Entire Lesson in Printable .PDF
Grade Level 1st
Branches of the Military and Blue/Gold Star Flags
The Service flag, also called the Blue Star Flag, was designed and patented by WWI Army Captain Robert L. Queisser of the 5th Ohio Infantry who had two sons serving on the front line. The flag quickly became the unofficial symbol of a child in service and became very popular during WWII. The number of stars on the flag indicated the number of siblings in the service. If a service member was killed the color of the star(s) would be changed to gold.
This activity will require adult guidance and supervision. The directions below are for your guidance only. Please feel free to add content and information as you wish. We hope that this activity will create a sense of curiosity and spur questions from the youngsters so that he/she will gain a better understanding and appreciation for those serving in the armed forces. The following link will be helpful in explaining the origin and meaning of Blue and Gold Star flags:
1) Students will be introduced to the six branches of military service; Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and Space Force
2) Students will become familiar with family members who have served or who is currently serving in the military
3) Students will become familiar with the Blue and Gold Star flags used in WWII
4) Students will make and color a blue star flag for display in their home
- Give the student a general overview of this activity and then tell them that the first thing you want to do is to talk with them about military service and your family history of military service.
Start by asking the student if he/she can name any of the six main military branches of the service. Follow-up by naming the six branches and then show them the following pictures of each branch of service:
2. This next part is designed to help the student become aware of family members who served in the military and to become familiar with their 10th Mtn. Div. family member(s).
Ask, “Is there anyone in our family that you know who served in the military?” Give them a chance to answer and then begin with their WWII 10th Mtn. Div. or current 10th Mtn. Div (LI) soldier. Then name all family members who served in the military since WWII. If you have photos of those family members in uniform this would be a good time to show them and to talk about them.
Write down the names of each family member who served in the military and the name of the branch of service. Talk about “service,” what it means to serve and the various ways in which an individual can serve their country.
Highlight your WWII or recent 10th Mtn. Div. (LI) family member and how proud the family is of his/her service.
This might lead to a real nice conversation about the military, service, 10th Mtn. Div. family, or just other questions that may come up.
3. Next, in your own words, give a little background to how the Blue Star Flag originated. Emphasize that proud parents wanted to show a way in which they could let neighbors know that they had sons/daughters serving in the military and that during WWII almost every neighborhood had blue star flags in their windows. Tell them that each blue star represented one son/daughter serving in the military and that, while during WWII, the blue stars represented sons serving in the military, in more recent times women also have served honorably in the military.
4. In this section the student will make a Gold Star paper flag. It won’t be representing the number of family members in the service but will give them a sense of what the flag symbolized and meant to the families at home. Below are examples of Blue Star flags.
The student will now drawq and color a blue star flag. Knowing that each star represented the number of siblings serving in the military ask the student how many brothers and sisters they have, including themselves. Ask the student, if all of your brothers ans sisters were in the military, how many stars would there be in the flag? And if you were also in the military along with your brothers and sisters what would be the total number? Use this number for the number of stars to be drawn on the flag.
Using a legal size sheet of paper have the student draw a border on the legal size paper, about an inch to an inch and a half wide on all four sides of the paper. This border is to be colored red. This will leave a white rectangle. Then have the student draw the number of stars determined above within the white rectangle and have them color the stars blue. Or they could cut out stars, color them blue and then glue them in the white rectangle. Actually, there are probably a number of ways in which this could be done. Let their creativity flow! In any case you get the idea of the activity.
5. Once the flag is completed have the student tape the flag on a front window for others to see. Even though theyare way to young to be in the service it will give them a sense of what families at home felt having a flag in the window. Have them keep the flag displayed in the window for one week. This will give them a chance to see the flag whenever they enter and, hopefully, make the activity more meaningful.
6. Take a picture of the completed Blue Star flag either with or without the student included in the photo. We would like to include the photo of the flag with the student but will need your permission to do so.
7. After a week or whenever you determine, have the student take down the flag and bring it to a family meal. Then give some closure to this activity by praising the child for completing this activity, by remembering those who are currently serving in the armed forces, that we should continue to have them in our thoughts and prayers, that we are thankful for all the soldiers who died during war and their families who lost a son or daughter and that, if, when they grow up and choose to serve in the military you would be proud of them!
8. Once completed, email the photo to Val Rios at email@example.com. Please also include the name and mailing address of the family to whom you wish the Certificate of Completion and award is to be sent. Or, if you prefer, you may mail the completed photo to:
6816 S. Maple Ave
Fresno, CA 93725
As mentioned above, we would like to include the picture of the student and Blue Star Flag in the next edition of the Blizzard but will need your permission. Please indicate your approval with submission of the photo.
We hope you and the student enjoyed this activity and would welcome any comments or suggestions!