Skip to main content

Virtual Field Trip: John Stark, Revolutionary Hero

One of the most revered figures in New Hampshire history, John Stark was a Revolutionary War general and the author of what became the state motto, “Live free or die.”

This virtual field trip takes students to several locations associated with John Stark's life, including his home and grave in Stark Park in Manchester, the Bunker Hill battlefield in Massachusetts, and the Bennington battlefield in Vermont.

The virtual field trip includes footage of a battle reenactment at Bennington.

A graphic organizer helps students record what they learn from the video, which, when combined with the activity, tackles the question: how does a person become a hero?

The video is 22 minutes.

The Big Question

  • 1
    How does a person become a hero?

Before You Take Your Virtual Field Trip . . .


Review what you know

Ask students what they know about the American Revolution. Together, make a list of the reasons why colonists, including many who lived in New Hampshire, wanted to be free from rule by Britain.

Discuss the big question

How does a person become a hero? Encourage students to think carefully about this question with discussion prompts: Who do you think of when you hear the word hero? What qualities does that person have? How does that person act or treat others? How do other people react to that person?

During Your Virtual Field Trip . . .

Organize facts and ideas

An optional graphic organizer is provided to help students identify and expand upon the three key ideas addressed during the trip. As they listen and watch, students can check off the key idea as they hear it mentioned. The chart below provides space for students to note supporting facts that relate to each idea. This graphic organizer could be used as part of a preview to the trip. It also works well as a review exercise after the trip and can be completed as a whole group or independently.

Travel Log

This graphic organizer helps students organize the information they learn in the virtual field trip.

After Your Virtual Field Trip . . .


Heroic acrostic poem

In this activity, students think about the qualities that made John Stark heroic and how those qualities are the same or different today. Begin by having students brainstorm John Stark’s heroic qualities and not heroic qualities. This can be done individually or in small groups. Students will then work individually to list the qualities they believe are heroic. These can include both qualities that John Stark had and didn’t have. Finally, the students will identify an individual, real or fictional, that has the qualities they described and write an acrostic poem using their name.

Heroic Acrostic Poem

Want To Do More?


Go further with these extension activities

Map John Stark’s life. Use an outline map of New England to create a different kind of timeline of important events in John Stark’s life. Using information provided during the field trip, plot the locations of important events in John Stark’s life on a map. In addition to marking where he was born and where he lived as an adult, mark where his service to the Revolutionary cause took him around New England and New York. Label the locations with years and brief summaries of what happened in that location.

A meaningful motto. Thanks to John Stark’s inspiring letter to his former soldiers, New Hampshire has a state motto that is one of the best known in the country. It comes from a time of war, when people had to sacrifice many things for our country to become independent. But what does “Live Free or Die” say about Granite Staters today? As a group, create a motto wheel. Write “Live Free or Die” in a circle at the center. Work together to fill in the sections of the wheel with examples of what our motto tells others about the character and values of people in New Hampshire. Consider alternating between examples from the life of John Stark and examples from students’ lives or the lives of other inspiring people.

For more details on John Stark's life along with primary sources and a short biographical video of his life, look at the John Stark Primary Source Set.

The New Hampshire Historical Society thanks the following organizations for assisting in the making of this virtual field trip:

The Friends of Stark Park

Friends of the Bennington Battle Monument

Vermont Division for Historic Preservation

New York State Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation