Download Lesson Plans
16 lesson plans for grades 4-8


Grants Awarded for a Virtual Resource Center
Maryland Heritage Areas Authority and Chesapeake Bay Gateways award grants


View All


Education Programming

Friends of Fort McHenry partners with the National Park Service and Living Classrooms Foundation, as well as museums and historic sites, to offer an array of innovative educational offerings both onsite and online.


~ Giant Living Flag Created to Honor Bicentennial of The Star-Spangled Banner ~

In a spectacular show of red, white and blue today at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, more than 6,600 Maryland students, teachers and chaperons created the largest 15 stars and 15 stripes Star-Spangled Banner Living Flag ever assembled. 

The enormous undertaking was a cooperative effort between the National Park Service and the Friends of Fort McHenry as part of the 200th anniversary celebration of The Star-Spangled Banner, our National Anthem. The event was webcast live on YouTube, and students from around the country participated in the festivities via a live distance learning event.

The morning started with a star-spangled education program that included interviews with historic personalities, a special “Wheel of Fortress” trivia game, special films, music and more.  Afterward, they began the nearly 90-minute task of forming the living flag, which was completed at 12 p.m.

The Star-Spangled Banner Living Flag was a legacy from the centennial celebration, when Fort McHenry saw the creation of the great “Human Flag of 1914.” Today’s event included Myrtle Sanders, who was part of the 1914 flag as a three-month-old infant, as well as several descendants of participants from 1914.

Photo by Greg Pease, courtesy of the Friends of Fort McHenry.



YOU CAN STILL PLAY A PART IN THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER LIVING FLAG! COMMEMORATE THE 200TH ANNIVERSARY OF OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM - Design your Star-Spangled Banner Living Flag with your students, parents and members of your community!  Resources available at


email questions anytime -- please include your full name, school name, phone number and email address.  

Related to a Descendant Who Participated in the Centennial Living Flag?

If you have a relative that participated in the living flag in 1914, we'd love to hear from you! Please email us or send a letter to Friends of Fort McHenry, 2400 E. Fort Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21230. Please include your full name, descendant names, phone number and email address.  


Prepare your students so they have an overall understanding of the history of Fort McHenry and the Battle of Baltimore using the lesson plans listed below and our Star-Spangled Banner WarOf1812_ClassroomResources


Star-Spangled Virtual Resource Center - Access the full range of high-quality resources related to the War of 1812 available! Developed by the Friends of Fort McHenry, in partnership with Maryland Public Television (MPT) and the National Park Service, the SSVR is housed on MPT's Thinkport. The site contains "one-stop-shopping" complete with lesson plans, primary source documents and images, sound and video clips, and more. Teachers can develop new lessons using these resources and students can use to create virtual museums and other projects. Visit the Star-Spangled Virtual Resource Center!

Play Hold the Fort! - A game of survival, strategy & nerve in the War of 1812 -Take command of Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore! Lead and inspire 1000 men under your command! Hold the Fort puts players in charge of Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore, responsible for the defense of the fort and the city. As commander, players lead the troops, manage resources to keep the fort from falling under the withering British bombardment.

The Star-Spangled Resource Center and Hold the Fort were made possible by grant support from:


War of 1812 Interactive Battlefield Maps  - Cutting-edge animated maps to illustrate Maryland’s unique contributions to the defense and heritage of the nation during four significant battles of the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake: the Battle of St. Leonard Creek, the Battle of Bladensburg, the Battle of North Point and the Battle of Baltimore.

KeyCam - Bringing Fort McHenry to the world, the KeyCam site is anchored by four advanced web cams with their sights fixed on Fort McHenry in Baltimore. KeyCam is designed to give viewers the same sight-line to Fort McHenry that Francis Scott Key had 200 years ago during the Battle of Baltimore, a view that inspired him to write the words, “O say can you see,” that would become our national anthem.


Long May It Wave: The War of 1812 & Fort McHenry To support teachers in Maryland and across the United States as we commemorate the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 in classrooms, the Friends of Fort McHenry developed a national curriculum on the War of 1812 and Fort McHenry for grades 4 through 8 in partnership with the National Park Service. Download lesson plans that correlate to the Maryland State Curriculum for Social Studies and the Common Core State Standards Initiative and emphasize historical thinking skills. Each lesson plan includes primary source documents and images, student worksheets, and suggestions for accommodations and extensions.

Development of the curriculum has been made possible by generous funding from the National Park Service, Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network. Special thanks also to GWWO, Inc.Architects for its donation of services.

Elementary Lessons

Secondary Lessons

Lessons Adaptable to Grades 4-8

Interdisciplinary Lessons Adaptable to Grades 4-8

Supplementary Materials




Schedule a Field Trip - Visit the Fort McHenry's For Teachers Web page on the official National Park Service website for Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine.

Schedule a "Land/Sea - Fort McHenry Experience" Field Trip - Immerse your students in a unique "hands-on" land-sea experience operated jointly by the National Park Service and Living Classrooms Foundation. This special field trip offers a history of Fort McHenry and its national significance as well as the opportunity to learn about the life of sailors, maritime history and Baltimore's port. To make a reservation for your school group (4th Grade and above) and information about fees, contact Kelly Drake or 410-685-0295.

Apply for a "200 for the 200th" Field Trip - Thanks to grants from the MD War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission and the MD Heritage Areas Authority, your transportation cost may qualify to be underwritten. Title One Schools given preference. See Application: 200for200_App_v5_2014

The "200 for the 200th" program is made possible thanks to support from:



Young Defenders Day Young Defenders Day is the largest annual curriculum-based educational program at Fort McHenry. It enables students from Baltimore City Public Schools and other schools to experience Fort McHenry as it was at the time of the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812. Students have the unique opportunity to interact with more than 100 living history interpreters and re-enactors in a re-creation of an historic encampment. Led by their teachers, who have been provided special training for the occasion, students unfurl a replica of the impressive 30'x 42' Star-Spangled Banner, serve on a cannon crew, "drill" as U.S. soldiers, tour the fort, experience 19th century civilian life, and learn about African Americans who defended the fort in 1814. More than 1,500 students participate annually each September. For more information, please contact Lisa Hansen or 410-962-4290 x850.







Follow Us:

Twitter Facebook