Forts of the War of 1812

Students will learn the advantages and disadvantages of the geographic locations of forts in the War of 1812. They will research military engagements that occurred at those locations. Students will discuss the effects of the particular location and environment on the results of the battles.



Day 1:

[NOTE: This lesson assumes that students are already aware of a conflict between Britain and the United States in 1812.]

Open a discussion on the need for defences in Upper Canada.

Pose this problem for discussion: “If you had been building a fort at the time of the War of 1812, what factors would have affected your choice of location?”

Lead a discussion to identify factors such as closeness to transportation routes, a good view of the surrounding area, open space for British style battle, escape routes, availability of building materials.

List the factors discussed on the blackboard.

Lesson Development

Direct students to choose a fort that was involved in the War of 1812. You may limit their choices if you wish (e.g. only British forts or only forts within present day Ontario). Go to a website together that provides a map of such forts.  (There are many maps posted online, such as the Galafilm website Maps of the War of 1812.)

Distribute the Student Activity Sheet entitled Forts of the War of 1812. Students should use the rest of this class to describe the location of their chosen fort and to list their strategic advantages and disadvantages.

Day 2:

Ensure that students understand the worksheet assignment.

Direct students to the websites listed on the Student Activity Sheet.

Help students navigate the websites to find suitable information.


Direct discussion about what students have learned through their research.



Take part in the discussion, listen carefully to others and add ideas.

Contribute good physical site features for fort locations.

Lesson Development

Choose a fort.

Research the location of his/her fort and complete Parts #1-3 on the Student Activity Sheet.

Complete the Student Activity Sheet.


Share findings with the class.

Listen to others and complete notes.

Lesson Extension

Create a poster of a fort from the War of 1812. Post several examples in the classroom.