Lesson Plan - Get It!
What are things that symbolize the United States? What does it mean to "symbolize" something?
There are several different images that are used to symbolize the United States and the ideals it stands for.
A symbol is an image or object that stands for or represents something. The bald eagle is a symbol of American freedom seen on money, and the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of freedom in the heart of New York City. Of the symbols used to represent the United States, the most famous is the American flag.
Did you know everything on the American flag represents something? Let's start with the stars. Count how many stars are on the flag. When you finish counting, tell your teacher or parent how many stars you counted.
You should have counted 50 stars on the flag. Why do you think there are 50 stars? There are 50 states in the United States. There is one star on the flag for each state. How do you think the flag would change if a new state were added to the United States?
Next, let's count the stripes. Tell your teacher or parent how many stripes are on the flag.
You should have counted 13 stripes. The United States was once part of Great Britain. When they declared independence from Great Britain in 1776, there were 13 colonies that made up the United States. Each stripe represents one of the original U.S. colonies.
There are three colors on the flag. Tell your teacher or parent what three colors are on the American flag. The American flag is colored red, white, and blue. Each of these colors stands for something different.
- Red stands for valor. Valor means having courage in the face of danger. Valor describes the United States because when they declared independence from Great Britain, it started a war against one of the biggest nations in the world. It was unlikely that the Americans would win the war against Great Britain, but they did. Valor is a characteristic the United States has continued to display throughout the years as it has opposed nations that wanted to destroy the right for all people to be free.
- White stands for liberty. Liberty means freedom. Freedom is one of the most important characteristics of the United States, because Americans have the freedom to say and do anything that is not against the law without getting into trouble. Many people around the world do not have this freedom.
- Blue stands for justice. Justice means being fair and reasonable. In the United States, all people are treated fairly and given the same rights.
Of the different characteristics represented by the colors on the U.S. flag, which do you think is most important: valor, liberty, or justice? Explain your answer to your teacher or parent.
You will watch a video that shares a brief history of the U.S. flag. As you watch the video, discuss the following questions with your teacher or parent. You can pause the video at any time while discussing the questions:
- Who made the first flag?
- Why did George Washington think a national flag was needed?
- How has the flag changed since 1776?
To discover the answers to these questions, watch “Independence Day and the History of the American Flag (Cool School)”
The U.S. flag is an important part of the history of the United States. It is also the symbol most commonly associated with the United States. Tell your teacher or parent what the American flag symbolizes. Then, move on to the Got It? section to see if you can use what you have learned to put together a puzzle of the American flag.