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History of the Star Spangled Banner

A Webquest Activity

by

Gail Skroback Hennessey



The 200th anniversary of "The Star Spangled Banner"took place in September, 2014. Learn about Francis Scott Key, the War of 1812 and the flag that sparked the national anthem with this fun/informative web quest.


Years later, Key wrote this about his famous poem that became our nation's song. "Through the clouds of war, the stars of that banner still shone...Then, in that hour of deliverance and joyful triumph, my heart spoke, and 'Does not such a country, and such defenders of their country, deserve a song? With it came an inspiration not to be resisted."


1.What was Francis Scott Key's occupation?______________Actually aboard a British ship in the Chesapeake Bay, President James Madison had sent Key and another person, John Stuart Skinner, on a mission. What were they to do? _____________________________Key watched as the British fired about how many cannonballs at Fort McHenry, on September 13, 1814.___________ Some of the cannonballs weighed 220 pounds each! Seeing the flag waving the next morning, on what did Francis Scott Key write his poem?___________________________is linFind the answers at this link:

usflag.org


2. Two copies remain of Key's original poem,calledthe _________________________.A British song, the________________________ by John Stafford Smith, was used to set the poem to music. Why do you think some people may have been surprised at the song selected?__________________Find the answers at this link:

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/key-pens-star-spangled-banner



3. The War of 1812 ,between the United States and Great Britain,started overtrade. What three famous buildings did the British troops burn, in 1814?_____________________________ and ___________Where can you see the famous flag that inspired Francis Scott Key?____________________________Interestingly, it is very fragile and kept behind a curtain to protect it from sunlight. Every hour, the curtain is drawn back so people can view it for a few minutes. Find the answers at this link:http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/key-pens-star-spangled-banner



There are NINE Webquestions in the complete resource.


Questions:


1. How did fighting the French hurt the British attempts at fighting the United States?


2. Why do you think the British set fire to the White House, the Capitol Building and the Library of Congress? How might the British actions work against them?


3. Why do you think the American soldiers sang the song Yankee Doodle after the attack on Fort McHenry?


There are NINE comprehension/thought questions.


TEACHER PAGE:

Have students work in small groups to do the web quest and comprehension questions.Afterwards, have students regroup and discuss the activity.


Fun Facts:

  • Francis Scott Key wrote the words to his poem in pencil!

  • There was a huge rainstorm the night before the battle. The flag, made of500 pounds of cotton was taken down and a substitutestorm flag raised. After the battle, the larger flag went back up.

  • There were 15 stars on the flag at the time of the War of 1812


  • There are SEVEN Fun Facts in the complete resource.


    Extension Activities:


    1. Pretend you are the American flag: Tell about a day in your life. Where are you flying? What do you see? Hear? Feel.


    2. In 1807, President Thomas Jefferson tried to harm the British economy byplacing an embargo against the country of England. That meant goods could not come from England to the United States. Why do you think the President ended the embargo in 1809?


    There are FIVE extension activities in the complete resource.


    NOTE: Photograph from publicdomainclip-art.blogspot.com


    Check out my Our American Flag Webquest. There are 12 informative questions to learn about Flag Day,Fourth of July and flag history. Extension activities and fun facts included. http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Our-American-Flag-A-Webquest-Extension-Activities-726295



    Note: Illustration from: WPclipart.com



    Click here to get the complete resource on Francis Scott Key and the Star Spangled Banner:Star Spangled Banner Webquest