Lesson Plan

Deciphering The Star Spangled Banner

Most students know the first verse of The Star Spangled Banner, but not the rest of the song or the history behind it. In this civics lesson, students will dive deeper into the national anthem by deciphering and summarizing each verse.
View aligned standards

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to make meaning of The Star Spangled Banner by synthesizing each verse into one sentence.


(5 minutes)
National Treasures: The Star-Spangled BannerRead the Star Spangled Banner
  • Ask students to turn to a partner and name the title of the national anthem of the United States of America. Confirm student responses and write The Star Spangled Banner on the board.
  • Tell students that today they will learn the history of the national anthem and decipher the words in the song so that it makes sense to them.
  • Ask students to reflect on what the title means (i.e. it refers to our flag). Record student responses below the title of the national anthem.
  • Write national anthem on the board, and explain that a national anthem is a patriotic song which celebrates a nation's history and struggles to gain independence.
  • Explain that every country has its own national anthem and that it is a citizen's civic duty to know and understand their national anthem.