IF LINK DOES NOT WORK, GOOGLE HISTORY.COM MEMORIAL DAY and the correct site will come up.
The activity begins with a web based worksheet that has 14 questions from information on the website: www.history.com.
Students are then asked to watch a short video (about 3 minutes) and answer six corresponding questions. If your school computers do not support the video on the student account, I have shown this section to the class on my Smartboard and stopped it at various points to answers the questions together.
Then, students are asked to peruse 17 pictures that are related to Memorial Day and write a personal response on the five that were most relevant to them.
My favorite part is the map activity. First, copy the two flag outline so that it is two sided. Then my students wrote the Pledge of Allegiance on on side and lightly colored it in, and then colored the other side. After a presentation with a real flag by two of our boy scouts on the proper way to fold a flag, students practiced folding with their paper flags. It was so fun and a favorite of the students!
Finally, they are asked to consider the opinion of some groups to reestablish the original date of May 30th as Memorial Day and not worry so much about the three day weekend tradition. I have taken this opportunity to separate my students into two groups (one from each side of the debate) to brainstorm their ideas. Then they write a persuasive essay supporting their opinion. An organizer for this five paragraph essay is provided.
We culminate this activity with an actual debate, where each group picks three speakers and we have a class debate. They are given ample time to formulate their responses and come up with rebuttals for the opposing group. I allow a couple of weeks before the actual date of Memorial Day to complete all of these activities and break them up into several days. Enjoy!
** Extensions: Show your class a political cartoon of Memorial Day and the controversy regarding the change of the three day weekend. Challenge your students to draw their own!