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Learn About a War Memorial

Students will select a war memorial and study its history. They will create a model of the memorial and then select an appropriate way to share what they learned with the class.

PROCESS:

  1. Remind students that Memorial Day is quickly approaching. Challenge the class to explain what Memorial Day is. (A federal holiday in the United States in which people honor and remember those who have died in service.) 
  2. Inform students that Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. Following the Civil War, people decorated soldiers' graves with flowers. Now, people often preserve the memory of important people or events with memorials. 
  3. Instruct students to conduct research to learn more about war memorials. Encourage them to select the one memorial that they think is the most interesting or that they found to be the most surprising. 
  4. Give students time to create a model of the memorial they selected. Then, challenge them to select an appropriate way to share the memorial's history with the class. Possibilities include writing a speech or story or creating a timeline or collage. Older students could also conduct interviews to learn what the memorial means to those it represents.    

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to share their memorial models and history presentations with the class. Based on what they've learned, encourage students to explain why they think the memorial is an effective way of honoring the person, group or event they studied. If not, challenge them identify what they would change.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:    

Grades 3-4:
As a class, conduct research to identify a variety of war memorials. Have students vote to select one war memorial to study further. Conduct research to learn about that memorial as a class. Then divide the class into small groups. Have each group create a model of the memorial. Then instruct groups to write a story or create a collage to tell about the memorial's history.

Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct groups to identify a variety of war memorials. Encourage them them select one memorial to study further. Give groups time to conduct research. Then have them create a model of the memorial they studied. Once the model is finished, challenge groups to write a story, draw a timeline or create a collage to tell about the memorial's history.

Grades 7-8: 
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct groups to identify a variety of war memorials. Then have them select one memorial to study further. There can be repeats. Give students time to conduct research. Have groups create a model of the memorial they studied. Then instruct them to select a suitable way to tell about the memorial's history. Encourage students to incorporate the interesting or surprising reasons why they chose to study this particular war memorial.

Grades 9-10:
Divide the class into pairs. Instruct partners to identify a variety of war memorials. Then have each pair select one memorial to study further. There can be repeats. Give students time to conduct research to learn more about this memorial. Then have partners create a model of the memorial they studied. In addition, instruct them to select a suitable way to tell about the memorial's history. If possible, have partners conduct interviews to learn what the memorial means to those it represents. Challenge them to find a creative way to work this information into their presentations. Encourage them to also incorporate the interesting or surprising reasons why they chose to study this particular war memorial.