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Military Decorations

Create colorful ribbons and medals worn by our brave soldiers with Crayola Color Sticks. Then use your imagination and design your own classroom ribbon or medal.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. The military has a rich tradition of recognizing outstanding service. The government started issuing medals and ribbons for heroism, service and campaign participation after the American Civil War. Ribbons are small rectangular bars of patterned fabric that are worn on service uniforms. Medals have an embossed piece of medal hanging from patterned fabric and are worn on full dress uniforms. Awards and decorations are created each time the military participates in a new campaign.
    2. There is a lot to learn when it comes to military decorations. Invite students to review the different award categories in the military, like personal decorations, distinguished service, campaign and service, achievement, commendation, etc. Have students look at all the different military awards on the internet or in reference books.
    3. When research is complete, ask students to select a military decoration to re-create.
    4. Begin by using a ruler to measure a piece of construction paper into two 4 in. x 9 in. (10.2cm x 22.9cm) rectangles with Crayola Color Sticks. Cut out the rectangles with Crayola Scissors.
    5. To create a ribbon, use Color Sticks to draw and color the pattern of the military decoration chosen on the rectangle horizontally. Use different techniques while coloring like pressure variation to lighten and darken colors or layering colors to create different hues. Color Sticks are also great for broad strokes, shadows and highlights.
    6. To create a medal, use Color Sticks to draw the same pattern on the rectangle vertically. Fold in the two corners of the rectangle to create a point on the bottom end of the rectangle. Use a glue stick to glue the folded corners.
    7. Use a lid or a can to trace a circle on a piece of construction paper. Cut it out with scissors. Color the circle and write in the name of the medal.
    8. Ask students to investigate someone that was awarded the medal they have re-created. Why was the medal awarded? Share this information with small groups of classmates.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

    LA: Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    SS: Give examples of how government does or does not provide for the needs and wants of people, establish order and security, and manage conflict.

    VA: Students will investigate, plan and work through materials and ideas to make works of art and design.

  • Adaptations

    Students investigate the role of the president as the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. armed forces. How many presidents served in the military before their terms of office? What branch of the service were they in? What was their rank? How many presidents did not serve in the military?

    Invite a community member that has served in the U.S. military to visit the class and share his experiences with the group. Prior to the visit, students compose questions for the visitor. Afterwards, students post learning to a class blog.

    Encourage students to research the history of Memorial Day and Veterans' Day. How are these holidays connected to the military?


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