If you were in the military, what kind of animal would you want to have as a mascot? Why?
According to the article, military mascots often acted as soldiers' companions, boosting morale when times got tough. They also performed a wide range of duties on the battlefield. Which of these contributions do you think was most important? Why?
According to the article, many military animals never received recognition for their hard work and dedication. In fact, it wasn't until historians began digitizing thousands of photos that the abundance of animals was even noted. Do you think it's important for people to know these animals' stories now? Why or why not?
During World War I, a dog named Rags became a pivotal member of the First Division. He delivered messages, warned soldiers when shells were coming and even helped check the mines. Today, the military has technology that can do all of these things. Given that, do you think there is any reason for the military to continue to use service animals on the battlefield? Why or why not?
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Use this lesson from the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation to guide students as they explore monuments in our nation’s capital. Then encourage them to use their imagination and creativity to design and build a model of their own monument.
They are studied in school and visited by millions. They are world-renowned symbols of our nation. But they are also shrouded in misinformation, mystery and mythology. How much do we really know about America’s greatest monuments? Watch these Smithsonian Channel videos to get a glimpse of the amazing stories they have to tell.
In this History Explorer activity, the National Museum of American History takes elementary students on a digital field trip to learn more about the Pentagon’s memorial for September 11, 2001. Then they visit a local memorial.
The National Mall is home to the history, heroes and hope of America. Encourage students to visit this site from the Trust for the National Mall to download an interactive map and timeline or learn about the memorials that make up America’s most visited national park. You can also learn how to use the National Mall as an outdoor classroom, whether visiting the Mall or exploring from home.
One hundred years later, WWI will finally get a large-scale memorial in Washington, D.C. Read this Smithsonian article to learn more.
Although written in 1995, the lessons in this issue of the Smithsonian’s Art to Zoo publication do a great job of familiarizing students with memorials. Through a series of activities, students learn to ask and answer important questions about memorials: What are they made of? For whom or what were they created? What meanings do they hold? As a culminating activity, students identify and create a memorial for someone they have “lost.”