Out Of Many, One: Our Nation's Symbols

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Lesson At A Glance

This lesson is the first lesson in a unit and is centered around the idea of the importance/relevance/significance of our nation’s symbols, both man-made and natural.


  • Students will research and interview people about symbols
  • Students will have the opportunity to engage in discourse and begin to understand that there can be more than one point of view.
  • Design a symbol/crest representing who you are.

Standards Addressed

5.7..5 Discuss the meaning of the American creed that calls on citizens to safeguard the liberty of individual Americans within a unified nation, to respect the rule of law, and to preserve the Constitution.

5.7.3 Understand the fundamental principles of American constitutional democracy, including how the government derives its power from the people and the primacy of individual liberty.

Core Standard: 2.7 Creative Expression: Students communicate values, opinions or personal insights through an original work of art.

Core Standard: Historical and Social Sciences Analysis skills #3: Students explain how the present is connected to the past, identifying both similarities and differences between the two, and how some things change over time and some things stay the same.

Civics Standards, grade 5:  Know the songs that express American ideals (e.g., “America the Beautiful,” “The Star Spangled Banner”).

Common Core State Standards for ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects K-5

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening K-5

Comprehension and Collaboration

1. Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

2. Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

3. Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

Essential Questions/Issues: 

• Why are our nation’s symbols important?
• How does the use of symbols help convey a message? 


Students will write a paragraph describing their symbol and its significance.

Activity Steps:

Click here to download the activity steps

1. KWL chart regarding symbols

2. Teacher shows history channel video about statue of liberty, L Is For Liberty, find other videos of other nations’ symbols—flags, bald eagle, Liberty Bell, Star-Spangled Banner.

3. Sing the Star Spangled Banner and discuss meaning in groups and share-out

4. Use history/social studies text to discover symbols.

5. Interview adults/parents about symbols of America that portrays America for parents.  See homework, handout.

6. Students will then design a crest which symbolizes who they are. Students will begin in class and finish at home.

7. Students also write a paragraph describing and defining their crests.

8. Student work will be shared and displayed in class and in office.

EL and Special Needs:

By incorporating visual (video, reading), auditory (interview, discussion), shared reading, all students have the opportunity to access curriculum. Working in small groups will also provide role models for language.

Reflections Social Studies text, grade 5; videos (Brain Pop, PBS for Teachers, L is For Liberty; art materials ( 8x8 white paper, colored pencils, markers, rulers),


Outline of Unit Plan:

Out of Many, One