Length: 15 min.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Symbols of America Lesson Plan
Symbols of America
This 10-part series is designed to help young learners understand and appreciate the images that have become the symbols that represent the greatness of the world’s mightiest nation. These images, recognized around the world, symbolize the American people, the American government, the ideals of American democracy and the determination to foster the American way of life.
1. The Constitution of the United States— Recognized around the world as a symbol of freedom and democracy, the U.S. Constitution sets the standards by which we elect our leaders and the guidelines for writing the laws by which we all live. But most importantly, it outlines the freedoms we are all guaranteed as citizens of the United States of America. Exactly how this historic document grants power to the people and how it works to insure freedom in our everyday lives is a very interesting story indeed. It remains the responsibility of “WE THE PEOPLE”, to continue to protect the meaning and intent of this historic and great symbol of America. Teacher Guide
2. The Declaration of Independence— Young viewers will enjoy learning the intent, meaning, and importance of our country’s founding document, the Declaration of Independence. This early symbol of America is the cornerstone for our ideals of life, liberty and the personal pursuit of happiness. Combined with the role of a responsible government to its citizens, the Declaration Of Independence is the very foundation of our democratic nation. Teacher Guide
3. The U.S. Capitol Building— Youngsters will be fascinated by the unique history and importance of one of America’s greatest symbols of democracy, the United States Capitol Building in Washington DC. From its early design to its imposing position on Capitol Hill, viewers will understand that this remarkable structure symbolizes the will & strength of the American people and the principles of modern democracy to citizens the world over. Teacher Guide
4. Uncle Sam— Students will be amazed to learn how “Uncle Sam” our national symbol derived from a real man named Samuel Wilson and how this unique image helped recruit soldiers during both World War I and II. By understanding symbols like “Uncle Sam”, youngsters will appreciate their value and gain insight into their purpose and powerful message. Teacher Guide
5. The White House—During this program viewers will discover this famous home’s most important features, meet some of the first families who have occupied 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., view the oval office, treaty room and familiar east room. They will also observe White House ceremonies honoring some of the best achievers America has to offer. Teacher Guide
6. The American Bald Eagle— The bald eagle was chosen June 20, 1782 as the emblem of the United States of America, because of its long life, great strength and majestic looks. On the Great Seal of the United States and in many places, which are exponents of our nation’s authority, we see this same emblem. One of the places we see this emblem is the United States Dollar. Students will be amazed at how both the Bald Eagle and the US Dollar came to be so symbolic of the United States. Teacher Guide
7. Images of Liberty (The Statue of Liberty, The Liberty Bell)— A chime that changed the world occurred on July 8, 1776, when the Liberty Bell rang out from the tower of Independence Hall summoning citizens to hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. One hundred and ten years later the French gave to the U.S. the Statue Of Liberty, which has become the universal symbol of political freedom and democracy. Since that time it has stood for the ideals of America perhaps more then any other American symbol. In this video students will learn the history and importance of these two important American Symbols. Teacher Guide
8. The U. S. Flag— The story of the American flag is told, from Revolutionary War days to the present. Viewers see many of the flags that have flown over the United States: the Join or Die, the Don’t Tread On Me, the Continental Colors, and, of course, the Stars and Stripes, while learning the historical background of each one. Youngsters learn what the flags symbolize, what the various parts mean, and how to maintain and properly display the American flag. A special section explains how the flag prompted Francis Scott Key to write “The Star Spangled Banner” and tells when and under what circumstances the “Pledge of Allegiance” was written. Fun facts, such as the far-flung places the Stars and Stripes have been flown, why our flag is known as Old Glory, and the world’s largest flag, are presented. Teacher Guide
9. Monuments – Monuments exist to remind us of a special person… a historic time… a significant achievement. a revered place or even an idea. In this age appropriate program we look at important monuments that honor the beauty of our country, the spirit of our people and the strength of our democratic ideals. Teacher Guide
10. Memorials – A memorial is a symbol created to honor and share the memory of those we have loved and lost. Memorials can be very large such as the Jefferson Memorial in our nation’s capital or they can be as simple as a marker in a field or picture on a wall. For young viewers, we take a look at some of the many memorials that have been created to celebrate important people, historic events, and the American way of life. Teacher Guide
11. Patriotism – Young citizens learn that patriotism is hard to define, but easy to display. They’ll understand that the earliest patriots were our founding fathers. And from their guidance our love of country continues to grow. Our patriotic pride begins at home but quietly spreads into our community and over state borders, filling the entire country. But American patriotism doesn’t stop there. It flows across the continent and around the globe. From waving it to wearing it, the American people symbolize patriotism, and America is considered the most patriotic country in the world. Teacher Guide
12. Anthems – An anthem is a stirring song that when played, reminds all who are listening about their country. So it is for Americans when we hear the Star Spangled Banner. But the Star Spangled Banner hasn’t always been our National Anthem, it was just one of several that vied for the right to be so named. Viewers will enjoy the music and interesting historic backgrounds of these symbolic anthems, making for a cadence marked lesson in early American history. Teacher Guide
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Assignment: The World has been discontinued by the producer and is no longer available for broadcast.
PBS Newshour Extra’s Daily News Story is a great alternative.