"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 Students will analyze a historical document and draw conclusions about what this document was for, who created it, and why.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

Academic standards
Determine the meaning of words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 2 topic or subject area.
Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
Write opinion pieces on topics or texts.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including those that refer to significant characters and situations found in...
Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly; refer to details and examples in a text when drawing inferences from...
Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research, applying grade 4 standards for reading.
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
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