Classroom Resources

Monthly Themes

Memorial Day

Writing Prompt

Personal Narrative:

Soldiers playing taps is a traditional part of Memorial Day. People also celebrate the day with parades and picnics. Have students write several paragraphs about how they spent Memorial Day last year.

Activities

Pre-K–2: Social Studies
Windsocks

Young children can complete this fun and easy patriotic art activity.

Grades K–2: Social Studies
Symbol of Freedom

The Statue of Liberty is a powerful symbol of freedom, the ideal that so many Americans have fought and died for. Have your students color in a picture of the Statue of Liberty to celebrate Memorial Day.

Grades K–3: Social Studies
Illustrated Pledge

Have students color in a two-page illustrated version of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Grades K–3: Social Studies
Memorial Day Parade

Many communities hold a traditional Memorial Day parade with floats and marching bands. Students can make their own floats for a classroom parade. Have each student bring in a small cardboard box (such as a shoe box) to use as the base of the float. Provide crayons or markers and an assortment of red, white, and blue paper and other decorations.

Grades K–8: Social Studies
Memorial Day Greeting

A Memorial Day e-card is a thoughtful way for students to express their observance of this national holiday. Students can choose from historic motifs and poems.

Grades 1–3: Social Studies
Color the Flags

Have students color and compare the United States flag as it looked in 1777 and as it looks today.

Grades 1–8: Social Studies
Quizzes

Test students' knowledge about Memorial Day.

  • Memorial Day (grades 1–2) (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/may/pdf/memorial_1-2_quiz.pdf
  • Memorial Day Answer Key (grades 1–2) (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/may/pdf/memorial_1-2_quiz_key.pdf
  • Memorial Day (grades 3–5) (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/may/pdf/memorial_3-5_quiz.pdf
  • Memorial Day Answer Key (grades 3–5) (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/may/pdf/memorial_3-5_quiz_key.pdf
  • Memorial Day (grades 6–8) (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/may/pdf/memorial_6-8_quiz.pdf
  • Memorial Day Answer Key (grades 6–8) (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/may/pdf/memorial_6-8_quiz_key.pdf
Grades 2–4: Social Studies
Words to the Pledge

Have students draw an outline of the United States flag, including lines for the stripes. Have students write one line of the Pledge of Allegiance on each stripe.

Grades 2–5: Social Studies
Memorial Stamps

Have students create a postage stamp to honor a war hero. Students can draw or paste an image of the hero on the stamp. Students can then write important facts and dates about the hero on the back of the stamp.

Grades 1–8: Social Studies
Word Finds

Have students find Memorial Day words hidden in a puzzle.

  • Memorial Day (grades 1–2) (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/may/pdf/memorial_easy_wf.pdf
  • Memorial Day Answer Key (grades 1–2) (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/may/pdf/memorial_easy_wf_key.pdf
  • Memorial Day (grades 3–5) (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/may/pdf/memorial_med_wf.pdf
  • Memorial Day Answer Key (grades 3–5) (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/may/pdf/memorial_med_wf_key.pdf
  • Memorial Day (grades 6–8) (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/may/pdf/memorial_hard_wf.pdf
  • Memorial Day Answer Key (grades 6–8) (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/may/pdf/memorial_hard_wf_key.pdf
Grades 3–4: Social Studies
A Star Is Born

Have students follow a simple pattern to cut out a five-pointed star. Many historians believe this pattern was used to make the first U.S. flag. Students can decorate the classroom with this patriotic symbol.

Grades 3–6: Social Studies
The Colors of Honor

Students can learn about U.S. military history and about Medals of Honor while they color detailed drawings.

Grades 4–6: Social Studies
To Honor Our First Veterans

As yet, there is no monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., that honors the veterans of the nation's first war. Invite your students to design a Revolutionary War Memorial.

Grades 4–8: Social Studies/Language Arts
War Stories

An effective way to link the present to the past is to have students interview an adult—such as a teacher, a parent, or another adult—who served in a war or lived during a war. Students can ask the adult to describe an important memory.

Grades 4–8: Social Studies
An Alternative to War

In 1960 President John F. Kennedy proposed a unique organization, the Peace Corps. Students can learn more about the purpose of this volunteer organization and play a peaceful game.

Grades 4–8: Social Studies/Language Arts
What Freedom Means

Many wars are fought to bring or maintain freedom. Have students look up the word “freedom” in a dictionary and a thesaurus. Hold a class discussion on whether the definitions fully explain the meaning of freedom. Then have students write an opinion essay on what freedom means to them.

Grades 4–8: Social Studies
Final Farewell

Military funerals conclude with the playing of “Taps.” The simple but moving 24-note bugle call is also the Army's regular call at day's end. Have students learn the history of “Taps,” read the unofficial words, and listen to the call.

Grades 4–8: Social Studies
Hometown Memorials

Historic battlefields and war memorials are preserved by the U.S. National Park Service. Have students locate a memorial site in their state or town. Students can search by using a United States map or by selecting a category.

Grades 4–8: Social Studies
Famous Words on War and Peace

Create a bulletin board of famous quotations about war and peace. Have each student choose a quote and rewrite it in his or her own words. Post the original quote alongside the student's paraphrase.

Grades 4–8: Social Studies/Language Arts
Poems That Honor

Have students explore the meaning of Memorial Day through poetry.

Grades 5–8: Social Studies/Language Arts
A New Law to Honor American Veterans

An important new law now allows most United States veterans to receive a formal military funeral. However, few families are aware of this recent decision. Have students write a short news article for their school or community newspaper that explains the new law and describes the military ceremony. Ask students to think of other ways to inform families of this new law, such as sending information to local hospitals, nursing homes, and senior centers.

Grades 5–8: Social Studies
Conflict Resolution

More and more students are realizing the serious consequences of personal disputes. Have students learn how to consider alternatives before reacting to a conflict.

Grades 6–8: Social Studies/Language Arts
The General's Order

Have students read the first two paragraphs of General John A. Logan's Memorial Day Order. Then have students paraphrase this primary source document.

Grades 7–8: Language Arts
Crossword Puzzle

Have students test their knowledge of military words.

  • Memorial Day (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/may/pdf/memorial_xword.pdf
  • Memorial Day Answer Key (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/may/pdf/memorial_xword_key.pdf
Grades 7–8: Social Studies
Patriotic Mail Quiz

During which war was the U.S. Postal Service created? Which President was the first on an adhesive stamp? Challenge your students with this quiz about war letters.

Grades 7–8: Social Studies
When Did They Serve?

Do your students know when the United States' major wars took place? Challenge them with this timeline matchup.


Houghton Mifflin