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        Oregon | Activity 8.3: State Seal and Personal Seals

        Students examine the symbols, words, and images on the Oregon state seal. They then create personal seals to share with the class.

        Lesson Summary

        Students examine the symbols, words, and images on the Oregon state seal. They then create personal seals to share with the class.

        This lesson is part of "Great States: Oregon | Unit 8: Modern Oregon & State Symbols." In this unit, students will consider Oregon’s natural and cultural heritage, as well as the state’s current day strengths and challenges. Students also learn about the state’s symbols and their meanings.

        Time Allotment

        30 minutes

        Learning Objectives


        4.2: Explain how key individuals and events influenced the early growth and changes in Oregon.

        4.16: Explain the process of Oregon statehood.

        4.18: Identify key industries of Oregon.


        • Image: Oregon State Seal [Source: Wikimedia Commons.]

        • An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to show images to the class

        • Class set of Personal Seal circle sheets

        • Markers, crayons, or colored pencils


        1. Project the image, Oregon State Seal. Explain that the seal was adopted in 1859 when Oregon achieved statehood. The seal functions as a symbol for government documents and is featured on the state flag. Point out that the state seal includes symbols, words, and images to convey important ideas about Oregon’s history and values. Some elements can represent geography, industry, or historical moments.

        2. Ask students to list the symbols, words, and images they see on the seal and guess their meanings. Then, explain the following information:

          1. 33 stars and 1859 – admitted as the 33rd state in 1859

          2. Mountains and forests – natural beauty

          3. Elk – wildlife resources

          4. Wagon – role of the state’s settlers and early pioneers

          5. Pacific Ocean – hope for the future (Oregon opened up the waterways to trade)

          6. British ship leaving/American ship arriving – departure of British influence in the region and America’s rise to power

          7. Wheat, plow, and pick-ax – Oregon’s mining and agriculture resources

          8. “The Union” – Oregon’s old motto. Oregon’s current motto, “She Flies With Her Own Wings” was on the territory seal in Latin, but was changed to “The Union” during the Civil War. The motto was reverted to “She Flies With Her Own Wings” in 1987, because legislators thought it better-reflected Oregonian spirit, but it was never changed on the seal.

        1. Tell students that they will have the opportunity to design their own personal seals. Give them a few minutes to think of some of the key events in their past and things that are currently important to them.

        1. Then, distribute the Personal Seal circle sheet and have art supplies available. Each student will complete, and then explain, their personal seal.

        For more on the Oregon state seal, click here: Oregon Focus: State Symbols: Seal [Source: Oregon Blue Book.]


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