Our National Symbol

Social Studies Lesson Plan
Students will know what their country's national symbol is and understand what the symbol represents. They will create their own national symbol and be able to explain what it represents and why they think it would be appropriate.

Lesson Plan graphic

picture of your national symbol; large piece of butcher paper for each group or section; markers; plain white 12"x18" paper—heavy, large, thick pieces; pencils; crayons or colored pencils

  1. Ask the class what the national symbol is. Let them make several guesses.
  2. In groups, have students brainstorm why this is the symbol, what it represents, what it says about our country, and if it is fitting. For example, the US has the bald eagle as its symbol. It represents freedom, liberty, and strength.
  3. Let groups share their ideas.
  4. Ask students how it would be different if the national symbol were a poisonous snake, a cigarette, or a gun. [In the United States, Benjamin Franklin once said that the national symbol for the US should be the turkey—how would this have changed the way the US is viewed? What would it have represented?]
  5. Have students in groups come up with a national symbol for your country. They need to describe it and explain why they chose it. What would it represent for you country?
  6. Have each group make a final draft. They should write down characteristics of the symbol they chose that embody the country. Let them be creative by making the paper into the shape of their symbol, adding decoration, etc. Each group needs to give a "mini" report on their symbol.

Attach each symbol to the chalkboard with magnets or prop them up against the board; include a picture or poster of the actual national symbol for comparison. Have students vote on which symbol they think is the most appropriate. They can make a mark under the one they choose or you can do an anonymous vote on paper and tally under each selection. Discuss results. Why does it matter which symbol is chosen? Where else are symbols needed and used?

Did students choose a symbol that was suitable? Were they able to support their choice? Did they understand the concept of representation and were they able to suggest ideas that your national symbol represents? Did they understand why certain animals/objects would not make good symbols? Do they understand why selection of a symbol is important? Were they able to recognize other places where symbols are used?