by explaining that the British, the Native Americans of North America, the Canadian colonies, and the United States interpreted the war differently.
  4. The teacher will distribute the graphic organizer and direct students to fill it in while they are viewing the documentary. Students must have at least five sentences for each group. Students may also choose to draw their meanings inside the graphic organizer.
  5. The teacher will then question the class about the different meanings of the war and ask students about the various reasons for going to war.
  6. The teacher will lead students in a constructive discussion of the pros and cons and reasons for entering the war.
  7. Students will turn in their completed graphic organizers.

Assessment Tasks

Students will complete a graphic organizer that has at least five sentences or a hand drawn picture that depicts the meaning of the war. Students will also participate in classroom discussions based on the pros and cons along with the meaning of the war.

Additional Resources

An American Perspective
A Canadian Perspective
A British Perspective
A Native Nations Perspective
1812 Journals

Related PBS Resources

The Beginning of the War-Two Views on Texas

Explore and compare varying conflicts that have escalated into wars and then debate the conflicting perspectives that resulted in the U.S.-Mexican War.


The Battle of the Bulge

Describe the military situation in the European Theater in late 1944 and investigate the Battle of the Bulge from both American and German points of view.


Rwanda Conflict

The conflict between Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda centers in some ways around the myth of settler vs. native, and the influence of colonial powers in creating conflict between ethnic groups within a country.


Israeli-Palestinian Peace Summit

Students will develop persuasive arguments for a given position or point of view regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


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Bonus Video
Click on the play button below to watch The Canadian Perspective

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