Learning Resource Type

Lesson Plan

Symbols All Around Us

Subject Area

Digital Literacy and Computer Science
Social Studies




This lesson will focus on American symbols. Students will identify American symbols and explain how they represent the United States of America. Symbols include the Liberty Bell, Bald Eagle, Statue of Liberty, United States Flag, Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial. Students will work in pairs and conduct research about American symbols and create a digital story about a symbol of their choosing.

This lesson was created as part of a collaboration between Alabama Technology in Motion and ALEX.

    Social Studies (2010) Grade(s): 2


    Identify national historical figures and celebrations that exemplify fundamental democratic values, including equality, justice, and responsibility for the common good.

    Unpacked Content



    • historic figures (male and female)
    • celebrations
    • exemplify
    • democratic values
    • recognize
    • founding fathers
    • significance
    • national holidays
    • American symbols
    • monuments


    Students know:
    • Fundamental democratic values including equality, justice, and responsibility for the common good.
    • The names and significance of national historic figures, both male and female.
    • The significance of national holidays and the relationship of each to democratic values.
    • The history and significance of American symbols and monuments.
    • Vocabulary: democratic values, equality, justice, responsibility, common good, founding father, national holiday, American symbol, monument


    Students are able to:
    • Identify national historic figures and celebrations.
    • Identify the ways historic figures and celebrations exemplify fundamental democratic values.
    • Recognize our country's founding fathers and other historic male figures.
    • Recognize historic female figures.
    • Describe national holidays, including the significance of each and the democratic values associated with each.
    • Identify American symbols and monuments and describe the history and significance of each.


    Students understand that:
    • There is an importance and impact of national historic figures and celebrations.
    Digital Literacy and Computer Science (2018) Grade(s): 2


    Locate and curate information from digital sources to answer research questions.

    Unpacked Content



    • video
    • text
    • image
    • webpage
    • ebook
    • search engine
    • key words
    • phrases


    Students know:
    • search engines use key words and phrases to find specific information.
    • devices give access to many different forms of information.


    Students are able to:
    • choose and type key words and phrases into a search engine that results in specific information pertaining to a topic when given support and guidance from an adult.
    • use + symbol which combines to words/phrases and quotation marks which tell the search engine to look for an entire phrase.
    • find information about a specific topic or to answer a specific question using a digital resource such as a webpage, ebook, and/or video.


    Students understand that:
    • a search engine will find specific resources and information for you based on key words.
    • answers to questions can be found in many different digital resources such as a webpages, ebooks, and/or video.
    • one can focus a search by using the + symbol and quotation marks around words or phrases one wishes to search for as a whole.
    Digital Literacy and Computer Science (2018) Grade(s): 2


    Create a research-based product using online digital tools.

    Unpacked Content



    • online


    Students know:
    • information can be gathered about a topic using a digital tool.
    • information can be organzied about a topic using a digital tool.
    • how to use an appropriate online digital tool to present information about a topic.


    Students are able to:
    • research about a topic.
    • collect information about a topic.
    • organize and display what they learned using an online digital tool.


    Students understand that:
    • An online digital tool can be used to organize and display information and ideas.

    Primary Learning Objectives

    • I can name and identify United States symbols.
    • I can collaborate with my classmates and create a digital story about a United States symbol and discuss ways it represents our nation.



    Pose the question to students, “How are our lives represented by symbols?”

    To start the discussion about symbols, ask students what symbols are. Working with a partner, students will use the ABC Brainstorm Strategy to list types of symbols they know. 

    ABC Brainstorm Activity- Students brainstorm a word or idea that begins with each letter of the alphabet and is related to a key topic or text.

    Students will discuss the question “How do American national symbols represent our beliefs?” Students will turn and talk to their side partners and discuss this question together and then as a whole group. Students will take a teacher made survey using Google Forms for what they believe the mascot for a new school should be. As a group, we will discuss questions that individuals have to ask themselves before deciding on a national symbol. The teacher will narrow down their survey list to about six different mascot choices and then students will compare and contrast the mascots to determine which one best fits the values and beliefs of a new school.

    Example of What Should Our School Mascot Be? Google Form Link-  https://goo.gl/forms/t2jmUxyw7DmTh8C92 


    Lesson 1

    Pre-Lesson Activity- Research

    Students can read about symbols on their iPads through an app named Epic. This is a digital library for kids where they can explore their interest. Some of the books on Epic on symbols include The Liberty Bell, The Star-Spangled Banner, The Bald Eagle, What’s Inside The Lincoln Memorial, The Statue of Liberty, and The American Flag. These books also have videos linked to them. The teacher will assign one symbol to a pair of students to research.  The students will look up books, using Epic, on their chosen symbol. The students should be able to answer these questions after they have done their research.

    1. What does my symbol represent?
    2. When was my symbol chosen to be an emblem of the USA?
    3. What characteristics does my symbol have and why was it chosen to be a symbol of the USA?
    4. Does my symbol represent values that every citizen in the United States should have for their country?  

    Students will find a picture on Epic of their symbol and post it to their Seesaw journal. They will record themselves discussing what they have learned about their symbol and answer the questions listed above.

    Students will create 3-5 slides using Google Slides. They must include the answers to the questions above as part of the information on the presentation. They will present their findings to the whole class so that the students can have a chance to learn about many different symbols in the United States.

    Post-lesson Activity

    Students will watch this video about Symbols in the USA. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUd0aVXrn6g

     Lesson 2 - Digital Story

    Ask students the following question: “What symbols were chosen to represent the United States of America's values and beliefs?” Discuss this question in pairs and then as a whole class. Ask the students which symbol of the United States is their favorite and why. After students have done their research in Learning Activity #1, students will choose a symbol they have researched and will create a digital story explaining how the symbol symbolizes the United States of America’s values and beliefs.

    Before creating their digital story, students must first create a storyboard/script that contains all of the information about their selected national symbol. They will work with a partner to create their storyboard and follow the storyboard rubric to complete this writing assignment. Students will record their digital story using Screencast. Students’ storyboards will be added to their Seesaw journal.

    Storyboard Rubric https://bit.ly/2raGwgG 

    Screencast https://screencast-o-matic.com/

    Teacher Example:

    https://bit.ly/2r1cjzG Storyboard

    https://www.screencast.com/t/CZwyT6gtav Screencast of the Bald Eagle

    http://www.berry.edu/eaglecam/ Link to Eagle’s Nest at Berry College


    Revisit the question: How are our lives represented by symbols? Allow the students to share their responses.

    Once students’ storyboards are added to their Seesaw journal, students’ Seesaw journals can be shared with their parents and other students. Students will make positive comments about their peers’ storyboards and discuss things they enjoyed about their storyboard/digital recordings.  

    Assessment Strategies

    ABC Brainstorm Activity- activates student's prior knowledge of American symbols and gets them interested in the lesson.

    Storyboard/Script Rubric- scaffolds student's creation of a digital story script and storyboard.

    Students should include three photographs in their digital story that relates to their symbol. 

    Students must include at least five interesting facts about their symbol on their storyboard. 

    Students must use complete sentences on their storyboards. 

    Digital Storytelling Rubric- to scaffold students' creation of a digital story about a United States symbol and discuss ways it represents our nation.

    Students should include three photographs in their digital story that relate to their symbol. 

    Students must include at least five interesting facts about their symbol on their storyboard. 

    Students must use complete sentences on their storyboards. 

    Seesaw Journal- used to scaffold student learning about a United States symbol and discuss ways it represents our nation.


    Name ________________________


    Date _________________________


    Symbols All Around Use

    Student Digital Storyboard Checklist 

    1. I have three photographs that relate to my symbol on my storyboard. ______       

    2. I have five interesting facts about my symbol on my storyboard.         ______       

    3. I have used complete sentences.                                                       ______

    4. I have spellchecked my storyboard and spelled words correctly.           ______


    • Have students serve as an expert in researching symbols on U.S coins/bills. They will present their findings to the class.
    • Have students decide what kind of symbol they want to go on a new coin/bill that is being printed in the United States.


    • Break down each assignment into smaller assignments.
    • Provide facts on different symbols for students.
    • Assign students with helpful partners and give additional adult assistance and additional time to complete work.

    Approximate Duration

    Total Duration

    Greater than 120 Minutes

    Background and Preparation


    • Students should be aware of some United States symbols and monuments. Students should have some prior knowledge of what some of the symbols represent and why they are important to our nation’s history.
    • Teachers should create a Seesaw account so that students can post their assignments to their Seesaw journal. They need an EPIC account and access to Screencast. The teacher should also create a Google form of for mascot choices for the students to vote on.
    • Students should be familiar with Seesaw, Google Slides, EPIC, and Screencast.
    • Seesaw is a student-driven digital portfolio that empowers students to independently document what they are learning at school.
    • Epic is a digital learning library for kids. Students can choose from thousands of high-quality books. 
    • Screencast is used to create an audio recording and includes an image of the book cover.

    Materials and Resources

    Materials and Resources

    • Google Form Survey to vote on the school mascot
    • Kid-friendly/high-interest books on U.S. symbols
    • iPads/computers/tablets for research
    • EPIC App and account for students to gather information about their symbols (digital books are on this site)
    • Paper
    • Pencils

    Technology Resources Needed

    • iPads/Computers