Overview: Free united states social studies lesson plan. Students explore common national symbols of the United States, including their history, usage, and significance, before presenting a symbol in a small group.
Subject: Social Studies & History: Cultural & Social Studies, United States History; English Language Arts: Reading Informational Text
Grades: 3rd, 4th, 5th
Duration: 4 days
Related Concepts: Fourth of July, American Symbols, American Holidays
Students will be able to:
- Identify common national symbols of the United States and explain their signification in a group presentation.
Essential Questions: What symbolizes the United States? Why are these symbols important?
Vocabulary: national symbols
Common Core Standards Addressed:
- ELA: Informational Text
- RI.3.1, 2, 3
- RI.4.1, 2, 3
- RI.5.1, 2, 3
- Internet access
- Projection system
Show students pictures of United States symbols, either printed or projected onto the board. Ask what each image has in common with the others. Record student answers. If students do not suggest "national symbols," guide them to this conclusion or specifically share this answer.
In partners or small groups, read National Symbols and complete the included worksheet. Check answers as a class and discuss the passage. Talk about other national symbols beyond the examples in the passage and create a list.
Small groups research a national symbol (use the class-created list). They should research the symbol's history, location, important facts, and significance.
Following their research, each group presents their national symbol to the class using a PowerPoint presentation or a poster presentation. Research should include trade books, textbooks, and kid-safe Internet resources.
Have class write an exit ticket that notes which symbol represents the United States most effectively for them.
- Assess groups and individual students on their final presentation and participation.
- For English learners and struggling readers, frontload the relevant vocabulary before assigning the class reading.
- Allow advanced readers to choose symbols that may not be as common, such as Half Dome from Yosemite National Park or the Ford Model T automobile
Students can extend these research projects into writing assignments, conducting additional research or creating fictional trips to their national symbol or landmark.
Have learners choose a symbol for themselves, their school, their family, or their town, and create an explanatory poster.