Educational Resources

K-12 Classroom Lessons | High School | Lesson Plan: Keeping the Royal Navy at Bay

Introduction

Authors: Glenn Johnston and Johanna Seymour, Education Consultants, Maryland Military Historical Society
Grade Level: High
Duration: One 40-Minute Class Period

For this lesson students will explore the math and science factors that affected the Royal Navy’s attack on Baltimore during the War of 1812, especially why the fleet landed at North Point. Working in pairs, students will read short topic backgrounds about 19th-century navigation, the Chesapeake Bay and the Royal Navy. After the readings, they will answer word problems like the ones 19th-century naval captains needed to answer. For an assessment activity/homework, students will answer similar word problems.

Objectives

At the conclusion of this block of instruction:

  1. Students will be able to answer word problems similar to the ones that 19th century naval captains needed to answer during the War of 1812.
  2. Students will better understand the role that math and science played in 19th century navigation on the Chesapeake Bay.
  3. Student will explore why North Point was the only logical location for the British fleet to unload soldiers for their planned land assault.

Procedure

Step 1: Introductory set (3 minutes)
Ask students what they know about Baltimore, the Chesapeake Bay, and the British fleet during the War of 1812. Follow up by asking about 19-century navigation and the role that math/science might have played in the British decision to land at North Point and not sail directly into Baltimore. What math/science factors did 19th-century royal captains need to consider?

Step 2: Lesson rationale (1 minute)
Explain to students that they are going to explore the math/science behind the Royal Navy’s actions during the attack on Baltimore during the War of 1812. Working in pairs, they will answer a series of word problems similar to the ones that these naval captains needed to answer. We will discuss your findings as a class.

Step 3: Pair and Share (20-25 minutes)

  • Distribute support materials
  • Form into learning pairs
  • Instruct students to write their answers on the Class Work sheet.

Step 4: Synthesis of learning and assessment (10-15 minutes)

  • Reform class into whole class seating if necessary
  • Discuss your findings as a whole group
  • Collect Class Work in order to assess learning
  • Distribute Assessment Activity as homework

Standards

Maryland State Core Learning Goals: Mathematics

Goal 1: Functions and Algebra

Expectation 1.1 The Student will analyze a wide variety of patterns and function relationships using the language of mathematics and appropriate technology.

Indicator 1.1.3 The student will apply addition, subtraction, multiplication and/or division of algebraic expressions to mathematical and real-world problems.

Goal 2: Geometry, Measurement and Reasoning

Expectation 2.3 The student will apply concepts of measurement using tools and technology when appropriate.

Indicator 2.3.1 The student will use algebraic and/or geometric properties to measure indirectly.

Indicator 2.3.2 The student will use techniques of measurement and will estimate, calculate, and/or surface area of two-and three-dimensional figures and their parts.

Additional Standards

Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects

CCR Anchor Standard #8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

RST.9-10.8 Assess the extent to which the reasoning and evidence in a text supports the author’s claim or a recommendation for solving a scientific or technical problem.

RST.11-12.8 Assess the extent to which the reasoning and evidence in a text supports the author’s claim or a recommendation for solving a scientific or technical problem

Writing Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects

CCR Anchor Standard #2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

WHST.9-10.2 Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/experiments, or technical processes.

WHST.11-12.2 Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/experiments, or technical processes.

Resource Sheets

  • Class Work (PDF)
  • Assessment Activity (PDF)

References

  • Mahon, John K. The War of 1812. Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida Press, 1972.
  •  Roumaniere, John. The Annapolis Book of Seamanship. New York, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983

Lesson Plan Documents for Download