Beacon Lesson Plan Library

History through Poetry

Chet Geering


Students will be able to analyze the poem -The Charge of the Light Brigade.- Students discuss its meaning and significance to the Crimean War. Students will also understand how war is perceived from a non-military point of view.


The student understands significant political developments in Europe in the 19th century.


-WORLD HISTORY THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE. New York: Glencoe McGraw-Hill, 2001.
- Copies of short-answer questions for students (See attached file)
- Pen or pencil
- Copy of the poem -The Charge of the Light Brigade-
- Dry Erase board
- Dry erase markers
- Access to copy machine


1. Read text Chapter 26 (or appropriate chapter).
2. Make one copy of the questions for each student.
3. Find a copy of the poem -The Charge of the Light Brigade.- (See Weblinks.)
4. Make copies of the poem for each student.


1. Ask students, -What is war and how do we get our information on war?- (Answers will vary.)
2. List students' answers on the board.
3. Have a student read the first stanza aloud.
4. Ask students, -What is the author telling his audience in this stanza?- (Answer: The soldiers are marching into battle. Not only are they marching into battle, they are also marching to their deaths.)
5. Ask students, -How would you feel if you were in their place?- (Answers will vary.)
6. Have a student read the second stanza aloud.
7. Ask student, -Are there any lines in this stanza that you have heard before?- (Answer: -Their's not to reason why. Their's but to do and die.-)
8. Ask students, -What did the quote in #7 mean?- (Answer: It's not the soldier's job to ask questions. The soldier needs to just do his duty.)
9. Have a student read the third stanza aloud.
10. Ask students, -If you were one of the six hundred soldiers, how would you feel? Would you continue the charge or would you run? Why?- (Answers will vary.)
11. Have a student read the fourth stanza aloud.
12. Ask students, -What is happening in this stanza?- (Answer: The British are charging straight into the Cossacks. The British officers have drawn their swords and the battle has been joined.)
13. Have a student read the fifth stanza aloud.
14. Ask students, -What has happened in this stanza?- (Answer: The battle is drawing to a close and the Light Brigade is nearly surrounded and nearly all dead.)
15. Have a student read the sixth stanza aloud.
16. Ask students, -Who won the battle?- (Answer: Russians)
17. Ask students, -What did the Light Brigade accomplish?- (Answers: From a military point of view, nothing. From a folklore point of view, they showed honor and courage in battle.)
18. Ask students, -Why is the Light Brigade remembered in history, after all they lost the battle?- (Answer: They are remembered for their courage and their conviction to their duty.)
19. Assign the short-answer questions to the students.
20. Teacher evaluates answers to the short-answer questions.


1. Students will be assessed by completing a series of short-answer questions on the topics covered in class.
2. The teacher can also informally evaluate the students by monitoring and encouraging their participation in class discussion.

Web Links

A copy of Tennyson's poem can be found on this website.
The Charge of the Light Brigade

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