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Flags Over Mississippi lesson plan

OVERVIEW

By studying the various flags that have flown over the area now known as the state of Mississippi, students will become aware of the state's rich, multi-cultural past. Additionally, students will understand that many factors can influence the design of a state's official flag. The following questions should be answered in this lesson:

How many flags have flown over Mississippi?

Why has Mississippi had two official state flags?

Explain why Mississippi, for several periods in its history, has not had an official flag.

CONNECTION TO STANDARDS

Mississippi Studies Framework: Competencies 1, 3, and 4.

TEACHING LEVELS

Grades 7 through 12

MATERIALS AND EQUIPMENT

Copies of Mississippi History Now articles, "Flags Over Mississippi," "A Brief History of the Confederate Flag," and "The Language of Flags: A Glossary."
Overhead Projector (optional)
Pictures/drawings of flags (see lesson explanation)
Unlined paper (8 x 11)
Colored pencils/markers

OBJECTIVES

Students will:

illustrate on a time-line the various flags which have flown over the Mississippi area from the period of exploration to 1860.

differentiate between the two official flags of the state.

suggest elements that might be incorporated into a new state flag.

OPENING THE LESSON

In a brainstorming session, students will list symbols/icons that are significant to them. (Examples of economic symbols: McDonald's arches, Nike swoosh; patriotic symbols: flag, eagle; religious symbols: cross, etc.) These will be written on the board or on the overhead. The teacher will lead a discussion in which students explore the emotions engendered by the symbols on their list. At this point, the teacher will display a picture (or drawing) of a flag emblazoned with a skull and crossbones and allow student reaction. Students should begin to understand the power of various symbols in our society.

DEVELOPING THE LESSON

1.

Ask students to name the most visible "symbol" of our nation. While their answers may vary, they probably will accept the U.S. flag as the most appropriate answer.

2.

After studying the U.S. flag (picture or actual classroom model), students will write a few notes explaining, in their opinion, the meanings of the various colors and elements of the flags design. Allow volunteers to share their observations.

3.

The teacher will tell students that much can be determined about our state's history by studying the flags that have flown over the area.

4.

Students will read the Mississippi History Now article, "Flags Over Mississippi," pages 1-5.

5.

Students will construct a time-line to show the various countries that explored and colonized the Mississippi area. In addition to dates, students should illustrate the time-line with drawings of the flags of those countries. The time-line should cover the years, 1540-1860.

6.

After completion of the time-line exercise, the teacher will conduct a class discussion to determine student understanding.

7.

The teacher will inform students that although Mississippi has had two official flags, for several long periods of its history, there was no official banner. Remind students that the state actually has not had an official flag since 1906. Tell students that they will research the situation by reading pages 6-11 of "Flags Over Mississippi." They will then choose ONE of the following activities to complete.

a.

Write detailed answers to questions 2 and 3 from the overview.

b.



Draw and color on a piece of unlined paper one of Mississippi's official flags. For the colors and elements of the flag, write an explanation in notes.

8.

To reinforce knowledge, the students will participate in a JEOPARDY game. The teacher will distribute (or display on overhead) answers to questions regarding the topic. Students, working in pairs, will devise thoughtful questions. When finished, one partner will move to a new group and compare answers. Teacher can use the questions in a variety of ways: oral review, summative test, etc.

CONCLUDING THE LESSON

Working in cooperative learning groups, students will list elements (colors, stars, icons) that they think would be appropriate to consider in designing a new flag for the state.

The lists will be combined and shared with the entire class. Students will have the opportunity to defend their choices.

ASSESSING STUDENT LEARNING

1.

Quality/completion of time-line

2.

Observation; student participation in class discussions and group activities

3.

Notes and/or drawing

4.

Participation in JEOPARDY activity

5.

Teacher-developed summative test

EXTENDING THE LESSON

1.

Students may read the additional Mississippi History Now article, "A Brief History of the Confederate Flags," and prepare (present) a special report or graphic.

2.

Students (either individually or in groups) will design a new flag for the state. By majority vote, a "winner" will be chosen. The students may like to design a flag for their class, as well.

3.

Students will research the controversy regarding the use of the Beauregard battle flag in the 1894 Mississippi state flag.

4.

Students may wish to interview (via e-mail or phone) a member of the Governor's Commission on the State Flag and share their experience with the class.

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