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        North Dakota | Activity 7.2: The Great Seal of North Dakota

        After students view an image of the North Dakota Great Seal, they learn about all the images and symbols in it. Then students design their own seal that represents either their school or life.

        Lesson Summary

        After students view an image of the North Dakota Great Seal, they learn about all the images and symbols in it. Then students design their own seal that represents either their school or life.

        This lesson is part of "Great States | North Dakota | Unit 7: Statehood & Citizenship" - a survey of what it means to be a citizen of North Dakota. Learn about government structures and challenges citizens of North Dakota have faced.

        Time Allotment

        20 minutes

        Learning Objectives

        Standards: 

        4.2.1: Identify the symbols (i.e., bird, flower, flag, tree) that represent North Dakota.

        Supplies

        • Image: The Great Seal of North Dakota 
        • An interactive whiteboard, projector, or other type of screen to project an image to the class Construction paper
        • Markers, crayons, or colored pencils

        Directions

        1. Project the image of the ND Great Seal.


          [Source: North Dakota Studies - Great Seal of North Dakota.]

        2. Explain that each state has a unique seal of its own. A state’s seal is used on government documents and to identify government buildings and officials. Usually the seal of each state was created before the state flag, but because the seal usually contained important historical and cultural information about the state, it was often used as a part of the state’s flag. Most state flags were designed around the state seal or at least incorporate most of its elements.

        3. Point out that a state seal shows a state’s history and cultural origins. Ask students what they see on the North Dakota state seal. Have students discuss the symbols on the state seal of North Dakota and how each one relates to the history of North Dakota. Some of the elements and their accepted meanings are:

          1. Tree with three branches and three bundles of wheat around the trunk: the American Elm was adopted as the state tree in 1947; three branches of the government

          2. Plow: Agricultural background, main industry of the state

          3. Anvil: Agricultural background, main industry of the state

          4. Sledgehammer: Agricultural background, main industry of the state

          5. Bow with three arrows: History of the Northern Plains

          6. American Indian chasing a bison toward the setting sun: History of the Northern Plains and tribute to the American Indian tribes of North Dakota

          7. Half-circle of 42 stars: Represents the date of statehood (Although North Dakota is technically the 39th state, in 1889, four states entered statehood, bringing the count to 42 states.)

        4. Explain that each state seal usually has a state motto that captures the spirit and history of the state or expresses its basic ideals. Discuss with students the motto of North Dakota: “Liberty and Union Now and Forever One and Inseparable.” The motto is from Daniel Webster’s Reply to Hayne, a speech he gave to the United States Senate in 1830. It refers to the free nation, which cannot be divided.

        5. To conclude the lesson, have students create a seal for your school. Students should include symbols that have meaning to your school. They should also include a school motto. Students may instead choose to create a personal seal that includes symbols and a motto that have a personal meaning to them.

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