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A Salute to Flag Day

Flag Day recognizes the June day in 1777 when the Continental Congress adopted the "Stars and Stripes" as the official flag of the United States. Following are classroom activities to recognize and celebrate Flag Day--June 14.

THE LESSONFirst U.S. flag

Collect a variety of books and other resources on the subject of the U.S. flag. In the days leading up to June 14, invite students to use the Internet and the other resources you've collected to learn more about the U.S. flag. Ask students to record in their notebooks any facts they find that they didn't know before about the flag or Flag Day. Set aside a special time a day or two before Flag Day for students to share the facts they've collected. Those facts might include a few of the following:

  • In 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote a poem, "Defense of Fort McHenry," when he saw the flag still flying the morning after an attack by the British. Today, that poem is known by another name: "The Star-Spangled Banner."
  • The Flag Act of 1818 states that a star be added for any new state on the Fourth of July following that state's admission.
  • Flag Day was observed for the first time in 1877, the 100th anniversary of the adoption of our country's red-white-and-blue banner.
  • Students first said the Pledge of Allegiance in 1892, the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas.
  • In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson established Flag Day as an annual national celebration.
  • Congress officially recognized Flag Day by passing the National Flag Day Bill in 1949, during President Harry Truman's administration.
  • In 1983, the world's largest flag was displayed in Washington, D.C. The flag, which measured 411 feet by 210 feet, weighed 7 tons! Each star measured 13 feet across!


50 Star Flag

The Great Debate: Who Designed the U.S. Flag?

Who designed the U.S. flag? Ask that question of your students, and chances are they'll say Betsy Ross designed the U.S. flag. But did she?

No one knows for sure who designed the U.S. flag or who created the first one. Today, most experts agree that Francis Hopkinson, a delegate to the Continental Congress from New Jersey, designed the flag. But, in 1870, William J. Canby claimed that his grandmother, a seamstress from Philadelphia named Betsy Ross, made the first U.S. flag.

Challenge students to use the Internet and other resources to learn more about this debate and to come to their own conclusions about who designed the first U.S. flag.

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Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World® Editor in Chief
Copyright 2015 © Education World


Last updated May/19/ 2015