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Lesson Plan 8-1: By the Dawn's Early Light

Understanding the Lyrics and Their Influence

Baltimore city prepared its defenses as British troops closed in. Throughout the Chesapeake theater, the British occupied American territory and destroyed property. Would Baltimore be able to resist the foreign invasion, or would it fall to enemy forces?

Francis Scott Key’s lyrics to The Star-Spangled Banner provide a stirring, patriotic answer to this question. Students will gain a fresh perspective on the U.S. national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, as they investigate the meaning of the lyrics—and the song as a whole—to the young, proud nation. Using a video clip from Anthem, primary sources, and historical websites, students will explore the story behind the anthem. They will synthesize historical analysis and creative thinking as they design a broadside reflecting what they have learned about The Star-Spangled Banner.

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