Celebrating Flag Day in the classroom

Celebrating Flag Day in Your Social Studies Classroom

Flag day is upon us, and it is the best time to go over U.S. history with our students.

Many students do not know the importance of the 13 stripes and have no clue our flag had 13 original stars.

Now more than ever, it is essential for students to know the history of America as we begin the journey of ending racism through our teaching.

There are so many variations of the American flag for students to analyze, as it shows the evolution of the United States.

Some of my favorite versions of the flag are:

Betsy Ross 1776

File:Flag of the United States (1777-1795).svg - Wikimedia Commons

Great Star 1818

File:US 20 Star GreatStar Flag.svg - Wikimedia Commons

Concentric Circle 1877

File:US 38 Star Flag concentric circles.svg - Wikimedia Commons


Flag day was started by a school teacher, Bernard Cigrand, in 1885 as an annual celebration in his school. This celebration was then made official by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916.

Since then, we have celebrated flag day, but I see it is celebrated mostly in elementary schools. This lack of recognition saddens me as
it is an opportunity to teach older students not only about the flag but how the flag has been used as a political statement throughout the years.

How can I teach

World History-During the Vietnam war, the American flag was burned as an act of protest. This act could start a great discussion on how citizens reactions to “unnecessary” war.

American History– Students can research the role of Betsy Ross in the creation of the first American flag

Civics- Students can evaluate the case Texas v. Johnson 1989 and the impact of the ruling on the 1st amendment.

Geography- Students can look at the flags of the centuries and identify which states are added with each flag. This activity would be a great research activity for students to look up state admittance dates.

Economics-the Flag Code says that the American Stars and Stripes should not appear on specific apparel and decorative items. Students can research how the implications of this part of the code were enforced.

Fun Activity- Students can practice how to fold a flag correctly! This hands-on would be the beginning of the school year activity.

Another activity for flag day is for students to analyze interpretations of the American flag such as the:
Afro-American Flag by David Hammons
Asian American Flag by Hoong Yang Chang

File:Hammons flag.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
Afro-American Flag by David Hammons

Feel free to take my suggestions or download my very simple flag day activity in my free resource library! 😁

  1. https://www.mtsu.edu/first-amendment/article/1079/flag-protection-acts-of-1968-and-1988
  2. https://www.history.com/news/95-years-of-flag-day

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