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Flag Day and Civics with Maps101

Posted on June 13 2021

Flag Day and Civics with Maps101

Dear Educators,

Flag Day is June 14, which is an excellent opportunity to focus on civics with Maps101. Civic engagement has been on the decline according to the Brookings Institute. We don’t need researchers to explain this, however. Clear evidence of this decline is everywhere, from the news to social media. As educators, we are on the front line to have a direct effect on this issue. 

After all, civics is crucial as a twenty-first century skill, not just for students to succeed personally, but for the continued progress of the democracy we cherish in the United States. The institute agrees. They go so far as to say, “Americans’ participation in civic life is essential to sustaining our democratic form of government. Without it, a government of the people, by the people, and for the people will not last.” Thus, students need a strong understanding of the U.S. government, how it works, and their role as citizens, to be engaged in civic life. This is where educators can step in, and this is where Maps101 can support you in your efforts.

This week, Maps101 looks at the origins of one of the enduring symbols of the United States: the flag. We also delve into a Lesson Map specifically designed to strengthen twenty-first century students’ understanding of civics, in order to support their development of civic responsibility and engagement. 

Lesson Map:

The American Government

The first place to start is with our exclusive Lesson Map “The American Government.” This Lesson Map focuses on answering the following Essential Questions:

  • What are the three branches of the U.S. government?
  • What makes the two houses of the U.S. Congress different from one another?
  • Which officials are part of the executive branch of the U.S. government?
  • How does someone become a Supreme Court Justice?
  • What role does the system of checks and balances play in the U.S. government?

Using dynamic images and text, this Lesson Map provides all of the content needed for students to be able to answer these questions and more. To teach the lesson, we also provide a teacher wraparound edition with point-of-use suggestions for teaching the material and engaging student interest. Each teacher version also includes leveling for remediation, ELL, and extending the content for gifted and talented.

Clicking on the button opens a new window that includes a variety of tools to customize any map with the Map Sketch tool. You can crop, flip, rotate, or draw on it. You can add shapes and icons. A text tool allows you to add words on top of the map—adjusting font size, style, color, and more. You can even filter the colors, brightness, and other settings of the map itself.
Geography News Network
The U.S. flag is a recognizable icon of our country throughout the world. It is flown at the Olympic Games when a U.S. athlete reaches the podium for gold, silver, or bronze. The flag appears alongside the president when making speeches to the nation. It is flown at federal buildings, including post offices, and at U.S. embassies. The flag, also known as the “Stars and Stripes,” is a symbol of freedom and the ideals for which America stands. Read this week’s article to learn more about this dramatic, distinctive icon of America.

The “Pledge of Allegiance” to the Flag Worksheets

For younger students, you may want to assign them the “Pledge of Allegiance” Fill-in-the-Blank worksheet to complete.
For a more challenging worksheet, assign the “Pledge of Allegiance” Primary Source worksheet instead or in addition.

Key Moments in United States Flag History

You see the U.S. flag flying all over, no doubt. But do you know its history? The Map of the Week this week is all about the Stars and Stripes and important dates and locations in its history.


Assessing Background Knowledge Use the Essential Questions in the Lesson Map as a tool to test your students’ background knowledge. Focus on the sections of the Lesson Map that were especially unfamiliar. The Brookings Institute pointed out that only one in four U.S. citizens knew the branches of government, for example. 

Forming and Answering Questions Have students look at the Essential Questions provided for the Lesson Map on the American government and have them come up with six Supporting Questions for them to answer as they review the Lesson Map. Explain that asking and answering questions is a helpful way to increase reading comprehension. Pair students to exchange their Supporting Questions. Each student should be able to answer the questions provided by their partner. If unable, have both students scan the Lesson Map to find the answer. 

Synthesizing Help students synthesize what they have learned by having them design their own flag to represent the United States, based on what they have learned this week. Encourage students to identify what about America they think is important to feature in a flag. Students should understand that the flag is a national symbol and thus its elements have meaning.

High-quality geography products for the classroom. From globes to wall maps, atlases to games, offers a wealth of products to help put your classroom on the map.
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