Exploring the War of 1812 through Song

In this activity students will explore the War of 1812 by considering multiple perspectives. They will view three divergent music videos and create a music video of their own using the Canadian lyrics from a song entitled ‘The War of 1812’.



[Note:  This lesson is intended to be used after students have learned about the War of 1812 in a previous lesson.  It is also assumed that they have been given prior instruction on using video cameras and making videos using a movie maker software program.]

Distribute Appendix A: The War of1812 lyrics. Read the lyrics aloud in class. Enquire: whose view is being presented in this song?

Show students different videos about the War of 1812 (there are three video clips listed in the Additional Resources section of the lesson).

[Note: the song lyrics remain the same but the visual/videos differ.]

Prompt a discussion after watching  the videos. Ask students to describe what they liked and didn’t like; what information was correct and what might have been exaggerated.

Explain that the class will be creating a music video based on The War of 1812 Song.

Lesson Development

Distribute Appendix B: Video Rubric and talk to students about how the video will be assessed. Ask students to form small groups and begin brainstorming ideas for their videos.

Escort the class to the computer lab so that students can research details of the War of 1812 for their video.  Direct students to use the Canadian Atlas Online War of 1812 theme to complete their research.

When students have completed their research and a plan of the events to include in their video, they will take a digital video camera and start filming.  Students will edit the film clips in order to produce a final product.  Guide and assist students as necessary.


Assess the videos while they are shown to the class.



Read the lyrics and participate in the discussion.

Read the lyrics of the War of 1812 song.

Watch the videos and follow along with the song lyrics.

Participate in the class discussion.

Lesson Development

Form a group and start brainstorming ideas for a video.

Complete research and gather facts about the War of 1812 from the Canadian Atlas Online War of 1812 theme for the video.

Start filming the video with a digital video camera.  Edit the clips to create a final product.


Present the video to the rest of the class.

Lesson Extension

  • Have students compare the song ‘The Battle of New Orleans’ (recorded by Johnny Horton), which details the 1815 Battle of New Orleans from the perspective of an American fighting against British forces in the War of 1812. Contrast the lyrics as well as the tone to the ‘War of 1812 Song’ .