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Warships in the Age of Sail

Name of Corresponding Unit Plan: War of 1812

Grade Level: 6-8

Common Core Standards
R.S6-8.4. Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific or technical context relevant to grade level texts and topics.

Content Areas: Reading, Social Studies

Recommended Length/Duration: 45-60 minutes

Learning Goals: Students will become familiar with the different types of warships in service during the War of 1812. Students will become familiar with vocabulary terms used to describe sailing warships.


  1. Introduce the article with a discussion about the important role naval ships played in the War of 1812.
  2. Distribute copies of the article Warships in the Age of Sail and the accompanying worksheet. Explain that students will be reading the article and answering comprehension questions about what they read.
  3. Read together the directions on the worksheet. Encourage students to read the whole article first and then go back to find specific details necessary to answer the comprehension questions.
  4. Have students read the article independently and then answer the comprehension questions.
  5. When students have had time to complete the worksheet, review their responses. Discuss any errors or disagreements.

Assessments: Evaluate worksheets for accuracy and effort.

Materials/Resources: Warships in the Age of Sail article and worksheet

Special Considerations: The article could be read aloud in pair work or as a whole class if it is beyond the independent reading level of students.

Extensions: Interested students may want to learn more about a particular type of ship or about the British ship rating system.
The American frigates of the War of 1812 became most famous. Students may want to research one of these vessels.
The USS Constitution is probably the most famous American warship. Students may want to go to the USS Constitution Museum’s “All Hands on Deck” website to learn more: