"The Star-Spangled Banner"

This lesson focuses on the creation of the “Star-Spangled Banner” following the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore in September 1814. Students will analyze a historical document and draw conclusions about what this document was for, who created it, and why. Students will study the lyrics of the song and analyze the words and phrases for meaning and thematic elements.

Standards & Objectives

Learning objectives: 

The learner will:

  • Examine a document as a primary source;
  • Analyze and explain the meaning of the document;
  • Describe the significance of the document.


Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 

Have students work with the music teacher to rehearse and perform “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Have students work with the art teacher to create artwork that includes stars, stripes, and the colors red, white, and blue.

Helpful Hints


  • Have the requisite materials ready before the activity:
  • Star-Spangled Banner Original Manuscript (one copy per student)
  • Star Spangled Banner Song Sheet (one copy per student)
  • Victor Military Band Performing Star Spangled Banner
  • Victor Mixed Chorus Performing Star Spangled Banner
  • Whitney Houston Singing National Anthem (YouTube) For teacher background information: America's Story: Second War of American Independence
  • Links Guide: War of 1812
  • Today in History: Francis Scott Key