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Lesson 6: The Bald Eagle

Patriotism

Lesson 6: The Bald Eagle

Objective:

Learners will be able to identify the Bald Eagle as the symbol of the United States.

Learners will understand why the Bald Eagle was chosen as a Symbol of the United States.

Materials:

Picture of a Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle Worksheet

Procedure:

  1. Teacher asks the students what they know about the Bald Eagle.
  2. Teacher asks the students to close their eyes and visualize being an eagle and flying high above the earth. Have the students talk about what they are feeling. The goal is for the students to think about freedom.
  3. The teacher shares with the students the legend of the Bald Eagle.
    1. It is said the eagle was used as a national emblem because, at one of the first battles of the Revolution (which occurred early in the morning) the noise of the struggle awoke the sleeping eagles on the heights and they flew from their nests and circled about over the heads of the fighting men, all the while giving vent to their raucous cries. “They are shrieking for Freedom,” said the patriots.
      Thus the eagle, full of the boundless spirit of freedom, living above the valleys, strong and powerful in his might, has become the national emblem of a country that offers freedom in word and thought and an opportunity for a full and free expansion into the boundless space of the future.
      –Maude M. Grant
  4. The teacher tells the students facts about the eagle to support the notion that it is strong and free as well as unique to the U.S.A.
    1. The distinctive white head and tail feathers do not appear until Bald Eagles are about 4 to 5 years old.
    2. Their beak and eyes turn yellow during the fourth and fifth year, and are dark brown prior to that time.
    3. They can weigh 7 to 15 pounds, and have a wing span of 6 to 8 feet. This makes them one of the largest birds in North America.
    4. The males are larger than the females.
    5. They have a life span of up to 40 years in the wild, and longer in captivity.
    6. Bald Eagles live near large bodies of open water such as lakes, marshes, seacoasts and rivers, where there are plenty of fish to eat and tall trees for nesting and roosting. Bald Eagles have a presence in every U. S. state except Hawaii.
    7. Bald Eagles feed primarily on fish, but also eat small animals (ducks, coots, muskrats, turtles, rabbits, snakes, etc.) and occasional carrion (dead animals).
    8. Their diving speed is estimated at 75 to 100 miles per hour.
    9. Bald Eagles mate for life.
  5. The teacher leads the students in a discussion about the appropriateness off the Bald Eagle as a symbol for the United States.
    1. Propose to the students the use of a turkey instead, giving arguments for why the turkey would better be suited for the United States (Benjamin Franklin proposed this) and allow the students to vote on what they think the bird should be.
  6. The students color an eagle red, white and blue like the seal.

Evaluation

I will know that students are able to identify the Bald Eagle as a symbol of the United States when they color the eagle accurately or color it red, white and blue.

I will know that students are able to explain why the eagle is a symbol of the country when they justify whether or not the eagle is an appropriate symbol of the United States.

Things to consider:

The students were very knowledgeable about the Bald Eagle and many elected to color their eagles like an actual eagle, however, a size model or measuring tape would have been nice to really demonstrate the eagle’s size. 6 feet is something that the students can not envision.

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