Get your students discussing and debating the causes to the War of 1812. This activity goes beyond the reading or notes and has students analyze each major cause, evaluate its significance in declaring war against Great Britain, and justifying their evaluations!
Learning Objective: The learners will evaluate the causes of the War of 1812 by using group discussion to rank the causes and evaluate their rankings
Language Objective: The learners will justify their evaluation of the causes of the War of 1812 in written format by explaining their #1 cause (most significant) and their #5 cause (least significant).
1. Divide students into groups (preferably of 3 or 4).
2. Hand out sets of Description Slips (one set per group)
3. Explain Background & Directions to students:
a. Background Possible Script: “There are many reasons to go to war. The causes of War of 1812 did not start when James Madison became our 4th President. Some of the causes to the war go back to events when George Washington was President but he adopted that idea of neutrality and to not get involved with other countries. They continued during the Presidency of John Adams and we saw the events of the XYZ Affair. Then President Jefferson issued an Embargo to stop the events. It was while James Madison is President that these causes are going to come to a forefront. It is at this time period that the War Hawks get loud and use their voice to push for war.”
b. Directions: “Today we are going to look at these causes. At each group, I have given you a set of 5 causes to the War of 1812. When I say go, as a group you will review these causes and discuss them. You will decide which cause was of the greatest significance in pushing the United States into war against Great Britain. Then the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and finally least significant. You will get 10 minutes to review and discuss.” Times are flexible and dependent upon your class time and level of students. Special Education and LEP students may need more time whereas your Gifted students may need less.
4. Start timer and allow students time to analyze the causes with their groups and evaluate their significance. Students should be discussing the important of each cause as they read through them and laying them out in their ranking. As this is going on remind students that they are to choose which cause they think is the most important and 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th.
5. When the timer goes off, bring the class attention back to the teacher to have a class discussion. This is a great opportunity to “cold call” on students. Say, “ Now that you had time to discuss in your groups and evaluate the causes we are going to review them as a class. I am going to cold call, which means no hands. I get to call on anyone because you had time to work together to create your rankings. There are no “I don’t know” answers since you have been talking to each other and getting ideas from one another.” Call on a few students to give their most significant cause of the War of 1812 and ask them to explain why their group chose that as their Number 1. Then call on a few students to give their least significant cause of the War of 1812 and explain why their group did not think it was as important as the others.
6. Pass out Student Handout “Causes of the War of 1812: Analysis and Evaluation
7. Read the directions to the students and have them complete their Analysis and
Evaluation. Choose the length of time they would need according to the level of the class and set the timer.