2nd Grade New York


This second-grade inquiry leads students through an investigation of symbols and representation. By investigating the compelling question “What symbol best represents the United States?” students explore what each American symbol represents, how we use these symbols, and what we, as US citizens, value. At heart, a symbol is a word, object, or action that represents something else; in this inquiry, each symbol represents a set of ideas that Americans recognize and value. The study of symbols, citizenship, and community provides the foundation for students to think critically about values that people hold dear and how those values may be expressed.


Compelling Question:

What Symbol Best Represents the United States?

Staging the Question:

Engage students in a discussion about why people use symbols.

Supporting Question What symbols represent the United States?

Formative Task Complete a What I Think / What I Learned / What I Know chart and share findings with a partner.

Sources Source A: Image bank: Symbols of the United States Source B: Symbols of the United States


Supporting Question Do symbols mean the same thing to everyone?

Formative Task Conduct a survey of how three others feel about a national symbol, and share the results with the class.

Sources Source A: Image bank: Symbols of the United States Source B: Symbols of the United States


Supporting Question How do people use the United States flag as a symbol?

Formative Task Discuss what the flag represents when it is used in different contexts.

Sources Source A: Image bank: Uses of the United States flag

Summative Performance Task

Argument: What symbol best represents the United States? Construct an argument that addresses the compelling question using specific claims and relevant evidence.

Taking Informed Action

Understand: Accomplished through Supporting Questions 1 and 2
Assess: Accomplished through Supporting Question 3
Act: Suggest a symbol for the class or school that represents an agreed-upon value. Conduct a class- or building- wide vote on whether to adopt the symbol.