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Nebraska State Symbols: Activities For Your Grade School Class

written by: Afua Saafir • edited by: Amanda Grove • updated: 7/31/2014

This lesson plan can work as a review lesson for a unit on Nebraska's state symbols. You can also use it to introduce the students to an overall unit on Nebraska and its history. Fun hands-on activities will help to keep your third and fourth grade students fully engaged and excited about learning.

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    Nebraska Lesson Overview

    Nebraska's state bird is the western meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta). The original people to inhabit what is now called Nebraska included the Omaha, Cheyenne and Pawnee tribes. The French first came to the area in the 1600s, and the land later became a part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. On March 1, 1867, Nebraska became the 37th state to be admitted to the Union. It currently has two nicknames: the Cornhusker State and the Beef State. Lincoln is its capitol and is one of many popular attractions. Others include the Agate Fossil Beds and the Scott's Bluff National Monuments. Nebraska is a top producer of grains like wheat and corn. The Missouri River forms its eastern border and Wyoming and Colorado are to the southwest.

    Topic: State Symbols (Lesson Plans on Nebraska State Symbols)

    Subjects: Geography, Science, Social Studies

    Title: Nebraska State Symbol Flash Cards

    Grade: 3rd - 4th

    Time: 1 hour

    Objective: Students will review Nebraska's state symbols and identify relating facts.

    Materials: laptop or computer with internet access and speakers, index cards, Nebraska state books, brochures and handouts, glue sticks, scissors

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    Lesson Introduction

    Pass out a written copy of Nebraska's state song, Beautiful Nebraska, to each of the students. Have them read over the lyrics silently, and then ask for a volunteer to read them aloud. Play both the musical and spoken word versions of the song. Ask the students to share their thoughts and feelings about the style and message of the song.

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    Group Activity

    Divide the students into small groups. Give each group a Nebraska state symbol book, brochure and handouts with small images of Nebraska State Flag the following state symbols:


    Gemstone - blue agate

    Rock - prairie agate

    Flower - goldenrod (Solidago serotina)

    Tree - cottonwood (Populus deltoides)

    Bird - western meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)

    Fish - channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus)

    Insect - honeybee (Apis mellifera)

    Mammal - white-tailed deer (Ocodoileus virginianus)

    Direct the students to use the resources they were given to choose at least 5 state symbols to research. They will then collectively find and record the following information in their notebooks:

    1.) the year each state symbol was adopted,

    2.) how each symbol was chosen, and

    3.) one or two interesting facts about each symbol.

    The students will then cut out the images of the symbols and glue them on index cards to create state symbol flash cards. They can then write the information for each symbol on the backs of the flash cards.

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    Wrap-Up Activity

    Have students from each group take turns quizzing the class using the flash cards they created.

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    Lesson Extensions

    A great extension activity to include when teaching lesson plans on Nebraska state symbols is to have the students create a poster that shows an assortment of alternative state symbols, created by the student themselves. Students can also learn about the symbols that represent the other 49 states by playing online geography games.

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    Image Credit

    Photos courtesy of: Wiki Commons