Older students ages 12 and up
- From a tactical perspective why was Baltimore a juicy target? [large population, reports of chaos, shipbuilding facilities, ship Java in port, ease of attacking Washington]
- Why did the British hate Baltimore? [privateering center]
- What made Frank Key change his opinion of the war? [when it personally impacted his area]
- Who do you think was most influential in securing Beanes’ release? Skinner, Key, or neither? Why? [open-ended]
- What were the risks for an enslaved person who considered running to the British? [recapture and punishment, unknown how British would treat them, where would they end up?]
- Based on the evidence in the book, should the British have attacked Baltimore? [open-ended]
- Why were African Americans fighting on both sides? [usually motivated by hope for a better future]
- Why do you think the British attack failed? [underestimated strength of Fort McHenry, poor weather, poor communication, loss of General Ross]
- Why do you think many people don’t know about the War of 1812? [many reasons, but some are: it didn’t result in new boundaries, it didn’t form a new country, it didn’t bring major change]
- How did the slow pace of communication impact decisions related to war? [classic example is that the Battle of New Orleans was fought before word reached the US that the negotiators had already struck a peace deal]
- Read the entire poem. Do you think this is an appropriate national anthem for the United States? Why or why not? In your opinion, did Congress select the right verse?
- Why did the British target Baltimore? [wealthy, large population, privateering]
- Do you think the life of a British midshipman was easy or hard? Why?
- Why was Frank Key stuck behind enemy lines? [he overheard plan for the attack]
- Why do you think the British attack failed? [see above]
- Who is your favorite character and why?
- Read Key’s words to the national anthem. Do you think this is a good song to be a national anthem? Why or why not?