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Lesson Plan 1: By the Dawn's Early Light

Understanding the Lyrics and Their Influence


This lesson is part of a multi-lesson, interdisciplinary historical investigation into the questions: How and why did The Star-Spangled Banner become the national anthem? In each lesson of this investigation, students will explore a different facet of The Star-Spangled Banner. You will demonstrate and use a close reading approach to help students analyze this document. Students will read and interpret the anthem and address the following essential questions:

What happened during the bombardment of Fort McHenry?

What story(ies) does The Star-Spangled Banner tell?

How does Key promote feelings of patriotism through his lyrics?


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Related Materials:

Lyrics to The Star-Spangled Banner

1814 Broadside "The Defence of Ft M'Henry

Portrait of Francis Scott Key