WAR OF 1812

Grade: 8

In small groups using interactive techniques, students will work together to interpret videos regarding the War of 1812. Students will use graphic organizers to organize their thoughts in order to be able to share how a historical event such as the War of 1812 affects Canada’s identity.

Essential Question

How does the War of 1812 impact Canada’s identity?

Big Idea

Students will understand that there are different perspectives on the War of 1812.

Students will understand the Dakota people fought in the War of 1812 and that the Crown made promises.

View Complete Lesson Plan

Lesson Outline

TIME DURATION: Approximately 3 (1 hour) sessions

1. Historical event that includes The First Nations People
2. Examining the perspectives of the War of 1812
3. Why the War of 1812 is important to the Dakota people
4. Reflecting on how the war impacts Canada’s identity

Primary Outcome
• Social Studies: DR8.3 Assess how historical events in Canada have affected the present Canadian identity

See Assessment Feedback for Students Form and Teacher Checklist
• Read students’ analogies and PMI statements to determine what depth of understanding they have regarding how the War of 1812 impacted Canadian identity.


Part 1: Historical Events and The First Nations People

Take a Stand Technique:

  1.  Create a space in the classroom where a line can be created. At one end of the line put a sign strongly agree and at the other end put a sign strongly disagree.
  2.  Show the following quote on your data projector screen or write it on the board. Have students decide whether they agree or disagree with the quote and take a stand.

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” – Marcus Garvey

• Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr., ONH, was a Jamaican political leader, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator. He passed away in 1940.

    1.  Have students take their place on the line on whatever end they believe they most agree about. Any person can enter the line wherever they want to, and students must make room for that to happen.
    2.  Once students have lined themselves up, find the person that splits the line in half, and fold the line in half.
    3.  Ask the students to explain to the person that is now across from them why they chose to stand where they did.
    4.  After students have heard from their partner, have each one write a brief explanation of their stance on a sheet of loose-leaf.
    5.  Using the sheet of loose-leaf students previously wrote on regarding their opinion, have students make a list of all the historical events they are aware of in Canada’s history.
    6.  Then have the students take out a highlighter, and highlight any of the events that included First Nations people.
    7.  Share the essential question with the students. Unpack the question, making sure to surface understanding on who was a part of the War of 1812, and come to consensus on what are components to Canadian identity.
    8.  Share the short video clip on the War of 1812 to give preliminary information on who won and lost the War of 1812.

Part 2: War of 1812

Jigsaw Technique

  1.  Set up the four corners of your classroom to be one of the four videos that students will be watching.
    •  First Nation Perspective
    •  Canadian Perspective
    •  British Perspective
    •  American Perspective
  2.  Group students into groups of four.
  3.  When they get into their group of four, each student needs to assign themselves to one of the 4 areas that they will become the expert in to bring back information to the group.
  4.  Have students move to that area of the room where they will become an expert in one of the 4 perspectives.
  5.  Once students have watched the video for their perspective allow them to discuss the main points with others who are also becoming an expert in that perspective.
  6.  Students then watch the same video again and fill in their Individual Video Reflection Graphic Organizer Hand Out.
  7.  Students then return to their original group and each person in the group presents their findings.
  8.  Once each member in the group has completed sharing, one person in the group will take the responsibility to be a recorder for the Group Video Graphic Organizer Hand Out. As a group, they come up with sentence statements for each perspective.
  9.  Each recorder can hand in their filled-in copy of the graphic organizer.

Part 3: Importance for the Dakota People

  1.  The teacher reads a portion from a National Post article that was written on June 17, 2012.

“But in a distant native community south of Saskatoon — the home of Saskatchewan’s Whitecap Dakota First Nation — a few hundred kinfolk of the Sioux warriors who joined Dickson, Brock, Wabasha and fellow aboriginal ally Tecumseh in confronting U.S. forces 200 years ago are proudly remembering their special connection to the War of 1812 battles that helped create Canada.

To this day, the war is known among the Dakota Sioux as Pahinshashawacikiya: “When The Red Head Begged For Our Help.”

“In Western Canada, there’s not really a lot of awareness of the War of 1812,” says Chief Darcy Bear, leader of Whitecap’s 600-member community. “But it’s basically the humble beginnings of our nation. Canada didn’t just happen in 1867 — turn on a switch and Canada was there. There were actually relationships prior to that, and the British really relied on their First Nations allies.”

Read the full article here.

  1.  As a class, use the above article portion as a thinking prompt to discuss and promote dialogue on how the War of 1812 impacted Canadian identity and how Indigenous people (specifically Dakota people) were involved in the War and impacted by it.
  2.  As an extra information piece regarding the War of 1812, the Spirit of Alliance Monument Presentation can be shared and discussed with the class or a trip to the Saskatoon Monument can be made.
  3.  Create a P(lus), M(inus), I(nteresting) chart on the board that shows the discussion.


  1.  Have students use the back side of their Video Reflection Graphic Organizer or a separate sheet of loose leaf to create:
    •  (written or pictoral) an analogy to show how they understand how Canada’s present-day identity was impacted by the War of 1812.
    •  a sentence explaining how they feel the War of 1812 has impacted Dakota people’s identity.
    •  their own sentence that explains a P(lus), M(inus), and I(nteresting) point they have learned about about the War of 1812.



  • Some students might need to watch the video more than twice in order to collect their information to present to their group members.


  • Instead of using the Spirit of Alliance Presentation, a class trip to the monument would be an excellent alternative that would lend itself to a hands on approach.


  •  Have students research other historical events to see what impact the event had on Canadian identity.

Materials Required