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Design a New and Improved Military Uniform

Students will conduct research to learn about uniforms worn by people in different branches of the U.S. military. They will brainstorm ideas about how to improve the comfort, utility and/or appearance of the uniforms. They will create a detailed drawing of their ideas.

PROCESS: 

  1. As a class, identify each branch of the U.S. military. (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard) Invite students to share what they know about the uniforms people wear in each branch.
  2. Write the following words on the board: comfort, utility and appearance. As a class, discuss what these words mean. Identify reasons why each trait is an important part of a military uniform.
  3. Divide the class into small groups. Assign each group a branch of the military or instruct students to select a branch of their own. Have students conduct research to learn more about the uniforms worn by people in their assigned branch.
  4. Based upon their research, challenge students to identify one or more ways current military uniforms could be improved, particularly with respect to comfort, utility and appearance.
  5. Give groups time to brainstorm ideas and complete a detailed, color drawing of their new-and-improved uniforms. Instruct groups to create a display that showcases their new uniforms that identifies notable improvements in their designs. 

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to share their uniform designs with the class. Encourage classmates to examine the designs to determine how well the uniforms improve the comfort, utility and/or appearance of current military uniforms.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
Point out that people in the military have more than one type of uniform. For example, there are work uniforms and dress uniforms. Discuss instances where people might wear each one. Divide the class into six groups. Assign each group one branch of the U.S. military. Instruct groups to conduct research to learn about uniforms worn by people in their assigned branch. Provide assistance as needed. Have students brainstorm ideas to improve the comfort, utility or appearance of the uniforms. Challenge each group to design a work or dress uniform for people in their assigned military branch.
Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into six groups. Assign each group one branch of the U.S. military. Instruct groups to conduct research to learn about work and dress uniforms worn by people in their assigned branch. Have students brainstorm ideas to improve the comfort, utility or appearance of the uniforms. Challenge each group to design a work uniform and a dress uniform for people in their assigned military branch.
Grades 7-8: 
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to select a branch of the U.S. military. Have students conduct research to learn about the uniforms worn by people in their selected branch. Tell them to focus on either work or dress uniforms. Challenge students to identify one way to improve the comfort, utility and appearance of the work or dress uniforms worn by people in that branch of the military. 
Grades 9-10:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to select a branch of the U.S. military. Have students conduct research to learn about the work and dress uniforms worn by people in their selected branch. Challenge students to identify one way to improve the comfort, utility and appearance of both the work and dress uniforms worn by people in that branch of the military.